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Can I Replace 15-inch Wheels With 16 inches?

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The wheels of any vehicle are a crucial aspect of it.  These will not only affect how safe your car is but also how well it performs.  Car owners often like to update their car’s tires to make their car stand out.  Others update because they have had the wheels and rims on their car for a while and are ready for a change.  And then there are the people who will replace all 4 tires when one of them goes flat.

Some car fanatics really love the way larger wheels look on a car.  They feel there is more of an aesthetic look about the car when the smaller wheels are replaced with bigger ones.  There are some people that say just leave the wheels as they are when you purchase the car, but others will veto that idea and insist on upping the size.  This plus-size concept is not a new idea as many have been utilizing this for a while.

Here we will discuss if you can replace 15-inch wheels with 16-inch wheels.

Can I Replace 15-inch Wheels With 16 Inch Wheels?

Yes, it is possible for you to replace your 15-inch wheels with 16-inch wheels. You must realize first though that your 15-inch wheels will only work with 15-inch tires.  Likewise, a 16-inch wheel will work only with 16-inch tires.

You will also want to be certain that the 15-inch and the 16-inch wheels have the same bolt pattern.  Various manufactures use different spacing on the bolts or even have a different amount of bolts used.

An easy way to check if a 15-inch wheel can be replaced by a 16-inch wheel is to place both of them side by side.  Are they the same height and width?  Or is there a huge difference?  If they are close, there is a good chance that you can replace the smaller for the larger.   However, if the 16-inch is a lot bigger than the 15-inch, you take the chance of rubbing the frame, fender, or the bumper.

How Does the Plus-Size Concept Work?

When the wheel of your car gets bigger, the measurement of the sidewall in the tire must be smaller in order to keep the tire’s diameter the same.  By doing so, you will be able to not only keep the speedometer the correct but also keep the gearing the same.  And you will also be able to be certain that the tires and wheels fit with the fenders. Many times, if you are purchasing a larger size of wheels and rims in diameter, they will have extended widths as well.

If you are uncertain if a certain size of the wheel will fit your vehicle, it is best to ask a mechanic or someone who works at a tire or auto parts store.

What are the Pros and Cons of Replacing 15-inch Wheels with 16-inch wheels?

The biggest pro that many see when replacing 15-inch wheels with 16-inch wheels is that the aesthetic look is appealing to many.

The second pro we see with plus sizing is there is increased road handling.  When you upsize your wheels, the height of the sidewall increases.  This means less sway on the tires, which increases the stability of driving.

Just as there are pros to nearly everything, there are cons that are associated with replacing your 15-inch wheels with 16-inch wheels.  With a larger wheel, it will be heavier.  This means that the car weight will make it difficult to maneuver or control.  The car will also be harder to accelerate and the fuel economy will not be as good as the smaller wheels.

Tips for Maintaining Tires

Regardless if you keep your 15-inch wheels or upsize to 16 inches, you will still need to maintain your tires for optimal performance.  Here are some tips that will keep your tires looking and performing their best.

  1. Every month, take the time to check the tire pressure.  This is especially crucial to do in the cold winter months, as tires lose more air.  In fact, they typically lose one pound per square inch (PSI).  Your tires should be checked at every oil change and tire rotation, but since these are not happening every month, you will need to add this to your list of scheduled vehicle activities.
  2. Rotate your tires!  They should be rotated every 6,000 to 8,000 miles.  This is not very costly when a mechanic does this service.  However, many times if you purchase a new set of tires from them, they will throw this in for free.
  3. Inspect your tires.  This is important to do when going on long trips, as well as on a regular basis.  Be on the lookout for anything that may have punctured the tires, such as a nail.  You should also look for cracks or bulges.  Also, take a look at the tread of the wheels.  If this is not very good, you will want to consider getting new tires.
  4. If your tires are bad, replace them now.  Do not wait for them to get any worse. When driving around on tires that are balding, you are putting your life, as well as anyone else in the car with you in danger.  And other drivers on the road.   We realize that tires are expensive, but if you maintain them as you should, they will last longer.
  5. Have you ever packed up your car so it was completely full and then drove somewhere on vacation? This should be avoided at all costs as this weighs heavily on the tires.  Never add more weight in your car than the placard on the door frame says.

In Conclusion

Many make the decision to replace their 15-inch wheels with 16-inch wheels.  This gives the car a different look that many find attractive.  When this is done properly, there is nothing wrong with plus-sizing your tires.  While the look is not for everyone or every car, it can be considered by anyone who finds the look of upsizing the wheels intriguing.

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