Is it Safe to Drive on Any Sized Tires?

Is it Safe to Drive on Any Sized Tires?

If you’ve been green with envy as others have customized the tires on their ride, there are certainly some reasons to consider making the move yourself as long as you understand the impact of changing your tires’ size. The first and most important question is whether or not it’s safe to drive on any size tire. While the short answer may be yes, it’s a more complex issue as your safety will stem not from tire size alone, but from a combination of factors.

oversized winter tires

First let’s explore the up-sizing option. Replacing the standard tires on your car with larger ones can give you the sporty or upscale look you might be seeking and could not achieve with the standard issue tires from the manufacturer. While larger tires may add a cooler look, just know they will also affect the way your vehicle handles. Steering may become heavier but you’ll notice some additional grip thanks to the larger contact patch connecting you to the road. For some, the increased clearance (height) with larger tires is a plus for navigating tough terrain, but just ensure that you don’t go so big that the new tires rub against the car’s body during turns or over bumps. This accelerates wear and tear and can be dangerous.

Conversely, if you are considering downsizing you’ll do well to consider a different set of pros and cons. Smaller diameter tires can increase acceleration and reduce aerodynamic drag but are likely to increase fuel consumption. Narrower tires, on the other hand, can improve fuel economy slightly but will likely reduce braking, acceleration and handling performance. Perhaps most important to consider for those thinking of mixing it up a bit with different tires in the front and back, is that using tires of differing diameters can cause serious problems, because your anti-lock brakes, stability control and traction control systems are calibrated with the assumption that all four tires are the same size. The main reason most people customize tire size is for aesthetics.

The key is to consider all tradeoffs you are likely to experience by changing your vehicle’s ride height, suspension system and even braking system. The safest rule of thumb is to make sure that the total diameter of your tire and rim remains the same as your original.

This guest post was written by Freedom Rims, a Responsible Military Lender since 1983. Freedom Rims offers rims financing for a variety of performance rims and tires, including chrome rims. We offer fast and convenient credit on a large inventory of tires and wheels with our military financing options.

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