Can You Put 15-Inch Tires & Rims on a Car That Has 16-Inch?

by Justin Cupler

Typically, 16-inch tires are more expensive than most 15-inch tires. For that reason, some people change their rims and tires to 15-inch, as this can save a significant amount of money over time.

Rolling Distance

A vehicle equipped with a 16-inch rim and tire package can be changed to a 15-inch rim and tire. The main factor to consider is the overall rolling distance, which is the distance the vehicle travels with one revolution of the tire. The rolling distance changes if the total diameter of the tire and wheel combination is changed, and that causes the speedometer to be inaccurate. As long as the total diameter remains the same, or close, the speedometer inaccuracy will be little to none.

Width

To maintain your vehicle's proper footprint, or amount of tread contacting the ground, the rim's width must not be changed. This means if the original rims are 16 inches by 7 inches, the replacement rims should be 15 inches by 7 inches.

Lug Pattern

To save money, some people will purchase used or discounted rims. This creates problems when the lug nuts' spacing doesn't match up. Always test-fit the rims on the vehicle or bring a lug measuring tool to check the spacing in the holes on the replacement rim.

About the Author

Justin Cupler is a professional writer who has been published on several websites including CarsDirect and Autos.com. Cupler has worked in the professional automotive repair field as a technician and a manager since 2000. He has a certificate in broadcast journalism from the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Cupler is currently studying mechanical engineering at Saint Petersburg College.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera tire image by Orlando Florin Rosu from Fotolia.com