What Tires do I Need?
Your tire size is dictated by your wheel diameter. This is non-negotiable. If your wheel diameter is 16 inches, you will require 16 inch tires. If you would like to change your tire size, you will have to completely replace your wheel mounts to accommodate the difference. Keep in mind, making these changes will affect your vehicle’s speedometer accuracy. Be sure to use Plus Sizing while making these choices.
Your aspect ratio has to do with the size of your sidewall. Like width and size, changes to this will have both a positive and a negative affect. For example, having a lower, stiffer sidewall can improve your cornering but will sacrifice a smooth ride. Once again, altering your aspect ratio will cause your speedometer readings to skew. This can be resolved with Plus Sizing.
You have some freedom to move with your tire’s width. A wider tire will give you better grip on a dry surface, but is less efficient on fuel. A tire that is too wide will cause rubbing and may damage the tire prematurely. Narrower tires offer better traction in the winter, however a tire that is too narrow for your vehicle can become a hazard as it decreases your steering control. Consult a professional before making these kinds of changes to your vehicle.
Average motorists will not exceed their vehicle’s maximum load capacity but it is easy to underestimate the amount of weight you are adding to your vehicle with passengers and cargo. If you know you’ll be transporting heavier loads, it is important to buy tires with the appropriate load rating to avoid pancaking your tires and improve your driving stability. Keep in mind you may need to adjust your tire pressure to accommodate for significant loads.
It is recommended that you use the same speed ratings for all four tires. Mixing and matching can cause traction and oversteering problems. Do not downgrade your speed rating, but you can increase it for better cornering control.
The most common speed ratings you will find on your tire include: