What Is Tire Stretching?
To put it simply, tire stretching is the process of fitting narrow tires on wider wheels. The difference in the size- the stretching factor- ranges from 1 to 3 inches.
Your first thought would most likely be; why would I want to stretch a tire? Well, let us shed some light on this topic.
Tire stretching is a contentious topic in the automobile community. While some are completely opposed to it, some enthusiasts say its fine as long as you maintain the air pressure and stretch it within the allowable range.
A major reason why people opt to stretch their tires is for the improved look of the tire.
Is It Safe To Stretch Tires?
Stretching tires maysound risky, but it is safe when done conservatively. The safety depends on the extent to which you stretch the tire.
There are risks to it, the most common being an increased danger of blowouts.
You will be susceptible to losing tire pressure and deflations. Also, you can be at an increased risk of hydroplaning or blowing a cord.
The level of risk depends on how much you stretch your tire. The more stretched out a tire is, the increased likelihood of it blowing out or deflating. But conversely, the more extended a tire is, the better it looks, so it’s a catch 22.
What Does Tire Stretching Mean?
Tire stretching is installing a tire on a wheel that is large than the size intended for it;this essentially causes the tire to stretch around the wheel, creating a pumped-up look.
The stretchable range is from around 1 inch to 3 inches. Going beyond this range is consideredrisky and makes your car illegal for the road.
Why Do People Stretch Their Tires?
The most obvious reason for tire stretching is the ‘style’ factor- simply just the way it looks. A stretched tire gives the impression of pumped-up sturdy wheels, and it is extremely popular among the excessive camber scene.
What Are Super Stretched Tires?
As the name suggests, super stretched tires are tires that are stretched way beyond the recommended limit. The risks with these tires are just that much larger.
Super stretched tires are particularly dangerous because they can come off suddenly while you’re making a turn, leaving your car skidding off to a deadly crash.
We seriously dissuade anyone from this practice.
Damage Caused To Your Tire By Stretching
We’ve established that stretching decreases your tire’s longevity; you really shouldn’t be keeping stretched tires for too long, or you’ll destroy them.
Another side-effect of stretched tires is the unnecessary stress that is applied to your tire’s sidewall. Stretching can also cause premature and irregular tread wear.
Are There Any Performance Benefits To Tire Stretching?
Car enthusiasts on various online forums say that there arevarious performance-based changes to the car with tire stretching. Some say that it ensures less play during a loss of traction while some say it is done to fight shoulder roll.
However, there is nothing that substantially proves the performance benefits of tire stretching.
Thus, tire stretching does not seem to have any positive impact oncar performance.
If stretched too wide, tires can suffer minor to major damage such as debeading, tread degradation, andincreased wear. You do not want that.
Professional racers stay away from stretching their tires, proving that there are no verified cases of performance enhancement due to stretched tires.
Are Stretched Tires Legal?
Stretched tires are a grey area. Generally speaking, they are legal in most states.
While many states have a law dictating a specific tread depth, they do not say anything on how the tires need to be mounted on the wheel.
In most states in the USA, it is illegal to have stretched tires that stick out beyond the sides of your vehicle. There is a possibility of being pulled over by a cop, questioned, or even fined. You may be penalizedno matter how stretched your tires are.
You will probably face difficulty getting your car insured with stretched tires. It’s quite likely the insurance company might nullify your policy, especially if you don’t notify them beforehand about your modification.
What Tires Are Good For Stretching?
Fortunately, these days you can get good advice on the internet from the tire enthusiast community. A good link is Tyrestretch.com, where you can find plenty of information on the type of tires suitable for stretching as well as other miscellaneous details.
Some brands that havetires that are considered good for stretching are:
Can You Stretch Your Tires On Your Own?
Sure, you can. Would we recommend it? Definitely not! If you still plan to go ahead and do it, make sure you have a fire extinguisher with you because you’ll be dealing with fire, and the procedure is quite dangerous.
We would recommend you stretch your tire mildly, for your safety.
Please keep in mind; most mechanics refuse to carry out this procedure for their customer’s safety and to stay out of legal troubles.
How To Remove Stretched Tires?
So you bought a car with stretched tires, and you want to get rid of them? Or you stretched your tires, and now you want to go back to normal ones?
You have two options:
- Either replace the smaller tires with wider tires that better fit your wheels.
- The more expensive option is to replace both your wheels and tires. It’s possible to have your wheels damageddue to an extended period of stretching.
If you are unsure, you can get your wheel width measured by a mechanic and then buy your tires accordingly.
In conclusion, we would not recommend you to try stretching your tire. It poses many safety risks, all the while damaging your tire in the long run too.
Besides aesthetic value, you will not get anything in the way of performance or efficiency. If you still do go for it, make sure you’ve taken precautions and consult beforehand with someone who has the experience.