There are dozens of methods that can help you improve tires’ performance. Tire stretching is one that car lovers find attractive and exciting.
Tire stretching is controversial in a way. There is an opinion that driving with stretched tires is unsafe. Others say that it is no big problem, because stretching is a controllable process. This article offers a brief yet clear view on tire stretching and some ground for you to decide whether or not it would be a good idea.
So, what is the definition? How does it work? Is it really safe and legal? Well, we stretch a tire when we fit a narrow one to a wheel that may be three inches wider. The stretching should continue until the tire fits closely to the metal rim.
It is quite easy to tell a stretched tire by its somewhat bulging appearance.
Why Do Many Drivers Choose to Stretch Tires?
All factory-made tires are designed with a plethora of calculations to determine their size and load capacity. Stretching it means pushing the engineered boundaries, as it affects these parameters. Particularly, sidewalls have to withstand a greater inner pressure and actual load. So what makes people want to do that?
Most people, who have stretched their tires, confess that they experience aesthetic pleasure from the change in their vehicle’s overall appearance.
Others report more responsive handling and better contact due to a quicker transition between different slip angles. Besides, they say that a stretched tire is less likely to rub against the adjacent parts of the vehicle. Finally, stretching can help increase the contact patch.
Would it be safe for me?
This appears to be a so-many-men-so-many-minds thing. As long as stretching entails altering some critical engineered parameters, it is highly likely that stretching may affect safety. There is a greater risk of blowouts, because stretching may reduce the sidewalls’ load-bearing capacity.
The risks may be less significant with minor or moderate stretching. However, overstretching increases the risks and reduces the tire’s longevity dramatically.
Stretched tires are more susceptible to tread wear and are more likely to deflate after hitting a bump or hole.
Finally, stretched tires press harder on the rims, which can bend or crack due to a long-term exposure.
Are there acceptable tire stretching techniques?
Although tire stretching has visible downsides, it is increasingly popular among drivers. Driving with such tires can be safe unless you overstretch them.
If you are intent on stretching your tires, be sure to provide a less than 80-degree angle between the wheel and the bead. This will ensure appropriate sealing and good performance.
Summing it up
If you are wondering whether or not you want to stretch your tires, think twice and ask yourself if you really need to do that. Now that you know what it means, it is up to you to decide.
If good looks are not something you place above all, you’d better refrain from altering your tire’s original parameters. However, if aesthetic value is your priority, take appropriate steps to ensure safety. Do your best to find a devoted and responsible mechanic, who can do the procedure properly. Be sure that tire stretching is legal in your area.