Fitting bigger tyres to your 4WD; what should you consider?

One of the most common modifications done to a 4WD is to fit bigger tyres to it. This is done for a number of reasons, but the primary one is to gain more clearance. You won’t get far with the bottom of your 4WD dragging on the ground.

A lift kit will pick your chassis and body up, but the lowest point of your vehicle is always going to be your differential (except on independent suspension vehicles or those with portal axles).

Contrary to popular belief, a lift does not give you more clearance. The only way to gain true clearance is to install bigger tyres.

However, know that even if you can, and do bolt on larger tyres there’s a lot more to it. Everything comes at a cost, and installing larger tyres to your 4WD is no different.

If you want to know ‘Can I put bigger tyres on my car?’ this post covers everything you want to know, from the legalities to benefits and downsides and everything in between. Don’t be someone who ends up upsizing tyre sizes without thoroughly considering the implications!

Dmax in the Daintree
Want to fit bigger tyres to your 4WD? Here’s what you need to know
80 series 285/75/16
50mm diameter bigger tyres on our 80

Why fit bigger tyres?

There are a few benefits of increasing tyre size, which I will go into below. Remember though, there are downsides of 4WD accessories and modifications; don’t forget about them.

Some of them can include voiding your insurance if your vehicle isn’t legal, not mention terrible handling too.

Consider the many ways to make your 4WD illegal before you change anything, as the risks are significant and this is very, very important.

Tyre size is important
Why fit bigger tyres?

More clearance

I mentioned above; the only way to truly gain more clearance in your 4WD is to install bigger tyres.

Actually, I lie; you could install a set of portal diffs from Mark’s adaptors, but they are extremely expensive and out of the large majority of people’s budget.

If you add 4WD tyres that are 1 inch, or 25mm bigger in diameter, the height of your vehicle goes up by 1/2″ or 12.5mm. This is important; know that your vehicle only goes up by the radius, not the diameters difference.

Most people go for 1 or 2″ bigger tyres, giving you 12.5mm or 25mm of additional clearance. It’s not much, is it, so how much of a difference does it really make?

More clearance is great off road
Clearance is a game changer off road
Heading down to the Diggings Track
The more clearance you have in a 4WD, the easier it is off road

Better traction

By changing tyre size up, more rubber is in contact with the ground. This results in greater traction, as well as greater flotation.

This is why vehicles with taller tyres perform well on the beach. More surface area touching the sand means you have less weight per given area, and thus less chance of sinking!

Greater traction off road
Bigger rubber means more traction

Tougher looking vehicle

I nearly didn’t put this on the list, but the reality is, some people really care about this. A 4WD that has one or two size tyres up looks better.

If this is what you are doing the mod for though, I’d suggest you skip it; just get a set of muddies, or a new set of rims! I prefer function over form, but not everyone agrees with this!

Bigger tyres on a 4WD
Aftermarket rims and bigger tyres certainly look better

How much difference does it really make?

Lets look at this from a number of perspectives. For every 25mm bigger overall diameter tyre size increase, your vehicle only gains 12.5mm of extra clearance. Say you go from 31″ tyres to 33″ tyres, you will gain 25mm.

Does that 25mm really make much difference? Some say it does, and some say it doesn’t.

I would say the right Tyre pressures and tread pattern would make more difference. If you go up more, from 31″ tyres to 35″ tyres, you gain 50mm clearance. This is quite a bit more, but again, nothing that Lockers wouldn’t make up for.

31 inch tyres on a 22R Hilux
Our Hilux with 31 inch tyres
33 inch tyres on the lux
With 33 inch tyres

It’s interesting to look at the drag marks left by 4WD’s when out on a 4WD track; check it out next time you go off road. It gives you a good indication of whether your tyres are too small for the terrain.

There’s nothing wrong with dragging a diff slowly and carefully over terrain on the odd occasion, but you don’t want to smash it up against anything. This is where diff guards come into their own.

Dmax underbody protection
How often does your 4WD drag on the ground off road?

What about the 4WD you have?

This is the factor that makes all the difference. Take a 1990 model Toyota Hilux, and compare its clearance to that of a 2010+ version.

They are chalk and cheese. Older vehicles, with solid axles tend to have more clearance from the factory than modern vehicles.

Does this then suggest that you don’t need to go up size tyres? Perhaps; it all depends on what you use the vehicle for!

Limited clearance
Our new Dmax has much less clearance than the previous 80 series

How big are your diffs?

When I had my Hilux, I compared the clearance from the ground to the lowest point to that of a GQ Patrol. The Hilux had about 25mm extra clearance right from the get go, purely because it had smaller differentials hanging down.

Being oversprung too, they have a huge amount of additional chassis and body clearance over a GQ Patrol.

2.8 turbo diesel Hilux
Small differentials and oversprung gives ridiculous levels of clearance

Oversprung refers to the springs sitting on top of the differential, instead of undersprung, where they are under the differential (and hurt your clearance quite badly).

The point I am making is it very much depends on your vehicle, and where you drive as to whether the bigger tyres are worth it.

Differential size
The size of your differential is directly related to clearance

Are you allowed to run bigger tyres?

Please, please don’t skip this. You are responsible for driving a vehicle on the road that is safe, and legal on the road. Despite this, many people choose to ignore what the law says, and run what ever tyre size they want.

You can’t legally do this, and the ramifications are very, very serious. Ignorance is not an excuse either. 4WD tyre sizes are heavily regulated, and often in combination with suspension and body lifts.

Big tyres needed at Canal Creek
Big tyres might help here, but what if they contribute to an accident?

