One of the most popular vehicle modifications is custom wheels and tires. Custom wheels help you stand out from the crowd without spending a lot of money, and custom tires can help you fine tune your performance. Not that long ago, new cars came with just one or two tire and wheel options. Now manufacturers are offering more choices and over a third of new vehicle buyers choose custom wheels. That seems to have fueled public demand for custom wheels in all vehicle categories. The available styles, colors and finishes are endless. You’re sure to get the look you want – from sleek and stylish to tough and aggressive.
While custom wheels are largely a matter of taste, custom tires are a matter of function. That is not to say that there are not a lot of cool looking tires out there, it’s just that tires are vital to your safety, so there are some important practical considerations. Let’s look at it in terms of extremes. Think about the environment on a dry race track. High heat, high speed, high cornering forces, hard braking. Then think about a snowy, icy winter that is very cold and slippery. The rubber compound that could withstand the high temperatures and cornering forces on the race track would be very stiff and inflexible in winter conditions. And the rubber compound that provides cold weather flexibility and good bite into ice and snow would rapidly wear out on the race track and wouldn’t be stable at high speeds. Of course the tread design would be greatly different for maintaining traction on a dry race track than it would be for cutting through deep snow.
No one expects any one tire to handle these extremes. So, what we need to do is think about how we are going to drive, and talk to a tire professional about options. There is a tire out there that will meet your driving needs. When you boil it down to the basics, a tire provides traction. The traction is for accelerating, cornering, and for stopping. Once you can identify the conditions you expect to drive in, you can find the tire that will deliver the traction you need.
Tire design and formulation has become very sophisticated. There are fewer compromises in wear, comfort, and performance. You can definitely find a tire that will deliver satisfaction over a range of driving conditions. Now if you live where a tire meeting the severe snow standard is advised, you’ll want to have a set of winter tires during those snowy, icy months.
Let’s go over tire and wheel size. Installing wheels and tires that are the same size as standard is easy. However, many people want to upsize these days and that can get a bit tricky. With the help of your tire professional, you will be able to pick the right tire and wheel combination for the way you drive. For example, if you drive off-road a lot, a low profile tire might not work because there is just not enough cushion for the bumps and rocks.
You’ll want some help to make sure your new tires and wheels fit without rubbing. Your tire pro can also help you know if your engine management computer needs to be reprogrammed so that your speedometer is properly calibrated. A lot of people are tempted to order tires and wheels on line but do not realize that some safety systems may be affected. For example, your rolling diameter needs to be within 3% of factory specifications in order for your anti-lock brakes to work properly. Traction and stability control systems can also be adversely affected.
It pays to get professional help when deciding on a wheel size. There has never been a better time to get custom wheels for the look you want. And your tire options are phenomenal. Whether you want a single purpose winter or summer performance tire – or something that can handle a wider range of conditions, you have a tire option for every price range.