Tire Size Comparison Tips

Getting close to needing new tires? Whether you’re starting your research or you’re an enthusiast who frequents online forums dedicated to the make and model of your vehicle - or you follow tire (and tire retailer) ratings on Consumer Reports, we’re here to explain tire size in the most definitive way possible.

Tire size conversion for trucks

For the sake of convenience, let’s say you’re looking for truck tires for your Ford F-150 – one of the most popular vehicles in the country, (though this example can work for any light truck or SUV, including your Chevy Silverado or Dodge RAM, Toyota Tacoma or Jeep Wrangler.)

Especially if you’re considering lifting your vehicle, “plus-sizing” – meaning increasing the overall sidewall height of your new tires over the OE-supplied tires is a very popular option, and not just for the aesthetic appeal of filling out the wheel wells on a truck or SUV.

The fact of the matter is that tires with a higher aspect ratio offer a smoother ride, especially compared to low-profile tires -- no matter the application. For trucks and SUVs, this has an added bonus of increasing the ride height of your vehicle while also maximizing the contact patch it has with the road.

This is important for off-road and mud tires both in the amount of grip they can put down under extreme conditions but also in the ride comfort they’ll provide on the trail or when you’re out mudding.

However, another thing to consider when running larger tires is the adverse effect it can have on your truck’s fuel efficiency. On a basic level what’s happening is that an engine has to work harder to spin larger wheels and tires.

And if not properly calibrated, converting to a different tire size can also give an inaccurate reading on your speedometer. Try our tire size calculator.

Plus Zero Sizing

Don’t know what a “plus zero” change in tire size means? It generally refers to moving up in section width and aspect ratio (tire width and height) without needing to change the size of the current wheel on your vehicle.

Narrower and taller truck tire sizes for better fuel efficiency

Wider and taller truck tire sizes for better off-roading and performance capability

Tire size comparisons for cars

When considering changing up tire sizes on your sedan, compact car or even sports car, there are a couple things to consider.

First off, determine what kind of change you’re looking for.

Whether you’re looking for a softer ride with higher fuel-efficiency or more responsive handling with better grip and acceleration, new tires are usually the first place to start if you want to subtly or drastically alter how your car drives.

And if it seems like more and more tire fitment options are being offered on newer vehicles, it’s very much by design.

Large wheels on low-profile tires bring out the best in a vehicle’s handling ability, but will take a toll on its ride comfort, fuel efficiency and overall longevity.

Using size 215/55 R17 tires as an example, you can see that there are 20 compatible sizes in varying section widths and sidewall heights.

And while you’re doing your research, utilize our handy speedometer accuracy calculator, as changing the aspect ratio on your tires might change the reading on your speedometer.

Wider and shorter tire sizes to switch over to from 215/55 R17 for better handling and performance

Tire sizes for better fuel efficiency (narrower)

Tires for a more comfortable ride (taller)

Moving up or down on wheel sizes can offer even more dramatic results.

Most cars are able to change to aftermarket wheels within 1 inch up or down of the OE wheel diameter, while trucks and SUVs are usually able to make even larger changes due to their larger wheel wells – especially if a lift is installed on a vehicle.

Of course, if you’re wondering what the best option for your vehicle is and would prefer to talk to someone, simply give us a call at 800-589-6789 and we’ll be happy to help you put your best tire forward!