I’m not talking about a slap on the wrist and a yellow sticker from the local policeman, I’m talking about potential jail time and mammoth medical bills to pay if your proved to have been driving an unsafe vehicle, or if your insurance company finds out and just walks away, leaving you to sort it out.

Rolled 4x4
If you have an accident with bigger, illegal tyres it can be a major problem

In WA, you are limited to a maximum of 50mm bigger diameter increase. However, this is just the beginning. If you go up 50mm in diameter, you have lifted your vehicle 25mm and as a result are only allowed to install a 1 inch lift kit (or have the roof height go up by 25mm further).

The total height that your vehicle goes up in WA must not exceed 50mm, unless you get engineers approval. This includes tyres, suspension lifts and body lifts. You can find out more about this at Is your 4WD legal?

The only exception to running tyres bigger than a 50mm increase on your 4WD without engineering is if there is a different model 4WD in the same year range as yours that comes from the factory with larger tyres, and has exactly the same setup, just cosmetic differences.

You can read about this here – Can you go more than 50mm diameter increase with 4WD Tyres?

Tyre placard Dmax
In WA you’re limited to 50mm larger tyres, unless the same vehicle came out with larger options

If you are looking for a legal tyre size calculator, you won’t find one as it varies from state to state. Instead, find out what your local regulations are and go from there.

Touring Australia with lots of gear
Do you know what the maximum tyre size is for your 4WD?

Are wider tyres better?

This is a can of worms. One that I am loathe to touch on, but I will anyway! When you see 3 tonne Land cruisers just idling down a super soft beach on the factory skinnies (or cheese cutters) it gives you an indication of the capability of a tall, skinny tyre.

Rearranged Rover at Lancelin
Too wide?

On the other hand, a 10.5 or 12.5″ wide tyre also does extremely well off road. Personally, I wouldn’t go wider than this. Remember that your traction and floatation come primarily from the length of the surface area touching the ground, not the width.

Wide tyres might seem like they would spread the load even more, but then you have to bulldoze sand, mud, snow etc out of the way, just so your tyre can continue moving.

This is very much a personal thing, depending on your driving conditions and requirements. To me though, there’s not much point going over 12.5″ wide.

Skinny tyres
Why do so many 4WD’s run skinny tyres? They can’t be that bad!

What are the disadvantages of bigger tyres?

I will start off by stating our 80 Series Land Cruiser has 285/75/16″ tyres on it. This is one size up, and gives us a small amount of extra clearance.

I could have gone bigger tyres, but there are many, many reasons I didn’t. There are plenty of negatives to fitting bigger tyres on your 4WD, which I will go into below.

Tyre pressures and heat
Bigger tyres come with a range of disadvantages

Speedometer inaccuracy

The most important thing to know when you get in a 4WD with different tyres is that the speedometer may not be accurate. If you purchase a second hand 4WD and the owner doesn’t tell you about it, you run the risk of getting a fine, or worse!

Your speedometer, trip meter and odometer will be out by the percentage of size increase. If your diameter increases by 50mm (31″ to 33″ or 33″ to 35″) your speedometer will be out by roughly 10%.

This varies considerably from car to car, but its something to pay attention to.

By law, your speedo can only be out by 10% (seems a bit ridiculous that new cars can come out with 10% variation), but its something to be aware of.

This also messes with your fuel economy calculations. You can still work it out; have a read of this – How to accurately work out your 4WD’s fuel economy.

Speed with bigger tyres
Bigger tyres will throw your speedometer and odometer out

Less power and torque

The tyres on your 4WD are essentially the last gear in your gear train. It’s not too different to changing a sprocket in a chain drive; the output power and torque will change.

By fitting larger tyres, your vehicle will do less revolutions per kilometre, but it has to work harder to do so.

Again, this is very much vehicle dependent, but for most vehicles there will be a noticeable difference in power and torque. In a diesel 4WD, sometimes this is less obvious as they seem to just tractor along, but it is evident.

Tyre size on an Iveco Daily
A tyres diameter is the last ratio in the driveline, and larger makes the vehicle work harder

My 2.4 petrol Hilux used to lose a substantial amount of power every time I threw the 33’s on.

The 80 series turbo diesel loses a bit of power and torque, but its not as obvious.

The easiest and most accurate way to see what difference has been made by changing tyre sizes is to check via an EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperature) gauge.

A bigger tyre makes your engine work harder, and this translates into hotter exhaust temperatures. Our 80 series went up by roughly 20 degrees throughout the range when we installed the larger tyres.

Bigger tyres hurt power
Running bigger tyres eats into your torque and power

Decreased braking

Possibly the primary reason for restrictions on fitting bigger tyres is the reduced braking capacity. As the tyre diameter increases, your braking capacity decreases.

This is a serious concern; your brakes need to work as well as possible. So long as you stick within the legal requirements of your state though, you won’t have an issue.

Braking efficiency decrease
The bigger the tyres, the worse your braking

Increased stress on your driveline

Everything that indirectly attaches to your tyres is put under more stress when you fit bigger tyres. This includes your CV’s, steering box, steering shafts, axles and differentials.

Many people will not break components on standard tyres (especially CV’s) but as soon as they go up a few tyre sizes the breakages happen on a regular basis.

Dmax maintenance
Bigger tyres put a lot more stress on your driveline

Increased fuel consumption

Some people will argue with me here, saying it makes no difference. It may make very little difference if you are fortunate (generally the vehicles with plenty of power), but if your engine has to work harder to turn the new wheels you are going to use more fuel.

It does this for two reasons; bigger tyres require more energy to rotate due to their physical size, and because the tyre weight is greater.

The only slight commiseration is when you work out your fuel economy, be sure to factor in the tyre size difference. If you do 90km on the trip meter, and your tyres are 10% bigger, you’ve actually done 99km.

