How Bigger Tires Affect Your Car

Replacing the standard tires on your car with larger ones can change the look of your car, giving it a sporty or upscale look that you could never achieve with just the tires issued from the manufacturer. Besides the obvious advantage of looking really cool, there are other benefits of up-sizing your car’s shoes. Before you upgrade this vital element of your vehicle, however, it is very important to understand the impact of bigger tires on your overall ride.

First of all, having larger tires is going to change the way your car handles. Steering usually becomes heavier, and you gain additional grip because of the larger contact patch (the part of the tire that grips the road). With larger tires you will also have increased clearance. Clearance to some people is a huge plus, especially people who do a good deal of off-road driving and need larger tires to navigate rough terrain. On most types of poor surfaces, large diameter wheels usually perform better than lower wider wheels. One thing to be aware of is to make sure that your new tires don’t rub against your car’s body during turns and on bumpy roads, damaging your vehicle in the process.

Secondly, your odometer and speedometer will be affected by the bigger tires. Both are calibrated for a certain tire size and changing that can cause these to work improperly. A car with larger-than-stock tires is effectively deceived into believing it’s traveling slower or a shorter distance than it really is, so the stock speedometer and odometer will need to be re-calibrated to give true readings.

For example: You get a tire that is 10% bigger than your stock tire.

  • Your actual mileage is 10% MORE than what your odometer is reflecting. (When your odometer reads 100 miles, you have actually traveled 110)
  • Your actual speed is 10% MORE than what your speedometer is reflecting. (When your speedometer reads 60, you are actually traveling 66)

If you do a lot of city driving, bigger tires may negatively effect your fuel economy, but if you do a lot of highway miles, having bigger tires might actually give you better gas mileage. Be sure to check with your tire professional on this one, as it depends on the lifestyle and preference of the driver, whether if this will be an issue or not.

Last, but certainly not least, we can’t forget the look of the car when it comes to adding bigger tires. The main reason most people add larger tires/wheels to their car is purely for aesthetics. To a lot of people, larger wheels are visually appealing, especially with chrome rims and low-profile tires. Getting bigger tires might just be the thing that makes your car into your dream car.

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