Have you ever wondered what it would be like to install larger, wider tires on your car, truck, or SUV? Bigger tires can provide some advantages, but they also come with drawbacks you need to consider before making the upgrade. This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about installing oversized tires on your ride.
Here’s a quick answer: Yes, you can install larger diameter tires on many vehicles to get benefits like increased ground clearance, better traction, enhanced off-road performance, and a customized look. However, oversized tires also have downsides including reduced fuel economy, handling changes, the need for modifications like lift kits, and potential impacts to your warranty coverage. Follow manufacturer guidance on maximum tire size to avoid issues.
The Benefits of Bigger Tires
Here are some of the main benefits you can get from installing larger diameter tires on your vehicle:
- Increased ground clearance – Larger tires raise your vehicle’s underside higher off the ground, allowing you to clear rocks, curbs, and other obstacles more easily. This is great for off-roading or driving on rough terrain.
- Better traction and control – Wider tires have a larger contact patch with the road surface, which can improve traction, braking, and handling – especially in inclement weather or off-road conditions.
- Enhanced performance – Upgraded tires provide better cornering grip and allow you to take turns faster. They also help accelerate faster from a standstill.
- Customizable style – Plus-sized wheels and tires are a popular modification to give your vehicle a more aggressive, rugged look. You can get that jacked-up monster truck aesthetic.
- Improved sightlines – A modest increase in tire diameter can raise your driving position enough to see farther down the road or across traffic.
The Downsides of Oversize Tires
However, there are also some clear drawbacks you need to keep in mind:
- Decreased fuel economy – Larger, heavier tires increase rolling resistance, which reduces MPG. Wider tires sticking out from wheel wells also hurt aerodynamics.
- Rougher ride quality – Oversized tires paired with stiffer suspension can lead to a bumpier ride over uneven pavement. There’s more vibration and jostling inside the cabin.
- Inaccurate speedometer – The speedometer calculates speed based partly on tire revolutions. Taller tires throw off the speedometer calibration.
- Impacts handling – The higher center of gravity and increased weight from big tires alters suspension dynamics, reducing stability and increasing body roll on turns.
- Require adjustments – New wheels, lift kits, alignment changes, and speedometer recalibration may be needed to properly fit oversize tires.
- Void factory warranty – Installing tires outside manufacturer specs can potentially void your new vehicle warranty. Check before making changes.
How to Choose the Right Size
Follow these tips when selecting a larger wheel and tire package:
- Stay close to the OE tire diameter – adjust wheel size to fit larger tires but maintain overall diameter
- Only increase tire width within reason – generally no more than one inch wider than stock
- Make sure the new tire load rating meets or exceeds OE spec
- Stay within 3% of OE tire diameter to avoid speedometer issues
- Get a professional alignment and computer reflash after installing
With the right wheels and fitment considerations, plus-sized tires can give your truck or SUV a customized look and enhanced capability without major drawbacks. Consult a qualified tire shop if you need help choosing compatible components and proper installation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can bigger tires improve off-road performance?
Yes, larger and more aggressive tires with tread suited for off-road terrain can greatly improve traction, control, and ability to traverse obstacles when going off-road. The key is choosing tires designed for that purpose.
Do I need a lift kit to install bigger tires?
Not necessarily, but a lift kit gives you more room to fit larger diameter tires without rubbing issues. Careful wheel selection and keeping overall tire diameter close to stock can sometimes avoid the need for a lift.
Will my warranty be voided?
Installing significantly oversized tires that go well beyond the manufacturer’s specifications can potentially void your vehicle’s warranty coverage. Always check before making major modifications.
How much does it cost to upgrade tires and wheels?
A new set of four larger wheels and tires can easily cost $1,000 or more, depending on size and brand. If suspension changes or other work is needed, that adds to the total cost. Shop around for deals.
Can big tires reduce stability when braking?
Yes, the higher center of gravity from tall tires can negatively impact stability control and increase stopping distances. Make sure to have your brakes checked after installing larger tires.
The Bottom Line
Upgrading to larger diameter tires can provide distinct benefits but also comes with handling, mechanical, and cost trade-offs. Make sure you carefully consider the pros and cons before deciding to install bigger tires. Follow the manufacturer’s guidance on appropriate tire sizing for your vehicle for the best safety and performance. With proper precautions and components, plus-sized tires can be a great modification for some trucks and SUVs.
|Heavy duty pickup trucks
|Full-size pickup trucks
|Mid-size trucks, some SUVs