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Your vehicle's trim level: What it is, why it's important, and how to find it
What is vehicle trim level?
The easiest way to explain trim level is with a specific example. Let's say you have a 2012 Honda Civic. Within that year and model, Honda produces several different “trim levels” with different features and options -- for example, the Honda Civic DX, the LX, the EX, and the EX-L.
Why trim level is important
Doesn't seem like it should matter if it's a DX or an EX, right? Well, in many cases it actually does matter, because automobile manufacturers often select different wheel and tire sizes for different trim levels. So you and your buddy may both drive 2012 Honda Civics, but your EX could have a different size tire than your buddy's DX.
If you aren't sure of trim level, here's how to find out:
- If you happen to have the original sales invoice or window sticker from when you bought the vehicle, you can find the trim information there.
- Try the owner's manual. Sometimes it includes the trim level.
- Look on the vehicle itself. Many vehicles have a decal or lettering indicating the trim level, usually located on the side or rear of the vehicle.
No luck? Here's how to find your vehicle's tire size
If you're still not sure of trim level, you can still find the correct Original Equipment (OE) tire size for the vehicle, as specified by the manufacturer. Just look for the tire information placard, which will tell you the OE tire sizes (including the spare tire) and the recommended tire inflation pressures.
If you have a newer car, look for this placard on the "B-pillar," which is the driver's side doorjamb. For vehicles that do not have a B-pillar, the placard should be attached to the rear edge of the driver's door, unless it's too narrow -- in this case it should be placed on an inward-facing surface next to the drivers seat.
In older vehicles, placards can also be found in other locations:
- The driver-side door or doorjamb
- Rear passenger doorjamb of Ford sedans
- Fuel filler door
- Glove box or center console door
- The engine compartment
And if none of these methods work…one last way to find your tire size
You can always look on the sidewall of the tires currently on your vehicle, to see what size(s) are being used. If you didn't buy the vehicle new, the former owner may have altered the wheels and/or tires to use a size other than the OE size.
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