With the Ford F-150 being the highest selling truck in the galaxy, you are bound to see quite a few of them on the road. If you are focused on looks, customization is key to making any vehicle yours, and the easiest way to do that with any vehicle is with wheels.
Along with that customization, you may have a specific terrain you drive on frequently. For that, tires will make a world of difference on the pavement, in the rain or snow, or in the great outdoors.
How do you know which wheels and tires are for you? While there are practically limitless combinations, I’m going to give you a few choices to get you started based on what’s popular on the market right now. Let’s get started with the ultimate F-150 wheel and tire guide!
Stock F-150 Wheel Sizes
Ford has come out with different sized wheels over the years, but from 2004 and on, you’re going to find a stock wheel size of 17x7.5. When it comes to tires, different size tires can fit on stock wheels, but it’s best to check your manual to see what size you should have. I’ll get into why that’s important in a second.
It is important to note that different trim level F-150s can come with different sized wheels, but the base will be the 17s. As mentioned, you always want to check your manual.
F-150 Lug Patterns and Offset
Your lug pattern is important to know when considering wheels. There are a couple of different ones. Again, it is always best to check your manual. To make things a little less messy, here is a chart! I will cover what offset means in more detail later in this article.
This is the amount of torque the lug nuts are supposed to have on them to keep the wheels nice and secure! Too tight can lead to damage or you never getting them off, and too little could lead to you losing a lug nut or maybe even a whole wheel! Your manual will tell you that 150 foot pounds is the right number.
PROBLEMS WITH BIGGER TIRES
Let’s face it: bigger tires on a truck just look better. Ford does leave us some room to put bigger tires on our F-150s, but just how big is too big? Beyond just having the tires rub and not fit, there are a number of other problems you could face with bigger tires.
The speed and mileage of your vehicle is calculated by the number of rotations your tire makes. All of this is based upon factory specs. If you intend on going larger, your speedometer and odometer will no longer be accurate.
Let’s have an example: your 2018 F-150 has stock tires that are 265/70R17, but you put the platinum wheels and tires on, upgrading you to 275/55R20s instead. Your speedometer will read 50 MPH, but you’re actually going 50.48 MPH.
While that may not seem like such a big issue, that will add up over time if you drive your truck quite a bit. If your tires are larger and thicker, the change is even more drastic. Let’s not forget that some police officers may be looking for just that little bit over! You can solve all this by getting your F-150 reprogrammed for the new tire size.
A more noticeable issue with larger tires is a loss of power. When you increase the diameter of your wheel, you effectively decrease your rear axle ratio. This will cause a reduction of torque upon acceleration.
How Big Can You Go?
While bigger may be better, unfortunately the sky is not the limit in this case. Everything on our F-150s is made to fit well from the factory. Eventually you will have to lift, change wheels, or trim away parts of your truck to get things fitting.
Crash bars play a big part of how big of a tire you can have in the F-150 as well. For Ford to get a better safety rating, Ford placed “crash bars” in some of the trim levels (mainly the crew cabs). These sit behind the front bumper, and in front of the front tires. Unfortunately these cause issues with bigger tires, as they cause rubbing. They can be removed, but they need to be cut. Keep in mind that doing so will reduce how safe your F-150 will be in a crash.
Legal Note: If your wheels and tires are wide enough to where they extend beyond the body of your truck, you may have to buy fender flares to cover the excess protrusion. Some states in the US require wheels to be covered. Check with your state laws to be on the safe side.
If you lift your truck, you can get away with bigger tires, but here is a chart that shows you the biggest tires you can have on your F-150 without modifying your suspension or crash bars.
POPULAR F-150 TIRE OPTIONS
There are an insane amount of options to choose from when it comes to wheels and tires. Tires are a bit more “need focused.” Choosing a tire comes down to some factors such as cost, use, and availability. Let’s go over some popular options that F-150 users like.
Michelin Defender LTX M/S
If you find yourself driving in all types of conditions, if you have all of the seasons, and if you want a tire that can tackle it all, the Defender series by Michelin is a great all around tire. The guys on the F-150 forums love them. They are quiet and long lasting. They are not designed for off-roading, so don’t expect to be crawling up a mountain with these. You can pick them up for about $170 each.
The K02 is a staple when it comes to truck tires, and for good reason. These are an all-around good tire that can handle almost anything, and they are long lasting. They are extremely popular options for not just the F150, but for so many trucks. The tread is more on the aggressive side, so they won’t be silent on the highway, but can allow you to tackle plenty of environments and conditions. You can find them for around $200 per tire.
Pirelli Scorpion ATR
If you are doing mostly highway driving, these tires would be a good choice. They are designed to give superior traction on pavement while providing a very quiet ride. Reports are that they are good in the rain as well, but not the best for off-roading, which is normal for a highway tire. These are around $250 each.
Nitto Grappler Series
This isn’t one tire exactly, but the family of Nitto Grappler tires is very popular with the off-roading community. They have multiple different tread patterns designed to meet any terrain you can think of. They are around $200 per tire, but they give great results.
There are tons of options. It all depends on budget and taste. If you can lift your truck, you have more options. If you can get new wheels, you have more options. As long as you keep in mind the speedometer and odometer changes, as well as potential rubbing issues if you go too big, then you'll be fine.
This has been mentioned a couple times, and it has probably come up in your research. So, what is it? Wheel offset is the distance from the wheel hub mounting surface to the centerline of the wheel. There are three types, and they are measured in millimeters.
- Zero Offset: The mounting surface is even with the centerline of the wheel
- Positive Offset: The mounting surface is located in the front half of the wheel closer to the wheel face.
- Negative Offset: The mounting surface is located in the back half of the wheel closer to the back lip flange.
POPULAR F-150 WHEEL OPTIONS
Now, let’s talk about wheel options! This is definitely going to come down to personal taste. What looks good to you, might look terrible to the next person. However, here are some popular options that many F-150 owners like.
There’s little argument that the Raptor is one of the best looking F-150s you can get. There are plenty of things you can do to your F-150 to make it look like a Raptor, or to just give your basic F-150 a little extra style. Wheels are one of those things. There are different wheels depending on the generation, but a set of four will run you about $2,000.
Fuel makes quite a few different styles of wheels, and plenty of them look good on the F-150. If you’re looking for something sleek yet aggressive, the Warrior could be the perfect wheel for you. The 20 inch wheels feature a unique mesh-like spoke design with a black finish and milled windows. They are about $430 each.
When it comes to wheels, bronze wheels offer a modern and sporty look. ICON offers their “Compression” wheels in bronze with a modern flair. They are aggressive and mean business and offer a unique style to your F-150. At $330 each, they are not super expensive either, at least compared to the other on this list.
If you want a more inexpensive wheel, but don’t want to sacrifice quality of style, Pro Comp is a good solution. These 17 inch wheels give you a more classic look from back when “trucks were trucks,” but with a modern touch. They will only set you back about $190 per wheel. While not dirt cheap, that is still much less compared to the rest on this list.
In closing, there are a ton of options out there for you and your truck. Now that you have the knowledge, get out there and find what works for you and your budget!
Wheel & Tire Setup - Courtesy of F-150 Forum Kmann328
Raptor Wheels - Courtesy of Blue Oval Industries
Fuel Warrior Wheels - Courtesy of Wheels ASAP
ICON Compression Wheels - Courtesy of Stage3Motorsports
Pro Comp Bandido Wheels - Courtesy of F150 Forums user “ktexas04”