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Do Wider Tires Have More Grip?

Many believe that using wider tires on their vehicles will give the car more grip. Sometimes that’s true but not necessarily. Every tire has its advantages and is best suited for different driving styles.

At Seattle Automotive, Inc., we love to share blogs like this with our friends and customers in Seattle  and all over the State of WA.

What is considered a wide tire?

On the side wall of each of your tires, you’ll find the tire width. For example, if it says P225/55R16, the 225 number is the width in millimeters. Any tire that surpasses the width on your car is considered wide. Inside the driver’s door, you’ll find the vehicle’s stock tire size.

When should I use a wider tire?

Maybe you are looking for enhanced traction when you accelerate during off-roading, on the racetrack or rock crawling. Some drivers prefer wider tires because they are looking for a low-profile appearance. Wider tires have been known to grip dry services better than narrow ones because of the larger contact surface. A wide tire will also provide more grip during hard braking and less vehicle roll, according to experts.

Which tire is best?

If you look at the tire width and the load on each of your tires (pounds per millimeter of a tire), it seems there is a correlation between a wide tire and its grip. However, there are other factors to consider.

Depending on the type of vehicle you have—performance vs. utilitarian—will determine what tires you should use and whether it is advisable to upgrade to wider tires. The vehicle’s stability and weight are also factors.

For example, summer tires provide great grip on the pavement while all-terrain wide tires do not perform well on the same surface. In comparison, you wouldn’t want to take your summer tires off-roading.

Specific compounds can make a difference as well. Wide tires may not provide the grip you are expecting depending on the circumstance.

What is the downside of using wide tires?

Wider tires are not always the best option. Some of the negative effects include the possibility of hydroplaning and losing control on slippery or loose surfaces, such as gravel. Not only do they increase noise on the roadways, but they can also reduce your turning radius since they contact the bump stops sooner. They can also be expensive to install and may not even fit inside your wheel wells.

Tire experts recommend using the factory tires that came with your vehicle unless you have a specific reason to change to wider tires. They say this will guarantee the best traction. When in doubt, it’s best to check with your local dealership or body shop to find what is best for your particular situation.

Sources:, Wikipedia, CNN

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