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One of the easiest ways to enhance a car’s looks and performance is an aftermarket wheel and tire set. However, it’s not as easy as jumping online and finding the lightest wheels and grippiest tires on the market. You also need to find the right wheel and tire size for your vehicle before doing anything else. These tips will help you shop for aftermarket wheels like a pro.

Start by noting your current tire size

A modified Ford Mustang with the right wheel and tire size
Mustang on aftermarket wheels | Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images

The first step in any aftermarket upgrade is understanding the tire and wheel size already on your vehicle. Your tire size is printed both inside the door jamb and on the tire itself. Breaking down these numbers will tell you a lot about the overall size of both the tires and wheels.

All tires come with a three-part code that delineates their dimensions. For example, a P195/65r16 indicates a tire that is 195 millimeters wide with a 65% aspect ratio on a 16-inch wheel. The aspect ratio is perhaps the most complex of the figures. In essence, it measures the sidewall in relation to the tread width. In this case, the sidewall is 65% as tall as the tire is wide.

Find the current wheel size for your car

A hot rod on custom wheels
A hot rod on custom wheels | Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

Knowing the tire size is important, but equally critical is knowing the wheel size currently on your car. Wheel width and lug configuration are vital figures to ensure that your new wheels will fit properly on your vehicle.

Wheel width can be tricky to find, so it may be easier to shop for stock replacement wheels first. Another solution may be to simply call your local OEM dealership and ask for the specifications of your stock wheels. Now that you’re armed with both your wheel and tire sizes, you can begin to shop for replacements that will fit.

Online retailers can help find the right wheel and tire size

Many online retailers will have factory specifications for your vehicle, which greatly simplifies the shopping process. All you have to do is plug in your make and model and ensure that the size matches what you currently have on your vehicle. Since the overall diameter of your wheel and tire is most important, the tool uses 

From here, adjustments to wheel diameter and width can be accounted for to ensure an accurate speedometer. If you’re looking for a unique wheel size for a modified build, a site like can be a great resource. This will let you plug in your stock figures and get suggestions for alternative sizes that are close to stock diameter. From here, you can shop based on which compatible wheel and tire combination works best for your project.

One final note about wheel construction

If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. And while buying cheap aftermarket wheels may seem like a good idea, they can actually cause damage. Cast wheels are heavy and their construction allows for imperfections in the material itself. While more expensive, flow-formed or forged wheels are both lighter and stronger, so should make for a better investment.

Related Which Manufacturer Makes the Best Aftermarket Wheels?

Which Manufacturer Makes the Best Aftermarket Wheels?