Improving Car Handling with Tire Changes

 

Vehicles are not created equal. Take an SUV and a sedan for example and you can see a lot of differences. If you want more room for passengers and cargo as well, you go for the SUV. On the other hand, if you want good fuel economy, the sedan is the wiser choice.

Another factor that you can take into consideration when choosing a vehicle off the dealership is the way it responds to your driving input. While a small car will usually be nimbler than a larger vehicle, some small cars are not as agile as you would want them to be. If you happen to buy one with the handling not at par with what you are looking for, there are three choices for you.

One, you could trade in your new car for one with better handling characteristics. Two, you could try to live with it. Or three, you can upgrade your tires to get the most out of your vehicle. If you really want a nimble car and you have the money, then the first choice is a no-brainer. If you are on a budget and you do not really need the pinpoint accuracy, then choice number two is logical. But of you want a really responsive car and can still spend a few hundred dollars; then upgrading your tires should be the way to go.

When upgrading your tires for better handling, it is recommended that you go for lower-profile tires. What this means is that you replace the tire with a shorter sidewall. The shorter sidewall means the tire will not flex as much as the stock tire.

By reducing the flexing motion, the input from the steering wheel will be directly transmitted to the wheels thus making the vehicle more responsive. The downside of this though is that the ride will be stiffer as there will be less clearance between the road and the cabin. The shorter sidewalls means every bump on the road will not be properly buffered before it reaches the interior of the vehicle.

Upgrading your tires though is not as easy as it sounds. Since a stock tire is specifically designed for certain vehicles, there is not much clearance left if you want wheels. After all, if you want tires with shorter sidewalls, you would have to use wheels with larger diameters.

Also, the width of the tire is a factor in upgrading the tires. There are several things to keep in mind when using wider tires. For example, it could get in the way of some steering system components as well as the braking system. Also, the fender sheet metal could get in the way of wider tires.

Fortunately, the Internet has provided several tools tire-shoppers can use. For example, tire manufacturers allow people to virtually test the tire on the exact specification of their vehicles loaded from the database of these online stores. Also, there are forum sites where one can ask other vehicle owners if a certain tire would fit well with a certain make and model of a car.

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