2019 Jimny wheel/tyre upgrade info
Factory the Australian JB74W 2019+ Jimny wears 195/80-15 highway terrain tyres on 5.5″ alloy wheels. While I quite liked the look of the wheels, it is advantageous to swap the wheels out for more offroad suitable wheels and tyres if you plan to really use the car.
- Stock tyres/27.5″ are pretty good – if you can’t afford to change them out then don’t, use them and see how you go!
- 215/75-15/28″ if you want better choice of allterrain tyres and/or don’t want to have fitment issues
- 235/75-15/29″ tyres if you’re willing to swap out wheels for wider ones, are willing to deal with higher fuel consumption & potentially deal with needing to cut away at some of the inner guards
- Larger than that you probably need to do your own research beyond this site!
- Some background info
- Legalities to consider
- Tyre size table
- Centering steel wheels
- Fitting factory rear centre caps to wheels with larger centre bores
- Painting ends of rear axles
- Tyre and wheel weights
Some background info on tyres, wheels and my choices
I’ve actually run two sets of aftermarket wheels/tyres on this car, along with the stock wheels and tyres. I first ran steel wheels in 15×6.0″, +3 offset with 215/75-15 BFGoodrich KO2 tyres and presently run alloy wheels in 16×6.0″, -5 offset with 205R16 Bridgestone Dueler D697 tyres.
There are benefits and drawbacks to all options for both tyres and wheels.
- Steel wheels are cheaper; alloy wheels are more expensive. I bough the steel wheels new for $75 a wheel; delivered the alloy wheels work out to be closer to $400 once shipping/taxes etc are taken into account.
- Alloy wheels are lighter; steel wheels are heavier. In this case it’s only a couple of kg, but if you went more expensive forged alloy wheels they would be lighter again. The factory wheels are also quite light, most aftermarket wheels including alloys are going to be heavier than them (but also likely stronger).
- These particular alloy wheels have exactly the right centre bore to use the hubcentric lip on the front hubs and can fit the rear caps; steel wheels need centering rings to do both of these things.
- Steel wheels are often more durable than alloy, and if you bend them you can straighten them on an outback highway a lot easier.
I stuck to a 6″ wide wheel as it will be lighter than going a wider wheel. You really only need 7″ wide if you’re going to go a fair bit bigger than a 235 wide tyre, but, to be fully legal you need a 6″ wide wheel to go bigger than a 215 section tyre, too.
If you are looking for wheels, you need to find something that is between +5 and -20 offset if you’re going for full legality in Australia. The closer you keep things to stock the easier it is to keep the car happy, too. Larger offset wheels put more strain on bearings and change the steering geometry. More on legalities in a bit.
You need a 5×139.7 pitch circle (PCD), and if you want to easily retain the centre caps for the rear you need a 108mm centre bore. I discuss below how to fit the centre caps with wheels with a larger centre bore, which most steel wheels have. It’s not a dealbreaker but it’s something to consider.
I didn’t need to go a larger wheel for the 215s but I did it partly for the aesthetics, partly for the extra durability of steel wheels, and partly to try them out. I could have kept these and swapped to a larger 15″ tyre but I wanted to trial skinnier taller tyres so got the 16″ alloys as this opens up the possibility of those sizes.
The wheels I went for with the steel wheels were genuine Dynamic wheels in the classic Sunraysia style and the alloy wheels are the High Peak J-01 wheels from JimnyStyle in the UK.
- Some people don’t like KO2s but I found them to be really good: they wore well, they weren’t that much worse in the wet than the stock tyres (and I drove them back to back!) and they are exceptionally good offroad for an allterrain tyre.
- The D697s despite being a larger tyre are lighter than the KO2s and are significantly quieter and better for fuel efficiency. They also are pretty good offroad but I guarantee they won’t be as good in mud.
There are other tyre choices in both sizes I’ve gone, and you could definitely consider different sizes e.g. 235/75-15 (for 15″ wheels) or 235/70-15 (for 16″ wheels) are basically the same size as 205R16. Tyre size wise the easiest option is going to 215/75-15 tyres. These are a tiny bit taller than the factory ones but not enough that it’s noticeable (roughly a 1% change in speedometer reading). Given the error on the factory speedo calibration that’s perfectly acceptable. Note that although the speedo will now read ok, it means your odometer will underestimate how far you’ve travelled & your fuel economy will appear 5.5% worse. The odometer in modern cars is usually bang on, they just fudge the speedo to meet legal requirements.
A drawback to larger tyres is that have the potential to rub on things under the car. I cover this at the bottom of the legalities section.
Legalities to consider
There are some key legal considerations when swapping tyres. I can’t speak for every part of Australia let alone every part of the world, but here’s some key things.
