Stretched tires are a favorite in some car enthusiast communities by providing that “stanced” or “slammed” look. While there are no additional performance benefits with stretched tires, having this look on your vehicle helps add to the aesthetic of the car.
What are Stretched Tires?
Note that it’s harder to patch stretched tires, depending on its location.
Simply put, stretched tires happen when you use wider wheels for narrower tires, essentially “stretching out” the rubber and creating a more deflated look to the tires.
Typically, tires are designed so that the beads are 90 degrees in relation to the bead seat. However, stretching your tires can cause irregularity in how the beads are positioned against the bead seat. This doesn’t make the tires inefficient – but it does increase the vulnerability of the tires, especially when used on rough roads.
Are Stretched Tires Safe?
Stretched tires are generally safe when done properly and within a specific stretched ratio. Generally, the stretch should only be anywhere from 1 to 3 inches – more than that and safety can already be an issue for the driver.
Even by following the desired ratio, however – you’ll find that stretched tires are still exposed to several risks such as blowouts, deflating the tires, and curbing the alloy.
The incorrect placement of the bead also makes the tires more vulnerable to rough roads. Unbeaded areas become easily exposed and therefore prone to punctures especially when driven over a pothole.
As a rule, therefore, vehicle owners are advised not to overstretch their tires. It’s also better to start off with previously tested models for stretching. For example, popular brands for stretched tires include Dunlop, Nankang, Falke, TOYO, and Bridgestone.
Driving on Stretched Tires?
In terms of car performance, driving on stretched tires doesn’t really do much. It doesn’t improve the performance of your vehicle – but it also doesn’t lower it either. Note though that this is only true if you don’t go excessive with the stretch. Provided that the tires aren’t over-extended, they should be fine when driven on a good road.
Can You Stretch Your Own Tires?
Yes – you can definitely stretch your own tires. However, it can be difficult and you’ll need to have special equipment on hand to smoothen the process. If this is your first time, a fire extinguisher is definitely a must. There are also guides online that can go a long way in helping you stretch your own tires.
Here are the typical steps to the process:
- Lay the tire and rim flat.
- Using a soap and water mixture, apply it to the bead of the tire so that it can slip out with very little friction.
- You can use a tire spoon or a flathead screwdriver to properly remove the bead.
- Once done, use any flammable spray substance on the inner portion of the tire. It can be a brake cleaner or even a deodorant.
- Once done, connect the air compressor to the tire.
- Light the flammable substance.
- Wait until the tire is beaded before compressing it to the right PSI.
Make sure to watch a video of the process you’ll have a visual idea of how this works.
To wrap it up – stretched tires are a cool thing to do if you want to add personality to your vehicle. Keep in mind however that the process can be difficult so you want to stay safe and do this at your own risk. We suggest doing this in an open area where there are no flammable materials.