Dmax fuel consumption
The bigger the tyres, the more fuel you’ll use

My Hilux went up at least a few litres per hundred kilometres, which was expected because the poor engine was already working hard as it was.

The difference in our 80 series is slightly less noticeable, and I think at 100km/h it actually uses less fuel do to the revs being more centred in the torque curve.

Please don’t fit bigger tyres without accepting the risk that your fuel economy may get worse!

Our 80 with 265 tyres
Our 80 the day after we bought it
Bigger tyres on our 80
Upgraded to 285/75/16 tyres

Legal ramifications

You know those yellow stickers that get handed out regularly, which basically say your vehicle is not roadworthy? Bigger tyres are one of the easiest ways to attract attention to your 4WD, and are often the reason for yellow stickers given to 4WD’s.

However, a yellow sticker is the least of your worries. If you are driving a vehicle that is not compliant with the local regulations, your insurance company can walk away from any claim you make.

If you rear end a Ferrari, or you seriously injure yourself, you could end up with a massive bill that you have to pay.

Even worse, if you are found to have caused an accident that injures (or kills) someone because of the bigger tyres (or other illegal modifications) you could even go to jail. It’s not worth it – do things by the book!

Damaged Landcruiser down south
If you have a bad accident and the illegal modifications contributed, you can be in a world of trouble

Potential scrubbing

There is a reason that 4WD’s come out with the tyre size that they do. You might be able to fit the next size tyres on your 4WD, but go a couple of sizes up and things will start to get tight. The first thing you will notice is that the tyres foul on the inner guards (usually at the front) or the bull bar.

If it is only minor scrubbing you may be able to get away with it, but remember to consider when the suspension flexes upwards it will move closer to your guards.

The only way to fix this is to modify the 4WD, which isn’t impossible, but its a steep slope that is hard to stop yourself on in both time and money.

Tyre wear on the Dmax
Bigger tyres can scrub on your mud guards and panels on full lock and under flex

Gateway to more modifications

Bigger tyres usually result in further modifications. People find they aren’t happy with the power difference, and start looking for mods to make their vehicle make more power.

If the tyres don’t fit properly, the next step is suspension or body lifts, or to trim the guards.

Believe me; once you start this slippery slide of 4WD modifications, there is no getting off! I don’t say this to put you off installing bigger tyres, just to make you aware of the potential expenses down the track!

80 series land cruiser build
Before you know it, you’ve modified everything!

Higher centre of gravity

The ultimate 4WD has a low centre of gravity, and plenty of clearance. For every size tyre that you go up, your centre of gravity also goes up, making it more likely for your vehicle to roll if something was to go wrong.

Center of gravity on a 4WD
A higher center of gravity isn’t a good thing

Warranty issues

The moment you run larger tyres, you open a window for warranty problems. A lot of 4WD manufacturers will decline any driveline warranty claims based on running larger tyres, so watch out.

There are cases where aftermarket accessories void your warranty, and bigger tyres are a common cause.

Dmax oil leak
Good luck getting anything driveline related covered with larger tyres

Alternatives to fitting bigger tyres

Ultimately, bigger tyres are fitted to make a 4WD more capable. The thing is though, there are many ways you can do this.

For example, a locker will make your vehicle immensely more capable. If the decision came to it, I’d keep my vehicle legal and install a locker instead.

Having installed ELockers not too long ago, I know they have made our 80 series a lot more capable than the tyres ever did.

Wellington Dam 4WD Tracks
Differential ELockers!

Another alternative is to change the tread pattern. Muddies will give you significantly better traction than road or all terrains. However, match the terrain you drive on the most to the tyres you buy.

As always though, this all comes down to your individual circumstances. Where you drive, how often you drive, how far you want to go etc!

What size tyres should you run then?

4WD tyre sizes vary considerably depending on the vehicle you own, and the wheels it came with. There is no legal tyre size calculator, asides from doing your own research into what comes as factory, and then looking at the local law and going from there.

That said, the tyre size you end up with should suit your driving. A 6 inch lift and 35 inch tyres might look good, but it’s not really suitable for touring around Australia. How often do you need bigger tyres? Could you get away with something else?

I usually suggest one or two sizes bigger than factory (if this is legal) with some decent tread.

This is either All terrains, or Mud terrains. Not sure what to get? Check this out – All terrain tyres vs mud terrain tyres.

Above all, stick within the legalities; its not worth the risk.

Looking for something else to read? Have a look at 42 things you must know about 4WDing.

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  1. Hey Sam,

    My Dmax doesn’t list the larger tyres on the nameplate either, but I did specifically ask this question to the department of transport over here in WA, and received the below response:

    “Hi Aaron,

    Sorry for the delay in replying to your email.

    We receive a lot of enquires in regards to tyres as it can be confusing to some, but I will try to answer your question simply.

    The statement below is from the National Code of Practice, Vehicle Standards Bulletin 14 (VBS 14) LS section relating to the size of optional tyres to be fitted to a 4WD passenger vehicle.

    Must not be more than 50mm larger or 26mm smaller than that of any tyre designated by the
    vehicle manufacturer for that vehicle.

    As the statement says ‘any tyre designated by the vehicle manufacturer for that vehicle’, this will include optional tyres for the make and model.

    The Isuzu Dmax has several options in tyre sizes and VSB 14 allows an increase of the rolling diameter over the optional tyre size, by 50mm on a 4WD passenger vehicle.

    As you have said that the difference between the two Dmax models is only cosmetic and not structural, (different brakes, suspensions and axles), you can use the largest tyres fitted to a Dmax as your reference point when calculating the size of tyres allowed.

