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235/65/16 with OEM rim?

9471 Views 11 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  SRLNCLT
Wondering whether anyone has installed 235/65/16 tires with the original rims that came with the car? How has been your experience?

I believe the diameter is just slightly larger. Any problems going over bumps? Thanks.
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Looking at spec tables for one model in this size, the 'measured rim width' is 7" (this is the rim where the tire is 235mm wide), but the allowable range is 6.5 to 7.5. So according to the specs, this size should fit fine. On the narrower 6.5 rim it will actually be a little narrower (typically by .2" for .5" change in rim).

Over all diameter is 28", not much larger than stock.

Many of us have switched to 225/70/16, which is 2% larger than stock, and a measured rim width of 6.5. 235/70/16 is another common step-up in diameter, 4% larger.

Load range is as good as stock.
For some people a taller tire was purely a matter of looks ('fill the wheel well'). Others wanted to improve ground clearance. There was also the matter of model availability. In 2003 the selection of AT category tires in the stock size was pretty skimpy; now it is much better. Bridgestone Revos were a popular model in the 235/70/16 size in the early E days. Some even went as high as 225/75/16, usually in knobby model like BFG TA/KOs.

When I first switched to 225/70/16 tires I didn't detect much change in handling. Except that I noticed that extra 1/4" the first few times that slid into the seat.

If you want a slightly wider tire, without changing diameter much, 235/65/16 looks like a good choice.

Now I'm included to say that the only good reason for changing the tire size is model availability. If the model you want comes in the stock size, stick with it. If it only comes in one of these alternative sizes, then fine.

Another reason for not changing size, is the spare. The compact spare is already something like 6% smaller than stock. Increasing tire diameter will only increase that difference. I don't worry about that because I carry a full size spare under my camping gear.
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Tirerack may have a tech note about tire width and handling.

My understanding is that contact patch area is basically a function of the vehicle weight and tire pressure. Just changing to a wider tire does not change the area. It does change the shape. It makes the patch a bit wider, but also a bit shorter (front to back).

A longer, narrow patch has better tracking (think skis), a shorter, wider patch easier turning. It may be debatable whether changing from 215 to 235 (section width) is enough to make much difference. Note that section width is not the same as treadwidth. The Wranglers have a relatively narrow treadwidth, given the section width. Coopers have a noticeably wider thread (squarer shoulder). AT category tires also are wider.

The businesses about shorter (smaller diameter) tires having better handling has to do with the distance between the rim and the ground. Think of the tire as a flexible square. Push from the side, and it deforms. The longer the sides of the tire, the larger the deformation. So it isn't so much a matter of diameter as it is a matter of profile. Lower profile tires flex less on a turn, and so give crisper handling.

Most EOC people who put larger tires on the stock rims are thinking about 'rough road' driving. They are picking AT category tires, not high performance ones.

If you are mainly interested in handling, I'd suggest reading up on performance categories and tread designs, before worrying about tire size changes. Keep in mind that a tire that is better on dry handling, might not be so good in wet conditions, and even worse on snow or ice.
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