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Poked and Stretched

Updated on November 14, 2009
Honda Civic displaying the true "Poke and stretch."
Honda Civic displaying the true "Poke and stretch."

Poked and stretched...a growing trend in the car tuning scene. To my knowledge, it gained notoriety in the Volkswagen and Audi sector. This is not to say that other European cars such as BMW and Mercedes were not in on the action as well. However, it seems to me whenever I search about this style it leads back to these two manufacturers. Ever since then, it has spread out to the import car scene. Hondas, Mazdas, Subarus, Mitsubishis, and others are enjoying pushing their wheels and tires to the limits.

The term comes from the simple fact of how the wheel and tire are presented on the automobile. To understand how to correctly execute this look, you first have to have a good idea of how wheels work. Wheels are measured by diameter, width, and offset and are produced in a variety of combinations. Diameter will give you how big the wheel is around, width will give you how wide the wheel is and the offset will provide you with the distance between the center of the wheel and where it connects to the hub. The offset sounds a little confusing, I know, but it can actually be broken down to a simpler logic. The higher the offset, the less of a "lip" a wheel will have. The lower the offset, the bigger the "lip." A wheel with a +50 offset will hardly have a lip and a wheel with a +10 offset will have a good sized "lip." For example, a 16x8 wheel with a +30 offset will be 16 inches in diameter, 8 inches wide and have a 30 millimeter offset.

The wheels chosen for the poked and stretched look are usually wide and low offset. Typical wheel sizes will range from 16x8 to 20x11 and the offsets will range from +10 to +40. This is just a rough estimate. The wheels sizes can be wider, smaller, bigger, more offset, or less offset. The combinations are endless. The style is all about finding what works for what kind of car the owner has and what gives the owner the desired look they want. Once the wheels are chosen, the tire size needs to be determined. Now that the poked look is taken care of with the wheels, the stretched look needs to be handled by the tires. With wide wheels, a wide tire is supposed to be mated with it. However, with running such an aggressive wheel, an owner usually can not fit the proper sized tire because of fender clearances and how far down the car is lowered. This is when the stretched tire look comes into effect.

Tires are measured by width, sidewall, and diameter. A tire listed as 225/40/18 equates to 225 as the width, 40 as the sidewall, and 18 as the diameter. A 16x8 wheel would usually need a 235 width tire or wider. With such a wide wheel on a car that already has a tough time fitting that size of a wheel, it makes it difficult running the correct sized tire. This is when a tire is chosen that has a smaller width. An owner could possible choose a 205 or 215 width tire and have it stretched to fit on the wider wheel. This gives the owner the flexibility to fit the wheel and tire combo on the car without worrying about the tire hindering the fitment. Even with the aggressive wheels chosen and the tires stretched to fit, there are still some more steps taken to make sure they do not rub on the fenders and are able to be shown off without being damaged.

To protect the wheels and tires, owners go about modifying certain parts of their cars. The one area that is usually focused on is the fenders. When dealing with aggressively sized wheels, the fenders will get in the way and make contacts with the wheels and tires unless something is done to keep them out of the way. This is where fender rolling comes into play. Fender rolling requires the owner to "fold" or bend the lip on the underside of fenders up and away from the wheel and tire. When this lip is folded up and flush with the underside of the fender, it frees up room within the fender well so the wheel and tire will not have to worry about making contact with it. Many owners will take it a step further and keep rolling the fender until they start actually pushing the edge of the fender out to create more space. If this procedure still does not make enough room, wider fenders are purchases and fitted on the car. This gives an ample amount of fender well space and gives the owner plenty of options for their wheels.

The second major part on a car the owner modifies to fit the aggressive wheels is their suspension. The poked and stretched look is not fully complete unless the car is lowered to the point where there is not gap between the fenders and wheel. There is a plethora lowering springs and coilovers on the market to lower a car, but to get the wheels to fit with no gap between the fender and wheel, negative camber is needed most of the time. Without getting highly technical, negative camber is when the top of the wheel sits inward toward the car. The best way to think about this is if the wheels on your car sit straight up and down and you push the top of wheels in toward the car, you have negative camber. Negative camber lets car owners employing the poked and stretched look pull of the wild offsets and widths they choose for their wheels.

The only thing stopping owners who use the poked and stretched look is clearance and after reading this article, it should be apparent there are ways around that. The poked and stretched look is mainly an aesthetic look that shows off the owners personal tastes and flair for their car. Just like a person getting a certain a haircut or wearing certain clothes, the wheel and tire combo put on a car will let you know a lot about an owner. Using low offsets, wide wheels, stretched tires, and lowered cars helps an owner express how they feel their car should look and have it stand out amongst other cars.


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    • jaydawg808 profile image


      5 years ago

      Great hub! Similar to mine regarding "stanced" vehicles.

    • Paolocruz profile image

      Paolo Cross 

      5 years ago from Philippines

      This is the kind of read that I need today. Thank you, man!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      awesome read! you have answered most of my questions in such a simple way, good on ya mate!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This is most definatly the easiest explination concerning this type of customization I'm goin to be lookin into doin this on my Cavalier cuz standing out in a crowd is my thing. Thanks for makin it seem so easy.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great read, thanks for the information for those of us who are unsure about some things.

    • profile image

      Car Tuning and Styling 

      7 years ago

      Excellent hub, very enjoyable read.

      I like the way you have simplified, whilst still going into detail about the new car tuning scene. Information on this can be a hazy however after reading this it is much more clearer in my mind. Great photos too


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