The performance of a vehicle is almost always linked solely to its engine – the torque, horsepower, transmission tend to steal the spotlight. 

But tyres and performance? Well, those who know better know that as the only parts of a vehicle in direct contact with the road, tyres have a very important role to play in how your car performs on the road.

TYRE SIZE

Upsizing wheels is a growing trend for reasons ranging from better driving in bad weather conditions, and better ground clearance to aesthetics. But is bigger always better? Here are the pros and cons of bigger wheels.

THE PROS

  1. Improved Grip and Traction

    Large and wide tyres have more rubber on their track. This makes for better contact with the road, which in turn offers better grip and traction.

    Note: On snow, bigger and thinner wheels offer more traction.

  1. Improved Cornering

    Wider thread, stiffer sidewalls and more road contact contribute to better cornering and handling.

  1. Better Braking

    Braking is affected by various conditions: Road type and condition and weather conditions affect road friction. Consistency of the tyre rubber, tread pattern and inflation pressure determine tyre friction.

    However, given that large size tyres have more contact patch and grip on the road, braking distance will surely be reduced, especially in tyres that are balanced (neither too hard nor too soft).

  1. Better Appearance

    Tyres are an important factor in the overall design of a vehicle. For example, bigger alloy wheels give more of a sporty look.

THE CONS

  1. Increased Fuel Consumption

    In cars that do not have powerful engines, bigger wheels will add to the weight, which will cause the engine to work harder, thereby increasing fuel consumption.

  1. Hard Steering And Slow Acceleration

    Because of their large contact patch and additional weight, large size tyres can result in hard steering and slower acceleration.

  1. Quick Tyre Wear

    Large size tyres tend to wear out faster due lower sidewalls, heavy steering, and wheel scraping.

  1. Technological glitches

    The calibration of a car’s embedded technology is based on the components or parts installed in it. With wheel size upgrades, the response of this this technology in speedometers and electronic safety aids (EBD, ABS, traction control, etc.) may be inaccurate.

    To sum up, the bigger wheels in the car offer both pros and cons. Therefore, you must go for it only, if it suits the car needs and doesn’t make you regret afterward.

TYRE PRESSURE AND FUEL EFFICIENCY

How is a car’s fuel efficiency linked to tyre pressure? It’s simple: under-inflation causes an engine to use more fuel to move the car. A drop in tyre pressure can increase fuel consumption by 3 percent.

TYRE PRESSURE AND LONGEVITY

Under inflation and low pressure in tyres affects its life span:

Tyre friction is increased, causing the rubber to heat up excessively and wear out faster, increasing the risk of premature failure.

Overall performance on the road is affected, as the vehicle is no longer capable of handling slippery roads or rough terrain. It could even jeopardize your safety when driving on gravel, debris or during rain.

Over-inflated tyres are also a hazard:

Flexibility is impaired, especially when encountering bumps or potholes. They are also likely to wear down at a quicker pace.

TREAD DEPTH

A tyre’s tread depth has a major impact on steering response and traction, which are paramount to a car’s performance on the road.

A thicker tread offers better traction – which can also enhance your stopping time. It is also ideal for more challenging driving conditions and terrains such as sand, snow, mud, gravel, etc.

Every tyre has ‘Tread Wear Indicator’ bars in the tread grooves. When the tyre is worn to the legal limit (1.5mm across the width) the bars will be at level with the surface of the tread - time to replace the tyre.

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