Should you install bigger tires on your vehicle?
Installing bigger tires and larger wheels on your vehicle is the latest craze. They look cool, but if it’s not done properly, you can be setting yourself up for some serious and mighty expensive repairs.
Installing bigger tires is called Plus Sizing
For example: A “Plus 0” tire is the same diameter as the OE tire but has a larger tread width or larger sidewall ratio. A “Plus One” size is a tire that’s has a 1” larger diameter than the OE tire. Plus Two is a tire that’s has a 2” larger diameter than the OE tires.
You can also have Minus Sizing where the tire diameter is smaller than the OE tire. Minus sizing is sometimes used when installing new wheels and winter tires, since the smaller wheels are a little cheaper and the minus sizing results in more sidewall height.
There are pros and cons to bigger tires
Bigger tires and bigger wheels can provide better handling and cornering and the wider tire provides more rubber in contact with the road, which, in theory, provides more stopping power. BUT, that comes at the cost of decreased ride quality and reduced braking. Yes, you read that correctly. It takes more braking power to stop a vehicle with bigger tires and wheels because the increased diameter changes the braking leverage physics.
The higher the plus sizing, the worse the ride quality; it’ll feel more like an off-road vehicle. It’ll rattle your brain and knock out your fillings.
Bigger tires and wheels change suspension geometry.
In many cases you’ll have to add a lift to your vehicle to accommodate the larger tires and wheels. Adding a lift kit significantly changes the vehicle’s suspension geometry. What does that mean in practical terms?
If you’ve just added a lift kit without also changing the steering knuckle, brakes, axle shafts, wheel bearing size, strut, and stabilizer bar, you can expect
Accelerated wheel bearing wear and failure
Accelerated CV joint wear and failure
The increased aerodynamic lift which reduces all the advantages of the larger rubber contact with the road, leading to reduced stopping ability. Each doubling of vehicle speed increases the required stopping power by a factor of four.
©, 2020 Rick Muscoplat
Posted on by Rick Muscoplat