Does tyre size affect car performance?

Are you thinking of pimping up your ride by adding bigger wheels? Whether you are looking to go for a bigger diameter wheel for a new car or second hand wheels for a vehicle you already own, there are some advantages to be had, but some disadvantages as well. Before you make a decision, it would be wise to go through the following factors that impact your engine performance and other systems.

Noise and Vibration (N&V):

Noise and Vibration (N&V) also known as Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH), is the measure of internal and external disturbance experienced in the car. Smaller wheels are usually quieter and have lesser vibration especially when you are driving on a rough terrain though it also depends on the brand and type of tyres you put on the rims.

Acceleration & Speed:

The bigger the wheel, the bigger would be the tyre which means that they will have larger contact area with the ground. It also means that the rolling resistance will be higher and more will be energy required to move it. Smaller tyres mean acceleration will be higher as they need to overcome smaller resistance, however with large tyres, acceleration is low as a car’s engine finds it more difficult to rotate larger wheels.

Aesthetics:

Bigger wheels make your car look more masculine but not all vehicles are meant to look so. It is important that the wheels fit in the wheel arches. Under wheeled as well as over wheeled cars can be quite unpleasant to look at. Sometimes, by just changing the brand or type of tyres, you can get a new look for your car without having to change whole wheels.

Cost:

Bigger tyres are costlier than smaller ones and the bigger the tyre, the more will be the cost. However, the two factors (size and cost) are not directly proportional as tyre cost does not depend on just the amount of material. A lot of time and money has been invested in research and development in large tyre manufacturing technology and as demand for bigger tyres increases, costs are expected to fall. But till then, replacing your tyre with a plus size tyre can be expensive unless your vehicle comes pre-fitted with them.

Handling & performance:

Since a car’s speedometer and gearing are finely tuned to the wheel and tyre size, if the size of the wheel assembly changes, the other systems must also be reconfigured accordingly. It is therefore imperative to consult an expert before and during the transformation to ensure that other systems like suspension, transmission and brakes are not hampered when you increase the wheel size.

Fuel mileage:

Every extra kilogram added to the wheels or tyres puts extra pressure on the engine and decreases a vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Although it has been found that simply replacing smaller wheels with bigger ones does not affect fuel economy very much (it usually dips by 10%), however, if the vehicle is regularly traveling with high speeds, fuel economy tends to increase marginally. So if you often go for long drives on highways then larger tires might suit you.

If you are not sure about which tyre size to go for or if want the best of both worlds – bigger tyres and fuel economy– then speak to a tyre expert to learn more options. Our competent big wheels experts have extensive knowledge on the subject and are more than happy to help you make a decision.