The Chevy 1500 or Chevy Silverado truck was manufactured in 1998 by General Motors as a heavy-duty truck replacing the Chevy C/K series. Presently, they are four generations of the Chevy 1500, the latest being the 2018/2019 model.
There are several advantages of owning a truck and, better still, owning a car with a big set of wheels. A giant tire gives you a better lift from the ground and has a larger surface area in contact with the road. This means that you have better control and maneuverability, mostly on dirt, gravel, and many other off-road scenarios.
Despite these advantages, you can’t just go around increasing the size of your tires. You should know several things to help you determine the biggest size tire that can fit in your Chevy 1500, and this article will help you do just that.
Chevy 1500 Models
The Chevy 1500 comes in different models depending on its manufacture. To know your vehicle’s biggest tire size, you should first learn about the model you have. The reason is that each model of the Chevy 1500 has more than one tire size (or rim) and trim options. Each tire size also matches a trim option. So what are rims and trims?
The rim of your car is the outer diameter of its wheel. It is the circumference or outer surface of the wheel that the tire would rest on. When determining what size of tire would fit in your Chevy 1500 truck, knowing the rim size or wheel size matters a lot. An incorrect rim size would make it difficult to fit the tire properly, which could affect your truck’s performance. The Chevy 1500 trucks come in 4 distinct rim sizes depending on the model. These are; 17, 18, 20, and 22 inches.
How To Determine The Rim Size of Your Chevy 1500 Truck
They are two methods of determining your trucks’ rim size.
First, you can check on your present tire’s body if you own a Chevy 1500 and are looking to upgrade to a bigger tire. Check the surface of your current tire, and you should see a combination of numbers and letters. This seemingly random alphanumeric code is essential in determining your Rim size.
For example, LT265/70R17;
- LT – this designation stands for Light Truck. LT tires, according to the Tire and Rim Association, are to be used in vehicles that can carry heavy cargo or that provide torque for pulling.
- 265 – This is the width of your tire in millimeters, measured from one sidewall to the other.
- 70 – This is the aspect ratio of your tire, and it is a percentage of the tire’s width.
- R – This stands for Radial, and it represents the type of construction used.
- 17 – this is the rim diameter measured in inches. This means the tire is to be mounted on a 17-inches Rim diameter.
In the second method, to know your truck’s rim size, you must do a little measurement. With a measuring tape, take the width of the wheels from flange to flange. The flange is that part of the wheel surface on which the tire tread is mounted. This measurement represents the Rim diameter, and it is useful if you cannot find the tire code.
Now you have an idea of what rims are and how to determine the rim size of your Chevy 1500, it is time we talk about the trims. Remember, both rims and trims are essential to help you choose the biggest tire size you can fit in your Chevy 1500 truck. So what are trims?
Trims or trim levels represent different models of a vehicle and the features that come with it. Trims are important ways of identifying various car models. The Chevy 1500 has about 8 different trim levels, and these are; WT, Custom, Custom Trail Boss, LT, RST, LT Trail Boss, LTZ, and High Country.
Biggest Tires on Stock Chevy 1500
Now you know about the different rims and trims of the Chevy 1500, you may be wondering how this helps determine the biggest size of tires that will fit in your truck. Before we get down to it, you should know that this information is most useful if you intend to maintain the stock rim. The stock rim implies the original rim that came pre-installed in your vehicle from the manufacturer. If you are using the stock rim, then a 22-inch rim is the best option available. (depending on model). If you plan on going any higher, say 33″, and above, then you have to make some adjustments on your truck for the tire to fit perfectly. We will discuss this later on in the article. For now, take a look at the biggest tires for the stock rims in the table below.
|Chevy 1500 Model/ Year
|Rim Size (inches)
|Biggest Stock Tire Size To Fit
|1999 – 2004 (LS,LT,WT,4x2,4x4)
|2005 – 2014 (LT,4x4,4x2,WT,LS,LTZ
|2013 – (WT)
|2015 – 2018 (LT,LTZ,High Country,LS,WT,Custom)
In the table above, you can see the biggest tire sizes that will fit in your Chevy Silverado 1500, as stated by the manufacturer. This table is useful if you don’t intend to modify your truck, which means that the tire sizes listed in the table will fit perfected without the need for adjustments. However, if you want to go any higher, you have to be prepared to make certain adjustments to your Chevy 1500 truck. Moreover, there is a limit to how big you can go, even with modifications.
How To Get The Biggest Tires In Your Chevy 1500
If you want to go beyond the manufacturer’s specifications, there is only one way to go, which involves making modifications to your truck so that you can fit bigger wheels in them. Each transformation has its limit, and your choice will determine your preferred size of tire. Depending on your preference, these mods can give you anything between 1 to 12 inches allowing you to go as far as you are willing to.
As the name implies, wheel spacers extend your wheels further away from the truck, giving more clearance for bigger wheels. This is considered a mild modification and is useful if you don’t want to lift your Silverado truck. Extending the wheels allows you to go as big as possible without having to worry about the tires rubbing off on the body of your car. It is advised you check your suspensions to ensure they are not under too much pressure.
Adjust the Torsion Keys
Adjusting the Torsion Keys applies mostly to 4×4 Chevy 1500 models because they use a bar suspension system that can be adjusted to give more clearance between the wheel and your truck’s body. This method can provide you with between 1 to 1.5 inches extra, making it possible to increase your tire size from, say, 32″ to 33″. However, be careful not to go too far because this could damage your suspension system in the long run.
