Tire Size 255/65r17 vs 265/70r17

The main difference between 255/65R17 and 265/70R17 tires is the overall diameter. The 265/70R17 tire has a diameter 1.56 inches (5.2%) larger than the 255/65R17. This impacts ground clearance, speedometer accuracy, aesthetics, and other performance areas.

Tire 1 Front View
Tire 2 Front View
Tire 1 Side View
Tire 1 Wheel
circumference 1
Tire 2 Side View
Tire 2 Wheel
/ R
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Parameter235/35 R18205/40 R18Differ.
Tire Height
Section Width
Sidewall Height
Rim Size


Fitment Guide

Replacement tires should be within 3% of the original tire’s diameter to prevent clearance or speedometer issues. The 265/70R17 diameter is 5.2% larger, exceeding the 3% limit.

So, mounting 265/70R17 tires on a vehicle originally equipped with 255/65R17 tires would likely require adaptations like a lift kit to accommodate the larger size.

Gas Mileage

The 255/65R17 tire’s smaller size gives it slightly better fuel efficiency than the 265/70R17. With lower rolling resistance and rotational mass, the 255/65R17 maximizes mpg, saving money on gas.

Less rubber also means less weight, reducing the engine’s workload. For commuters or frequent travelers, opting for the more efficient 255/65R17 pays off.

Ground Clearance

At 1.56 inches taller overall, the 265/70R17 tire size provides increased ground clearance for off-road driving versus the shorter 255/65R17 tire.

The extra clearance helps prevent damage from obstacles or rough terrain by allowing more space beneath the vehicle body and crucial components.

However, the 265/70R17 larger diameter also causes a lower speedometer reading compared to the actual vehicle speed.

Ride Comfort

While the 255/65R17 offers a smooth highway ride, the 265/70R17 additional sidewall height provides superior impact absorption.

With almost 20% more sidewall flex, the 265/70R17 tire soaks up bumps, cracks, and potholes – leading to a more comfortable ride overall, especially on rough roads.


The 255/65R17 shorter sidewall suits lowered cars aesthetically with its barely “stretched” look. In contrast, the taller 265/70R17 sidewall appears slightly more filled out.

While subtle, this can complement trucks and SUVs by avoiding an overly low-profile appearance in favor of a more rugged stance.

Handling & Stability

With less flex in the sidewall, the 255/65R17 tire reacts quicker to steering inputs, providing sharper handling and responsiveness on the pavement.

Although well-matched on the tarmac, the 255/65R17 loses some stability during aggressive off-road driving, whereas the 265/70R17 extra sidewall enhances control on loose terrain.

Noise & Vibration

The flexible sidewall of the 265/70R17 dampens noise and vibrations well, leading to a smoother and quieter ride.

In contrast, road irregularities and impacts transmit more harshly through the tauter 255/65R17 sidewall into the cabin as noise and vibration. However, both tires perform similarly at high speeds on very even roads.

Durability & Wear

The shorter, more responsive 255/65R17 tire could potentially exhibit more even tread wear over time versus the taller 265/70R17.

With less weight to lug around, the 255/65R17 also minimizes strain on suspension and drivetrain components – conferring long-term durability benefits as well.

Adverse Conditions

Both tires are well-equipped to handle themselves in rain, snow, and off-road situations. The narrower 255/65R17 has a slight advantage in navigating through deep snow by cutting down to pavement more easily.

And the 265/70R17 extra clearance helps avoid bottoming out over obstacles. But overall, performance differences are minor across various conditions.

Speedometer Difference

Due to its larger diameter, the 265/70R17 tire causes the speedometer to under-read compared to actual vehicle speed.

At 20 mph true speed with 255/65R17 tires, the speedometer would read 20 mph. But with 265/70R17 tires, the speedometer would read 21.03 mph at that same 20 mph actual speed since the larger tires cover more ground per revolution.

How Tall is a 255/65r17 inch Tire?

The 255/65R17 tire has an approximate height, also known as the overall diameter, of 30.1 inches or 764 mm.

255/65r17 vs 265/70r17

Can I use 255/65r17 instead of 265/70r17?

The overall diameter difference between 265/70R17 and 255/65R17 tires is 1.56 inches, which equals 5.2%. Since this exceeds the 3% overall diameter difference recommendation for direct replacement tires, switching directly from 265/70R17 to 255/65R17 tires could cause clearance issues.

However, with some additional adaptations made to the vehicle, like a suspension lift kit to provide extra clearance, plus speedometer recalibration to account for the smaller diameter, it may be possible to go down to the 255/65R17 size.

You would also need to verify that the 255/65R17 you select has an equivalent or more excellent load rating than your original 265/70R17 tires to carry the vehicle’s weight properly.

By making these allowances for diameter, clearance, speedometer accuracy, and weight rating, the 255/65R17 size can stand in for 265/70R17 tires.

265/70r17 vs 255/65r17

To provide a quick and easy understanding of the differences, the following table is available for comparison.

Our Observation
Based on the minor differences between these two tire sizes, the 255/65R17 is better suited for vehicles focused on fuel efficiency, handling, and a street performance-oriented ride.

The 265/70R17 is ideal for vehicles requiring extra ground clearance and a smoother ride over rough terrain, thanks to its taller sidewall and more excellent impact absorption.

For most drivers’ needs, we recommend the more well-rounded 255/65R17 as the best overall choice, offering responsive handling and lower rolling resistance for city and highway driving.

The 265/70R17 appeals more to off-road enthusiasts or anyone prioritizing ride comfort on uneven surfaces.

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