Whether you’re trying to sell or buy a car, repair or replace your tires, customize your vehicle to your liking, or you’re just curious, it’s always good to know the right tire size for your car. But when you’re not a mechanic or don’t have a lot of experience with cars, and the numbers on the sides of your tires look like gibberish, it’s hard to know what to look for to make sure you’re caring for your vehicle properly.
The largest tire size that will fit on a 17-inch rim is a 54-inch tire in diameter (54/19.5R17). The bigger the tire, the more grip and stability on the road while driving and turning. However, drastic tire changes can cause some issues for braking systems and speedometers.
If you don’t have 17-inch rim tires or want to make a different tire change, you may need help reading and understanding your tire size correctly.
How To Read Your Tire Size
On the side of your tire will be written a long stream of numbers and some letters. (Example: P215/65R15 89 H)
The first letter listed represents the Tire Type. P stands for Passenger Vehicle, LT stands for Light Truck, and ST stands for Special Trailer. (Ex: P215/65R15 89 H is a Passenger Vehicle)
The first number listed after the first letter is for the Tire Width, in millimeters, when looking directly at the tire, from side to side. This is sometimes referred to as the section width. (Ex: P215/65R15 89 H has a 215mm width)
The next number after the forward-slash is the Aspect Ratio. The bigger the aspect ratio, the thicker the tire will be from its profile view. (Ex: P215/65R15 89 H is 65, or 65% as high as the tire’s width)
The letter following the aspect ratio represents the Construction Type such as Radial Ply or Diagonal/Cross Ply. These simply show how your tire was built. (Ex: P215/65R15 89 H is a Radial Ply tire)
After the Construction Type is the wheel diameter in inches, from one side to the other when looking head-on. (Ex: P215/65R15 89 H has a 15-inch wheel diameter.)
The next number listed is the Load Index, which explains how much the tire can support. (Ex: P215/65R15 89 H has an 89 Load Index, meaning it can hold up to 1,279 pounds)
The last letter listed is the Speed Rating/Symbol, meaning how fast the tire can safely travel. A higher speed rating means the tire can handle more friction on the road. (Ex: P215/65R15 89 H has an H Speed Rating, meaning the tire can go up to 130mph) (Source)
Common Tire Sizes for 17 Inch Rims
Most vehicles have quite a large tire size range that can be installed safely. For 17 inch rims, the smallest tire size is a 22-inch tire (22/2.5R17). The largest size for 17-inch rims is a 54-inch tire (54/19.5R17).
Some of the most popular or common sizes for 17-inch rim tires are 265/70R17, 225/65R17, and 215/55R17.
If you want to be safe, you can always ask your mechanic for any advice or expertise needed to make the best decisions for your vehicle.
Do Bigger Tires Affect Your Vehicle?
Like everything else in, on, and around your vehicle, it’s always important to understand what may be helpful or harmful to your car. Many people have specific preferences on how they like their vehicle to look, feel, and drive when on the road.
You can customize your car to your personal taste by adding interior accessories, new lights for night drives, using a lift kit, adding window tint, getting a new paint job, and even adding new tires or rims.
However, some personal touches to your vehicle could be harmful when done incorrectly.
If you’re looking to bump up your tire size, remember that larger sizes provide more security and stability when turning or driving on snow and ice, as they get better traction than smaller tires. They also give a smoother feel when on the road, which means less bouncing out of your seat over the smallest bumps!
Unfortunately, there can also be some downsides when deciding to make a change to your tire size. Whether you’re looking to switch to a smaller or bigger size, you should be aware of any possible complications that may occur.
Changing your tire size can be like giving your car a new pair of shoes. Anti-lock braking systems, stability system calibrations, and speedometers can be affected when you change your tire sizing from the original size it was built for.
A bigger (or smaller) size can confuse the speedometer and odometer, and you may not get accurate readings while driving. The price of larger wheeled vehicles can also go up.
Bigger tires are generally used for bigger vehicles, such as SUVs or trucks, which cost more in sales lots, at the gas station, and even with insurance quotes. The tires themselves will require more material to make, therefore costing more than smaller tires. (Source)
When buying or repairing a car, you generally will want to stick to the same tire sizing and brand it originally had. This will ensure your vehicle will run regularly, properly, and you’ll have an easier time understanding your car altogether!
If you are prepared for the cost difference of having bigger tires and are still interested, you may also want to be aware of some of the positive changes that may occur.
As previously mentioned, with bigger tires, you will experience more control and more stability while driving. Your vehicle will also be more sturdy in harsher weather conditions such as snow, ice, and rain.
And you may also notice some glances from passersby. Bigger vehicles are harder to ignore and tend to catch some good looks throughout the drive.
Most car owners feel a lot of care for their vehicle. You are sure to feel more confident, bolder, and prouder to own your car when adding your personal touches.