What is Rim Width? How Wide or Narrow Should Your New Wheels Be?

Feeling a little overwhelmed by all the wheel choices available for your vehicle? All the listed options are compatible wheels, but there are some nuanced differences in how offset and width affect wheel fitment.

What is rim width and how does it affect what tire size(s) can be used?

Wheel width is measured from the inside of one wheel flange to another as diagrammed below:

For example, my Original Equipment BRZ wheel is 17" in diameter and 7" wide. If you're not sure how wide your wheel is, flip it over and look at the back of the wheel for a marking such as "17x7JJ" or something similar with the second number being the width. Since a tire sidewall and bead can only stretch so much, each tire will have a recommended rim width range, so wheel width dictates what tire sizes you can choose. Going back to the BRZ example, I can't mount 245/40R17 on my O.E. BRZ wheel because it's too wide; nor can I mount 17x9 on my O.E. 215/45R17 because the tire is too narrow to safely fit on the rim.

What is the advantage to choosing a narrower wheel?

As you filter down to wheel widths that fit your ideal tire size's recommend rim width range, you'll sometimes find that your preferred wheel style is available in multiple widths. The primary advantage of choosing a narrower wheel is that it creates a buffer between the edge of the tire and a curb. Many tires have rim protectors, but a rounded sidewall of a wide tire on a skinnier rim protects even further.

What is the advantage of choosing a wider wheel?

What if you haven't had bad luck with scuffed rims in the past or rarely have to parallel park? From a performance standpoint. you're better off picking a wider rim because it gives you a slightly larger contact patch and optimizes steering response. 

Finally, there's a subjective aesthetic assessment to be made. It seems like most drivers prefer the flat, horizontal sidewall contour of a fatter rim and skinnier tire on sporty cars. They are accustomed to the rounded sidewall contour of fat tire and skinny rim on trucks and Jeeps. 


Monday, May 15, 2017 by Kevin d

I need advice on tire sizes for the Subaru BRZ, I want to go wider in the rear with stock suspension, just want to play it safe and make sure I get advice from a professional
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 by Cy


Since we ship most of what we sell we’re very conservative when we look at the risk of rubbing. So I would also recommend getting anecdotal feedback from other FT-86 drivers who are actively experimenting with different sizes at:


That being said, with our extremely careful assessment we see 255/40-17 and 265/35-18 as the widest standard fit sizes on wheels of the proper widths and offsets.


Saturday, July 1, 2017 by Eduardo

what wheels? in my car have wheels 16x6.5 offset 39. But I don't know what size put 17x7 offset 38 or 17x7.5 offset 40?. what do you recommend ?
Monday, July 3, 2017 by Cy

Eduardo, we need more information to accurately answer your question. What is the year, make, model and trim level of your vehicle? Cy
Friday, September 1, 2017 by Kimberly

Trying to decide on new wheels for my truck. I have a 2004 GMC Envoy with mfg tires of P245/65R17 size... I painted my calibers and really want them to show more which is why I need to change my wheel size . With that being said I know that I have to also change the tire size.. I prefer a safer but skinny tire any suggestions on size of the wheels and size of a skinny tires?
Wednesday, September 6, 2017 by Cy


Please see compatible wheels here:


What color is your Envoy and what color did you paint the calipers?

Not every compatible wheel will be available in different widths and diameters so I would pick the style(s) that you like first. Do so see some wheels that you like at above link?

Friday, October 6, 2017 by Steve B

I recently purchased winter rims for my 2014 Honda Accord Sport and am looking to purchase snow tires for the rims. The rims are 18 x 7.5 and I am wondering the best size tire to put on them, I am getting confused by all the different tire specs.
Friday, October 6, 2017 by Cy


Optimal snow tire size will vary slightly depending on your climate and normal commute 225/50-18 will normally be the best snow size for your 18x7.5 wheels, see 225/50-18 options here:


See our winter/snow tire overview blog here:


Monday, November 13, 2017 by Jeff

I have a '14 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T. It currently has 235/55-19 all season tires on 19x7.5 wheels. I'm thinking of putting 225/65-17 winter tires on 17x6.5 winter wheels. Is this an OK alternative, and if not, why?
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 by Cy

Jeff, if you're in the deeper part of the snowbelt that size makes perfect sense. See even more information here:


Wednesday, February 28, 2018 by Daniel

Cy, I see this post is from a while back, but I can't seem to find the answer I'm seeking.

I'm looking at a particular rim, but I just bought new tires a few months ago. I have an 2005 Audi S4 Sedan. OEM wheels are 18x8, however I want a bit wider tire look. I'm running the stock size tire, brand Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+, 235/40ZR18 95Y. I downloaded michelin's spec sheet from their website, and the min/max wheel sizes are 8-9.5, so looking at their specs, I'm seeing my stock rim as it's minimum rim size.

The answer I'm seeking is, by their specs, am I going to be looking at a bulging sidewall if I go with a 9.5. It's within their specs, but I'd rather the tires look flatter instead of stretched out on the side. The wheel I'm set on only comes in an 8 or 9.5 and no in between.
Wednesday, February 28, 2018 by Cy


A 9.5" wide wheel is wider than what we normally sell for your S4 so test fit thoroughly if you decide to go with that width.

9.5" on 235/40-18 will give a flatter sidewall whereas 8" on 235/40-18 will give you a rounded sidewall.

So does a flatter or rounded sidewall look better? That depends on what you personally like. The best way to assess is preference is to look at examples. I've linked some below.

9.5" on 235/40-18, see:


8" on 235/40-18, see:



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