Size Guide: Do Michelin Tires Run Wide?

You’ve heard that Michelin makes the best tires in the world, but you’re not sure whether they’re right for you. You’ve heard that they run wide, but you’re unsure what that means. So, do Michelin tires run wide, and what does that mean for their sizes?

Many Michelin tires run wide compared to those of other manufacturers. This quality means that their tread width comes close to matching their stated section width, giving a fat look. However, this increased width may result in problems with the tire rubbing on the fender.

There are many details to consider when assessing whether Michelin tires run wide and whether this is a good thing or not. Let’s look at the various factors involved to see whether Michelin is a good option for you and whether they do indeed run wide compared to other makes of tire.

How Do Tire Sizes Work?

Tire sizes in the US are a confusing mishmash of metric and imperial sizes. Some of the numbers listed on a tire’s sidewall are in millimeters and others in inches.

Because the right size for your car, truck, or trailer can depend on how and where you drive, we recommend that you check the original equipment tire size as recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer. 

You can find such information either in the owner’s manual or on the placard on the vehicle itself, usually located on the door jamb on the driver’s side.

If you are interested in switching out your tires, start with the numbers and other indicators on your existing tires. Ask a tire professional to guide you in selecting an appropriately sized tire for your driving needs.

Motorists generally know what a formula such as 225/40/18 means, but if you don’t, here is a quick guide to the numbers:

The first three-digit number indicates millimeters of the tire’s width (or section width). This number refers to the tire’s width when looking at it head-on.

The second two-digit number indicates the tire’s aspect ratio as a percentage, showing the sidewall height from the wheel’s rim to the top of the tread as a percentage of the tire’s width.

A bigger aspect ratio is indicated by a larger number and shows a higher profile tire. 

A higher profile tire means that its sidewall is higher/taller than its section width. So-called low-profile tires have lower aspect ratios, indicating a lower sidewall and wider tread.

If the aspect ratio is 40, it means that the sidewall is 40 percent as high as the tire’s width.

The last two-digit number indicates the wheel’s diameter in inches. This number indicates the distance between the two bead seat areas (the places where a tire is sealed onto the rim of the wheel).

What Does It Mean For A Tire To Run Wide?

Many motorists, including highly-experienced drivers, hold the misconception that the tire section width (the first three-digit number) measures the tread’s width.

However, tire section width is, in fact, a measurement of the tire from sidewall to sidewall when fitted on a rim and under inflation pressure.

The previously-mentioned misconception leads many motorists to measure the tread and conclude that their tires are undersized compared to the stated tire section width.

Such tires are known as running narrow. However, because tread and section width are not the same, these tires are not running narrow; instead, motorists are measuring the wrong thing.

When measured

 in other tires, the tread width comes closer to the stated tire section width, and these tires are known as running wide (or sometimes as running true). 

The reason for such a difference is the curve of the tire between where it fits on the rim and where it meets the road.

Furthermore, because tire manufacturers are working with a highly elastic material, there is a standard industry tolerance of three percent for variation in tire size. This tolerance means that two tires of the same stated size from two different manufacturers will vary in size.

Many motorists get highly upset when the tread width doesn’t match the state tire section width: they were hoping for a nice fat tire and got something considerably skinnier. Knowing whether Michelin tires run wider can be very helpful.

Do Michelin Tires Run Wide, And What Are The Implications?

Although Michelin makes tires for a wide variety of vehicles, they are mainly known for making high-end, high-performance tires such as the Pilot Super Sport range.

Michelin Pilot Super Sport 4s tend to run wide, as do the Pilot Super Sport 2s. However, the former tend to run wider than the latter, with a squarer shoulder, i. e., less taper between the tire section width and the tread width.

Motorists generally agree that they run wider than Nitto, Falken, and Atturo tires. However, they do not run as wide as Advans.

A wider tire tends to help protect the wheel rim against curb damage; however, it can result in the tire rubbing against the wheel well and causing damage to the tire.

Because a tire that runs wider is slightly wider than a tire that runs narrow, motorists sometimes use them on rims that are not strictly the correct size for the tire size. 

Although a wider-running tire will allow you to stretch the tire a bit more safely than you otherwise could, we do not recommend the practice.

Stretching tires can lead to their shredding against the fender and potentially cause complete, catastrophic blowouts. Both of these are extremely dangerous.

So, although Michelin tires do generally run wide and will give you that nice, fat look you want, we do not recommend that you stretch the tire.


Various factors influence whether a tire runs wide or not. For a tire to run wide, i. e. to have a tread width on the road that closely matches the stated section width, the tire needs to have square shoulders rather than tapering off. 

This shoulder type is found on Michelin’s most popular performance tire types, such as the Pilot Super Sports. These tires, therefore, tend to run wide.

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