    In short yes you can run 265/75R16 tyres (804mm diameter) on a 2016 Isuzu Dmax, as it is only 41 mm larger than the largest manufacturers option.

    I hope this helps.

    Blanked out
    A/ Team Leader | Driver and Vehicle Services | Department of Transport
    21 Murray Road South, Welshpool WA 6106
    Tel: (08) 92163844 Fax: (08) 93505579
    Email: blanked | Web:

    I carry this email in my Dmax at all times, for the odd chance that I’d ever get questioned about it. I have also had the GVM upgrade done, and signed off with the larger tyres. I’m sure the engineer wouldn’t have been willing to sign it off with those tyres if it wasn’t legit.

    I think you’ll have a hard time getting a straight answer out of any insurance company, and even more so a tyre shop.

    It’s frustrating that these things aren’t clear, but I would confirm with your relevant department in writing (as I did) and then go for it once you are satisfied.

    All the best

  2. Hi Aaron,

    Thank you for so diligently answering people’s questions in the comments after so many years. I have done my best to do my own research but am still in a grey area.

    My question is about the GXL and Workmate 79 series (dual cab). The GXL comes with 265/60R16 (777m diameter) tyres as standard; however, the Workmate version comes with tall-and-skinny 225/95R16s (833 diameter) from factory. Therefore, the maximum tyre diameter for both trim levels is theoretically 883mm (I am specifically looking at 315/75R16s (879mm)).

    By the same logic as your DMAX, I believe it should be legal and roadworthy for me to run 879mm tyres on the GXL thanks to the 833mm tyres available as standard on the Workmate. To my knowledge there is no mechanical difference between the two trim levels – just a bit of carpet, electric windows, and a very expensive dashboard clock.

    The reason for my uncertainty is that the GXL’s tyre placard DOESN’T list the workmate’s 225/95R16 – only the 265/70R16. Similarly, the Workmate tyre placard doesn’t list the GXL’s 265/75R16. Does your SX Dmax’s tyre placard have the LSU tyre size listed on its placard, or is it the same situation as the 79 series?

    Also, have you managed to actually get your local state transport authority (or insurer) to affirm that the larger tyre size is legal and roadworthy? I tried explaining the situation to my insurer (Club4x4), but they declined to give a specific answer . Perhaps I should try and get an answer out of TMR (Qld).

    I’ve also contacted a number of tyre shops. So far all of them have declined to fit 315/75R16s to my GXL, even if I explain the situation above. Then, I asked if I simply had a Workmate instead of a GXL, would they be willing to fit them, and of course they said yes…

    Surely there must be some way to come to a definitive answer!

    Thanks Aaron, I’d appreciate your insight

  3. Hi Mark,

    Yes, you can but check with your local road authority to make sure there are no issues.

    All the best

  4. If my car came out with 18inch rims can I change them to a 17 inch rims?

  5. Hi Sam,

    It really depends on what its rubbing on, and how much you want to spend. You may find your suspension has sagged, or that you have the wrong offset rims. Fixing either might make the problem go away.

    I would start with taking some measurements, and working out where its touching. Relocating the mud flaps is generally the easiest job, which might buy you enough space but if its rubbing without any flex involved then fixing the issue might not be so easy, as you’ll need a lot more clearance.

    Some gentle persuasion with a hammer in the right hands can be a solution too. I would not recommend a body lift

    All the best

  6. Hey mate
    I’ve got an issue with my big wheels rubbing quite bad on my hilux when I turn. It’s pretty standard apart from the wheels just wondering how to fix this, grinding, sledgehammer, body lift etc. Any feedback is appreciated.


  7. Hey mate,

    It will change by the difference in diameter. Look at a tyre size calculator and see how much bigger it is. I’d also confirm that its legal in your state before changing anything.

    Lastly, find someone else who has done this (guaranteed there will be a few on Facebook) and ask them if it changed much. I haven’t had much experience with the 6 speed.

    All the best

  8. Hi Aaron
    I’ve got a 17Dmax 6sp auto and have just fitted a 2″lift and was thinking of going ul to 265/70 16. I know it’ll give me a bit more height and I can get a tyre with a greater load rating in the 265. I know it will throw the economy a bit but will the gear changing change much, that’s what will irk me the most.

  9. Mark Bastine says:

    Great article.

  10. Fracnois Siebrits says:

    Apologies Aaron,
    Ignore my last comment and thank you very much for your previous reply. Kind regards, Francois Siebrits

  11. Fracnois Siebrits says:

    hello 4wd Australia. i was just wondering whether there is any legal implications fitting 265/75/16 tyres on a 7″ rim. Typically for on my DMax 7jj std rims, in case of an accident etc. Is it actually good to with that size tyre on a 7″ rim; won’t it cause problems with the beet?

  12. Hey Fracnois,

    Thanks for the feedback. 265/75/16’s are fine on a 7 inch rim, and completely legal. If you look around online, and ring some other tyre shops, they will say the same thing. The standard Isuzu rim is 7 inch, so you are good to roll.

    All the best

  13. Fracnois Siebrits says:

    Hello Aaron,
    I was looking at information on how to set up my 2017 November DMax for touring and stumbled on this article you wrote and thoroughly enjoyed reading it and found it very helpful. I was specifically also looking at information on tyre size upgrades and your article covered my questions very well. I am also changing to a 265/75/16 tyre, but I am unsure about the standard rim width, being a 7JJ standard rim. I was wondering what your Isuzu factory alloys are. The tyre shops here in QLD suggest I need a 7.5″ wide rim at least. Looking forward to hear your comment. Thank you in advance, kind regards Francois Siebrits. Ps. Thanks again for a great article.

