The great thing about having a truck is…well, everything. I couldn’t imagine not having one. You can go anywhere, haul whatever, and you look good doing it. There’s just a feeling you get when you like the way your truck looks too, and nothing changes the looks of a truck to fit your personal style like new wheels and tires.
If you’re just getting into the game with aftermarket rims or if it’s been awhile, consider these questions to ask yourself. I’ve had the pleasure of assisting thousands of guys and gals into their first set of tires and wheels. These five questions and corresponding tips are crucial to choosing a set of tires and wheels.
- What finish are you interested in? (Black, Chrome, Painted) Most people are choosing black wheels these days because they are popular, less expensive, and include a greater selection. And of course they look good on just about any color of truck. Some guys just simply like the looks of chrome or PVD. Chrome is a classic look. Painted wheels come in a variety of colors, but gunmetal and red are usually the most popular. You can also get colored accents on some rims which can look cool. It all depends on your taste!
- How big of a rim do you want? 17, 18, and 20 inch are the most popular, but if your truck came from the factory with 18’s or 20’s, you probably won’t be able to fit a 17” wheel over your brake calipers. 22’s and 24’s have recently gained momentum in the last few years with off-road tires or in some cases street tires (like Nitto 420) on 10 or 12 inch wide wheels. *Note-going bigger than 22” begins to rapidly decrease your ride quality unless you use high-end parts and high-end tires and wheels.
- Do you have or plan on any lift? I’m a huge fan of putting a leveling kit of every kind of truck. It’s pretty inexpensive (roughly $250-$350 installed) compared to a suspension lift. You can do it yourself if you’re into that. Buying just the kit is around $100. I like Rough Country kits for the value, but that’s another convo. Another reason that I’m a fan of leveling kits is that they allow you to go with a tire that will better fill out your wheel well. It looks better and gives you more ground clearance if you ever drive off-road to go hunting, fishing, camping, etc. (I’m also a huge fan of hunting, fishing, and camping). Suspension lifts are an option too. 4inch and 6inch lifts are most common, but they can get pricey because the installation is labor intensive. If you do any kind of lift, make sure you talk with an expert that knows what tire and wheel size looks and works best. The kits usually come with recommended specs, but they are also err on the conservative side to cover themselves.
- Do you want an all terrain tire or a mud terrain tire? All terrain tires are less aggressive than mud terrain tires, but more aggressive than street tread tires. All terrains have less road noise and will last 20%-50% longer(not a typo) than a mud terrain depending on what tires you compare. Three reasons you might want to do a mud terrain are: 1) In some cases they are a lot less expensive. 2) They will have better traction when you actually drive off-road. 3) They look rougher and tougher.
- How much do you want the tires and wheels to stick out? The offset (also known as backspacing) is the most misunderstood aspect of choosing a wheel. Just remember, the lower the offset number the more it will stick out, and the more it sticks out the less clearance you will have when you turn the wheel. Each truck brand has a different amount of clearance. For choosing the offset, you really should talk to an expert to get the best advice. If you choose to roll the dice, I recommend going with a mid-offset wheel (+10mm to +20mm). A mid-offset wheel will stick out about ½” more than your factory set does which won’t cause rubbing issues unless you go with a tire that’s too large.
Answer those five questions, and you’re well on your way to choosing your tire/wheel package wisely. If you need additional help, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We carry almost every single brand of tire and wheel on the market, and would love to work with you to get the right set at the right price.
Tyler Headley | firstname.lastname@example.org