We get it – you want your ride to look slick. Lowering your suspension, getting flashy rims, stretching your tires – they can all make your whip stand out. But modding your car isn’t just about aesthetics. If you’re not careful, aggressive customization can lead to some unintended consequences – like finding your rims protruding past your tires.
You’ve probably seen cars on the road where the rims seem to poke out. Heck, it might have even happened to you. When this occurs, it’s usually the result of one of three things: lowering your suspension, installing rims with an aggressive offset, or mismatching tires to rims. If you suddenly notice your rims extending beyond your tires, don’t panic. Here’s what you need to know to ride safely.
Here’s a quick answer:
Rims sticking out dangerously beyond tires, called wheel poke, can result from lowered suspension or overly aggressive wheels and often compromises vehicle safety. Address poke by visually inspecting components for damage, considering recent modifications made, adjusting parts causing issues, and promptly fixing problems. You may need different wheels, adjusted coilovers, or wider tires. If handling or drivability is impacted, don’t drive the vehicle and call a professional mechanic immediately.
Why “Poked” Rims Can Be Risky
We know, the stance scene is cool and all. But safety should be your number one priority when modding your whip. When your rims protrude substantially past your tires, it’s called wheel poke. Excessive wheel poke comes with some potential risks:
- Increased chance of blowouts or punctures. With less tire protecting that shiny rim, road debris can more easily damage your tires. No bueno.
- Potential for rubbing and body damage. If your tires are extremely stretched and rims are poking, they could rub against chassis components when turning. Not good for handling or your paint job.
- Compromised handling and control. Too much poke alters your suspension geometry, which can really mess with steering, braking, weight transfer and overall control. Scary stuff.
So if you suddenly notice some unintended poke happening, you’ll want to sort it ASAP. Here’s what to do.
Inspect Your Wheels and Suspension
First things first – pop your hood and visually inspect the situation. Crouch down and eyeball the space between your front tires and fenders. Compare each side. Use a ruler if you need an exact measurement.
- Is one side poking out substantially more than the other? This could signal a bent component or improperly installed lift kit.
- Do the tires look overly stretched on the rims? They may be too narrow for those big wheels.
- Can you spot any rubbing, scuffs or cracks in components? That’s no good.
Use all your senses during the inspection too. Listen for any odd rubbing noises when turning the wheel left and right. Feeling any clunks or vibrations through the steering wheel? Pay attention and make note of anything concerning. Knowledge is power when diagnosing car issues.
Consider What’s Changed Recently
Wheel poke rarely appears out of thin air. Think back – have you made any tweaks or upgrades recently that may contribute to the issue?
- Did you install lower or stiffer suspension components? Upgraded sway bars, coilovers, and lowering kits can all increase poke.
- Are those flashy new rims significantly wider or do they have a more aggressive offset? That’ll do it.
- Did you just mount some new tires? If they’re too narrow for your rims, wheel poke can result.
If anything is new, consider removing or adjusting it to see if poke improves. Worst case you may need to reinstall suspension components, get different rims, or mount more appropriately sized tires.
Address Any Safety Issues ASAP
Notice any cracked or cut tires? Hear rubbing when the wheels are turned? Feel a noticeable loss of control? If your wheel poke is negatively impacting safety or drivability, stop driving the vehicle immediately. Call a tow to your trusted mechanic for further diagnosis.
Attempting to drive a severely compromised vehicle can be extremely dangerous. Have it thoroughly inspected by a professional and follow their service recommendations diligently. This may save you a costly repair down the road.
Adjust Components Causing Poke
If your car feels safe to operate but still exhibits some unintended poke, you likely just need minor tweaks. As poke generally results from changes to wheels, tires or suspension, adjusting those components can help.
- For lowered vehicles, install shorter springs or shocks/struts to raise it up a bit.
- Those flashy rims poking out? Try wheels with less aggressive offset.
- Narrow tires stretched over rims? Mount wider rubber with shorter sidewalls.
Adjusting stance mods requires patience and an iterative approach. Make small changes at a time until you achieve the desired fitment with minimal poke. And remember – stay within manufacturer recommendations for wheel and tire sizes to maintain safety.
When To Call In A Pro
Advanced suspension mods and wheel upgrades often require special tools and expertise. If your mechanical skills are limited, don’t hesitate to recruit a professional for installation and adjustment.
The cost of paying an experienced mechanic is trivial compared to the expense and danger of damaged components or a wrecked vehicle. Pony up the cash to have it done right.
|Type of Shop
|When To Call Them
|Any handling issues arise
|Tires appear damaged/unsafe
|Major suspension/wheel changes needed
|Vehicle drivability compromised
We get the desire to tweak your ride. Lowering and flashy rims make a statement. But safety must come first when modifying your vehicle’s stance. If you lower it, pay attention to resulting changes in fitment. Notice any sudden wheel poke? Address it promptly. Prioritize function over form to keep your ride looking slick while retaining responsible handling. We wish you many happy and safe miles in your head-turning hot rod!
What are the main causes of rims sticking out of tires?
The three main causes are lowered suspension, wheels with an aggressive offset, and using tires that are too narrow for the rims. These all change the fitment between the tires and wheel wells, often pushing the rims outward.
Is it illegal to drive with rims poking out of tires?
In most places, yes. Protruding rims that extend dangerously beyond the tires are not street legal and you can be ticketed for this violation due to safety concerns. Always check your local regulations.
Can small amounts of wheel poke be safe?
A little bit of visible rim may be aesthetically desirable without necessarily compromising safety. However, if the tires look overly stretched or the suspension geometry seems altered, it’s best to address fitment issues promptly. Only minor poke within safety guidelines is acceptable.
How can I fix rims extending past tires if lowering the car caused it?
Install shorter springs or shocks/struts to subtly raise the vehicle height, use wheels with a less aggressive offset, or mount wider tires to minimize stretch. Make incremental changes until optimal fitment is achieved without lowering capability too much.
When should I take my car with poking rims to a professional?
If you notice any loss of safety or control, damaged components like tires or body panels, or are unsure how to properly adjust modifications causing excessive poke, recruit a qualified mechanic right away. Don’t attempt to drive compromised vehicles.