Understanding Wheel Aesthetics

2 Problems Caused by Putting Undersized Tires on Your Car

After noticing that your car's tires are starting to show wear, you may have decided that you need to replace them. You may have even found a set on sale or have a friend that is willing to give you a set.

However, if the tires are smaller than the ones currently on your vehicle, you may be wondering if you can use the undersized ones. It's important to understand your options so you don't cause additional problems. Below are just a couple of the problems that you will likely face when you attempt to put tires on your car that are too small for the vehicle.

1. Speedometer Will Read a Higher Speed than You Are Driving

One problem you may face is a speedometer that doesn't read accurately. It will read that you are going faster than you actually driving. Because your car is not set up for smaller tires, it will have to rotate them faster while you drive, increasing the number of revolutions that it makes. Because of this, the sensors will read these extra revolutions as the car traveling at higher speeds, which will then be read by the speedometer as you going faster. 

When subjected to constant higher revolutions, the sensors could malfunction, causing permanent misreadings. Even if you switch back to the correct tire size, your speedometer may still give false speeds.

2. Brakes May Lock up or Not Be as Effective When Trying to Come to a Stop

Another issue caused by tires that are too small for your car is that they can mess up the braking system. The brakes on your car are specifically measured for the tires recommended by the manufacturer. If you have smaller tires and try to brake, they may lock up when you attempt to slow down. Also, when you attempt to come to a complete stop, they will be slower to engage, making them not as effective at halting your vehicle quickly.

Unless you are willing and able to have your car's systems changed to accommodate smaller tires, you should stick with ones that are recommended for your vehicle's make, model, and size. Placing smaller tires will end up giving you false speedometer readings as well as interfere with your car's braking system. If you are unsure as to what size is ideal for your car, speak with a representative at a tire shop in your area.