Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: Matching Tires and Wheels: Handling vs. Ride Comfort as a Function of Wheel Width

  1. #1
    Village Idiot goldstar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Northern New Jersey
    Feedback Score

    Matching Tires and Wheels: Handling vs. Ride Comfort as a Function of Wheel Width

    The question often arises as to the maximum width tire that can be mounted on a wheel of a given width. Most of you are aware that there is a recommended range of wheel widths on which a given-sized tire can be mounted. Since tires have flexible sidewalls, a single tire size can be mounted on a variety of wheel widths, within reason. Basically, both the width of the tire and its aspect ratio determine its appropriate wheel width range. A tire/wheel width chart can be found at:
    This leads to two questions: Why should the the recommended wheel width range be followed and what effect does wheel width have on a tire's road characteristics?

    In the US, the Tire and Rim Association (TRA), composed of representatives from all the major and most of the minor tire companies, has developed technical specifications in this area based on engineering principles and empirical testing. These studies have demonstrated that wheel widths outside these ranges, either over or under, will stress the tire in a manner that may result in poor service and potential tire failure. The Euro Tire and Rim Technical Organization (ETRTO), serves a similar research function as does the Japan Automobile Tire Manufacturers Association (JATMA),

    Most of the following material is taken from these two sites:
    The wheel width recommendations are completely independent of the tire or wheel manufacturer. A tire actually has three width measurements: nominal size (the size molded on the tire), section width (distance from sidewall to sidewall-the widest part of the tire), and tread width (see illustration at bottom of page). Furthermore, two different brands of the same nominal width tire can have different section and tread widths. For example, in the case of a 195/55-15 tire, the Yokohama AVS ES 100 has a section width of 7.8" and a tread width of 7.1", whereas the Bridgestone Potenza RE92 has a section width of 7.7" and a tread width of 6.9". In both cases, however, the wheel width range is specified as 5.5"-7.0". A given wheel range can be further subdivided into wide, midrange and narrow. In the above example, a 5.5" width would be considered narrow, 6 or 6.5" would be mid and 7" would be wide. According to Yokohama, adopting a wider wheel increases vehicle stability and improves steering response and cornering ability. Choosing a narrow wheel results in an improvement in ride quality but sacrifices the tire's ultimate performance capabilities. On the other hand, a midrange wheel provides a balance between handling and ride quality.

    Note that the width of the wheel will influence the width of the tire. A tire mounted on a narrow rim is "narrower" than the same tire mounted on a wide rim. Since wheels are made in increments of .5" widths, the industry rule of thumb is that for every .5" change in wheel width there will be a corresponding .2" change in section width of the tire. In connection with this, the TRA has established a measuring rim width that enables all tire manufacturers to measure their tires on the same width wheel for comparison purposes. For aspect ratios of 50 or higher, the measuring rim width is 70% of the tire's section width rounded off to the nearest .5". For aspect ratios lower than 50, the measuring rim width is 85% of the tire's section width. Returning to the above example of the 195/55-15 yoko tire, the 7.8" section width was obtained from a measuring rim width of 6". The same tire mounted on a wheel with a 6.5" width would have a section width of 8" and if mounted on a 7" wide wheel would have a section width of 8.2".

    Yokohama, as well as other industry sources, goes on to say that a good rule of thumb is to use a wheel width 90% as wide as the tread width (not the section width) of a performance tire for street applications, to provide a good balance between performance and ride quality. Let's see how this would work out for a couple of popular upgrade sizes again using the Yoko AVS ES 100 tire:

    205/45-16, width range = 6.5"-7.5", tread width = 7.9", 90% tread width = 7.11", correct wheel width size = 7"

    215/40-17, width range = 7.0"-8.5", tread width = 8.4", 90% tread width = 7.56", correct wheel width size = 7.5"

    Happy Motoring!
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by goldstar; 03-13-2010 at 11:31 PM.
    02 DX Millenium Red - The Penultimate Driving Machine
    MP3 Strut Tower Bar kit; Cusco Front Lower Arm Tie Bar
    MSP Springs, Struts, Stabilizer Bars, Trailing Links, #3 Engine Mount
    Kartboy Stabilizer Bar Bushings; Nyloil Shifter Bushings; Red Line MT-90 Gear Oil
    MP3 Shifter, Knob and Aluminum Pedal Set
    Suvlights HD Wiring Harness; Osram Night Breaker H4 Bulbs; Exide Edge AGM Battery
    Summer: 5Zigen FN01R-C 16 x 7" Wheels; Yoko 205/45-16s
    Winter: Enkei OR52 16 x 7" Wheels; Falken Ziex ZE-912 205/45-16s
    Modified OEM Air Intake; Racing Beat Exhaust System; Techna-Fit SS Clutch Line
    Denso SKJ16CR-L11 Extended Tip Spark Plugs; Magnecor Wires
    Power Slot Front Brake Rotors; Techna-Fit SS Brake Lines; Hawk HPS Pads
    Red Line Synthetic Engine Oil; C/S Aluminum Oil Cap
    Cyberdyne Digital Gauges: Tach; Ambient Air Temp; Voltmeter

  2. #2
    Going broke in style.
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Portland, OR
    Feedback Score
    1 (100%)
    I didn't realize that the wheel width affected the ride comfort... I knew the sidewall did. Great to know, thanks for the info!

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Springfield, VA
    Feedback Score
    Quote Originally Posted by goldstar
    Obviously, where the highest performance is desired and ride comfort is not a factor, use the 7.5" and 8.5" wheel widths, respectively.
    Well, that's right to a certain extent. Wider wheels weigh more and therefore provide greater unsprung weight and greater rotational inertia. The weight savings with a narrower wheel may have a performance advantage.

    It is well known that a small diameter wheel has better performance than a large diameter wheel. Ultra low profile tires are also not the fast setup. (Look at a Formula 1 tire.)

  4. #4
    THE CREATOR escortkid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    T-town OK
    Feedback Score
    too a point but running 13 inch tires on our cars is not fast. 15 16's are the best size handling wise 17's are good too.
    mods: engine: fm stroker lightened and knifedged crank, 11:1, custom crank scraper, fully p&p head and intake mani, bored throttle body, flowed and matched stock injectors, rx7 vaf, apexi safc, gude race cams, modded ecu 8200 fuel cutoff, blaster coil, clutchmasters stage 3 clutch, fidanza fly wheel and timeing gears, msp diff, custom shortram in a cold air box

    suspension: s/r struts intrack springs and intrax sway bars 15x6.5 rims kumho mx tires 205 50 r 15

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Tires are on the new wheels
    By Chad in forum Photo/Video Gallery
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 03-29-2010, 09:27 PM
  2. GI: Almost new tires on MX-3 GS wheels
    By Silentbob343 in forum Parts and Misc. Items For Sale Only
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 01-28-2010, 01:00 PM
  3. i need wheels and tires :(
    By bp_turbo'd in forum Want To Buy/Trade Items
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 11-01-2009, 07:19 PM
  4. wheels/tires
    By escortluver19 in forum Want To Buy/Trade Items
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 11-26-2006, 05:25 PM
  5. Low ride plus comfort. Is it possible?
    By Intruder in forum Suspension/Brakes - BHA Chassis
    Replies: 57
    Last Post: 02-19-2004, 03:16 PM



Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts