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Can you put larger wheels on your car?

Low profile tyre on road

Larger wheels are popular from both an aesthetic and performance enhancing perspective.

If you are considering larger wheels for your car, there are some important factors that you need to consider.
Plus Sizing, as it is called, is when the size of the wheel is increased, while the size of the tyre is decreased, which means that the overall height of the tyre stays relatively the same. Plus Size fitments have a larger wheel diameter than the standard OE (original equipment) fitment but retain the original overall rolling radius, or very similar, by reducing the tyres aspect ratio.
Diagram of a wheel and tyre package, demonstrating the changes of a Plus Size fitment, while retaining similar rolling diameter.

Benefits of Plus Sizing include:

  • Increased steering and braking response - the lower aspect ratio of a lower profile tyre enhances vehicle performance by sharpening the steering and braking response. The sidewall is stiffer, which reduces the spongy feeling and flex of a taller profile tyre. This aids performance by giving the driver a more direct sense of control over the vehicle.
  • Improved dry handling - quite often larger diameter wheels are wider as well, and the increased tread width of a low profile tyre allows for a greater contact area between the tyre and the road, which produces crisper handling, as well as improved braking.

The potential downside to Plus Sizing:

  • Reduced driver and passenger comfort - when you Plus Size your tyres, it means you are opting for lower profile tyres, and this in turn means there is less rubber between the rim and the road. This results in a harsher ride, which reduces driver and passenger comfort.
  • Increased risk of damage - if road conditions are poor, it can be very easy to damage a lower profile tyre. A low profile tyre has a reduced side wall height, which makes it easier for the tyre to suffer sidewall damage and wheels are more susceptible to cracks and bends in the event of an impact.
  • Greater cost - typically, low-profile tyres are more expensive. They also tend to have a shorter lifespan as the rubber compound that they’re made from is often softer, which means that you will need to buy new tyres, more often.

If you are considering putting low profile tyres on your car, be aware of the following:

Don’t go outside of the manufacturer’s sizes - (specified on the tyre placard) without seeking advice from a tyre professional. The lower profile tyre needs to fit the wheel rim width to ensure vehicle safety. Always follow the vehicle manufacturer’s guidelines.
Maintain the correct load index - your lower profile tyres must have an equal or higher load ratio. It is illegal to fit tyres that have a lower load carrying capacity than the original fitment.
Watch your speedometer - changing your tyre size to a Plus Size fitment may alter the speedometer reading. In this instance re calibration of the speedometer may be necessary to meet legal requirements. 
Choose quality - as is always the case, it is a good idea to opt for reputable brands that ensure that you are purchasing quality Plus Size fitments.
Use a professional - Plus Size fitments can be much wider than standard original equipment and may cause wheel well and suspension problems. To ensure correct fitment always seek the help of a professional, who will advise you of the best Plus Size wheel and tyre package options available for your car.
Stay informed with your State’s Legislation - regarding Plus Sized fitments. This can vary from state to state so it is best to visit your local transport authority for the correct information.
Expert technician changing a Plus Size tyre and wheel package on a car.
When it comes to changing your tyre size to a low profile tyre and wheel package - always consult with an expert. Our expert technicians adhere to local legislation regarding Plus Size tyres, and will talk you through the impact of Plus Sizing to ensure that the best tyres are fitted to meet your driving needs.
Call into your local BestDrive store to discuss a wheel and tyre package that is best suited to your car. When you have your tyres professionally fitted at BestDrive, our expert technicians will ensure that your Plus Size tyre and wheel needs are met professionally and safely.
BestDrive. You drive, we care.

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