Rim and tire sizing can be a little confusing, especially for big SUVs and big trucks. For example, can you put 33-inch tires on 17-inch rims? Vehicles are often precision-engineered to fit particular sizes and have tolerances within an inch or two. Does a typical truck or SUV need anything unique to fit a 33” tire on a 17” rim?
Table of Contents
- Will 33-inch tires fit on 17-inch rims?
- What should I consider when putting 33” tires on 17” rims?
- How about problems with 33” tires with 17” rims and height?
- Rim width and you
- Why 17” rims?
- Do I need to modify the tires or rims?
Will 33-inch tires fit on 17-inch rims?
While you can fit a 33” tire on a 17” rim, it often requires some small modification to make the two work together. A big rim and a big tire make the whole wheel tall and wide – though in many cases, we are more worried about the width. You might need spacers or other hardware to make it work.
Let’s consider what could happen if you put big tires on big rims. Thankfully, it’s been done before so it is definitely possible. We’ll talk about the positives and negatives of running these.
We’ve been off-roading, and understanding the basics and not-so basics of tire and rim size. We’ll reference some experts on the subject too.
What should I consider when putting 33” tires on 17” rims?
Putting 33” tires on a 17” rim represents a size upgrade for most people who are planning to put this wheel and tire combination together. With any variety of vehicles, it is possible that you could change the way your vehicle looks, drives, and is maintained. Here is why:
Be careful about width
The larger potential issue with a large tire on a larger rim is not completely from the height of the tire. A 33” tire tends to shrink down a bit after having the full weight of a truck or SUV placed over it.
33” tires, however, come in a variety of widths that can often depend on their goal: A wider tire might be meant more for high-speed stability.
Adding width increases the chances of the new tire rubbing against something on the inside of the vehicle – from the sway bar, to the fender, wheel well, or mudflaps, – or even suspension. There are a few moving and unmoving parts that were designed to handle a particular width of the wheel.
If the tire is wide enough, the tire can begin rubbing against the inside of the vehicle and affect the overall ride quality of the vehicle, the sounds it makes, and the potential tread life of the tire.
What can I do about issues of width?
There are a couple of fairly easy solutions, thankfully.
Spacers are simple metal or plastic screw-ons that can fit between your tire and axle to push the tire itself out just a bit to keep the actual rotating rubber and metal of your tires from touching the inside of the vehicle. These are easier to install and can often be done in your garage or through your local service department would welcome the business.
We often have readers asking if you can add 33” tires to a 17” rim and keep it stock. The answer is, it depends – and not always quite a yes. Some vehicles will need a lift kit to make the combination work properly.
A lift kit can help create both height and width separation on your truck or SUV. The lift kit also impacts the quality of the ride but can be absolutely worth it to gain the extra couple of inches of space off-roaders often want.
Lift kits also just look cool sometimes. Some people like to stand out in their truck, and having the whole body raised by a couple of inches is certainly a way to do that.
Cutting out parts of your wheel well from the inside might not sound appealing, but it can be very helpful in giving your tires some extra space. For a person with grinders or sawzalls in their garage – and a bit of patience, it’s also not all that difficult.
Identify where in particular the tires and internal metals are rubbing together (it might be easier on a newer truck – it might be the first place worn down or missing paint). Cutting or grinding these down might be an hour or two of work for people who are familiar with parts and have the tools available.
How about problems with 33” tires with 17” rims and height?
A tall combination can start to cause problems with the height and diameter of your wheel well, too. While it might not be necessary, it’s possible that you’ll want to remove your mud flaps. The mud flaps could get moved a bit by the tire.
Rim width and you
Finding the right combination of tire and rim that can handle 33” tires on a 17” rim won’t be too difficult, but there are things to consider:
Find the right tire for your look
You can get wider rims that make your tires stand out a bit less. They’ll look less knobby and less wide in part because the rim itself sticks out too. The look is of course, purely aesthetic. You could also find more narrow rims that make the rubber on your tire truly stand out.
Can I get a narrow rim?
For reference, an 8” wide rim is fairly normal for a standard truck tire. A narrow rim makes the tire itself look more prominent. The biggest limiter to both the tire rim and width is what fits on the tires.
Look at the tires you wish to mount and see what size rims they are designed to mount on. You’ll want the correct fit and the right amount of ‘stretch’ in your tire – it also helps if they stay on properly!
Why 17” rims?
17” rims are actually very common in the truck world. These are often actually stock rims. Part of the challenge of finding the right combination of tires is that 18” rims can be a bit more difficult to find and can be more expensive if not stock to the truck.
The interesting part of this question is that larger rims are indeed possible though they can be more associated with smaller tires because of the large space they take.
17” rims are also fairly light compared to larger rims so they have the least impact on engine performance and fuel economy than larger, more expensive rims. Between tires and rims, both have the chance to impact how often you need to fill up with gas.
Do I need to modify the tires or rims?
You shouldn’t have to change your tires or rims – for much of anything. Tires and rims are pretty important since they are amongst the pieces of equipment that actually absorb weight so in many ways you should leave them alone.