Thanks to the whole “stance” movement and its numerous conglomerates, the new trend nowadays for kiddos is “hellaflush.” To describe this with the most blunt of terms: lowering a car severely, thus skewing suspension geometry out of specs, and running aggressively wide wheels with unsafely stretched tires.

I don’t want to say I’m a hater or sound like an elitist, but I must raise the question of where the limit is… and whether it’s prudent to value form over function? Being flush and low does look cool… but of course, opinions on aesthetics are purely subjective.

With that said, what is your preference on tire fitment? Do you like a tire that’s almost about to pop off the bead, or are you at the other end of the spectrum and want as much rubber as possible? Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and diversity is a plus… but make sure you’re thinking for yourself and not following the herd.

Let’s start with Exhibit A, meaty:

B, less tire than A, but still relatively fat:

C, more “squared-off” tires:

D, slight stretch:

E, a bit more stretch, you can see even at this stage the tire is already taking on that “ballooned” look:

F, stretched:

G, super stretched:

My old RX-7’s tire fitment was close to example E. I quickly grew out of it, frankly, even though it wasn’t aggressively stretched, it still had that ballooned shape. Might as well have just stretched it more and gone the whole 9 yards at that point, like in example F.

For me personally, if I were to rank these tire fitments in order of good to bad, it’d be – D, A, F, C, G, E, B. I like it when tires are just slightly stretched because it’s functional too.

11 thoughts on “Tire Fitment: Stretch or No Stretch?

  1. i do have to admit, slight stretch is the business or even, at most (or “least” if comparison to contact patch) because you can manage a decent contact patch still on a wide wheel. i still plan on getting some Enkei RPF1’s with the staggered 17×9 and 17×10 someday.

    as for my small mesh wheels, it’s just an impulse buy to help a friend who was selling those. -10 offset for an 8″ wide wheel is quite extreme for the rear of the FC. so stretching a 205 on there is one of the cowardly ways of letting it “fit” aside from camber. i have been trying to pull the rears a couple times to make the rears fit with less camber though. =P

  2. werd. slightly stretching a tire will also add the benefit of increased sidewall stiffness as well, without sacrificing a considerable amount of contact patch.

  3. I personally love the “slight stretch” look.. my e30 has about the same stretch as D, and its the perfect look to me. G is just ridiculous, and even F is too much unless u have the right car.. E is the most stretch i like.

    mostly, my tire fitment preference greatly depends on the car, some cars need meaty, some need stretch.. there is no “universal” fitment.

      1. I have a 07 civic with 16×7 wheels and i want a slight stretch or i want my tires to look meaty not sure what size to get, my stock tires are 205/55r16

  4. In terms of performance, the rim width should be equal to the TREAD width for optimum tire performance. As far as technical correctness, any tire will have a rim width range that is acceptable and part of the spec. You should be able to find it on a tire’s manufacturer’s site, or a place like tire rack.

    As far as the examples show, A is my limit for bulge. B and C are perfect. D is my limit and likely has the rim as wide as the SECTION width, there. and E, F and G look stupid. Something like negative A or beyond would also look stupid.

    Seriously, if you can’t get by on D, you need to widebody/flare it some more or just deal with the skinnier wheels and tires. Same goes for A, if you want a wider tire after A, you need to get wider wheels. Otherwise, you’re just screwing yourself and looking ignorant at the same time.

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