So you just got some flashy new 17-inch rims for your ride. They look awesome behind those shiny wheels! But before you go cruising around town, it’s important to know what tire pressure to inflate them to for safety, performance, and extending the life of those pricey tires.
Here’s a quick summary:
The right tire pressure for 17″ rims typically ranges from 35-40 PSI when cold. However, it’s critical to check your vehicle owner’s manual or door jamb sticker for the exact recommended PSI, as pressure needs vary by specific tire size, vehicle weight, and other factors. Maintaining this proper inflation improves safety, handling, fuel efficiency, and tire tread life. Use a quality gauge and check tire pressure at least monthly, inflating back to ideal levels when low.
Checking the Recommended Tire Pressure
The specific PSI (pounds per square inch) setting for 17″ tires can vary depending on the vehicle make and model. So where do you find the correct figure? Start by checking two places:
- The vehicle owner’s manual – This will provide the manufacturer’s recommendation for tire pressure for the factory wheels and tires. Make sure to note if there are different settings for front and rear tires.
- The driver’s side door jamb – Look for a sticker inside the door jamb showing the factory-set pressure levels for the equipped tires. This sticker will also indicate if there are different pressures needed for front and rear axles.
With most passenger vehicles equipped from the factory with 15 or 16 inch wheels, installing 17″ aftermarket rims likely changes the pressures needed. We’ll go into more details on adjusting for different sized tires shortly.
The Importance of Proper Inflation
You might be wondering why it matters so much to inflate your tires to the specific PSI for those 17″ rollers. Well, maintaining the recommended pressure impacts three key areas:
- Prevents blowouts – Underinflated tires heat up more when rolling, increasing the chance of failure and sudden air loss.
- Improves handling and braking – Tires at their set pressures will have the appropriate grip and contact with the road.
- Lowers rolling resistance – The right inflation minimizes drag on the road, reducing fuel consumption.
- Even treadwear – Correct pressure allows for even distribution of weight as the tire rolls, lowering uneven treadwear.
So in summary, inflating to the vehicle’s specifications keeps you safe, saves fuel costs, and extends the lifespan of your expensive tires!
Adjusting for Aftermarket Wheel & Tire Size
Putting new 17” aftermarket wheels and tires on your ride will usually change the suspension geometry and tire circumferences. If you fail to account for these new variables by adjusting inflation pressure, it will throw off critical safety and handling characteristics.
Here is a general guide on how to alter pressures when upsizing your wheels and rubber:
- Start with OEM pressure baseline – Note the factory recommended pressure for your vehicle’s original tire size as the starting point. This can be found on the door jamb sticker or owner’s manual.
- Increase baseline pressure – For every 10% increase in section width of your new tires, add 2 PSI over the OEM baseline spec for both front and rear pressures.
- Check max pressure limit – Make sure the new calculated pressure does not exceed the max PSI limit molded into the tire sidewalls. This max inflation protects the structural integrity of the tires.
- Fine tune with test drive – Drive the vehicle carefully and assess handling, braking, ride quality. Fine tune your calculated pressure up or down as needed.
Following this process will give you a safer starting point when upsizing your wheels significantly compared to the stock setup. Getting the pressure dialed in perfectly may take some extended testing and adjustment.
Measure Cold Tire Pressure
It is crucial you are measuring tire pressure when the tires are cold, before they heat up from driving for accurate readings. Tires can see pressure spikes of +5 PSI or more after just a few miles of travel.
Follow this process for proper cold reading:
- Make sure vehicle has been parked for 3+ hours with tires covered and sheltered from sun
- Remove tire valve caps, clean area around valve stem on both sides
- Firmly press digital tire gauge straight onto valve stem, measure pressure
- Check pressure at base of valve stem where it meets the wheel
- Re-check all four tires following the same exact process
Following this method will give you consistent cold pressure readings from tire to tire for proper inflation.
Maintaining Correct Pressure Over Time
Once you have dialed-in the proper inflation level for your new 17” wheels and tires, be diligent in routinely checking pressure at least monthly. Tires naturally lose some air over time – about 1-2 PSI per month based on ambient weather conditions. Fix minor pressure drops promptly before they become bigger issues.
Always recheck pressures using the methods above on cold tires for the most consistent readings. Investing a few dollars in a quality digital tire gauge also makes this maintenance easier and more precise.
Stay proactive, re-measure monthly, and inflate back to optimum levels. Your ride, handling, safety and tread life will thank you!
Here is a handy table summarizing key pressure guidelines:
|Start with door jamb sticker/owner’s manual spec
|Adjust for Bigger Wheels
|For every 10% increase in tire width, add 2 PSI over baseline
|Maximum Pressure Limit
|Do not exceed max PSI molded into tire sidewall
|Always use cold tire reading after 3+ hour cool-down
|Re-check pressures monthly, inflate as needed
Properly inflating your new 17 inch rims and tires ensures ideal handling, safety, tread life and fuel mileage. Follow these guidelines for carefree cruising! Your ride will handle and look its best when pressures are set correctly.
How do I determine the correct tire pressure for new 17″ aftermarket wheels?
Refer to your vehicle owner’s manual or door jamb sticker for factory recommended pressure. Increase 2 PSI over baseline for every 10% upsize in new tire width, ensuring not to exceed tire max pressure molded on sidewall.
What is the ideal PSI range for most 17” tires?
Good rule of thumb is 35-40 PSI cold pressure for low profile 17” tires. Larger diameter wheels require higher inflation. Always confirm specific vehicle specification.
Why does my tire pressure warning light come on sometimes?
A: This is an indicator that one or more tires is underinflated by 25% or more below recommended PSI. This could set code light off after temperature drops.
How often should I check 17” tire pressure?
Check inflation at least monthly, more often with performance tires or towing. Tires lose ~1-2 PSI naturally per month. Inflate back to optimum cold PSI.
Can over or under-inflation damage 17” tires?
Yes. Over-inflation can lead to uneven treadwear and affects handling. Underinflation causes excess heat buildup in tires, increasing chances of failure or blowout.