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How Wheel Size Affects Off-Road Performance

January 8, 2022

Have you ever wondered how your wheel sizes can affect your rig's off-road performance? It can be difficult to figure out what size wheels would be perfect for the outdoors, so find out everything you need to know when picking a wheel that will be perfect for your off-road activities. Check it out!

Table of Contents:

-Does Wheel Size Affect Performance?

-Why Should I Run A Small Wheel?

-Can I Off-Road With A Large Wheel?

-What's The Best Wheel Size For Off-Roading?



Does Wheel Size Affect Performance?


Yes! Wheel sizes do affect off-road performance, that's why it is so important to pick the right wheel for your rig so you can enjoy the outdoors and not have to worry about your rig breaking down. Wheels can seem so simple, you just pick the ones that say “best for off-roading” and think you're good, but you're not!

You want to make sure that the wheel you are picking is what's best for your off-roading experiences. Wheels have alot more affect on rigs than you think. They affect performance parts like handling, acceleration, braking, traction, and steering, so finding the right wheel can make your rig not only run smoother but perform better on and off the road.

trailbuilt jeep

Why Should I Run A Small Wheel?

Sometimes we wonder if running a smaller wheel would be best for off-roading purposes. Technically, sticking to a smaller wheel can allow for better off-road performance. Smaller diameter wheels allow for a bigger tire, which helps with more grip and traction on and off the road. Running your vehicle with a smaller wheel helps reduce damage from rough terrain an can allow for a safer time out on the trails, because bigger, beefier tires offer more protection.

2014 ford off-road wheels

If you choose a larger wheel, you have to remember a larger wheel can rob engine power. Keeping to a smaller wheel allows for your rig to run at its top potential. For some of the best off-road performance, stick to running a wheel diameter no bigger than half the size of the tire. An example of this would be to have 15 or 16-inch wheels for 33s and 17-inch wheels for 35s. These tire sizes allow balance throughout your rig to keep you from having rolling problems and other difficulties that might come on the trails.

2021 jeep offroad wheels


Trying to figure out if a wheel is too big or too small for your rig can be difficult. That's why Trailbuilt carries a wide variety of tires, so you can find the best wheel for your rig that can handle your off-roading needs.


Can I Off-Road With A Large Wheel?


Putting large wheels on your off-road rig has its pros and cons, and fitting larger wheels on certain rigs is a popular off-roading modification for multiple reasons. Sometimes choosing a larger wheel for your off-roading rig does allow for a bigger tire, which can help with traction and grip when riding trails that are rough, muddy, and bumpy. Even though that might be the case, no, a larger wheel is not reccomended on your off-roading machine. Having a larger wheel can allow for more damage to the rig when comming across rough terrain. A smaller wheel is always better because it allows for more traction and stability when trying to control your machine while off-roading.

1999 doge ram

If you do decide to go with a larger wheel for your off-road rig, a popular choice is a beadlock pattern wheel. With an outer tire bead that is being held in place by a beadlock wheel, it allows for greater use of power and force against the sidewall without letting any air escape. beadlock wheels are very useful for running a low amount of air pressure in the tires to help increase the overall traction of the tire. This is great for when you're out exploring some tough terrain. Read more about beadlock wheels in the link below!



What’s The Best Wheel Size For Off-Roading?


The wheel sizes in the off-road world typically range from 16-18 inches, but you have to remember, the larger you go, the less durable they will be for the off-road. Although there are multiple sizes available for off-roading, one of the better options for your rig would be a 17-inch wheel with a 35-inch tire.

This size wheel and tire are highly popular with off-roading fans because it helps maximize the sidewall of the tire to absorb impact and shock. This size wheel and tire combo give off that nice look and feel of the tire, without having the wheel look too small. It also allows a great amount of stability throughout your rig, while your rig is still using the majority of its power on the tough terrain.


A perfect example of the best wheel for off-roading would be the Mickey Thompson Baja Classic Lock 17x9, with a -12 offset. This wheel is perfect for your rig because it can handle any off-road terrain like mountains, mud, dunes, and everything else that they might be put through.


It can be hard trying to find the right wheel size for your rig, check out our website for some of the best off-roading wheels for your rig out there!




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