Larger tires seem to be all the rage these days. When you remove the standard-sized tires that came with your vehicle from the factory and replace them with ones, you are basically upsizing.
Car owners who switch to bigger tires usually do so for a reason. Some are after aesthetics since they tend to look good on 4×4’s and SUVs. Others upsize their tires so they could drive safely in challenging conditions such as winter and rough terrain. Then, there are drivers who buy larger tires for better performance, and drivers who simply want to improve their vehicle’s ground clearance.
Whatever your reason for wanting bigger tires, they’ll have an effect on your car. Below are the advantages and disadvantages of getting bigger tires for your car.
The Advantages of Bigger Tires On Your Car
1. Higher road clearance
The most obvious effect of larger tires is that they increase your car’s height. By elevating it several inches off the ground, you get better ground clearance – that is, the distance between the road surface and the lowermost part of the vehicle. Upsizing can be useful for SUVs that are pre-installed with small tires, especially if you intend to drive off-road. It prevents you from getting stuck in ramps, potholes, mud, and snow. Higher road clearance also reduces the risk of damage to the underside of your vehicle.
2. Improves braking, cornering, and visibility
Upsizing creates a large contact patch which increases the traction of your tires. This decreases the distance and amount of time it takes for your car to stop once you hit the brakes fully. Larger tires also make handling easier, at least, when turning around sharp corners as it prevents oversteering. Moreover, the improved height increases road visibility for short drivers.
3. Greater comfort
Bigger tires do a better job at absorbing shock. They allow for a more comfortable and less bumpy ride when you drive across rocky terrain.
The Disadvantages of Bigger Tires On Your Car
1. Poor Handling
On the downside, a wider contact area reduces the responsiveness of tires to the steering wheel. As tires take longer to rotate, steering becomes more challenging than usual. Large tires further add weight and limit the movement of your drivetrain. These slow down your vehicle’s acceleration and reduces its maximum speed. The increase in height, while helpful, also makes a car less stable. Overall, you end up with poor handling.
2. Fast-Wearing Tires
Your car’s steering has to exert greater effort just so it can turn large tires sideways. This forces tires to scrape against the surface which wears them out faster. Rotating them more often will help delay the wear and tear. However, keep in mind that big tires generally have shorter life spans than smaller tires.
3. Less Fuel Efficiency
It’s not just the steering that works twice as hard with bigger tires – so does your car engine. It has to consume more fuel to support the added weight, which, in turn, decreases your fuel efficiency and increases your gas spending.