Your Guide to Upgrading Wheels and Tires

Your Guide to Upgrading Wheels and Tires

One of the easiest ways that you can upgrade your car or truck is by swapping out the tires and rims. Here’s what you should know before you start picking out rims or new tires for your vehicle. 

One of the most important aspects of vehicle performance is the contact points you have with the road. Tires can harness the power of your engine, they can help you maximize your braking power and they can maintain grip with the road as you are taking high-speed turns. Tires carry an enormous performance burden for your vehicle and if you’re not revisiting the quality of your tires often, you could be seriously affecting the overall ride, feel, and performance of your vehicle. 

One of the biggest trends in the performance industry throughout the United States has been the trend towards larger wheels. Enthusiasts are looking towards fitting larger wheels, larger brakes, and lift kits in order to maximize the performance of a vehicle. Although it’s a bit ridiculous to think of a passenger car ditching its stock wheels for large 20-inch rims, this is often the choice that performance enthusiasts are making. These performance enhancements are leading to some design enhancements as well as some performance enhancements for vehicles with the modifications. 

Swapping out your own tires can have some practical advantages as well. Drivers that are opting for low-profile tires can access performance improvements for their vehicle but also keep a spare tire for easy replacement if required.

A set of larger tires is not always best however and it’s a good idea to find a sweet spot that provides better grip, better aesthetics without compromising overall performance and engineering. 

How Much Wheel Do You Actually Need?

A larger wheel will increase performance until it begins to hinder the power your vehicle can put on the road or until it begins to impact the wheel wells. Increasing the diameter of the tire on any vehicle can be difficult and it’s often easier to put larger tires on trucks and SUVs because there’s a larger clearance available. It will take longer for a tire with a larger diameter to complete one full rotation. 

A number of adjustments need to be made when you make significant changes to your tires, no matter what type of vehicle you drive. When the tire gets larger, you need to change the gearing in your vehicle. 

Further calibration may also be required of your antilock brake system as the increased momentum from the extra weight on your wheels could cause it to malfunction. Without proper adjustments to the antilock braking system, you could lose control of your vehicle. 

In most cases with vehicles, it’s easier to go wider with the wheels and increase the size of the contact patch rather than maximize the diameter of the wheels. This will require some ongoing adjustment in your gearing but not to the same degree that a significant change in diameter would require. 

Balancing Ride Quality

Opting for a shorter sidewall on your tire can eliminate extra weight and make sure that your ride quality is not going to suffer as a result of choosing wider tires. A downside to choosing a low profile or shorter sidewall tire is that you have an increased risk of wheel damage. Short sidewalls can also expose your rims to damage and increase the chance that you could crack aspects of the wheel on potholes and curbs. 

Increasing the width of your wheels will often lead to ride quality changes as the suspension will have to work overtime in order to deflect more of the contact patch of the road. Without adjusting the suspension, your handling could suffer and you could experience poor ride quality. 

Contact us today if you have further questions about balancing performance, aesthetics, and wheel replacements. We can help you decide on the best type of wheels for your needs. 


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