One of the first modifications that most people make to their Tacoma is choosing a larger tire size. There are different reasons for this, such as performance requirements and enhanced appearance. But is it possible to fit a tire as large as 33s on your stock Tacoma?
I don’t typically recommend trying to fit 33-inch tires on your stock Tacoma. To do so, you would have to make certain modifications to one of these areas:
- Cabin mounts
- Wheel wells
Here, I show you which tires will fit your stock Tacoma. Then, if you want those 33s bad enough, I’ll show you what you’ll have to do to get them to fit correctly.
What tire sizes will Fit a stock Tacoma?
Toyota has several tire sizes for the factory Tacoma. Here is a list of the different ones. I sorted it by year and rim sizes.
- 215/70 R15
- 245/75 R16
- 265/70 R16
- 265/65 R17
- 255/45 R18
- 265/60 R18
- 205/75 R15
- 225/75 R15
- 235/55 R16
- 265/70 R16
- 195/175 R14
- 215/70 R14
- 225/75 R15
- 31×10.5 R15
- 265/70 R16
Mods needed for 33s
You will certainly need to modify your Tacoma to get your 33s to fit correctly and avoid tire rub. Here I show you the most important ones. Also, you’ll get some idea of the labor involved.
A truck lift kit will increase your Tacoma’s ground clearance while allowing more room for larger tires. It will also allow you to drive over more extensive terrain when going off-road.
Here’s what the kit will typically come with:
- Coil springs
- Strut spacers
- Lift blocks
- Trailing arms
- Control arms
You may need secondary modifications, depending on the type of kit you install. This could be anywhere from altering the brake lines to increasing the driveshaft length. The steering geometry may also have to be altered to improve safety.
So, for all those reasons, it’s best to let a professional handle the installation. If done improperly, it can cause some severe problems. Take these for example:
- Unstable handling, especially on pavement
- Lower performance
- Undue wear on your suspension components
- Lowers the life of the driveline
A lift kit installation isn’t like changing the brake pads. It involves completely restructuring the entire suspension system. For that reason, it is unwise to go it alone.
Modifications to the fenders and fender liners
Trimming both the inside fenders and fender flares will ensure a proper fit for your larger tires. Taking about two to three inches off will typically be enough for most tire sizes. That’s especially true with a lift kit installed.
You may be able to get away with just doing the fender trim. Your 33s may be able to fit just right without any rubbing, even without a lift kit. You are the one who will have the final say.
There are a lot of ideas floating around about how best to trim the fenders on a Tacoma. Here, I will show you the most common techniques.
Basic steps for trimming the fenders:
1. Remove the fender liner. This is usually an optional step. But it is a good idea to remove them for extra tire clearance. If you reuse the liner, be sure to purchase additional clips for reinstallation.
2. Remove the fender flare. Here too, buy some extra clips. Some will inevitably break while removing the fender flare.
3. Mark out the area to cut on the metal fender. You can wrap the area to cut with blue tape for easy reference.
4. Cutting the metal fender. Using a jigs saw, carefully cut along the reference line. Be sure to sand the edges to remove any burrs.
5. Mark out the area to cut on the fender flare. Tape the site to be cut. Then take a magic marker and draw a cutting line. With most fender flares, there is a seam that joins the upper and lower sections. A lot of people use this for their reference line.
6. Cut the fender flare. Using a Dremel tool with cutting wheel attachment, cut along the reference line.
7. Smooth the edges. Using a metal file, smooth out all the cutting edges.
8. Reinstall the fender flare. Be sure to reseat the rubber gasket all the way. If it won’t fit correctly, you may have to replace it.
As you can see, there is a bit of work involved with fender mods. If you are not comfortable doing all this yourself, you aren’t alone. For that reason, there are specialty body shops available that will do the work for you.
Cabin mount chop
Cabin mounts connect the cab of your Tacoma to its frame. They are specially designed to decrease noise and vibration through a series of rubber bushings. Since cab mounts are flexible, they can also improve the truck’s overall suspension performance.
There are cab mounts located near the front wheel well of your stock Tacoma. If you try to install larger tires without modifications, they will inevitably rub against the mounts.
A cab mount chop involves cutting away part of the mount to make room for larger tires. There are several methods to choose from. But the most common one is welding a steel plate where the mount goes to allow extra room for the tire.
The result is being able to fit a larger tire onto your stock Tacoma. Here, I will give you an idea of what’s involved in the process.
These are the 12 steps to take for a cab mount chop:
1. Mark out the areas to cut
2. Cutaway the fender liner
3. Cut the pinch welds
4. Beat the pinch welds inward
5. Cutaway the traced area on the mount
6. Smooth the rough edges
7. Make a template
8. Fabricate the chop plate
9. Weld the chop plate onto the mount
10. Sand the welds
11. Prep the area for paining
12. Repaint the cab mount
Not so simple, right? You will have to have access to a garage equipped with a plasma cutter, hand grinders, and welding equipment. So, here again, it’s probably best to delegate this task to a trained professional.
Is driving with bigger tires dangerous?
Increasing the tire size is usually only dangerous to your wallet. With that said, you can overdo it by going too big. Having monster tires on your Tacoma could create these unwanted side effects:
- Loose steering
- Tire load capacity decreases
- Inaccurate speedometer
- Overall handling problems
Still, using 33s or even 35s may not be a big deal. However, going any bigger or wider could not only put you in the poorhouse, but it may also put you on the sidelines for good.
The bottom line is if you are going to go big, at least do it right. Make sure you have a plan laid out in advance. Only then can your 33s look and feel the way you want, either going down the road or off the side of a mountain.