How much price are you willing to pay for beauty? Sure when a car on the street with incredibly large tires which look disproportionate to the size and height of the car cruises by, lots of people cannot help staring at the car until it disappears out of the horizon.
Must persons however do not realize what the car has to sacrifice for such looks in terms of its acceleration, braking distance, and other aspects of the car driving and handling?
So, does tire weight matter? Tire weight undoubtedly should matter. This is not something that can be ignored. Irrespective of how controversial this topic is and the number of arguments in the various car chat forums on the internet, every car owner looking to install heavier and larger tires must understand the effect this has on the performance of their car and make an informed decision.
The subject of the effect of tire weight on car performance and whether this should be something that matters or not is often an interesting one that generates hot arguments all over the Internet forums. As a daily driver or someone who runs a taxi business, this is an attunement you may also weigh in on. The car enthusiasts and the physics nerds will also find this fascinating.
We have chosen in this article to present both sides of the argument, that is, the perspective of those who claim the tire weight should not matter as it has no impact on the car’s performance and those who believe the tire weight has a significant impact on the car’s performance and should therefore matter.
There are helps those who take the middle ground, that is, agrees with the second group which believes the tire weight impacts car performance, they, however, believe that the weight’s impact on the car performance is highly negligible compared to other factors and therefore should not be given a center stage.
How does tire weight impact car performance?
No matter how desperately you want your car to look elegant there is a limit to the price you will be willing to pay for this. Most women are willing to sacrifice hours, funds, and other resources to get their hair and nails done and look breathtaking afterward. There is however a limit to how much pain you are willing to endure to get to such a level.
When it comes to the car, there are car owners who aspire to treat their cars like a wife, and some more than they treat their wives. Let’s move straight to what can happen to your car’s performance as a result of installing large and heavy tires on the car to improve its looks.
There are mathematical values done by experts, calculations that show exactly the magnitude of impact the larger heavier tire has on the car’s performance.
values show that heavier tires cause an increase in the rolling resistance of the tires which consequently translates to a decreased gas mileage. Aside from this, the handling of the car is equally put in jeopardy.
So, saying it does not matter whether or not the tire is light or heavy is erroneous and not completely true. Some of the impacts of the large heavier tire may not be noticed, especially by drivers who before this time barely paid attention to the working of the car.
A more objective evaluation of the impact is what the physicist put to us. These calculations show the weight of the tire does matter, no matter how insignificant it may seem, the impact is real.
Which is better a light tire or the heavyweight tire?
Some get a kick out of a back and forth argument. A lot has been said about this subject but never objectively. Most persons seem to state their personal experiences without any values or statistics to support their claim.
Most persons that go for larger tires do not consider the impact of the weight of the tire on the car rather, their eyes are fixed on how gorgeous the large tires will make the car look at the end of the day.
To objectively evaluate which is better in terms of their impact on the car’s performance, light and heavyweight tires will be put to the test here by the physicist in the house.
In case you are wondering who the physics expert is, it is no other than myself. Of course, I am by no chance an expert in the subject, and that is why you will be able to understand what is to follow as they are all explained in the simplest words possible with no sophisticated technical terms.
So, let us brush over a little physics. Let’s start by considering the meaning of the following physics terms as it relates to the car.
Unstrung weight: not the entire weight of the car is saddled on the car’s suspension. The weight which the suspension is not responsible for is called the up strung weight. They, therefore, do not contribute to the rebound of the suspension.
An example of such weight is the tires and tires. These two car parts are anchored below the suspension and are not bored by the suspension.
The opposite of unsprung weight is the strung weight. So, if you were able to understand the unsprung weight as the weight not carried by the suspension, then, the sprung weight is simply that which is bored by the suspensions such as the weight of the engine.
Rotational mass: this is another important concept you must understand to explain coherently how the large tire impacts car performance. It takes energy to bring the car to move or get it to stop, the ease with which this is done or the difficulty as the car may be is considered the rotational mass.
This mass must be overcome to accelerate the car or to bring the car to a halt. In terms of creation, it impedes the car from moving from a resting position and makes it difficult to bring the car to a stop within the shortest distance possible.
The unsprung weight along with the rotational mass, explains why the light tires favor acceleration more than the heavier ones. The same explanation is given for the ease of cornering the improved steering.
The argument is not in complete disapproval of the mathematical evidence the weight of the tore has been shown to have on the car performance, but that the impact is insignificant.
However, a good number of studies put there beg to differ. The larger the tire size the heavier it is. The heavier the tire, the more energy is required to move the car.
The energy used to move the car is provided by the combination of gas from a gas engine and electric wattage from electric cars. Consequently, there is a reduced gas mileage when a heavier tire is involved.
Although this is the most popular explanation as to why large and heavier tires caused a reduced fuel economy, there is however the second version of this explanation which does not have much to do with the weight of the tire, but rather with the increased grip seem with large tires.
It is well known that large tires have a better grip on the road than the smaller narrow type. This creates a resistance that must be overcome to move the car. The energy used to overcome such resistance explains the reduced fuel mileage.
Aside from the impact on fuel mileage, acceleration and braking distance, you may also have to consider the cost of large tires. More construction materials are put into their making, and they, therefore, cost more.
There are sometimes I’ll fit and may rub against the fender especially when cornering. This can be fixed by using a spacer or lifting the car, which cost considerably.
Do traction and handling improve with heavier tires?
Traction and handling have been rumored to improve with large tires. The word rumored was used intentionally because most of these claims are not backed by any evidence rather it is a subject of discussion. Driving comfort is most of the time related to the driving style of the driver than they care to admit, rather the glory is given to large tires.
While cornering, you will quickly realize how poor the large tires are with traction and how some rub against the fender and make turning the wheel considerably difficult.
Why should the weight of the tire matter to you?
The tire, rim, and generally the weight of the wheel should bother you and be of concern to you. What the wheel is made of, steel or aluminum determines its weight and this should matter to you. If you hope to improve the acceleration and braking distance of your vehicle, then take this matter more seriously.
Does Tire Weight Matters – Conclusion
Irrespective of how negligible you believe the impact of the tire size to be on the car’s performance, the weight still matters and should be taken as such. Upgrading the tires to a bigger and heavier size could cost you more than you can bear.
I am passionate about all things automotive and have a deep understanding of the topic. As a mechanic, I use my free time to share knowledge of everyday challenges that any car owner can experience – helping you make informed decisions about tires.