How to Choose Wheels and Tires for Your Truck

Fixing up a truck can be a great pastime, but it can be difficult to do it right from the start. There is often a lot of trial and error when selecting and installing upgrades. This can make selecting the perfect truck wheels and tires prohibitively complicated and expensive. Choosing the right wheels and tires from the beginning can save you time, money, and unnecessary frustration. Although there are numerous factors to consider when selecting your wheels and tires, there are three main categories that directly affect the decision.

Size

The size of the truck wheels and tires you select will impact that type of riding you’ll ultimately perform. For example, if you plan to go off-road regularly, especially over rough, rocky, or otherwise extreme terrain, you’ll want a heavy duty wheel with tires at least 35 inches in diameter. Ideally, for extreme off-roading, selecting tires that measure at least 37 inches in diameter, and that feature the proper tread pattern for the type of terrain you’ll regularly ride through. Muddy, sloppy terrain requires a more aggressive tread design than a hard-packed wilderness floor would require. For wheels, there are two basic things to look for - the material from which it’s made, as well as the type of vehicle you own.

Steel vs. alloy

The biggest consideration is the material from which the wheels are made. A good set of truck wheels and tires need to be manufactured from high-quality materials. For tires, a multi-ply construction is important for durability on rough trails. For wheels, it’s more complex.

There are two basic types of wheel: steel and alloy. Steel wheels are perfect for hardcore off-roading, where you need a tough, durable rim that can withstand constant impacts and heavy loads. Alloy wheels are made from a lightweight aluminum composite that allows for a wide variety of designs. Alloy wheels are great for activities that require speed, or heavy-duty braking such as towing. Alloy wheels can also be highly polished, giving your truck a finished, custom look that is difficult to achieve with steel rims.

Application

For truck wheels and tires, what you drive is as important as where you plan to drive it. Whether you go off-road or stay on-highway, a set of wheels and tires needs to be matched to the vehicle. A classic truck would benefit from a more basic set of wheels in a traditional rim size, while a late-model truck can look great with a contemporary, 20-inch or larger set of wheels.