On vehicles with ESP, many states allow for a maximum lift of 2″ via the suspension and 1″ via tyres. This implies an overall diameter change to the tyres of 50mm. The factory 195/80-15 tyres are 693mm in diameter, allowing you up to a 743 mm diameter tyre. Practically, a 235/75-15 is closest to this.
There is an additional component of fitment relating to fitting these tyres on a rim, which I’ll cover in a moment. Tyre calculators exist to make this easier to work out, but if you’re staying with the same rim diameter then you can compare the ‘lift’ simply by looking at the difference between old tyre width * old profile / 100 and new tyre width * new profile / 100.
As an example of working this out: the difference in height between stock tyres and 235/75 tyres are:
195 * (80/100) = 156 mm; 235 * (75/100) = 176mm
This gives a 20mm height increase (40 mm diameter change).
If you swap rims to a different diameter you also need to account for the rim diameter, though.
Some states have a maximum width requirement, too. For example, Western Australia enforces a maximum of 30% increase in tyre width compared to the maximum available tyre width. This would limit you to a 245 width tyre at most (1.3 * 195 = 254 mm – just one off a 255 section tyre!).
Load and speed ratings
These are often not considered by people but it can, especially speed rating, catch people out. Some mud terrain tyres can be very low speed rated which can impact legalities. The factory tyres are rated at ’96S’. 96 is the load rating (710 kg), S is the speed rating (180 km/h).
VSB14, section LS handles what you’re allowed to do with regards to tyres. Two key elements apply here:
- A vehicle designed for offroad use (an MC complianced vehicle) can reduce the speed rating down to a speed rating of N (140 km/h).
Thus you’re allowed any letter between N and S in the speed rating part of the tyre info.
- In addition, you can’t go to a lower load rating than specified on the tyre placard.
This limits you to tyres load rated to ’96’ or beyond.
Almost no tyre you’ll change to will be lower than this load rating, and generally it’ll be higher for the larger tyres, but it’s just something to look out for.
Tyre to rim fitment
This is the curly one that a lot of people don’t think of!
In Australia, tyres must fit to the rim according to ADR42, the General Safety Requirement for vehicles. According to this (ADR42, section 25.1), tyres must be a listed fitment to a rim combination in one of the following standards:
- Tyre and Rim Standards Manual, Tyre and Rim Association of Australia,
- the (US) Tire and Rim Association Inc. Year Book,
- the Japan Automobile Tire Manufacturers Association Year Book,
- the Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS-D4202) “Dimensions of Tires” and (JIS-D4218)
“Contours of Rims”; or,
- the European Tyre and Rim Technical Organisation (E.T.R.T.O.) Data Book.
Many of these aren’t easy to access for newbies, but here’s some key extracts from the ETRTO (which is the simplest one to find a copy of, surprisingly enough, and also the most permissive). I’ve cut down the table to relevant rim diameters and likely profiles (/80, /75 and /70, on 15 and 16″ rims) that most people will want for a Jimny, including some sizes that would be beyond legal just for reference.
|Tyres||Approved rim fitments|
|80 profile tyres|
|195/80 R 15||5J 5½J 6J 6½J|
|205/80 R 16 (205R16)||5J 5½J 6J 6½J 7J|
|215/80 R15, 16||5½J 6J 6½J 7J|
|235/80 R16||6J 6½J 7J 7½J 8J|
|75 profile tyres|
|205/75 R14, 15||5J 5½J 6J 6½J 7J|
|215/75 R14, 15, 16||5½J 6J 6½J 7J|
|225/75 R15, 16||6J 6½J 7J 7½J|
|235/75 R15, 16||6J 6½J 7J 7½J 8J|
|245/75 R16||6½J 7J 7½J 8J|
|255/75 R15||6J 6½J 7J 7½J 8J 8½J|
|70 profile tyres|
|205/70 R14, 15, 16||5J 5½J 6J 6½J 7J|
|215/70 R14, 15, 16||5½J 6J 6½J 7J|
|225/70 R14, 15, 16, 17||6J 6½J 7J 7½J|
|235/70 R15, 16, 17||6J 6½J 7J 7½J 8J|
|245/70 R15, 16||½J 7J 7½J 8J|
|255/70 R15, 16||6½J 7J 7½J 8J 8½J|
|265/70 R15, 16, 17||7J 7½J 8J 8½J 9J|
As you can see, a 225/ or 235/ tyre would need a minimum rim width of 6.00″. The Jimny’s wheel being 5.5″ wide limits you, in terms of full fitment legality, to a 215/ tyre. Some tyre places may well fit wider tyres to rims they aren’t a legitimate fitment, but this is why people might get away turning up with stock rims and wanting 235/75-15 tyres on them (the most common request).
