Learning Center / Plus-Sizing Your Tires: Good or Bad for Your Car?


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Recently, one of the biggest trends in the automotive industry is plus sizing. This refers to installing bigger wheels and tires on a vehicle to enhance its appearance or to improve handling. Although plus sizing may look aesthetically pleasing and may increase traction, these larger wheels and tires are often not as safe and durable as you think. At TreadHunter, we investigated this recent tire trend to see if plus sizing is good or bad for your car.

Benefits of Plus Sizing Your Tires

Upsizing your tires does increase your cornering response and traction on the road. It also increases your contact patch, which is the portion of your car’s tire that is in actual contact with the road. A larger contact patch generally improves grip, cornering and braking performance. However, the biggest benefit most consumers see with these larger wheels and tires is that it makes their car look more appealing. Because most consumers like the look of bigger wheels, they tend to buy the biggest wheels they can fit on their cars.

However, bigger is not always better. Although there is an increase in grip by fitting wider tires and wheels, it’s only a marginal increase. In most cases, the increase happens due to consumers choosing better-performing tires for their vehicle. There are many limits to this slight improvement.

Downside of Plus Sizing Your Tires

There are many downsides to plus sizing your tires and wheels. For example, maintaining the overall diameter of your tires becomes more difficult. If the diameter is not maintained, the tires could touch the edges of the fenders if you’re experiencing hard cornering, as well as touch other parts of your vehicle’s mechanics. Larger wheels and tires also create more issues with weight. The bigger the unsprung weight, the more issues it creates with handling and performance. Unsprung weight is referred to as the mass of the suspension, wheels or tracks, and other mechanisms directly connected to the vehicle, instead of supported by the suspension.

Additionally, bigger wheels and tires increase acceleration times and fuel consumption, rather than enhancing the overall performance. Due to the decrease in overall performance, the more you will notice your vehicle producing lower power. Also, if you decide to extremely increase your tires and wheels, it’s required that you have small sidewalls for your new tires, which can heavily decrease the comfort of your riding experience. Tires with small sidewalls are also more prone to failure because of road debris, which can be an issue if you live in an area where the roads are not adequate.

Another downside to plus sizing your tires and wheels is cost. The bigger the wheels and tires, the more expensive those are compared to smaller-sized equals. In certain situations this may not be a big deal, but it can be for others who are financially strapped. This is especially troublesome if you suddenly get a flat tire and need to buy a new one within the next day.

What to Consider When Plus Sizing

All in all, plus sizing your wheels and tires offers more complications than benefits in the long run. Even if everything else on your vehicle is working correctly, you’ll find that your larger tires will wear out more often than standard tires. But if you are still set on plus sizing your tires and wheels, there are a few things to consider before you buy.

You first need to make sure that the tires and wheels you want are approved for use on your vehicle. Checking your state’s legislation will help you see what changes are acceptable to perform on your wheels and tires. You also want to take into consideration the wheel and tire combinations concerning size. Your new wheel and tire combination should be within three percent of the original tire diameter. Make sure your replacement tires have the same load-carrying capacity as well.

Find New Tires on TreadHunter

If you’re looking for new tires for your vehicle, shop for tires online at TreadHunter! You can search by location, tire size, tire brand or car type to find the exact tires you want. Register today to get started!