  14. Hey Tommy,

    I don’t have any specific experience with the SR5 Hilux’s, but I would measure the clearance between the rim and your brakes, and then make a phone call to NSW transport to see if you can change rim size. Assuming they fit, and its legal, you can run slightly smaller rims.

    That is totally separate to offset though – you need to find out what the factory rim offset is, and what the maximum increase is (probably 50mm, but check with the department of transport again) and go from there. If you had zero offset, and could increase the track by 50mm, you can technically fit -25mm wheels

    All the best

  15. Hi Aaron,
    I’m in NSW and have a 2011 SR5 hilux (pre facelift) with a 2 inch suspension lift. I currently have 265/65/17s with bf goodrich KO2s on steel rims but I want it to look more aggressive. The tyres still sit a fair way inside the flares and I am happy with the tyre size but just want to know what offset is best to stay legal? The local tyre shop reckons I cant change anything due to the upgrade/increase on the caliper size on my particular hilux model. Is he full of it or on the money? Or can I change to 16s ? What do you think?

  16. Hi Wayne,

    Head to Redbook, and play around with the models that are the same as yours. You’ll also have to contact the transport authority and find out what tyre size increase they allow, and go from there.

    All the best

  17. Hi i have a ln167r 2001 hilux had 16 steel split rims on it what can I go to in tyre size legally in south Australia ? 32 inch worked good on my previous hilux 33s work ok on the 01 hilux do get a minor scrubbing on full lock to the right that is all was thinking of going back to 32inch on this car I only went 33s because I never had 33s before and want ed to try them

  18. Hey Kent,

    No worries; you are welcome. I’m running Bridgestone 697’s at the moment, and had Toyo AT2’s before (still in the garage). They are 265/75/16’s

    All the best

  19. Hey Aaron,

    Thanks for sharing mate, appreciate it.
    What tyres are you running on your DMAX? I have one the same and looking to upgrade the rubber.


  20. Hey mate,

    No problem. Pro’s and con’s to which ever way you go.

    All the best

  21. Thanks, a very impressive article, I do not intend to drive Perth to Cairns in a straight line so – I’ll keep it stock.

  22. Hey Jake,

    Unless you have a really good reason for running the larger tyres, I’d go with 265/75/16’s. They are marginally bigger than factory, very common and about the cheapest size you can get.

    I would look at other brands too – Toyo’s are good, as are some of the Nitto’s etc.

    All the best

  23. G’day Aaron,
    I like reading your articles, cheers for taking the time to help inform us less knowledgeable four wheelers. I too own an 80 series, but with the 1FZ-FE (petrol) engine and 5 speed manual. The previous owner had spent big on OE sized BFGoodrich all-terrains in 275/70R16 fitted to the factory alloys and I’m due to change them soon, but tyre choices in this size is limited; the BFG’s in this size are stupid expensive and I’m not sure if I want to go up to 285/75R16 because I’m worried about power loss, fuel consumption and braking. Do you reckon it would be that noticeable? What about 265/75R16s instead?

  24. Hey Adrian,

    You’d have to find out what the largest tyre size is in your model of Hilux, without any other mods to support them. I would say not all of the Hilux’s came with cheese cutters, although sometimes they are actually taller than the wider tyres a lot of people fit. Your maximum height increase will be 50mm on roof height from the biggest tyre size’d Hilux that exists. Whether you use that 50mm to fit 50mm bigger tyres (so up 25mm) or you just stick with that tyre size and go 50mm lift is up to you.

    The other thing to do is find out your actual lift height – a 2 inch lift that is a few years old might not be anywhere near 2 inches tall. There is a database, which I can’t remember the link to that will give you the information, but redbook or Toyota is a good place to start

    All the best

  25. G’day Aaron,
    Its been great reading the articles you have written about the legalities of raising the ride height of a vehicle through suspension and tyre size but it seems the more i learn the more i get bogged down, especially with the differences between variants of the same model car being thrown in to the mix eg. SR vs SR5.

    I am on a similar path to Sam back in June 2018 regarding ride height changes for my recently purchased 2013 SR hilux. This vehicle has a 2 inch lift kit installed but is still sitting on the stock 205/R16’s. What i have noticed as one of the most common upgrades on any SR hilux on WA roads in a 2 inch lift and the immediate replacement of the stock cheescutters to something larger like a 265/65/17. Going off all i have read so far this would make just about every one of these cars illegal?

    In a nutshell as my vehicle has got the 50mm lift kit installed already am i no longer able to increase the tyre size above what it is currently running? Or because the tyres on the model i am driving are smaller than the upgraded SR5 that can have 265/65/17s as stock am i still able to get some taller tyres?
    Thanks in advance!

  26. Hey Chris,

    I wanted more clearance. The only way to do that is to fit larger tyres. There’s no perfect setup though – bigger tyres use more fuel, cost you power and torque etc.

    I would only fit bigger tyres if you can do it legally


  27. Hey MAtt
    Why did you change tyres?
    Im looking at new tyres and in 2 minds whether to stay with the 245 or go to 265

  28. Hey Matt,

    I would stick with a common tyre size. There is some method in the thought that a tall, relatively narrow tyre is better, but don’t get something obscure. 265/75/16 is a common tyre size – go for something like that


  29. Hi All
    Can’t believe this thread is still going!!

    I’ve got a 93 4runner 3.0 VZE thats running 205/R16/LT. I’m wanting to go bigger and was considering a wider & taller tyre (275/70/16) or something but had a guy try and convince me that a narrower/taller tyre would be better (approx 225). I’m still sure that wider would be better but I’m already pretty sluggish in the old gal. Maybe he’s right? Thoughts?