Rim/tyre to car fitment
This mostly relates to changing rims, which as discussed is required to go beyond a 215 section tyre. Some key elements here are:
- You cannot decrease the track width of the vehicle; and,
- For an offroad vehicle (compliance MC, like the Jimny is), you cannot increase the track width by more than 50 mm.
- You can’t poke out past the wheel arches/flares
The track width for a vehicle is measured between the wheel centres, which is given by the offsets of the wheels. Note! Most people incorrectly assume the track width is the width of the outside of the wheels, but it isn’t, so wheel width doesn’t come into it. You simply need to look at the differences in offsets between old and new wheels to compare track width changes. It really is that simple!
As a practical example, swapping from the factory +5 offset wheels to some that are -12 is a 17mm increase in track width per side of the car (34 mm overall track width increase). So long as you restrict yourself to offsets between +5 and -20 you’re fine in terms of the track width.
Poke is harder to measure and provide numbers on, as I’ve never measured a stock car to work out how wide you can go etc. Unless you go an excessively wide wheel (e.g. an 8″ wheel) with a 235/75-15 tyre and maximum offset you’re probably ok. This does, however, also depend on where your panhard rods are and how centred your wheels are: you can potentially poke on one side but not the other if the axles aren’t centred in the chassis & you’re cutting it fine poke-wise.
Excessively large offsets are not great for wheel bearings, so I’d stick for something around 0 through to lightly positive. You also change the scrub radius of the suspension with big offset changes, so again keep it simple and close to stock for the happiest results, unless you’re ok dealing with the consequences of screwing with it too much.
This isn’t really a legality thing but I might as well bring it up, too, as it’s the elephant in the tyre fitment room.
Larger tyres run the risk of rubbing on various bits of the bodywork. For the JB74 basically noone has ever had a problem with 215/75-15 tyres. Larger tyres the reports vary and there’s probably a lot of reasons for that. A few considerations about rubbing.
First off, offsets can help or hinder you here. It depends where it’s rubbing. If it’s rubbing on the inside of an arch then going to a more negative offset will pull it away. If, however, it’s rubbing on the outside then bigger offsets will not help.
Secondly: tyres are not millimetre-perfect. One tyre brand in a particular size might not rub but another will because of the shape of the tyre, size of the knobs etc. In addition, tyres will vary according to the rim they’re on. On a narrower rim the tyre will be pushed out a bit larger, more likely to rub in terms of overall diameter but less in terms of width.
Although people talk about tyres fitting with a suspension lift, ultimately nearly all suspension lifts for the Jimny do not change the clearance between the bodywork and the wheels at full suspension compression. You might not rub onroad with a suspension lift with your given tyres, but offroad with the wheel fully tucked up into the arch you might suddenly get some rubbing. SUSPENSION LIFTS ALONE DO NOT FIT TYRES. If you extend bump stops you will make the fitment better, however, you’ve now limited the travel of the suspension which may not always be ideal.
Bodywork changes can also make things fit. People with bullbars report less rubbing in general as the bullbar fitment usually cuts away at part of the inner wheel arch. You can do this trimming even without fitting a bullbar, though. On the JB74 Jimny there’s only plastic to trim, it doesn’t require angle grinders and the like until you get to much larger tyre fitments.
Tyre size table
This is the table that hopefully sums up a lot of what I’ve mentioned above about legality and fitment and the like.
This table is designed so ‘larger’ tyres are to the right. It should give the info, at a glance, that are some of the key dimensions. Some of the alternative tyres for that size are not exactly the same size so don’t rely on this for millimeteric perfection. Where there are multiples that I’d class as basically the same size, the calculations have been done based on the first size listed.
|Inch size diameter||26.9″||27.3″||27.7″||28.5″||29.0″||30.0″||31.0″||33.0″|
|Usual sizes||215/70-15; 205/75-15||195/80-15||215/75-15||215/80-15; 225/75-15||235/75-15; 235/70-16; 205R16||30×9.5-15; 245/75-16||31×10.5-15||33×12.5-15; 33×10.5-15 also common|
|Recommended wheel width & permissable range (ETRTO and/or Aus standard)||6.5″ (5.5 – 7″)||5.5″ (5.0 – 6.5″)||6.0″ (5.5 – 7.0″)||6.0″ (5.5 – 7.0″)||6.5″ (6.0 – 8.0″)||7.5″ (6.5 – 8.5″)||8.0″ (7.0-9.0″)||9.0″ or 8.0″ (8-10″, or 7.0-9.0″)|
|Diameter difference (% to stock)||-1.5%||0%||1.4%||4.2%||5.5%||9%||11.9%||17.3%|
|Crawl speed km/h (idle @ 800 rpm, 1st gear low)|
|Revs @ 110 km/h (actual, top gear)|
|Available torque @ 90 km/h (top gear) Manual/Auto||104 Nm|
|Available torque @ 100 km/h (top gear)|
Manual / auto
|Axle height change (lift over stock)||-5 mm||0 mm||+5 mm||+16mm||+21mm||+34mm||+47mm||+72mm|
|Will they rub?||No||No||No||Probably not||Not always, especially with a bullbar||Yes||Yes||Absolutely yes|
Centering steel wheels
You see a lot of commentary that you can never get steel wheels balanced or centred correctly. One of the challenges on the Jimny is it has a very very very small centering ring on the front, designed for wheels with a centre bore of 108.0 mm. Most aftermarket wheels in 5×139.7mm stud pattern are for a more common 110.0 mm centre bore. Also note there is no centering at all on the back wheels, they are studcentric only.
