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What tire size for my car?

What tire size for my car?

Tires are consumable like any other for your vehicle, yet they are the foundation of your safety and comfort. When your tires are too old, damaged or worn, it's essential to change them to maintain their optimal characteristics. You need to replace your 4 season tires, summer or winter, but it's not always easy to know which size to choose for your vehicle. We strongly advise you not to change tire sizes blindly, as you run the risk of getting tires that are not suitable for your vehicle... So if you're ready to put new tires on your car and want to find out which tire sizes are right for your vehicle, just read our guide to help you make the right choice.

Learn to read tire sizes

All the information you need is printed on the sidewall of the tire. To help you find it, the size is often diagonally opposite the model name on the sidewall. This information is essential to finding the right tire size for your vehicle.

Let's take an example where the sidewall of a tire says 195/65 R15 91H. Here's how you should read and understand the tire:

  • 195: Tire width in mm
  • 65: Tire height expressed as a percentage. This is the ratio of sidewall height to tire width. In this example, the sidewall height is 65% of 195.
  • R: Tire structure
  • 16: Rim diameter in inches (1 inch = 2.54 cm)
  • 91: load index
  • H: Speed index

Choosing the Right Size for Your Vehicle

Now that you know how to read a tire and have noted the full size on the sidewall, I suggest you check to see if the manufacturer approves that size before buying the same size again.

To find out which sizes are approved for your vehicle, check the owner's manual, the sticker on the inside of the driver's door, or the fuel filler cap.

Several sizes may be listed, so choose the one that matches the size of the rims you have. That's why it's important to first look at the size of the tires you have to know the size of your rims.

Then compare the size you've taken with the size of your current tires.

The width, sidewall height and rim size should match. For load and speed ratings, these 2 elements can be higher.

For example, you have 205/55R16 94W tires on your vehicle and the label on the door says 205/55R16 91V.

205/55R16 is the right size, so it's perfect. 94 is larger than 91, so it's fully mountable, and W is also larger than V, so it's mountable. You can always increase the load and speed indexes.

So if you're originally in 91, you can also use 92,93,94,95,96...etc.

And if you're originally in V, you can also use W and Y, which are higher indices.

Is it possible to change the tire size of my car?

Sometimes you'll want to change the size of your tires for aesthetic reasons, especially when you buy new rims for your car. While this is of course possible, you need to be aware of the rules and consequences of this change.

Know when to change your tires

Don't wait until you pass your road test before the technician tells you it's time to change your tires - or worse, that you have a flat!

Maintaining your tires is part of the overall maintenance of your vehicle. Tires in good condition ensure better performance and longer life, but more than that, your safety is paramount.

Remember to take 5 minutes once a month to check your tire pressure. Tires are made of porous materials and naturally lose air. Check and adjust your tire pressure at least once a month.

Take the opportunity to look around your tires and check their general condition: any cracks, hernias, nails, or stones that could damage the tread, whether the valve is in good condition, check the tread wear limit using the indicators in the tread grooves and remember to check several places on the tread: towards the outer edge, towards the middle and the inner edge, as the wear may be uneven.

Changing tire size: what you need to know

Every driver should follow these 6 golden rules when changing tire size:

1. Maintain a load index greater than or equal to that of the original tires.

The load index indicates the maximum weight that your tires can carry without modification. This means that if you drive with tires that have too low a load index, they won't be able to support the weight of the vehicle when it's heavily loaded. An inappropriate load index can lead to a tire blowout, resulting in an immediate loss of performance or even an accident. To be on the safe side, we recommend that you choose new tires with the same load index as your old tires. You can also choose tires with a higher load index (a very common practice for commercial vehicles).

2. Keep the same outside diameter

This must be identical to the outside diameter of the original tire. Otherwise, you risk distorting certain characteristics of your vehicle: speedometer accuracy, ABS and ESP settings, etc.

3. Choose a speed rating higher than or equal to the original tires.

Your tires are designed to operate up to a certain maximum speed, which must not be exceeded to maintain optimum performance. Therefore, do not select tires with a lower speed rating than your original tires.

4. Check tire and rim compatibility

Make sure that the tire's diameter and width match your vehicle's rim. If this is not the case, you are exposing yourself to potential damage.

5. Allow enough space for your wheels

You should also make sure that the size change does not cause any mechanical problems (protruding bodywork, rubbing, damage, etc.).

Specifically, the space around the wheel must be large enough to accommodate the new tire. If you're going to ride in the mountains in winter, don't forget to leave enough space for chains.

6. Adjust your speed and riding style

If you choose different tire sizes for the front and rear of your vehicle, you'll need to adjust your driving style and speed accordingly! 4x4s and vehicles equipped with Antilock Braking Systems (ABS) or Traction Control Systems (ASR) require special care when using different front and rear tire sizes.

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