    Probably looking for an AT as I go off-road maybe 20-30 times a year on sand and pea gravel out of Perth.



  30. Hey Adam,

    You are very welcome. By the looks of it the two tyre sizes are pretty much identical. The only difference then, is the rims. I would say you’ve probably gone wider, and a different offset. Do the tyres stick out or in further than they used to? If so, you may find this is why they are touching more than they used to. You can measure this.

    All the best

  31. Hi Aaron,
    Really informative page here! Thanks very much.

    I have a 2009 Hilux SR5 dual cab pickup. It had 17″ Prado alloys fitted at the factory and ran 265/70/R17 Cooper ST MAXX. I’ve just had the wheels replaced with Sunraysia 16×8 rims and tyres replaced with Mickey Thompson Baja ATZ P3s 265/75/R16.

    I get quite bad scraping of the front tyres at full lock on the mudflaps. I was told these tyres/wheels would be fine. So I was wondering what could be causing the scraping? I don’t know what offset the old wheels were, or what the offset for the new ones are.

    Any ideas?


  32. Hey mate,

    They are only 26.5mm diameter bigger, so not a massive change. You will notice a minor power decrease, and your fuel consumption will go up a little. This is partly due to the larger size making the engine work harder, but also because the new tyres will be more aggressive (assuming you are coming from the factory tyres) and less aerodynamic.

    On the flip side, you gain 13mm clearance. Give it a whirl; you might not notice too much of an issue.

    I would recommend you make sure you are under your GVM, GCM and axle loads (have a read of this –×4/a-simple-towing-guide-for-keeping-your-4wd-and-trailer-weight-compliant/) and if its an auto consider a transmission cooler

    Best of luck

  33. Hi Aaron,
    I have a 2017 BT-50 towing a 3+ tonne caravan. The original tyres are 265 65 17s. I would like to get a little more clearance for 4wd ing and have ordered some BFG 265 70 17s but I’m starting to worry about loss of power with the bigger tyres. At the moment the Mazda is pulling the big van well but it must be already near its limits. What do you think? I don’t want to risk a great towing set up for a little more clearance.

  34. Thanks Aaron, not going with splits again, have been looking out for second hand steel rims, will go for the Sunraysias as they look like a good rim
    Cheers and thanks for all you do, now if only I could find someone here in WA to fir auto lokkers lol

  35. Hey Wazza,

    Most people go for the Sunraiser type rim, but if you can find a suitable second hand set its usually the way to go. If you want to stay with the splits, I wouldn’t know where to point you to, other than the usual tyre shops


  36. Love the content and knowledge
    Had some new tyres fitted R05 R18C on 16,550 rims, which are split, tyre place said I need to get rid of them as the splits are getting like me, OLD and need replacing, in WA, and it gets confusing what rims etc to buy for those tyres
    Any rims you can recommend without costing an arm and a leg? Hilux LN167 1997 dual cab 4×4
    Thanks in advance

  37. Hi Bogdan,

    Sounds like a question for a tyre shop to me. The fronts are slightly less wide rim that sticks out 3mm less. The difference would be negligible


  38. Hi Joshua,

    The 265/75/16s are 28mm bigger. If the tyres come within 14mm of the guard they will touch. Also make sure the offset of the rims is the same.


  39. Hello. I am having some trouble figuring this out. So the rear rims are 8.5 J / ET-28 / r15. The front rims are 8J / ET- 25 / r15. Tyres are all the same 31 x 10.5 r15 mud terrain
    My question is : Does the difference betwen rim widht and ET, have a negative effect on my car ? Thanks in advance.

  40. Hey mate
    I got a 2012 hilux with 265/65/17 tyres and was wondering if I got 265/75/16 tyres would this cause scrubbing?

  41. Hey Daniel,

    I don’t actually know what the limitations are. There is a national tyre code, but it appears you have to pay for it. I’d be ringing the bigger tyre companies like BFG or Bob Jane to ask


  42. Hi Aaron
    I currently have an stx navara which has 18x7j factory wheels. The current tyres are 255/60/18. I am getting mixed reviews on whether I can get 265/65/18 (this is a much more common tyre size for ATs) on those same wheels. Some shops saying the wheel needs to be at least 7.5” wide and others saying it will be fine. What’s your opinion, and most importantly, what’s the maximum width legally allowed on a 7” wheel?

  43. Hey mate,

    You are welcome. Run the Perrelli’s out and go from there.

    Take care mate

  44. Thanks Aaron. Good advise. For the time being I am going to stick with the Perrelli tyres. Will see if I can get hold of some new rims as you suggest. Yes the spare is full size.
    Thanks again.
    Cheers Bruce

  45. Hey Bruce,

    Sounds like you are having fun – great to hear. Tyres are a compromise – one that works well for a certain situation won’t be as good for another. I would primarily ensure they have a light truck rating. The more aggressive the tread, the noisier they will be on the road, the worse your economy will be and the less well they will handle on the road. That said, life is a compromise and a good set of all terrains are about as good of a compromise as you can go. The General Grabbers have a good reputation, as does the Toyo Open Country AT II. I don’t know much about the Perelli tyres unfortunately. I would say for good condition gravel roads it won’t make much difference.

    I would also consider swapping rims; see what other smaller rims will fit (depending on brake size usually) and you may find you can run a more common tyre size.

    As long as you have a puncture kit, you don’t let your tyres get too warm and drive to the conditions you won’t have an issue. Do you have a full size spare?

