How To Measure Wheel Width: The Simple And Effective Method

Are you aiming to get the right and stylish wheel for your car? Being comfortable with your every ride could lead to having terrific riding experience. But before you could achieve that, knowing how to measure wheel width plays a vital role in having a precise size of a car or motor wheels.

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Measuring Wheel Width

The flexible sidewall of tire let the car tire is attached to slightly narrower or wider wheels. That’s why there’s rim width range for every tire size. TRA or The Tire and Rim Association and ETRTO or European Tire and Rim Technical Organization established rim width range for each size of the tire.


The standardized industry of rim width is established in order to meet the tire’s dimensional target. There is rim width (standard) assigned for each size of tire. The standardized measuring system is created worldwide to come up with similar dimensional standards in measuring wheel width.

The assigned rim width range changes as the size section of tire’s width and its aspect ratio. Whenever the section of tire width increases, the rim width also proportionally increases in about ½ inch growth. If the rim is imperfectly mounted, the tire performance will surely be decreased or worst it may end up as a failure. This may include the following:

Extremely Wide Rims

This setup could enhance handling. Yet, on the other hand, it creates a harsh riding experience because its sidewalls are not sufficiently bent on rough areas.

Extremely Narrow Rims

This may cause deformation on its sidewalls during fast cornering. This should be taken into consideration whenever you select sufficient rims.

Before Measuring Wheel Width


Although you can do your measurement while the wheel or tire is still mounted, it is still less burdensome for you if you removed the wheel and tire from your car or any vehicle. Measuring dismounted wheel to get its width is better.

The Needed Materials For Measuring Wheel Width

Tape measure (metal)
Straight edge ruler

Steps On How To Measure Wheel Width

Get a ruler with straight edge or metal type tape measure.
Hold a tape measure and start measuring from the inner side of the flange. This is the area where the wheel and the tire connect.

Why Wheels Width Matters?

Aside from minding the weight of your car to improve its performance, minding the wheel size (especially the wheel width) could also affect both the car’s safety and performance.


Though some of the small changes in wheel width might be acceptable, it can still affect the fundamental figure which can affect the stability of your car. This vital figure is the scrub radius.

Noting The Sizes Of The Wheel

The sizes of car wheels are expressed in diameter and width. With that, you could observe that the wheel with 17 inches diameter will be expressed as 17x 7.5 ” , 17x8 ” 0r 17x7.5 ”.
The width of your wheel is scaled up along with its diameter. The typical standard sizes include wheel size 17x10” or 17x5” and 19x10” or 14x5”.
Determining the diameter of your car tire is easy. It can be seen in the end number of your tire’s size. For example, in 235/45/17 tire size, it is understandable that it fits with 17 inches wheel.

Wheel Widths And Diameter

Wheels are available in varied diameters. You could choose from 14 inches to 24 inches chrome and so on. Aside from diameter, wheels also come in different widths.


But identifying the diameter could not the same as identifying the wheel width. There are wheels, which the width could already be seen on its spokes’ back. In order to read its width, the wheel should be removed. But there are wheels, which have no printed width on it. In this case, you should know how to measure wheel width. Knowing how to measure wheel width will let you become comfortable or convenient regarding the fitting of the tire in its wheel and how the wheel sits in your car.

Wheel Width And Tire Width

Like vehicle wheels, vehicle tires also have different widths. To approve a particular tire width, it should first correspond to the wheel width. This is needed for it to fit well to the wheel.


Fitting a narrow tire onto the car wheel could also be possible. This is often done by forcing to spread its sidewalls wider compared to its designated size. But this could cause some problems as it leaves the sidewall tires leaning diagonally instead of vertically to the tread.

Dimension Of Wheels

To get the right measurement of your tire and car wheels, you must be aware of the following terminologies:

Rim Width

It refers to the distance coming from the bead seat outboard and reaches the bead seat inboard.

Rim Diameter

This refers to the diameter of the bead seat surface of the rim and does not refer to the edge of the diameter rim. If your car wheel is identified to measure 10” wide, it means that the distance or measurement between the bed seats is also 10”.


This refers to the measurement of the distance from the wheel centre’s rear face to the outer edge of the rear rim.


This denotes the position of the contact face of the hub’s center section, which is relative to the rim’s midpoint width.


Bolt Circle

It refers to the measure of the layout of the fastener holes of the car wheels. When you draw imaginary circles to each fastener holes and get that circle’s diameter, you’ll get the “bolt circle”.

The Bolt Pattern

This refers to the pattern, which is identified by the bolt holes’ number as well as the bolt circle diameter.

Positive Offset

This is when the mounting pads back are closer to the wheel’s street side.

Negative Offset

This is when the mounting pads back are closer to the inner side of the wheel. Furthermore, this is measured using millimetres.


Hub Diameter Or Center Bore

It refers to the holes’ measurement settled at the wheel’s center.


This is often done to achieve a stylish look and favorable car performance.Having larger wheels create a real strike. For example, choosing a wheel size up to 18” will create positive effect on car’s braking performance, cornering grip, steering feel and ride comfort. The drawbacks will be on its fuel economy and acceleration.


Downsizing is good for winter tires (the second set). In dealing with ice and snow, having narrower tire is an effective decision. Size 16” or 17” wheels are the best set for snowy weather.

With the flexibility of the tire’s sidewalls, even a single of it could fit on different rim widths. The rim’s width affects the tire’s width. If a tire is attached to the narrow rim, it will be narrower compared to the tire of the same size, which is attached on the wide one.

If your wheels are damaged and you suddenly need to change it, yet you forgot the size of your wheels, it will be an advantage if you know how to measure the wheel width.

To get the precise wheel width, your measurement should start from its bead seat. This is where the tire lies then seats on the inner rim. And you can watch this video as well as of great help on measuring the width of the wheel.

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Lucas Knight

Over the past 10 years, Lucas Knight has been a motorcycle rider. He has built up an incredible passion for travelling by motorbike and always wishes to contribute to motorcyclist community. This is the reason why he created where his passion is turned into useful and interesting information to the motorcycle lover. Follow his facebook and twitter or subcribe to his website to receive more useful information in motorcycle world.

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