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Is It OK to Change Your Wheel to a Smaller or Bigger Size?

Educational  ·  January 19, 2023

Is It OK to Change Your Wheel to a Smaller or Bigger Size?

Most everyday drivers will stick with whatever wheel sizes their car comes with from the dealership. That does not stop many car owners, including you, from changing to larger or smaller wheel sizes. So, is that okay, or does it have adverse effects on your car?

Changing your wheel to a smaller (downsizing) or larger (upsizing) size is perfectly OK. People change wheel sizes for aesthetic reasons, to improve comfort or performance, and maybe it's easier to shop for certain wheel or rim sizes in their area. Still, it’s best to stay within 1-2 inches when upsizing or downsizing to avoid issues.

As you read this article, you'll learn more about why people change their wheel sizes, the possible problems, and how to avoid them.

Can You Change Your Car’s Wheel Size?

Changing the wheel size of a car is possible. There are many reasons why you’ll want to do that, some of which we’ll discuss here, along with the pros and cons of upsizing or downsizing your car's wheel size.

You must also understand that changing your car’s wheel size is more challenging than it might seem initially. You can't just attach different-sized wheels onto your car and hope for the best, as that can cause various problems.

Remember that your wheels affect the braking and suspension systems, which you must always consider when doing any wheel modification.

Following the correct steps when changing your car’s wheel size will prevent any brake or suspension problems and instead provide you with an improved driving experience overall.

What Are the Benefits of Changing Your Wheel Size?

We’ve already established that it’s OK to change your wheel to a smaller or bigger size, but why would you want to do that?

As it turns out, there are plenty of reasons people seek to change their car’s wheel size, including the following:

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why someone might want to alter the size of their wheels. Some are superficial, improving only the vehicle’s appearance. Others are practical, like making it easier to find spares in a different size.

Whatever the case, the bottom line is clear: it's not unusual to change your car's tyres by upsizing or downsizing. It can do your car a lot of good if you do it correctly.

What Happens If You Change Your Wheel Size Too Much?

Changing your car's wheel size is fine (either going up or down) as long as you don't go too far from its original size because altering too much will cause direct or indirect problems.

Here is what happens when you change your wheel size too much:

1. Speedometer Becomes Inaccurate

First and foremost, changing your wheel size too much will cause inaccurate speedometer readings.

Remember that the speedometer measures how fast you’re going based on how fast your wheels turn. Excessively large wheels turn a lot slower than stock ones, while new wheels that are too small will turn a lot faster.

As a result, the speedometer receives the wrong data about how fast the car goes. That leads to inaccurate speedometer readings and misleading you about how fast you're driving.

2. The Odometer Is Also Affected

Aside from the speedometer, the odometer will also be affected. That meter is designed to measure how far you drive, and new wheels that are too big or too small will skew its measurements.

3. Suspension Problems Happen

The suspension system works very closely with your car’s wheels, which means it's also affected by any significant changes in your wheel size.

For example, too-large wheels can overburden some suspension components, causing them to wear out quicker than they would under normal circumstances.

If you don’t want suspension repairs cost adding to your maintenance concerns, then you should consider everything before making a decision to upsize your wheels.

4. Brakes Can’t Cope

Changing your wheel sizes might not seem like a big deal, but remember that your car has to cope with turning, and your brakes will struggle with wheels that are too large. They'll wear out much quicker, causing you to spend more on things like brake pad replacements.

5. Vehicle Becomes Heavier

Last but not least, remember that changing your wheel sizes will affect the weight that your car can handle. Larger wheels are heavier and will undermine your vehicle’s performance.

Not only will you experience slower acceleration on your daily drives, but you'll also place a heavier burden on the engine. Those can lead to problems that won't be obvious initially but will certainly become evident later.

How Do You Prevent Problems When Changing Wheel Sizes?

Thankfully, the problems caused by changing wheel sizes are avoidable. Firstly, stay under 1 or 2 inches in size when upsizing or downsizing your wheels. Sticking within that range will help you avoid most of the problems listed above.

Besides that, it’s always best to have a professional align and balance your new wheels. Changing your wheels to a different size is pretty straightforward, and you can do it as a DIY task at home.

However, save the alignment and balancing for the professionals and their equipment that can ensure your new wheels don’t affect your vehicle negatively.

You can find new wheels, tyres, suspension, and brake components at CarpartAU. The Marketplace is an excellent way to find high-quality used parts at reasonable prices, and you can also source new parts through the Part Finder.


By Ray Hasbollah

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