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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I have a 2004 Mazda 3, S Touring Hatchback. The car has 205/50R tires and 17 inch rims. The rims are the OEM 6.5 inch width. I would like to replace the original rims with some aftermarket rims. The local tire dealer told me most 17 inch aftermarket rims are now 7 inches wide and will cause the tires to rub on the outside fender well if the rear of the car is loaded down. The tire dealer also told me the only way to avoid the rubbing is to modify the fender in some way to create more clearance. This is confusing because I see a lot of Mazda 3's around with aftermarket wheels. The question is....is it ok to use a 17 inch rim that is 7 inches wide and not have any fender rubbing problems? I would also like to use a 225 / 50R tire. Any help here would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Utter and complete nonsense! If you go to the TireRack.com web site and query up your car, you'll see the following wheel options:
  • 17x6.5 -- 1 wheel
  • 17x7.0 -- 26 wheels
  • 17x7.5 -- 42 wheels
  • 18x7.0 -- 1 wheel
  • 18x7.5 -- 19 wheels
  • 18x8.0 -- 23 wheels
The thing about TireRack is, they will not list anything which will cause an issue with your car (assuming standard ride height). I suggest you either order from TireRack, or find a different tire shop.
 

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Also 225/50/17 is a stupid size to run. The size you want to run is 225/45/17. It has the proper circumference and is also much more readily available tire size.
But shipo is right tirerack only lists stuff that actually fits. If you're slightly lower check the mazdaspeed3 options. It's generally when people are trying to go more than 1.5 inches lower the fender rolling seems to become more necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Guys, Didn't want to mention any names, but OK, so I'll throw out there the tire company that told me the 7 inch rims will rub was the National Chain... Discount tire. Sorry to ask a 2nd time, so you are saying any 17 inch rim, 7 inches wide should not rub the fender for a 04 Mazda 3 Hatch ? Thanks again for all the help....
 

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Thanks Guys, Didn't want to mention any names, but OK, so I'll throw out there the tire company that told me the 7 inch rims will rub was the National Chain... Discount tire. Sorry to ask a 2nd time, so you are saying any 17 inch rim, 7 inches wide should not rub the fender for a 04 Mazda 3 Hatch ? Thanks again for all the help....
Nope, never said or even suggested that. What you need is a 17" rim between 6.5 and 7.5 inches with the correct bolt pattern and offset. You can check the specs on TireRack.
 

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Thanks Guys, Didn't want to mention any names, but OK, so I'll throw out there the tire company that told me the 7 inch rims will rub was the National Chain... Discount tire. Sorry to ask a 2nd time, so you are saying any 17 inch rim, 7 inches wide should not rub the fender for a 04 Mazda 3 Hatch ? Thanks again for all the help....
Shipo is right. You can make the tire rub the fender well if the wheel offset is incorrect for that particular rim width.

And, you never want to stay at a particular aspect ratio (50) when increasing your tire width (225). This will make the circumference larger. Decreasing the aspect ratio to 45 should keep the circumference the same like Javier suggested.

Seriously though, Tire Rack is so easy to deal with. Go online or give them a call and they can find the correct size for you and tell you what will work and what won't. Plus, their prices are very competitive. If you buy tires AND wheels, they'll mount and balance for free, and throw in free lugnuts. If you ship to a distribution center of theirs, the then the shipping is free too! Hard to beat that.
 

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Thanks Guys, Didn't want to mention any names, but OK, so I'll throw out there the tire company that told me the 7 inch rims will rub was the National Chain... Discount tire. Sorry to ask a 2nd time, so you are saying any 17 inch rim, 7 inches wide should not rub the fender for a 04 Mazda 3 Hatch ? Thanks again for all the help....
Discount tire's own website lists 7.5" wheels as fitting. You might want to drop them a message on their corporate email, let them know about an employee costing them sales. I've ordered from them online before and everything always went fine, they are usually cheaper than TireRack as well because shipping is free.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everybody for all the help and information. I love getting schooled :) So at the end of day this is what I found out. For a 04 Mazda 3 Hatch and other years with the same body style, if you want to upgrade to an aftermarket wheel, using stock suspension, its all about the offset. My 04 OEM rims are 17 inch, 6.5 wide. You can easily upgrade to a 7 inch wheel or wider, but by doing that, you need pay close attention to the offset or the tires will rub the fenders. The experts at tire rack told me for best handling and performance, if I wanted to go to 7 inch rim, I'd need a 45 mm offset and use 225/45/17 tires. Tire Rack also told me if I wanted to use a 40 mm offset rim, it would best to go back to the OEM size tire 205/50/17. They also stated offsets of less than 40 mm would risk rubbing on the fender. When I first contacted Discount Tire, the rim I was looking at was a 38 mm offset. I know now why the sales guy told me it would not work. However, this sales guy did not offer-up any more information. Fortunately, thanks to you guys, I know what rims will work now. Thank you.
 
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