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Is the industry moving towards larger tyres?

Thursday, 14 May 2015 2:37:28 PM Australia/Sydney

With every top-of-the-range premium hatch and sedan equipped with 16” rims from new, larger tyres are slowly replacing the old school 13” and 14” tyres. The automotive industry is making a shift towards larger, safer, and faster tyres.

There was a time when 14” tyres were a big deal. Nowadays, finding 16” even 17” tyres on a regular hatch is a common. This is because newer technologies enable cars to perform better and the increased handling and stability that comes with larger tyres ensures a safer car. Today’s tyres are lightweight, versatile, robust, and long lasting.

One of the major advantages of wide tyres is their stability at high speeds. Vehicles equipped with wide tyres can safely handle higher speeds as they have a higher load and speed ratings than smaller tyres. Comfort is another advantage of wider tyres.

The upsides

Wide tyres mean more contact with the road, better traction and rolling resistance. A wider tyre increases the riders comfort to an extent. Wide tyres will displace the weight better across all tyres giving you better on road handling. On the other hand, narrow tyres are unstable at high speeds and due to less traction area, they are less safe to drive on a wet surface.

The downsides

Two of the biggest hurdles with wide tyres are high cost and mileage. Because of the bigger size and high quality manufacturing involved, wide tyres cost significantly more than narrow tyres. But if you count its benefits, cost is hardly a problem for a potential buyer.

However, cost can be a big factor for those upgrading to wide tyres from narrow ones. As to accommodate bigger tyres, you may also need to upgrade the rim.

As wide tyres weigh more, they possess a greater rotational inertia. Higher inertia means more torque to move them. Thus, lower car mileage. In addition, the added friction will further decrease the mileage.

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