So, you’re thinking about replacing your tires with a different sized tire. Before you do, you should know that altering your vehicle's tire size has more impact on it than just modifying its appearance. Installing larger wheels and tires, also known as “plus-sizing,” can affect the accuracy of its speedometer and odometer, handling, steering response and more. If done incorrectly, changing the tire size can be detrimental to the safety of your vehicle. If done properly, choosing to go with a larger tire size can be beneficial and even increase the performance of your vehicle.
So you’re thinking that you want to go for the big tire look. Depending on your wheel size, clearance and a couple of other factors, you should be good to go. Increasing tire height can help to reduce fender well gap, increase ground clearance and even provide a softer ride. While there are always exceptions to any rule, most passenger cars lack the needed clearance between fenders and suspension components to allow for such an increase. Most trucks, SUVs and crossover vehicles, however, have adequate clearance that would allow for a taller tire size to be used.
Before making the decision to go with a taller tire, you should know that there is a loss of torque for every inch taller the new tire is. Larger tires can have a negative influence on stopping power and possible decrease of comfort on pavement as more unsprung weight can translate to a rougher ride.
Vehicles can, in fact, benefit from an increase in tire width. Using a wider size while maintaining the same overall diameter is known as “plus-zero” sizing. It results in a wider contact patch which provides better lateral grip, more grip on hard braking, less vehicle roll in corners and gives an improved, low-profile cosmetic appearance. This type of change in tire size can also benefit trucks, SUVs and crossover vehicles.
Wider tires have a higher rolling resistance resulting in higher gas consumption. They can also dramatically reduce turning radius as wider tires contact the bump stops sooner, increase road noise and won’t always fit on your original equipment wheel.
So, it’s important to keep in mind that there are some benefits and deficits with opting to change the size of your tires.
For more information on plus-sizing and details on what will and won't fit your vehicle, visit your local General Tire dealer.