Big Wide Wheels on Not So Wide Tires

Oh yeah, we see it every day. 12” and 14” wide wheels on 12.50 wide tires. Stretch them to where the lip of the wheel sticks out past the sidewall of the tire and watch the problems roll in. Not the greatest idea in the world but one that is super popular right now.

I’m not here to talk you out of it, just to give you some reasons to think about it before you do it.

  1. Wheel Damage: A tire’s sidewall is built to take a reasonable impact (curbs, trees, potholes, etc.) without a lot of consequences. A wheel, on the other hand is not. Hit an object listed above and the chances of your wide wheel coming out unscathed are not very good.
  2. Handling: Putting super wide wheels (regardless of tire size) can cause vibrations, steering and handling problems. If your truck has an IFS (Independent Front Suspension) suspension the problems are amplified even more. Don’t try taking the tires back for balance issues because that has nothing to do with it. You can balance them 50 times and it is not going to cure the problem. You are hanging all of the weight of the tire and wheel off of a suspension that was designed for the weight (a MUCH lighter weight at that) to be set in UNDER the truck.
  3. Warranty: If a tire is installed on a wider than recommended wheel, you could be voiding the warranty for most issues.
  4. Wear: The tires are not going to wear correctly. A stretched out tire is going to wear the outside edges before the center. Expect cupping and the outside lugs to crack and chunk (especially on a Mud Terrain tire. Vehicle parts such as tie rods, drag links, bearings and a magnitude of other suspension parts can also be subjected to premature wear because of excessive weight now hanging off of the suspension.
  5. Safety: There is always a chance of a stretched out tire to pop off of the wheels. Most wheels have safety beads built into them but are not meant to secure a tire bead at the extreme angles that a wide wheel, narrow tire puts it at. Bead chafing and bead slipping can occure because of the bead angle.
  6. Load Capacity: A tires sidewall and tread was designed to carry a certain amount of weight AS LONG AS IT IS MOUNTED ON A RECOMMENDED WHEEL SIZE. The sidewall profile becomes adversely affected when put at angles that it was not built for and can stress the bead and build excessive heat in the sidewall area.

There are many more reasons for you to consider staying with a recommended rim size but this will give you a few ideas to think about before purchasing a tire and wheel combo.