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84 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone know how rim width to tire width ratios affect handling?

For example, my 96 prelude came with 205/55/R15 tires on it mounted on a 15x6.5 rim. Once you do the math, it works out to an 81% ratio between the rim width/tire width. I'm looking to change wheels to either a 16x7 or a 17x7. Should I maintain this ratio and go with a 215 tire or should I raise it up to 87% with a 205 tire? I remember an old post where someone included a link to a web site that talked about rim/tire ratios. I tried doing some searches but I couldn't find the thread. It mentioned that higher ratios give better handling then low ratios but there was a point where driveability suffered.

Hmm, I just thought of a second question. Is there a legal limit as to how much your tire size can differ before speedo recalibration is required?

If I go with a 205/40/R17 tire then my overall wheel size is 0.4" less than stock. However if I go with a 215/40/R17, my overall wheel size is 0.1" less that stock. Would the 205 tire require me to recalibrate or is that ok? I'm assuming that the 215 tire would be fine.

The main reason I'm even comtemplating going with a 205 is a combination of handling and trying to reduce the chance of tire rub with the rims I'm currently looking at which have an offset of +45.


5,448 Posts
I believe there are sections somewhere on tirerack's website that deal with this - - but I can't seem to find it right now.

Stock wheel/tire width ratios are most often in the 80% range, so a good rule of thumb is to keep that ratio. You certainly don't want to decrease that percentage by much, and I have read that increasing that percentage can improve sidewall flex, contact patch, & pavement tracking. But I would imagine that'd be highly dependent on the sidewall stiffness & compound of the tires you're using.

Personally, I'm running a 205 width on 7" tires, and if there's a difference, it's negligible. I have noticed a marked improvement in pavement tracking, but they're also completely different tires (went from 205/50-16 Yoko A520's on 16x6.5's, to 205/50-16 Kumho 712's on 16x7's). So I don't know how much of the difference I found is a result of the wider wheel, and how much is a result of the different tires. I suspect most of the difference is in the tires.

But, long story short, anywhere from a 205 to 225 width tire is should be great on a 7" wide rim.

As far as diameter & speedometer error, +/- 3% is the rule of thumb. But I'd definitely go with the 215/40-17's to stay as close as possible, and gain a little more sidewall & contact patch.

603 Posts
ok well i'm looking to get 16x7 in. rims... (slipstreams) Would i be better off with 215/50/16's or 215/45/16's even though it's a rare size. what will be closer to stock? and i do realize that the 45 series will give me greater acceleration but less top end.

3,007 Posts
wish I could take credit for this but John from tok some time to write this up for the TPC.

As per 2000 Yokohama Figment Guide
Approved Rim Widths
"Each tire has a specific rim width range on which the tire can be mounted. Failure to follow rim width recommendations may result in poor tire performance or possible wheel and/ or tire failure. Choosing a wheel near the middle of the range will give a balance between ride quality and handling. A wider wheel will improve handling at the expense of ride quality(comfort)), while a narrower wheel will improve ride quality(comfort) at the expense of handling. "

Performance Tire and Wheel Relationship
"The Only contact a vehicle has with the road is each tire's contact patch. A tire's contact patch provides traction and responsiveness when accelerating, braking and cornering forces are generated for vehicular control. Because many dynamic performance demands are placed on a tire, interaction between a tire and the wheel on which it is mounted is critical. Proper choice of both tire and wheel is necessary to achieve efficient transmission of braking, accelerating, and cornering forces through the drive train and suspension components."

As per 1995 Michelin Mast Figment Guide

Rim Diameter and Width
"When selecting tires, you must also pay attention to the rim width. The tire manufacturer's specifications will recommend a range of proper rim widths that will assist the tire/wheel assembly in meeting its performance potential. To achieve the best balance between ride, handling, and tread-wear for highway vehicles, select a rim width in the middle of the manufacturer's recommended range.
To improve cornering traction and steering response, choose a rim at or near the maximum recommended width. The wider the rim width, the straighter the tire sidewall, and the quicker the steering response. Conversely, using a rim width at the low end of the range will cause the tire to balloon or curve out, slowing steering response.
For light truck tires that will be used off-road, select a rim near the minimum recommended width. The tire sidewall will balloon or curve out, providing additional rim protection from rocks and other objects that could cause air loss or blowout. "

OEM Honda Prelude

Tire size = 205/50-16
5th gen OE rim = 16x6.5

Approved Rim Ranges

205/55-15 = 5.5" - 7.5" Diameter = 23.9
225/50-15 = 6.0" - 8.0" Diameter = 23.9

205/50-16 = 5.5" - 7.5" Diameter = 24.1
225/45-16 = 7.0" - 8.5" Diameter = 23.9

215/40-17 = 7.0" - 8.0" Diameter = 23.8
215/45-17 = 7.0" - 8.0" Diameter = 24.6
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