Besides changing your vehicle’s paint job, upgrading your wheel and tyre set is one of the best ways to improve your car’s aesthetics. Even a little tweak on your car wheel’s size can easily make it stand out from the rest. However, looks should not be the only consideration when choosing among various wheel and tyre packages. Picking the correct type matters if you want to ensure that your ride will run smoothly and not create damage to your car’s built. Here are some reminders to help you pick the right wheel tyres so that you will not get lost in the many options available in the market.
Understanding wheel sizes
Affixing your vehicle with the proper size is paramount when it comes to tyre replacement. If you cannot locate your car’s manual, the other place to look for your tyre size is on your gas tank hatch or the door jamb of the driver’s seat.
As a general rule, you will see a combination of letters and numbers on the sidewall information that indicates your passenger car type, width, aspect ratio, construction, rim diameter, load index, and speed rating in its data.
The passenger car type can either be labelled as “P,” “SL,” or “LT.” They stand for “passenger,” “special trailer,” and “light truck,” respectively. The number beside it would indicate the manufacturer’s requirement for the tyre’s diameter in millimetre.
The next set of numbers features the ratio between the width and the height of the tyre. It is followed by the tyre’s construction method, which could either be diagonal (“D”) or radial (“R).” The last number on this set indicates the rim diameter, which is often between 14 and 22 inches in diameter.
The final set of information tells the owner about how much the tyres can support and their speed capability when fully inflated. The speed rating is also indicative of the car’s handling performance. If there is a mismatch between your tyres’ speed ratings, the lowest speed rating will dictate the fastest speed of your vehicles.
To upsize or downsize?
If you do not plan on sticking with the original specifications preferred by your car manufacturer, then you might meet with legal and technical concerns. In Australia, the allowable diameter for wheels and tyres of regular vehicles must not be more than 15mm smaller or larger than the manufacturer’s preferred specification. Meanwhile, the limit for 4WD cars should not go beyond or less than 50mm. This country also bans tyre stretching or the use of tyres that are narrower than their wheels.
People who want to upsize their tyres within the allowable limit typically do so to make their car sporty. Sports utility vehicles that have bigger tyres help in adding ruggedness to its look. Bigger tyres also assist in a more improved car handling mechanism due to their wider treads and stiffer sidewalls. Additionally, they amp braking performance due to the addition of thicker rubber on the wheels.
On the other hand, downsizing the tyre wheels improves the car’s fuel consumption. Furthermore, they also help in smoother acceleration since smaller tyres leave more air when they hit the road. The wider sidewall of smaller tyres also makes them more durable to withstand the longer distance. To add, it is worth mentioning that downsizing car tyres is a cost-effective option since smaller tyres are typically cheaper.
Replacing one or replacing all
The most common reason why people do not replace all four tyres at the same time is money. However, not getting complete wheel and tyre packages can significantly impact your vehicle transmission and suspension. Additionally, it can also cause wear and tear on the treads of your tyres.
However, if you can only afford to replace one of your tyres at the moment, you should pair your new wheel with one of your existing tyres with the deepest tread depth. Meanwhile, if you can replace two tyres at a time, make sure that you place the newer ones on the rear part of your vehicle so that your car can have a better grip. See to it that all tyre replacements have the same speed rating and index as the others to prevent imbalances.
Wheels and tyres are crucial components of any vehicle. Choose incorrectly, and your car’s performance will greatly suffer. Some good practices in buying car wheels include getting the right size and replacing all tyres at the same time. Keep these considerations in mind when you buy your next wheel and tyre set.