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Bigger Tires Less Wheel Well


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I find that my 2011 has way too much well well, what I mean by that is that even though the wheels and tires are 225 45 17 they appear small. What could I do in sizing to completely fill the wheel well without the tires rubbing in the fenders.

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A certain amount of room is necessary above the top of the tires to allow the wheels to move significantly upward when the springs compress when hitting bumps and dips in the road. I don't remember rural roads in New Brunswich being all that great but it's been a long time since I've driven there ... before the bridge to P.E.I. was built.

Lowering your car on its suspension is the only way I know of to make tires seem to fill the wheel well more without trashing the accuracy of the speedometer. Lowering can cause a variety of side effects including tires wearing faster, harsher ride and changing handling characteristics. Excess lowering has even caused tires to wear through wheel well liners and damage electrical wiring harnesses on some Lexus cars - for sure that has happened on LS cars like I have.

I think you are fortunate to have the wheel and tire size you have. I've seen complaints from IS250 owners who have the optional lower profile tires on 18 inch wheels and think their cars ride too rough. And your 17" tires cost substantially less to replace than the optional lower profile 18" tire size and last longer. The optional 18" wheels and tires don't fill the wheel well any more than the 17's since they are about the same diameter.

I suppose you could get much larger wheels and tires but your speedometer would become useless. A side effect of oversize wheels and tires is that they can make a car seem sluggish since it takes more engine power to move bigger and heavier wheels and/or tires. I found that out 20+ years ago when I replaced the standard 205/65-15 tires on my first LS400 with 225/60-15 tires on the standard wheels. Just that little change made the car seem slower and ride rougher - my wife hated the harshness so that experiment didn't last long.

But it is your car. Plenty of people seem to like "the look" they get from lowering and oversize wheels and tires regardless of how it effects ride, handling and cost. If you want to go that route, consider finding a specialty shop and see what they recommend.

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Either bigger wheel/tire combo or do a drop. I'm sorry I'm not informed enough to tell you exactly what to do. I go to some other message boards too and most of those kids do coilovers and drop the car.

Google it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Assume you have AWD since you said 17 (RWD usually come with 18 stock)

OEM 17 should be 17x8 +45, with 225/45R17 square all around

The 2IS body is really designed for a stagger setup, so the rear fender is much more aggressive than the front

I am currently running 18x8.75 +35 with 225/40R18, front is pretty flush but rear is still tucked in (because of statement above)

Future plans to go 18x9 +25 to +30 ish, with either 225/40R18 or possibly try to fit 235/40R18

Key is to stay within 3% of total diameter from stock tire size

Also, rule of thumb when upsizing wheel diameter is to have tires down by 5% of width

Example, in my case

Stock = 225/45R17

1 UP = 225/40R18

2 UP = 225/35R19

3 UP = 225/30R20

***with exceptions for specific cases where you need to go narrower (215, etc.) in order to fit and prevent rubbing

A better upgrade from 225/45R17 would be 255/35/R18 (or 255/30R19)...which is closer to stock diameter than 225/40R18 (or 225/35R19)...........however it's hard to fit 255/35R18 or 255/30R19 in the front depending on suspension height and wheel offset

Anyways, for an AWD, 18x8.5 19x8.5 18x9 19x9 square setups are the norm

Many go for stagger setups on the AWD 2IS as well keeping front and rear rolling diameter within 1%, however this is done at your own discretion (best combinations are 235/35R19 front with 275/30R19 rear, or 225/35R19 front with 265/30R19 rear)

EDIT: in regards to bigger/heavier wheels slowing you down

Yes heavier wheels not only slow you down due to added weight, but also puts more stress on suspension components due to added unsprung weight. That's why most people when changing wheels go for lighter wheels. This can be offset by added tire weight, but depending on combination most end up with a net loss in weight (which is a good thing).

Lowering = lower center of gravity = less body roll and better handling

Wider (both width and offset wise) = more stability and better handling

But of course there are downsides such as alignment issues which can be corrected

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