“Thinner or wider tyres for a car ?” may not be a very tough decision to make when upgrading the tyres for a car but some people go blindly for performance tyres and some goes with slightly wider but comfortable tyres.There are several reasons to”Thinner or wider tyres for a car ? ”
Tyres play a very major role in maintaining the stability of a car as well as sticking the vehicle to the ground(road,track).Another major role is to provide the comfort by absorbing jerks provided by uneven road surface.
Almost every road tyre does these two major jobs.To enhance tyre for one job,user might make it unable for another job.In simple words,if a user go for performance tyres then the comfort is compromised and if user goes for comfortable tyres then the stability on corners and the ride is compromised.
So the question remains unanswered
“Thinner or wider tyres for a car ?”
Answer to that question is more or less unclear.But we will cover every aspect concerned and talk about it:
- Simple calculation done when upgrading tyres is to keep the overall diameter of a wheel (or outside tire diameter in image) similar to the older one.It may drop when going for wider tyres or go slightly higher when going for thinner than OE tyres(may be for snow or mud racing or what ever is the reason).But more or less it remains identical to the diameter of OE tyres+rim(alloy).
- To keep the diameter identical,we can work around the alloy/rim size and side-wall or aspect ratio of tyre. Suppose 614 mm is the diameter for Suzuki swift(maximum,it’s wheel arches can accommodate). Now if a person opt for 16″ alloys/rim then the aspect ratio of the tyres goes down. But if the person goes for 15″ or say 14″ rims ,then the aspect ration doesn’t goes much down. You must be wondering “Why aspect ration matters ? On serious note,aspect ratio is every thing..
- The aspect ratio is the height of the tyre(see previous image) i.e how much wider is the tyre from the rim to the thread,which touches the road. It is the side-wall of the tyre and it does provide the comfort to the car. On uneven roads the side-wall manages to absorb the jerks provided by the road surface. SO more is the length of the side-wall more will be the space for it to absorb the jerks. In other words,more is the aspect ratio, more comfortable is going to be the ride of the vehicle.
- In case of performance tyres the story is a bit different.In case of performance tyres,they have to provide better traction,braking or say grip in any condition. Whether in straight line or in cornering,the performance tyres makes the tyre thread stick to the ground and this process but a lot of burden on the side-wall of the tyres. To make the side-wall keep a hold of all that burden,they have small side-wall and that too hard and reinforced.So in case of performance tyres,lesser is the side-wall height,more will be the performance Or in other words less aspect ratio makes the tyre stick properly to the ground and hence proper braking,traction,grip and especially the “LOOKS!”.
- In shorter side wall the comfort is compromised but performance is gained,but the main fact is “Is your car really that much high performing?”.If you say “yes” to that question then there is one more question “So why do the manufacturer doesn’t provide performance tyres to that car ?” it may not be easy to answer but it may be because the manufacturer consider the road conditions in India and provided the tyres with high aspect ratio and better side-wall to absorb as much jerks as possible to provide better in-cabin comfort.
- Less side-wall/low aspect ratio doesn’t necessarily means the tyres are for performance.The performance tyres have reinforced shoulders(side-wall+thread area),they generally comes in low aspect ratio and they are normally wider than normal tyres,thread with more contact area. In much cases wider tyres are high performing but that is not necessary. Proper inspection and guidance is mandatory during an upgrade.
- Wider tyres cover more of the surface area in contact with the road,this can provide extra grip but put more stress on the drive shaft bearings.(Even slightly wider tyres can ruin them depending on the driving conditions,in my case they have gone and the car have done just 102000 Kms)
Simple conclusion :-
Performance tyres or wider tyres:- Better grip,if wider will look better,better braking but will ruin the brake pads earlier if the vehicle is not a good performance vehicle,more stress on the suspension components with better braking,less prone to punctures or tyre burst in worst conditions,may void the manufacturer warranty for the vehicle,tyres are normally costly,if used properly then the thread may last for a long time,in case of low performance vehicles the need for early wheel alignment and balancing is required,comfort is highly compromised,not good for muddy and snowy conditions,possibility of aquaplaning is very high on high speeds in rainy conditions,fuel efficiency might drop if engine doesn’t provide much torque.
Thinner or normal tyres :- Normal or say thinner tyres provide better comfort,may not be much gripper as compared to performance tyres but proper usage may not allow them to skid,braking is good if done consciously(sudden braking can skid any type of tyres),may not look pleasant or noticeable,less choices for alloy wheels,cheap and easily available,more prone to puncture or tyre burst in worst conditions,possibility of aquaplaning is quite low at high speeds in rainy conditions. Manufacturer suggested or recommended tyres may not void the warranty,if thread patter and depth is good then better for mud and snow conditions than performance tyres.