The Volvo Parts, Accessories &
Performance Specialists Since 1963

Widening Your Vintage Volvo Wheels

2019-01-16 - ipd Staff

Disclaimer: Direct from ipd’s Tech Tip archive!  This tech tip contains information from previous publications.  Products mentioned may not be available or the information may not be accurate due to changes in supply, manufacturing, or part number association.  Please contact ipd Customer Support if you have further questions.

Owners of 60's vintage Volvos have expressed an interest in fitting wider tires to their Volvo but with the original 4 or 4-1/2 inch wide rims, the selection is pretty thin, so to speak.

If you don't want to spend the big bucks for custom alloys, consider having the original steel wheels widened. Shops that do this kind of work can usually provide widths starting at 6 inches, and prices should be around $50-$75 per wheel. Be certain that the wheels you're using have good centers and that the lug holes are in good shape. Backspacing (the distance from the mounting surface of the wheel to the inboard edge of the rim) should be 3 1/4" to avoid rubbing on the inner fenders (rear) or interfering with the tie rods (front).

We've widened rims to both 6" and 7", using tire sizes varying from 195/60 to 215/60 with good results. (We haven't tried a lot of different tire brands, though, so we can't offer any insight there.)

Several of the wheels we've sent out were found to be damaged. Symptoms were vibration while driving or pulling to one side. Adding new rimstock to the old centers cured this.

Your new wheels will probably come in at about 5 lbs. over an alloy wheel of the same dimensions. Plenty wide for some wide, low profile stickies. And you'll be able to retain the original hubcaps too. If you have ipd swaybars, the new tires will rub on the front bar (and your original skinnies most likely do as well). This only happens at full lock so it shouldn't be a problem -- if your wheels turn to full lock at 55mph, you'll have more pressing issues to worry about.

Try searching for "steel wheels" or "wheels" on the internet.