Plus Sizing Explained

If you’re new to cars, or it’s your first time buying wheels and tires – you may have heard the term “plus sizing.”  Keep scrolling to find out the details on why we do it, and how it’s done.


Getting bigger and more stylish wheels with low profile tires can be a great way to dramatically change the character of your ride and achieve that upgraded, unique look.

getTREAD-blog-plus-sizingAs an added benefit, by decreasing the sidewall height (by lowering the aspect ratio) the wheel and tire assembly becomes less compliant (less squishy) – resulting in sharper handling/quicker response in most cases. *If you’re not quite sure what aspect ratio means, pop over to our quick blog post on How to Read A Tire – Part 1 of 2 for a refresher.


Plus sizing basically means buying wheels that have a larger diameter (measured in inches) than factory specification – but then decreasing the tire side wall height by lowering the tire aspect ratio. Take a look at the diagram below, and notice that the overall outer diameter of each scenario stays almost the same. For accuracy of the vehicle’s speedometer reading, you want the new outer diameter to stay within 3% of factory spec.getTREAD-blog-plus-sizing-scenarios

  • Plus One (1″) – Provides better handling and cornering at the cost of ride quality
  • Plus Two (2″) – Provides style and responsiveness, but reduces ride quality even further
  • Plus Three (3″) and above – Provides maximum style while significantly reducing suspension and ride quality. Potholes, curbs, snow and ice, and other hazards pose extra risk to vehicles rolling on these substantially larger wheels

There is a risk associated with plus sizing, namely – accidental encounters with potholes, curbs and debris on the road. So, once you’ve got plus sized wheels and tires, you’ll need to take extra care.  And surprisingly, wide tires tend to float on loose surfaces and cannot process water as quickly as narrow tires. From a physics perspective, it’s about Force over Area (or pressure). The same force over a larger area = less pressure (pounds per square inch). Less downward pressure onto a surfaces like snow and water soaked highways may lead to reduced traction and hydroplaning.

Lastly, the maximum wheel and tire plus sizing applications for trucks and SUVs may result in wheel/tire combos that are significantly heavier than the vehicle’s original equipment. Slower acceleration, longer stopping distances, increased suspension and brake wear may result.


Plus sizing is a great way to make your ride more unique. Need help finding the right plus-size wheel and tires for your needs? Contact Us by email or use the Live Chat feature on the bottom right of your screen. Already know what tires you need? Jump over to our tire shopping link. You’ll enjoy less shopping hassle – with our innovative “Driving Style” filter, you can zone in on the best tire for your needs – and of course – we COME to YOU! Happy shopping!

How To Read A Tire – Part 1 of 2

All those numbers molded onto the side of your tire actually mean something! Here are some tips on how to read a tire:


-The width of the tire tread in millimeters. This is important to know, since if your replacement tire doesn’t match factory specification, your replacement tire may not fit on your wheel/rim, or if it fits, you may have interference between the tires and the chassis or body. Be sure and take notes or pictures of your current tire width if you’re looking to replace it with the same specifications.


-The height of the tire sidewall as a percentage of the tire width. The higher this number, the taller the tire is (assuming the tire width remains constant).  For example, a 225/35/R17 tire has aspect ratio of 35. If compared with a 225/65/R17 tire, the 65 aspect ratio tire will be taller. Higher aspect ratio tires generally are designed to provide more air cushioning or ‘compliance’ to provide a more supple and comfortable ride. But as the aspect ratio increases (and ride comfort increases), it reduces it’s sporty or responsive character compared to a lower aspect ratio tire.


-R stands for “radial” tire construction. The number is the diameter of the wheel rim, in inches. Be sure the replacement tire diameter matches the wheel you are planning to have it installed on. It makes for a bad day when you try to mount a 17″ tire onto a 18″ wheel 🙁


It’s important to have the correct tire sizes that will fit your wheels correctly (some vehicles have different front and rear tire/wheel sizes). Buying tires that are not the correct factory specification may lead to interference with chassis/suspension/body components.

If you’re interested in changing the size of your wheel/tire package (Plus Sizing or Down Sizing) – check out this link for Plus Sizing Explained.

Still looking for more info on other tire markings you’re curious about? Jump over to our “How to Read a Tire, Part 2” to find out what those other numbers and symbols mean

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