Key Takeaways

  • Bigger tires can raise your truck a bit, but be careful of knowing how much ground clearance you actually have. The tire size is important to know for this purpose.
  • Installing larger wheels in addition to raising your truck with a lift kit can also provide the boost you are looking for in terms of height
  • Large tires do offer some advantages, including a higher ride height and in some cases, more traction though they do also impact the vehicle’s stability.
  • Larger tires and a lift will result in a drop in fuel efficiency, though most truck drivers see the benefits as outweighing this particular disadvantage
  • Modifications might be required to your vehicle in order to properly fit larger tires, which can include lifting the vehicle’s suspension.

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Truck owners often put bigger tires on to get through tough roads - and maybe for height. Do bigger tires raise my truck?

Technically, putting bigger wheels or tires can raise a truck and increase ground clearance. The advantage to putting bigger wheels on a truck is that they add some height without modifying the truck, though there are handling disadvantages.

We’ll explain what installing big tires on your truck does to the truck, how it handles and looks - and why you might consider a lift instead.

Table of Contents

Will bigger tires raise my truck?

Truck owners have a variety of good reasons for putting bigger tires on their trucks. Let’s review a couple of them

Ground clearance

How far is your truck off the ground? Truck tires are big, but some aren’t big enough to get you far enough off the ground. Ground clearance is a measurement of the lowest point on a truck where parts would otherwise start to bump and scrape the ground. Oversized tires give you the ability to add an inch or two of clearance from the ground, making it easy to drive over uneven terrain or even rocks that might otherwise be less than forgiving to the bottom of a truck. Tire size matters!

Do be a bit careful though. A 33” tire isn’t necessarily 3” taller than a 30” tire.  We are talking about wheel size hear, not tire size - which is the diagonal measurement of the inner wheel. The tread depth and sidewall height can change the true height of a tire. You may be better of learning the true height of a true by literally measuring it yourself or asking a service center or tire shop the true height so that you know how much ground clearance you actually gained. You don’t want to scrape up your muffler or get stuck on something because you have an inch or two less clearance than you thought!

Visual effect

Some truck drivers like the appearance of a taller truck. A slight raise in height can also make it easier for a taller person to get in. While we aren’t really about tall trucks - to each their own! It can look cool.


The ride height can matter for people who are either a little shorter or want to have a longer line of sight. One of the disadvantages in a smaller truck or car is the inability to see over traffic in front of you. A truck, especially a truck that is towing something, can be more safe if they can see just a little bit further and anticipate the need to brake or slow the vehicle down.

Bigger tires versus a lift

While we ask this question, it might be clear that you can readily have big wheels and a lift kit. In fact, in some cases, you are going to need to do a vehicle modification like a lift kit to fit larger tires on a vehicle.

A lift kit changes the suspension system itself and tends to raise it 2 inches or more. You get a more predetermined change to the increase clearance, though you can add tires so that to further improve height.

And yes, you can indeed have a lift without bigger tires, especially if you learn that you don’t like the way your vehicle drives with larger tires, though doing a lift kit installation is often done in an effort to use larger tires. It might be worth knowing that in some cases, doing a lift kit might void your warranty - if you still have one.

Ride quality and lift kits or bigger tires

Bigger tires themselves can result in low ride quality. Starting with big tires taking a longer time to complete a rotation, you’ll also feel the difference when the tires start to wear. The bigger the tire, the more uneven your wear is going to come. Uneven wear will gradually lead to tires rotating with different contact on the ground, which doesn’t exactly feel comfortable.

A lift kit also changes how the suspension works. The truck won’t handle as well, though to be fair, a person who needs a lift kit probably doesn’t care and considers the extra height to be more important.

Do I have to modify my vehicle for bigger tires?

You might. Some trucks will need to be re-geared for a lift or bigger tires in an effort to make the wheels turn at the right speed. In addition, wheel spacers might be needed to separate the wheel from the wheel well and suspension parts to avoid causing a rub that will work out the suspension, tire, and make for an uncomfortable ride.

You might also need to cut or modify the wheel well so that the tires do in fact fit the vehicle without excess rubbing. This can often done in your garage with a grinder tool though we certainly suggest looking up guides on how to do so safely and effectively.

Finally, you may have to change the gear ratio of the vehicle. The vehicle’s transmission will be used to turn at a certain speed to achieve the right gear and right actual speed. Adding larger tires can require re gearing, which is a process that isn’t all that difficult in your garage though you could certainly hire your local garage or mechanic to do it, and get it done right the first time.

Are there other downsides to putting big tires on a truck?

A vehicle with bigger tires and a lift kit doesn’t help vehicle stability and will cause lower fuel economy. The additional fuel needed to turn wider and heavier tires will have an impact on how much fuel you need - which for most truck drivers is just a fact of life and probably worth it. It’s not like truck drivers don’t know that SUVs and sedans get better mileage!

Is there a way to test if my truck needs modifications before installing larger tires?

Some service departments have a pretty good idea of what fits and what won’t. They may have compatibility charts for the purpose which are helpful to avoid having to move the tire into place to see if it will cause a problem while driving.

Will Bigger Tires Raise My Truck?

About The Author

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

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