245 Vs 265 Tires: How Does Width Affect Your Driving?


Look at the sidewall of your tire! You should see letters and numbers such as P245/45ZR17, P265/75R16, or the like which indicate the specific size and type of the tire and give you an idea about its performance. The three digits here indicate the width of the tire from one sidewall to another. So, whether your tire says 245 or 265, it is the width in millimeters.

The question is if it is just the width that explains the debate “245 vs 265 Tires”. Isn’t there anything else to it? Yes, this 20 millimeters in width makes a significant difference in the overall size of the tires which account for the handling, speed, and fuel economy of the vehicles. Here is a quick overview.

245 mm Tire

265 mm Tire

Better traction in winter and snowy conditionsBetter traction on dry and wet roads
Greater driving comfortBetter grip at corners and turns
Lower noise levelLess noticeable impacts from small obstacles
Lower rolling resistance for fuel efficiencyShorter stopping distance for enhanced safety
More affordableBetter aesthetics

The above comparison may not seem sufficient for everyone. Each of these findings has been elucidated in this article, so you can find something to act on.

How Do 245 and 265 Impact the Other Specs of the Tire?

Here is a table to show how width is associated with some other sizing factors. We’re taking 245/75R16 and 265/75R16 for comparison. Both of these sizes are suitable for passenger vehicles and light trucks.

Measurements (mm)245/75R16265/75R16Difference
Diameter773.9803.930 (3.9%)
Circumference2431.282525.5394.25 (3.9%)
Sidewall Height183.75198.7515 (8.2%)

For most drivers, these calculations don’t mean much. But the revolutions per mile should not be taken for granted. A tire revolves a certain number of times as it covers one mile.

In the light of the assumed tire sizes, the revolutions per mile can be 411.31 for a 245 tire and 395.96 for a 265 variant. Let’s get some useful insights in the form of a down-to-earth contrast.

Factors to Consider

As much as both tires are usable, they have their limitations too. You’ll know exactly which factors are affected by the width of a tire.

Driving Conditions and Traction

Both tire sizes ensure traction except only in a different way. With higher contact pressure per square inch than 265 tires, 245 tires make it easy for you to drive through puddles by moving the liquid out of the way. These narrower versions perform well on snowy tracks as they provide greater traction by using more pressure to dig deeper into the loose slush and snow.

A 265 tire has a broader contact area and more sipes (grooves) than its 245 variant, which make it more reliable on wet roads as the grooves trap and remove the water from the surface. On dry roads or streets with asphalt, the broader contact surface provides better grip and hence more traction.

That said, the wider of the two sizes may not provide better traction unless it is chosen with respect to the suspension of a vehicle. Should you go for the wider tire, you need to modify the suspension accordingly. Otherwise, the tire will cause more harm than good by making the vehicle harder to handle.

Comfort and Braking Distance

Your driving comfort depends much on the volume of air that fits in a tire. A 265 tire requires a larger rim diameter (as you’ve seen on the table) than a 245 tire does. The volume of air is smaller in this case. A 245 high-profile tire has more space for the air in it than a 265 low-profile tire. So, the narrower one becomes softer than the wider one and brings driving comfort.

However, a wider tire lets you turn with a better grip than a narrower one. It certainly counts as a brighter side. Moreover, you won’t feel much impact from small holes.

Another parameter that clarifies the distinction between the two tires is the braking distance. Your vehicle covers a certain distance before it stops moving completely even after you’ve applied the brakes. That distance becomes shorter with a 265 tire than with a 245 tire.

It is a huge advantage as far as safety is concerned because a shorter stopping distance reduces the likelihood of nose-to-tail clashes or hitting obstacles.

Rolling Resistance and Fuel Consumption

Vehicle tires require energy to maintain their movement over any ideal surface at a consistent speed, and the vehicle has to send that energy which is known as rolling resistance. So, it is the effort of your car to keep its tires rolling.

Switching from a 245 tire to a 265 will result in increased rolling resistance which adds up to fuel consumption. Also, the wider one causes the vehicle to produce more friction and require more fuel. The cost should simply go up. But these two factors are too few to be enough for such a conclusion.

Cost

A 245 mm tire with a high profile usually costs lower than a 265 mm one with a low profile because narrower versions with high profiles are more popular and produced in larger numbers than the wider ones with low profiles.

Noise Levels

If the factory width is 245 mm, and you are interested in using a 265 mm tire, you’ll notice a minor change in the shock absorption which decreases due to a shorter sidewall. Consequently, you’ll experience higher noise levels.

Final Thoughts

The above discussion may be convincing enough to make you think about replacing the original 245mm with a 265mm tire. You might even have heard that wider tires have something to do with the speed of a vehicle. In practice, it is not true.

Although it is not wrong to mount a 265 tire, you should pick the same or slightly smaller exterior diameter. Make sure that the load and speed indexes of the new tire are equal to/greater than those of the existing tire. Thus, you can enjoy all the perks of having a wider tire.

Please let us know if you want to ask us anything else about these tire sizes. Safe driving!

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