    Keep enjoying this magic country

  46. Bruce Padget says:

    Hi Aaron. You have so much info, thanks, its been great reading. I have a Freelander 2 2009 with 235 55 R19 105v. Perelli SCORPION VERDE™ ALL SEASON tyres. 80% Road 20% off road. I have so far been adjusting my tyre pressure, no punctures to date, if I feel it’s not safe I turn back. I have just found 235 55 r19 105H General GRABBER AT3 that are 50% road and 50% off Road. The speed rating is lower. I will check with my Insurance Co to see if I am covered as well as with the road authority, your advise is excellent, I would not have thought to check that. I would like your thoughts about changing to the Grabber At3. I would say I am doing 70% Road / 30 off road. That’s mainly graded dirt roads 80% and 15% tracks and 5% sand / mud / snow. I carry only one spare and a puncture kit plus a small recovery kit. Thanks to you I am heading off to check about recovery points and to get a recovery hitch for the tow bar. I am not yet into full off road as you are, one step at a time, my main concern is punctures when heading from lake Eire to Cameron’s corner. I have driven the unidatta track with the perrille’s. (No issue) I would have my pressure around 25 to 30psi. I just can not make up my mind to go for the Grabber over the perrelli and could do with your thoughts. Plus most of my travel is as a single. I do carry a Spot Gen 3 tracker for emergency notifications/ request for assistance and family can see my location and movements in real time as well as the CB radio. O and I do have a fold up shovel, I am now going out to buy a full length shovel. Lol.
    So thanks for every thing, a great read, full of info. I look forward to reading your thoughts.
    Cheers Bruce

  47. Hey Sam,

    Great. You are most welcome.

    You are allowed to go 50mm diameter bigger with your tyres from the largest tyre size in your model range, providing the changes between the models are only cosmetic – nothing changing with the brakes, suspension, driveline, etc.

    Remember that the vehicle only goes up by half of the diameter increase; its only going up by the change in radius, not the change in diameter. 2 inch bigger tyres will lift the vehicle 1 inch.

    You can increase your wheel track by up to 50mm, providing your tyres are completely covered; so flares might have to be the go.

    Confirm the exact tyre sizes across the models, keep a copy of the tyre sizes run on the different hilux’s, use the online tyre size calculator to make sure you are on the money and then if you are still happy, get the tyres fitted.

    As long as you are within the bounds of the law the insurance can’t do anything. The police can give you a hard time, and could give you a yellow sticker (but they can to any vehicle on the road, even with engineering certificates). Unfortunately there is sometimes a gap between what the police know and whether you deserve a sticker or not.

    Enjoy mate

  48. Hi Aaron
    Great article, learnt heaps from this, just wondering if you can answer a question that has been playing in my mind.
    ive got a 2012 SR hilux and they come with 205R16 stock cheese cutters as above comments/queries. Think rolling diameter is around 28/29″? All i want to do is upgrade to Prado rims 17×7.5J 265/65/17 @ 31″ high (which in fact is the same spec as the same model SR5 Hilux rims, but just slightly different offset +-5, ill just need flares for this). Is this considered an increase of 2″ lift? or is it just still considered standard to SR5’s spec? my SR hilux obviously has the 205R16 tyre placard in the door jam area…
    what are your thoughts? what will coppers and insurance companies think of this when they see my placard compared to my wheels?

  49. Hi Peter.

    If they are more than 50mm larger than your stock tyres I wouldn’t run them purely for legality and insurance reasons,let alone the other downsides mentioned in the article


  50. Hi,
    I own a 2017 Toyota hilux which is currently standard and I was wanting to fit 285/65/18 BF goodridge tyres. I have been told these tyres will fit without issues what are your thoughts

  51. Brian Devlin says:

    Thanks for being honest made me rethink my whole setup

  52. Hi Dejan,

    No such thing as a stupid question. I can’t comment on laws in Queensland – I’m not familiar. Look on your local vehicle authority page to find out what the regulations are. As for the tyres, you can put your tyre sizes into an online tyre calculator which will tell you the difference in size. Looking online, its only about 27mm bigger in diameter, so it won’t change that much. Everything will change by about 3.5%


  53. This is probably the stupidest question you ever been asked but iam new to 4wdrivin etc.
    I purchased a brand new vw amarok with 245/70r16 tyres with 16×6.5inch rims. I want to put 265/65r17 all terrain tyres with 17×8inch rims. Will this modification be illegal in Qld and how will this affect my fuel, speedometer etc.
    I would really like your input on this PLEASE.
    Iam mostly gonna do brisbane/city driving but would like to take it offroad nothing serious tho obviesly.
    Thank you 🙂

  54. Hey mate,

    You wouldn’t be the first person to consider doing that. I don’t know how much of an affect it would make on capability, but it would give you better fuel economy. I guess those tyres are much less common as well though, so if you had to replace one in the bush you might have issues.


  55. Dizzletrek says:

    I’ve also got an 80 with 285/75/16 tyres. I’m seriously considering though a switch to 255/85/16 as I’d prefer narrower tyres but to keep the height.

  56. Hey Andrew,

    Great to hear. The 2.8 Hilux’s are fantastic vehicles; light weight, nimble and economical. I had a 22R one and was amazed at where it would go too. Good to hear you are having fun with it!


  57. Andrew Railton says:

    Great article. Sage advice. I have a 1991 Hilux Dual Cab 2.8 diesel, which does have a 2 inch lift. This offers some fantastic approach and departure angles. As well as great clearance over very steep water bars. But I’ve essentially stuck with close to the original diameter tyres. I have upgraded from the factory skinny rims to a set of 225/75/16 BFG AT’s on sunraysia rims. This has widened the stance just slightly and improved the road cornering stability/confidence. Living in the Alps year round, this little vehicle has constantly amazed me with how well it managers the terrain. Many a time it has out performed specialist snow vehicles over snow covered roads and trails. in fact i goes a whole lot better in the snow with the BFG’s without chains than the skinnies did with chains. And in the summer months it handles all of the high country trails in a calm measured manner. And still get just a hair over 10 litres per 100k’s on the highway. And It still fits comfortably in to 2.1 meter basement carparks when i visit the city. However, it does struggle with automated parking station gates and some traffic lights. They just don’t sense the vehicle when I approach the gate/line, apparently because its too high.

