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.
265/70r17 vs 255/65r17
To provide a quick and easy understanding of the differences, the following table is available for comparison.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Meet Caitlin McCormack, a Tire Size Expert and Blogger Passionate About Everything Related to Tires. With Years of Experience in the Tire Industry, Caitlin Has Become an Expert in Tire Sizes and Their Impact on Vehicle Performance.