What are stretched tires? Everything you need to know
Stretched tires are the name given to a tire that has been mounted onto a rim or wheel that is too big for it.
When you’re looking for a new set of tires, you might come across the option of stretched tires. You might be wondering if they are safe and if they offer any benefits over traditional tires. We’ll talk about what they are, how they work, and the pros and cons of using them.
By the end of this post, you’ll know everything you need to make an informed decision about whether or not stretched tires are right for you!
What are stretched tires?
A stretched tire is the name given to a tire that has been mounted onto a rim or wheel that is too big for it. By doing so, the tire’s sidewall is stretched, making it smaller and thinner than a traditional tire.
There are a few different levels of stretched tire, from a very mild stretch to a very wide stretch where the wheel beading only just makes contact with the side of the wheels.
This is much more dangerous as there is a risk of the wheel barrel being exposed and these very wide stretched tires often need to be refilled with air on a daily basis.
Are stretched tires safe?
Most stretched tires can be just as safe as any other tires, but this will begin to decrease for the more extreme degrees of tire stretching. Extreme tire stretching can risk tearing the sidewall of the tire or de-beading the tire while driving.
There is also a chance of the tire moving side to side on the barrel of the wheel. For this reason, we would only advise a mild tire stretch for tires that you plan on driving on often. An extreme tire stretch is only advised if you are only planning on showing off your vehicle and not driving it.
What are the benefits of using them?
There are very few benefits of using stretched tires. The main reason for most people who choose to stretch their tires is for the aesthetic. A stretched tire is a popular trend in the modified car community amongst “stanced” cars and many shows cars are mounted with stretched tires.
This gives the vehicle a certain “one of a kind” look.
There are no road performance benefits associated from using stretched tires on a car. Some will argue that stretched tires decrease performance. This is because the smaller tire being mounted onto the wheel gives a smaller contact patch with the road, decreasing traction.
With the sidewall of the tire now stretched and on the wheel in a more slanted angle, the sidewall is also able to support slightly less weight.
How do you stretch a tires ?
The first step in stretching a tire is to pick a wheel that you are looking to stretch a tire onto. For this to work, it is important to pick a suitable wheel. This means that the wheel needs to be the right size and it also needs to have the correct bolt or stud pattern for your chosen vehicle.
Once you have a wheel in mind, the next step is to choose a tire that is too small for the wheel. The most important thing here is to make sure that the tire’s sidewall is tall enough that it can be stretched without tearing. This means that the sidewall needs to be at least 30% taller than the width of the wheel.
There are a few different ways to stretch a tire, but the most common method is to use starter fluid and a match to pop the tire onto the rim.
This however is very dangerous and should only be attempted by a professional.
First step is to put the tire through onto the rim. To seat the tire to the rim, spray some starter fluid around the bead of the tire, inside the rim and tire. The final step is to take a match and ignite the starter fluid inside the tire. This will cause the gases to ignite and expand, quickly seating the tire onto the rim.
Once this has successfully seated the tire to the rim, you are then able to fill the tire to the correct air pressure. Do note that this is a very dangerous method and should only be done by experienced professionals in a well-ventilated area.
There is also a machine known as a tire stretching cage which can help to pre-stretch the tires in preparation for being stretched. This machine uses two high-powered hydraulic cylinders to stretch the tire onto the wheel.
Are stretched tires legal?
This is a difficult question to answer as there are no specific laws in place regarding stretched tires. The only thing that is certain is that if you were to get into an accident, it would be very easy for the other driver’s insurance company to claim that your tires were illegal and were a contributing factor in the accident.
The European Tyre and Rim Technical Organization is an organization that provides guidelines for approved rim widths. However, if you have a different size than what’s recommended in their standards manual it does not necessarily mean your tires are misaligned on the rims!
We would advise against using stretched tires on a car that you plan on driving on the road often. Not only is it illegal in many countries, but it is also dangerous as it reduced traction and can cause accidents.
What are the pros and cons of using stretched tires?
There are a few pros and cons to using stretched tires. These should be taken into consideration before decided if this is something that you want to do to your car.
- Aesthetic appeal
- Can give “one of a kind” look to a car
- Less road traction
- Smaller contact patch
- Risk of tearing sidewall or de-beading tire
- Sidewall supports less weight
- Dangerous to stretch a tire (should only be done by experienced professionals)
Should you stretch your tires?
As you can see, there are pros and cons to using stretched tires. It is important to weigh these out before deciding if this is something that you want to do to your car. If you decide that you do want to stretch your tires, make sure that you are doing it safely and only with experienced professionals.
We hope you enjoyed this article and found it informative. If you have any questions then please leave a comment below or get in touch via email or through social media and we will read and respond to every comment, email or question. Thanks for reading!
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Will I get pulled over for driving on stretched tires?
With mildly stretched tires you should not get pulled over. However if you drive with extremely stretched tire and you also have a large amount of camber where your wheels protrude from your vehicle at an angle, you are likely to be stopped.