6 Good Reasons Not to Put ATV Wheels or Tires on a Car

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Surprisingly, I often encounter questions about using ATV wheels or tires on a car or truck. While technically, you might be able to make it fit, it can be a terrible idea. Let us look at why. 

ATV wheels and tires are typically not designed and rated for the weight and speed of a car. Most ATV wheels and tires are not DOT-approved. Those that are approved can only be used on a vehicle within the specified wheel and tire ratings. 

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, trained mechanic, or expert in any way or form; I am just an avid ATV enthusiast. Always consult a professional to determine the appropriate wheels and tires for your vehicle and specific use. 

Continue reading to learn about the drawbacks of using ATV wheels and tires on your car or truck.

Insufficient Load Capacity

ATV wheels and tires are given a weight rating that indicates how much weight they are designed to carry safely and legally. 

A typical ATV wheel and tire are rated at around 400 to 500 lbs (180 to 226 kg) maximum load, which is not enough to comply with the load rating requirements of a car.

You can determine the load rating requirements for your car by dividing the heaviest gross axle weight rating by 2. Typical locations for a sticker indicating the gross axle weight rating include the driver-side door post, inside the gas tank lid, trunk lid, or glove compartment.  

atv tire load rating

But don’t ATVs also weigh more than 500 lbs? 

The load rating determines how much weight a single wheel or tire can safely carry, but an ATV has 4 or 6 tires to share the load.

An average full-size ATV with a total weight of around 700 lbs (317kg) puts about 200 to 300 lbs of weight on each tire, depending on how much load the ATV carries and how the payload is distributed across the vehicle. 

An average car weighs around 4000 lbs (1800kg), which easily exceeds the maximum load rating of most ATV wheels and tires. 

Wheels and tires with no load rating should not be used on-road.

Did you know the tire load rating only applies when inflated to the maximum operation tire pressure?

Related: How Much Weight Can an ATV Carry? (Cargo and Rider)

Insuficcient Speed Rating

Another essential rating to look for is the tire speed rating. The speed rating tells you how fast the wheel is designed and allowed to go.

A typical ATV tire has a speed index rating of F (50 mph / 80 kph) or G (56 mph / 90 kph), only about half of a typical car and truck tire.

Riding an F-rated tire at speeds over 50mph can cause it to overheat and blow up, and it lacks the carcass rigidity to keep the vehicle stable at such speeds.

The tire’s speed rating is stamped on the tire sidewall. The tire in the image below has a rating of 54F, which indicates a load rating of 457 lbs, and a speed rating of F, which equals 50 mph or 80 kph max speed. 

atv tire speed rating

If you come across a tire with no speed rating, I recommend not using it, especially on highways. This caution applies to all vehicles, including cars, trucks, and ATVs.

Not Road-Legal (Not DOT Approved)

All wheels and tires for highway use should come with a DOT (Department Of Transportation) certification stamp, which indicates they are tested and certified according to the FMVSS testing standard. 

Some, but certainly not all, ATV wheels and tires are DOT-approved, which means they are illegal for highway use in any way or form, whether it’s on a car, truck, or ATV. 

DOT-certified tires should have the DOT stamp on the tire sidewall. On wheels, you should find the DOT stamp on the back of the wheel spokes.

atv wheel dot approved

Next to the DOT stamp, an additional letter indicates the association dictating the rim profile. The “T” in the example below tells us it’s the Tire Rim Association. 

Fitment Issues

If you’re still considering using ATV wheels or tires on a car, be aware that you’ll face significant difficulties in making them fit properly.

ATV wheel sizes and tire profiles are not designed to fit the limited space in the wheel well of most cars. 

To make the tires fit, you might have to modify the suspension by installing lift kits or cutting the wheel arches to make more room.

Also, remember that depending on where you are, you might not be allowed to install a wheel of a different size than the car’s registration papers dictate. 

Different Bolt Pattern

What is a wheel bolt pattern

A wheel’s bolt pattern tells you the number of wheel studs or wheel bolts and their spacing. The wheel’s bolt pattern must match the vehicle’s wheel hub, or it will not fit.

ATV wheels come in many different bolt patterns, and you might be hard-pressed to find a wheel that physically fits your car’s wheel hubs. 

ATV Wheels And Tires Are Not Easy to Balance

Wheels and tires for highway use must be balanced to remove vibrations and ensure stability at higher speeds. Most off-road style ATV tires are not designed to run at higher speeds and can be hard to balance successfully.

The Bottom Line

In summary, there are numerous significant disadvantages to the concept of fitting ATV wheels on a car or truck.

This modification can be hazardous, impractical, uncomfortable, expensive, and potentially unlawful. I strongly advise against it.

If you still choose to go forward with this idea, I highly recommend consulting a wheel and tire expert for further guidance and advice.

Related Questions

Can You Put ATV Rims on a Car?

While an ATV rim might fit on a car, it typically doesn’t have a sufficient load rating to be used safely or legally for highway use. You may also run into fitment issues and a lack of DOT certification. 

Can I use ATV wheels for both off-road and on-road driving?

An ATV wheel used on public roads needs to be DOT-approved. However, most DOT-approved ATV tires do not offer optimal performance for more extreme forms of off-road driving, such as mudding or riding in the dunes.  

Can You Use ATV Tires on a Golf Cart?

If you can make them fit, you shouldn’t have any significant problems installing ATV wheels and tires on a golf cart. Remember, if you modify the suspension to make more room for bigger wheels, the vehicle becomes more top-heavy and more prone to tipping.

Can You Use ATV Tires on a Trailer?

You can use ATV tires on an ATV trailer designed for off-road use but not for car trailers intended for heavier loads and higher speeds. 

Can You Use ATV Tires on Roads?

Some ATV tires are DOT-approved and legal for on-road ATV riding, while others are not. However, a DOT-approved ATV tire cannot be used on cars due to lower load and speed ratings on ATV tires.

Haavard Krislok
Haavard Krislok
Haavard Krislok is an ATV and off-road enthusiast with a rich background spanning two decades in owning, maintaining, repairing, and utilizing ATVs for farming, logging, and hunting. Outside his professional life as an engineer and project manager, he cherishes recreational trail riding and is the creative force behind BoostATV.com, serving as its owner, editor, and content creator.

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