14, 15 or 16" wheels?

My 97 Nissan PU will need new tires in the near future. It has the factory alloy 14" wheels, but good tires are hard to come by. Tirerack only has three to choose from, one of those is a winter tire that I don’t need and one of the others is a tire I already have on it and don’t like.

I’m looking at eBay and sometimes there are some pretty good deals on factory wheels for the Frontier in the 15 and 16" sizes. I would prefer to use a 60 or 65 series tire and that would work with the 15, not sure how good it would work with the 16" rims.


Tirerack will show the appropriate 15" and 16" tire/wheel combos. I’d use them.

The WAMART site showed quite a few 14 inch tires. The local independent tire store I use had a good selection when I needed 14 inch a few months ago. They may have to have them delivered but they are still out there.

IMho, a 1997 PU truck deserves to keep looking for 14 inch options. I would not invest in another set of rims till forced to.

My 95 Nissan pickup also has 14" wheels.

If you’re going to a larger wheel remember that the sidewall height will be shorter if you want the speedometer to be accurate.

And since these pickups aren’t the smoothest riding vehicles, a shorter sidewall height will make the ride a lot rougher. Plus you’ll reduce the load rate of the truck with shorter sidewalls.


The OEM size is 215/70-14. I would like to stay with 14" tires but the selection is so limited. The 98 Frontier came with 15 wheels and 215/60-15, but I’m afraid that tire selection in that size is diminishing too.

Buy the Kumho Solus K21s. They rank above average in the user survey at Tire Rack and are inexpensive.

When I had my little toyota I was very happy with mud grips. Good in the snow and eliminated wheel spin on damp or wetter roads. Better life and less road noise than snow tires, and if your truck is like mine was, my 2 cents.

Discount Tires Direct has 5 tires to choose from on line.

I’d avoid changing rim size unless 15" rims are on the list on the manufacturer approved sizes for the vehicle. Look in the owners manual, see what it says there.

The reason is it might adversely affect things like alignment, handling, and create abnormal tire wear patterns. Plus there could be unexpected clearance issues.

I’m with Texases on this one. I should add that Tirerack also offers wheel & tire packages that will enable to you receive the tires right at your home mounted on the wheels and road force balanced (the best balancing process).

Every now and then I get the desire to replace my current 215x45/17" wheels with 225x40/18" wheels (an option on the '06 tC; mine’s an '05). If I do so, I’ll definitely go for the Tirerack package. The only reasons I haven’t done so are (1) money, (2) the lesser sidewall will make the rims even more prone to pothole damage, (3) money, (4) it’s strictly for vanity, although I probably would notice a slight handling difference for the better, (5) money, (6) money, (7) money. And, of course, (8) money.

Going to larger rims on a car when it’s unnecessary is like getting your ears pierced. Absolulty nothing wrong with it …but it is what it is. And if you are as old as this car is ( caparably) it’s a little out of place. Having said all that, show where you can save money in the long run by having more tire options as well as improved performance , then start poking holes in my head, I’m in for it. :wink:

I’d like to go the other way (smaller rims) to improve the ride quality on my Pontiac G6 GT. The only things stopping me are @the same mountain bike reasons 1, 3, 5 ,6, 7 and 8.

Thanks for the replies so far. A little more info. For some reason, the 97 2wd share the same ride height as the 4wd. It rides a little higher that the 96 and earlier. The 97 was the last of the hardbodies, the Frontier came out in 98. Not sure why they made those changes unless they were trying to consolidate the parts line.

The 97 4wd came with 235/75-15 tires. There is plenty of room for this size tire on my truck.

I do not wish to change just to change. I’d rather stay with the 14" wheels but I like to keep the best tires I can on all my vehicles. The tires available in my size are pretty much the bottom line tires from each maker. The Kuhmos may be the best tire available.

I don’t use this truck very much, mostly when I need something big from the hardware store or furniture store or for hauling garden supplies (mulch, manure etc) or hauling trash. Its not a daily driver. I am considering the Firestone winter tires on tirerack as well. Even though we get very little ice/snow, I do get into muddy places and it has gotten stuck a few times with street tires.

I do plan on keeping the truck for a long time, I’ve had it since new and on occasion, I do need a truck but not enough to justify buying a new one. Because I am keeping it for a long time, I am concerned that the selection for 14" tires will be getting slimmer over time.

I have also though of getting the 15" wheels and tires for the 4wd and then getting the gear for the transmission from the 4wd as well to correct the speedometer. but I’m not sure the final drive ratio would be the same so that may not work.

keeping it forever? what does it look like? you can upload pics here.

I looked at the WALMART site again and I don’t think they were listing bottom barrel tires. You really need to do more research unless you just want to justify getting new wheels. Unless this is a show vehicle I would not spend anymore than I had to.

It looks like any other well maintained, well waxed 2005 Scion tC in silver (gray). That’s exactly what it is. I don’t have any pics to post, but there must be a million pics of the same car.

Walmart lists nothing but bottom barrel tires. Having read good reviews on the Kumho tires, I think that is the way I will go for now. Later, when they wear out, if they are no longer available or I am disappointed with them, I will address the wheel size issue then. I am not going to put those BFG on again, I have not been happy with them.

SMB ???

Today, with rim sizes ranging from 13" to 22" and beyond, tire stores have simply run out of shelf-space…Only in the fast moving sizes will consumers get much of a choice in tire design and price points…