Marc Christ Associate Editor
February 1, 2013

For most vehicles, a wheel and tire upgrade is categorized as an appearance modification. People put wheels and tires on their cars (and trucks) for a variety of reasons, and Mustangs are no exception. The difference is that Mustangs, unlike many other passenger cars, have a seemingly unlimited aftermarket that provides endless combinations to help you and your Stang achieve whatever it is that you want to achieve—be it street performance, open track capabilities, drag racing, vanity, or any combination of the preceding list.

There are numerous advantages to aftermarket wheels and tires over stock. But just like upgrading your suspension or engine, there are sacrifices that must be made if you want to improve handling or performance capabilities. Ford Motor Company uses strict guidelines when selecting or engineering wheels and tires for its automobiles. Safety, ride quality, fuel mileage, weather, road conditions, tread wear, noise, and many other factors are considerations when a manufacturer selects a tire for a certain car. Even performance vehicles, like the Shelby GT500, end up with a tire that has compromises.

So where do you start? Well, there are a lot of options for wheels and tires, and there are a lot of misconceptions as well. Numerous choices, mixed with confusing misinformation can cause people to make a knee-jerk reaction, by either buying the cheapest product, the product that "looks" the best, or even the product that other people are buying.

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There are advantages to following trends, and websites such as,, and can guide you make a purchase that you know will fit your vehicle. You can get free shipping, free mounting and balancing, and most brands and sizes are in stock. You can also rely on Internet forums to provide information, which can also be very helpful. But, if you desire, you can make your wheel and tire purchase a more interactive experience. And, in turn, make your Mustang (or other fast Ford) stand out from the crowd and perform better both on the street and on track.

The following pages will walk you through the essentials of wheels and tires, allowing you to make a more educated decision when selecting wheels and/or tires for your vehicle. This is geared more toward performance and handling, specifically for Mustangs, but is also applicable to other vehicles.