The secret to getting things centered is to carefully tighten down the nuts, using the taper on the wheel nuts to centre the steel wheels. You should also do this on aluminium wheels, in fact, if you have aluminium wheels off centre e.g. on the back then you can ruin the taper in the wheels themselves.
Start by fitting the wheel up and hold it up just a bit off the studs. You’ll note it’s very much not centred by default with the studs way more to one side of the wheel holes to the others.
Start one wheel nut, and you’ll note how it touches more on one side of the wheel hole than the other. This will help get the first stud centred.
Once you get one nut sort of centred by hand, start an opposite nut; if you work back and forwards between a couple of opposing nuts and are careful you’ll get it all centred.
At that point tighten everything up to an appropriate torque. Remember to retorque the wheels after 100-200 km especially if they are new wheels when they will settle down a bit.
Fitting factory centre caps to aftermarket wheels
The other factor with aftermarket wheels having a larger centre bore than the Jimny runs is the factory centre caps for the wheels need some spacing. I used some plastic centering rings with to go from 108 to 110 mm and fitted them to the caps. This lets me run the factory caps in my wheels.
Painting the ends of your axles
If you’ve been driving around without the centre caps on the back for a while, or even in many cases if they are on, you might find your rear axle ends get a bit of surface rust on them.
This honestly looks worse than it is, it’s just very fine surface rust, but still a good idea to clean it up and treat it and stop it coming back.
A wire wheel is the best way to clean it up.
Then a bit of wax and grease remover and you’re good to go, after masking up the brake drum and other parts of the car to avoid overspray.
Use a good quality rust converter/treatment and then a rust preventing primer first for the best results here.
Then a nice top coat or two. I guess you could colourmatch this to your car if you were feeling fancy, but I went with plain ol’ black.
Peel back the masking tape, give a little clean out of the axle to drum interface with a thing like a sharp cutting blade, and you’re done.
I guess you could paint the drum too but I’ve found people end up with wheels that don’t sit straight when they do this.
The weight for the BFG KO2 215/75-15 and also the 15×6 steels wheels comes in at 24.9 kg (54.9 lbs). The internet seems to suggest about 14.2 kg (32.1 lb), so each steel wheel is 10.7 kg on top of this.
Standard wheels and highway terrain tyres come in at 17.4 kg. Harder to find a weight for the standard Bridgestone Dueler H/T tyres but relying on a random person on the internet it seems 9.8 kg might be the number (21.6 lb). That’s based on a call to Bridgestone Australia so I’ll go with that for the moment. Add a comment to this article if you have more info!
(kg, then lb)
(kg, then lb)
|Stock (17.4 kg)||7.6 (16.8)||9.8 (21.6)|
|Steel wheel setup setup (24.9 kg)|
steel 15×6″ + BFG KO2 215/75-15
[+3.1 kg, 40% heavier]
[+4.4 kg, 57% heavier]
|Alloy wheel setup (21.4 kg)|
alloy 16×6 + Bridgestone D697 205R16
|American Racing AR62 15×7 (alloy)||7.5 (16.5)|
[-0.1 kg, -1.3%]
|Rays ALap-J 16×6 (alloy)||4.8 (10.6)|
[-2.8 kg, 37% lighter]
|Apio WILDBOAR SR15 (15×6 -5; alloy)||~7.6 kg (~16.8)|
|EVOCorse DakarZero 15×7″ (specifies only a weight range)||8.8 to 9.5 kg (19.4 to 20.9 lb)|
[1.2 kg to 1.9 kg, 15-25% heavier]
|Toyo Open Country AT2 215/75-15||11.8 kg [+2 kg, 20% heavier]|
|Nankang FT-7 215/80-15||13.0 kg [+3.2 kg, 33% heavier]|