A very popular modification for MINI owners is replacing wheels and tires on their cars, whether it be to personalize their MINI or to improve performance with lighter wheels and/or wider tires.
There are quite a few factors to be considered when selecting a wheel and tire package.
Wheels must be compatible with OEM specifications in order to fit on the hubs:
Models Bolt Pattern Centerbore Non-Countryman 4x100 56.1 Countryman 5x120 72.5
In the case where wheels have a larger centerbore than OEM specification, centering rings must be used to prevent wheels from vibrating at higher speeds.
Wheels must have an appropriate offset in order to prevent tires from rubbing on the suspension or wheel wells:
Models Offset Non-Countryman 35 - 52 Countryman 46 - 52
Wheels must clear the front brake calipers.
The following lists compatibility between OEM wheels and OEM brakes on non-Countryman models:
Generation - Model Disk Size Wheels
1st - All
2nd - Cooper / One
1st - Factory GP
1st - JCW Brake Kit
2nd - Cooper S
2nd - Factory Works
2nd - JCW Brake Kit
Wheel spacers can be used to provide caliper clearance, but remember that spacers reduce wheel offset by their width.
Bolt Size and TPMS SensorEdit
When purchasing aftermarket wheels the following two production changes need to be considered:
- On July 12, 2006 the size of wheel bolts changed from M12x1.5 to M14x1.25. While all OEM wheels have holes large enough for either size wheel bolt, some aftermarket wheels cannot accommodate the larger size.
- In August 2007 the Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) for some markets switched from indirect monitoring (using data from the ABS sensors) to direct monitoring (using data from sensors inside the wheels at the base of the valve stem). Not all aftermarket wheels can accommodate the sensors required for the direct tire pressure monitoring.
When selecting wheels, bear in mind that larger diameter wheels mean more expensive tires, and heavier wheels mean more unsprung weight, thus poorer handling.
Tires must have an appropriate size in order to prevent tires from rubbing on the suspension or wheel wells. They should also maintain an overall diameter that is within ±3% of the factory specification. The ±3% variation is recommended for street cars in order to maintain accurate speed data going into the computer, thus keeping odometer and speedometer changes negligible. While a ±3% diameter increase or reduction in tire diameter may sound very limiting, in most cases it allows approximately a ±3/4" diameter change.
Any of the following tire sizes may be appropriate:
Non-Countryman Tire Size Diameter 195/55-15 23.44in (595.5mm) 205/40-17 23.46in (595.8mm) 215/50-15 23.46in (596.0mm) 215/45-16 23.62in (599.9mm) 195/50-16 23.68in (601.4mm) 185/60-15 23.74in (603.0mm) 215/40-17 23.77in (603.8mm) 205/55-15 23.88in (606.5mm) 215/35-18 23.93in (607.7mm) 175/65-15 23.96in (608.5mm) 225/45-16 23.97in (608.9mm) 205/50-16 24.07in (611.4mm) 225/40-17 24.09in (611.8mm) 225/35-18 24.20in (614.7mm) 195/60-15 24.21in (615.0mm) 205/45-17 24.26in (616.3mm) 215/55-15 24.31in (617.5mm) 195/55-16 24.44in (620.9mm) 205/40-18 24.46in (621.2mm) 215/50-16 24.46in (621.4mm) 185/65-15 24.47in (621.5mm) 215/45-17 24.62in (625.3mm)
- Standard fitment
- Fitment dependent on wheel offset and suspension setup
- Tire availability may be limited in certain sizes
There are performance benefits from wider tires, in that there is more rubber gripping the road. Increasing tire width or increasing wheel diameter means lowering the sidewall of tire. While a shorter sidewall, gives quicker steering response and better lateral stability, it may make for a "harsher" ride and leave wheels more susceptible to damage from encounters with curbs or pot-holes.
Plus sizing tires doesn't mean having to get wider wheels. For example, 205/50 tires fit 16" wheels for non-Countryman models providing the same foot print as the factory 17" wheel/tire package and 0.40" (10.3mm) additional sidewall cushioning.
- H minimum for Cooper or One
- V minimum for JCW or Cooper S