How do ATV tires sizes work?

That is the subject of Episode 1 of our “You Asked, We Answered” series. This series is designed to answer the Internet’s most commonly searched ATV and UTV questions.

We turned to resident ATV expert Rick Sosebee to explain exactly how ATV tires sizes work.

ATV tire sizes work in much the same way as automotive tire sizes. Each tire features three distinct numbers printed on the sidewall. It will look something like this: 27x11R 12.

The first number listed is the tire height. In our example, this would indicate a 27-inch tall tire. This number is the tire’s height when inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended PSI.

The second number is the tire’s width. In our example, this would be 11 inches. If there is a letter “R” after the second number, it is a radial tire. If there is no letter, it is a bias ply tire.

The third number printed on the tire is the rim diameter. In our example, this is 12 inches. This number comes from the diameter of the outside edge of the rim.

When it comes time to replace your ATV or UTV tires, it’s a good idea to keep the size fairly close to what came on the machine from the factory. A stock vehicle can handle one or maybe two tire sizes larger. The reason you don’t want to go bigger is that a larger tire puts more stress on the rest of the suspension and driveline. If you do want to go with a much larger tire, you will have to make changes to those areas of the machine to compensate for the added stress.

If you want to swap out your wheels with your tires, you need to play close attention to the bolt pattern of the wheels. There are many different bolt patterns available in ATV and UTV wheels, so you need to make sure you are buying wheels that will properly fit your machine.

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