If you want to go bigger than just an inch, you can consider using a leveling kit. Leveling your truck involves lifting the truck’s front side to level out with the back end. Most trucks come with a lower front side, which is done to offset the difference in level when the truck is carrying a heavy load. However, many people don’t take such heavy loads, so the front side of trucks like the Chevy 1500 are usually lower than the back end. This is why it is called leveling. A leveling kit can be used to raise the truck’s front side from 1 to 3 inches, just enough to fit in bigger tires, making the front side leveled with the car’s back end.
Unlike leveling, lifting kits can be used to achieve a more significant amount of clearance. Additionally, they can also raise both the front and back sides of the vehicle simultaneously. With a lift kit, you can increase your truck by 3 to 12 inches. One advantage of lifting over leveling is that you can raise all four corners of the car high enough to fit your custom tires without worrying about the fender. Lifting allows you to work in tires between 33 to 44 inches. It is the best modification option when you want to use aftermarket rims/wheels.
Both Lifting and leveling can be very useful when you intend to use your Chevy 1500 off-road. The wider clearance and bigger tires can protect the truck when navigating through rocks, muds, or snow. But if you don’t intend to go that big, then wheel spacers and torsion adjusting keys will get the job done just fine. So now you have enough clearance, let’s look at some of the off-road tire sizes for the Chevy Silverado 1500.
Off-Road Tire Sizes for Chevy Silverado 1500
33″ – 285/75R16, 285/70R17, 295/65R18, 295/55R20 are all 33″ tires and are suitable for moderate off-road applications. For this tire size, you only need a front leveling lift.
35″ – These are higher than the 33″ tires are better for off-road applications. However, for extreme rocky terrains, you may need more clearance. Installation requires between 3″ – 6″ lift. Examples of 35″ tires are 315/70R17, 315/75R16, 325/50R22, 295/70R18, 295/65R20.
37″ – You need at least 7″ lifts to install this tire in the Chevy 1500, and are excellent off-road choices. They come in sizes 385/70R16, 37/14R17, 37/13.5R18, 37/14.5R20, 37/13.5R22.
38″ – This tire may need up to an 8″ lift on both front and back ends of your truck to install. You may also need to do a little trimming to avoid tire rubs. Examples of 38″ tire sizes for the Chevy Silverado 1500 are 38x13R16, 38×14.5R18, 38×14.5R20, 38×14.5R17, 38×13.5R22.
39″ – 44″ – You need between 11″ – 12″ lift. Most tires of these sizes may require changing the wheels of your Chevy 1500 from stock rims to a suitable aftermarket wheel with a bigger diameter. Other modifications that may be needed to install these tire sizes successfully are new springs, shocks, driveshaft, brake lines, and increased offset (Distance between the wheel and hub). Example of these tire sizes are 39×3.5R15, 39×13.5R17, 39×13.5R20, 40x16R16, 40x16R17, 40×14.5R18, 40×15.5R20, 41×14.5R22, 42x15R20, 43×14.5R20, 40×15.5R22, 44x21R20.
Off-road Tire Brands For The Chevy Silverado 1500
BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2
This is an All-Terrain tire developed to deliver exceptional performance both On and Off-road. It features a wear-resistant rubber material that is durable and provides good traction in dirt, sand, mud, rock, and even snow (3PMSF). It is made possible by the serrated shoulders designed to improve traction and enhanced steering control. Its sidewalls are tough enough to prevent chipping when navigating rugged terrains. This tire has interlocking tread designs that reduce noise and provide sufficient grip and balance for on-road applications.
General Grabber X3
General Grabber X3 is another Off-road tire that offers durability, stability, and an all-around excellent off-road performance. Like the BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/AKO2, this tire is also a perfect choice for on-road uses. Its grooves and tread provide better handling and stability on-road. It has chamfers, and traction notches that offer grip, evacuation channels, stone bumpers to release dirt and gravel, and a noise reduction are treading patterns for a comfortable on-road performance. It is designed to provide strength, durability, and long-term performance.
Cooper Discoverer S/T Maxx
The Cooper Discoverer S/T Maxx is another dual-purpose tire that delivers excellent performance, both off-road and on-road. It features a chip-resistant patterned rubber that provides excellent noise reduction and traction for easy navigation through paved and unpaved roads. To further improve its longevity, the ribs and non-parallel grooves on the tire wall help eject stones and gravels to prevent puncture while also acting as a drainage system to improve traction in wet conditions.
How To Convert Tire Size From Metric to Imperial
In determining the right size for your tire, you may need to know how to convert between two standard measuring units used in tire coding. These are the metric (millimeters) and imperial (Inches) units.
To convert 285/45R22 (metric unit) to Imperial.
- Divide 285 by 25.4 to convert from mm to inches. 285/25.4 = 11.22”
- Multiply 11.22″ by the aspect ratio. 11.22 x 45% = 5.049
- Multiply the result in (2) by2. 5.049 x 2 = 10.098
- Now add the result in (3) with the Rim size, which is 22. 10.098 + 22 = 32″.
So a tire with dimensions 285/45R22 is 32″ in diameter. (Check the table)
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