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255/55/18 On Stock Rx330 18in Rims


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I just wanna let you know that I (finally) made the switch to wider tires, 255/55/18. It wasn't easy figuring out what the largest tire one can put on an RX330/350. After a few garage trips and tire rubbing, trial and error, research, and some luck, here is the setup that finally WORKS: :)

HARDWARE:

Wheels: stock 18x7in Lexus RX330 wheels

Tires: Sumitomo HTR4 Sport H/P 255/55/18 M+S, treadwear 480, 10.0in section width, 29.2in diameter

Tires cost: (Tirerack.com) 4x98$ US + 103$ US shipping + 155$ US customs//brokerage (still saved about 200$Cnd had I bought them in Montreal, Canada).

Wheel spacer: 5mm thick (5 x 114.3mm) (5 x 4.5in)

Wheel spacers cost: 4x12$ Cnd

Installation cost: 60$Cnd (cost of mounting 4 tires. No installation for the spacer. it just sits on the disk plate)

SPECS:

Tire diameter: increased by 22mm (0.9in)

Ride height: increased by 11mm

Speedometer error: +2.9% at 100km/h (62mph); reading at 100 km/hr, true speed 103 km/hr

Tire section width: increased by 18mm

Tires/wheels are now about half an inch from within the outer wheel well extremity, compared to about 1.2 in.

SUBJECTIVE RATINGS:

Ride comfort: decreased by 20% from the Michelin Energy MXV4 S8 due to stiffer (reinforced) sidewall of the tire. Comparable to riding the RX on "Low" suspension setting (Air Suspension)

Noise: just a pinch louder than the Michelins, if at all.

Dry cornering grip: increased substantially. Tires don't squeal during aggressive city driving tests.

Handling: noticeably increased. Fatter tires and increase in track (due to the spacers) improve the handling dynamics of the RX. Handling went from "marshmallowy" to "somewhat crisp".

Wet/Snow traction: TBD. The Sumitomos have a tread depth of 14/32 which is one of the deepest you'll find on the market for car/light truck tires for excellent potential wet/snow traction.

Look: The extra 22mm in tire diameter increase gives a more complete filled-in wheel-well look. It actually looks a little dropped. From the rear/front, the extra near 18mm in width plus the extra 5mm spacer width gives the RX a much needed meaner, well planted look, close to what an X5 or Cayenne look like. These latter SUVs have 255/55/18s.

CONCLUSION:

I love the wider-tire look and I'm glad I finally got them safely installed and operational. I would have probably preferred a soter riding tire comparable to the Michelins like the Bridgestone Dueler Alenzas, but at 250$US more a set, the Sumitomos were a no-brainer.

Remember. To avoid any rubbing of the front tires in the inner wheel well while performing a complete steering wheel turn, you must install 5mm wheel spacers at a minimum in the front. For the amount they cost, you might as well add them to the rear to give the car a more balanced look and driving feel. The stock lug/studs are long enough to safely compensate for the 5mm loss in protrusion. Any spacer thicker than 5mm should be installed with additional lugs/studs (costly$$).

Go for it! You now can buy those 255 sized tires for your stock rims!

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 14 years later...

So in the spring I’m thinking on getting m/t or a/t tires, haven’t completely decided yet. I have a 2005 Lexus rx330. My stock tire size is a 235/55/18 I’m trying to go up in size. I wanna go to a 255/55/18. The problem is I don’t know if there will be rubbing. I’m looking at getting the 255/55/18 Falken Wildpeak AT3’s or Falken Wildpeak A/T’s they are both aggressive tires but the AT3’s are more aggressive then the A/T’s. Does anyone have aggressive mud tires on their Lexus at this size and can confirm no rubbing?

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