Tire stretching has become popular as an interesting customization option, but many who are unfamiliar with the practice may wonder what it involves.
So, what are stretched tires? If you’d like to find out, keep reading!
What Are Stretched Tires?
Stretched tires are put on a rim that is far wider than it was designed to fit. Stretches range in length from an inch to three inches. It has gained a lot of traction within the VW circle, and its appearance has been growing significantly. However, a key reason for getting stretched tires is related to their aesthetic appeal.
If you’d like to learn more about the most ideal conditions for installation, legality and more in relation to stretched tires, keep reading!
Are Stretched Tires Safe?
Running a stretched tire is technically riskier than running a regular tire, since the sidewall can no longer support the same amount of weight.
This can cause sidewall de-beading or ripping, which is never a good thing. However, the level of risk changes depending on the level of stretching.
A more aggressive extended arrangement has a larger risk of things going wrong, but it may be just what you need to get the desired effect.
Why Do People Like Stretched Tires?
There can be a variety of reasons why someone would wish to extend their tires, the most obvious of which is for aesthetic reasons.
As previously stated, a stretched setup is quite popular in the excessive camber scene since it lets enthusiasts customize their cars to an absurd degree while still giving them a unique style.
Running this sort of tire arrangement usually has no performance benefits, thus it’s reasonable to assume that most people will do it only for aesthetic reasons.
Are Stretched Tires Legal?
Stretched tires have become increasingly popular among vehicle enthusiasts in recent years.
It’s neither here nor there in legal terms since it falls into a grey area where no specific statute prohibits it.
As a result, you’re going to have some issues with your auto insurance, especially if you don’t let them know about the alteration. Ultimately, they may refuse to cover your car insurance and even void your insurance.
Therefore, limit the stretch to a minimum and check for permissible ranges according to the tire manufacturer. Note that tire catalogs with guidelines are usually available.
Do Stretched Tires Affect Performance?
Stretching a tire will not improve the performance of your car as the sidewall’s only purpose is to absorb horizontal flex.
A tire’s sidewall alleviates this by conforming inward when you accelerate aggressively. Under hard braking, they extend outward as well.
It effectively sacrifices itself to keep the tire at its greatest grip while also allowing for little lateral flex during intense cornering.
Your fashionable “stretch” reduces the limits of your sidewall just to look edgier.
This places several risks, including making it easier to curb a wheel, bursting a tire, popping a bead, causing more damage to a fender, poor riding quality, sloppy handling, unusual tire wear, and more issues.
Who Started Stretched Tires?
This trend began at truck exhibitions around 2013 or 2014, and it caught tire manufacturers completely off guard.
Some businesses joined in on the trend, even selling 16-inch-wide wheels, which are on the more extreme end of the spectrum.
What PSI Should My Tires Be Stretched At?
PSI ranges from 40 to 45 is best for stretched tires, as you want to keep the PSI at a high level.
A stretched tire might collapse or unseat/unmount if the pressure is very low (below 30). Therefore, don’t go beyond the PSI restriction on the sidewall.
Why Do Drift Cars Have Stretched Tires?
Tire stretch began on early drift vehicles as a means of allowing lower-powered cars to break traction in the back more quickly.
Oddly enough, professional drift vehicles have now gone the opposite way.
They’re traveling at such high speeds and with such tremendous levels of power and steering angle that they’re looking for every ounce of grip they can get, so they’re running as wide a tire as possible with incredibly low tire pressures.
If you want to know more, you can also see our posts on how long do airless tires last, who invented tires, how long does it take to change tires, and what is tire vulcanizing.
Tire stretching is done for aesthetic appeal and is much more popular within the camber scene. It doesn’t improve performance, but rather places you at higher risk of bursting a tire, unusual tire wear, poor handling, and more.
Legality when it comes to stretching tires is still a matter of debate because it falls within a grey area, meaning that you’re at the mercy of your insurance provider when you have these sorts of tires.