17" tires on 16" rims

I have a 2001 330i BMW (by the way, it’s for SALE…wanna buy it? See the ad on cars.com). A few years ago, I purchased 17" Blizzak snow tires and rims for this vehicle. They work great!

I recently purchased a 2008 Nissan Altima Hybrid, which has 16" wheels. I went to my local tire store, and asked them if I could put my 17" Blizzak snow tires on my Nissan. They said I need to buy new Rims, since the lug nut patterns are different between the Nissan and the BMW, but they said I could put the 17" Blizzak snow tires on new 16" Nissan rims.

This just seems wrong…how can a bigger tire fit on a smaller rim? I feel like I could be riding down the highway, and my wheels will suddenly fly off my car!

So…are my local tire guys pulling my leg, or can I really put these Blizzaks on new smaller rims AND USE THEM?

Thanks so much for your infinite wisdom,

Joan Cyr

Originally from Cambridge, MA (OUR FAIR CITY)

The 17" tires will have a half-inch gap all around on a 16" rim. Even if you could seal the tire to the rim, it would be more likely to release from the rim if you hit something in the road. I would not do it. Maybe you should just sell the snow tires as part of the package.

I agree, it wouldn’t be wise(if at all possible) to swap the tires.
Also, I’d look into finding a new tire place to shop at

Are you sure they were not saying new 17" rims?

Hmmm…I’m not sure…this may be a stupid question, but can you put 17" rims on a car that comes with 16" rims?

There are 16" and 17" aftermarket wheels available for your Altima at Tire Rack.


Ed B.

Simply stated; no.

“…can you put 17” rims on a car that comes with 16" rims?"

Most of the time. It appears according to what Ed posted that in your case you can. I suspect that is want they were trying to say.

Personally I would not do it. Those large rims with thin tyres tend to be subject to damage from potholes and alike and I doubt if the whole thing would be cost effective. If those are not thin tyres then the overall size of the tyres are going to change throwing off the speedometer odometer and gear ratios.

NO! Absolutely, positively, NO.

17 inch tires cannot be mounted on 16 inch wheels. Simply put… you could die as a result of the accident it would cause.

Ed…This is exactly what they said. I actually went to Town Fair Tire, in Everett Mass. I’m not convinced that although we probably can do it, that we’re guaranteed that the size different won’t mess up the timing or something else. I did try to sell the BMW Blizzaks on Craigslist and Cars.com both by themselves and with the car, but no takers, and the season’s just about over.

I think I’ll just spend the extra money to get the right tires/rims for the Altima, and hope that Tax Refund Season will bring with it new and eager buyers for the BMW and the tires!

Thanks to everyone for your insightful comments!


actually went to Town Fair Tire, in Everett Mass

Are you saying that Town Fair Tire said it was OK to install 17" tires on 16" rims???
It CANNOT be done…no-way-no-how. There’s a Town Fair Tire near me. I went there ONCE and only ONCE. Big sleeze outfit. Stay away. Find a local tire place and you’ll be far better off…

Don’t go back there. I don’t know what their game is, but such a bogus answer makes me highly suspicious.

Maybe. If the 17" tires have a low aspect ratio, it very well might work. The outer diameter of the tire and the tire width determine if they will fit. Post the tire information (e.g., 215/35-17) for the winter tires and your Nissan tires and we can figure it out.

The best source for winter tires/rims is tirerack.com since they ship the wheel/tire combo already mounted balanced no charge. Shop earlier next season at tirerack.com first as they do run out of the tires and steel rims early.

I have yet to find any chain that is not a sleazy. The worst I found was Firestone in Manchester NH, excellent prices but recommending $600 in work after completing a $300 30k service at dealer 5k prior which included check over takes the cake.