  58. Hey mate,

    Yep, things are pretty strict over here, that’s for sure. It appears America has much more freedom to modify 4WD’s as well! In WA you can get up to 150mm lift with engineering, but that’s it.

    Ironically, you can bring a vehicle in from overseas for a trip in Australia and it can be wildly illegal; just has to pass basic roadworthy tests!


  59. Anonym Patriot says:

    Wow i thought only Norway was crazy when it came to tyre restrictions on vehicles, but we can actually get up to like 46″ tyres on legally if you put some work in to it and dig deep in to your pockets. Lifts arent a problem either as long as they are TÜV Approved (germans).

  60. It’s interesting to see the changes to 4WD Tracks; I’ve been going to places around Perth for many years now and plenty are vastly changed every time I go there. They tend to get worse over winter when things are very slippery, and then gradually recover in between. That said, tracks that do get hammered a lot eventually get to a point where you’d be hard pressed to drive them in anything but a seriously modified 4WD. Fortunately, some of these are graded and then the process begins again.

    You’ve got to respect the environment though!


  61. And there’s wheel size inflation. Popular tracks get rutted and so folks fit larger wheels. The tracks then get dug out deeper, and so on. Plus those with smaller wheels have to find an alternative route so you get a mess of braided tracks. No wonder the land managers resort to gates.

  62. Hi fellas,

    I have recently bought, a 2012 hilux ute, second hand. It has 31 inch wheels and is fitted those rims which are filled with holes and are not greatly appealing on the ute. Do you know where I could get the rims changed into the traditional hilux rims.


  63. The Outsider says:

    I own a Hilux DC the same type as yours. Are you sure your tyres are 205/70/15? That is way smaller than the standard size. I have 265/75/15 on mine and it works fine.

  64. TheSkeptic says:

    The other option is to replace my Running Boards some Rock Sliders, that way I’ve at least got some under body protection.

  65. Hey mate,

    Yep, its always a compromise. Why not wait until your tyres are worn out? Have a look on newhilux – maybe you can fit one size up without touching the suspension at all?


  66. TheSkeptic says:

    Thanks for the reply, it’s mainly my ramp over angle giving me issues. Tyres aren’t exactly cheap so I’m concerned that it won’t make a big enough difference

  67. Hey mate,

    Tyres will lift everything – your differential, chassis and body off the ground. However, only by the increase in radius. 2 inch bigger tyres means you only get 1 inch of clearance. Usually in order to fit bigger tyres (more than 1 size up) you need to have suspension modifications, unless you look at chopping the guards. What scrapes on the rear? Have you got a nice rear bar that improves your departure angle and takes the hit?


  68. TheSkeptic says:

    I’ve got a 07 hilux double cab and in desperate need of ground clearance, my long wheel base means my underside is always scraping over steep acute Hills, ledges and steps… Most agrivating, dnt really want to fiddle my suspension so I’m thinking of bigger/wheels tyres. I’m currently running 205/70R15 ATs is tyers gna make any worth while difference in hight

  69. Hey Chris,

    For most people, getting bang for your buck is very important. A lot of people don’t have the money to buy both lockers and clearance, and if you can get away with only doing one, why bother doing both? It makes sense to pick the best option, which is exactly why I compared them.

    I’d get lockers any day over a lift kit.


  70. Chris BSomething says:

    Why compare lockers with clearance? Lockers won’t give you more clearance, and more clearance won’t give you more traction.

  71. I can’t tell you for sure whether it would rub or not, but you’d be best to see if you can find someone who has installed 33’s. There must be a few forums around?

    Alternatively, the most likely place for them to scrub is on the front guard, right where your feet would sit in the front two seats. If you turn your steering to full lock, you can measure the gap between the rear of the front tyre and your guard. From there, imagine the tyres sticking out an extra inch. Would it rub?


  72. Kiddomike says:

    This is very informative especially to me, a newbie driver to off-roading. I guess I have to try out my vehicle’s capability and stick to 31″ tires. I decided to go with the same size as the tires that came with my FJ Cruiser but a little bit more aggressive. Then see from there if I need more upgrades.

    If I do go up from 31″ to 33″ tires, will it scrub against the fenders of my FJ? I’m very hesitant putting a lift kit on my FJ.

  73. beachbum62 says:

    Hi Aaron

    Interesting, I will measure it and let you know what the outcome is, did you get the info from the department of transport ?


  74. Hi Wayne,

    If I am right, the tyres you are fitting are 26mm bigger in diameter, which means your vehicle will go up 13mm (half of the diameter) as well as the 50mm lift. A total of 63mm, which would be over the maximum limit. You can only raise the roof height of your vehicle by 50mm, which your lift is doing.

    I would measure the vehicle and see how much it actually goes up by, and see how you go.


  75. beachbum62 says:

    Hi mate, I have just bought this Hilux back from Melb and will be installing the new ARB BP-51 shocks and springs this will give me a 50mm lift and the SR5 wheels are 17’s now so I am putting all terrains on, at the moment it has 265-65-r17’s and I am going to 265-70-r17’s , going by your thread on here i will be at the maximum legal limit, is this correct.

    Cheers Wayne