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# Tire Basics

Wide tires

What are wide tires?

The size and width of tires will determine how the car handles in different conditions and typically provides the optimum overall performance. A wide tire, by comparison, is a tire which exceeds a standard tire.

Reasons for switching from narrow tires to wide tires – if the car's specifications allow for it – can range from performance enhancements to aesthetic appearance. Because the contact area is more substantial, for example, wide tires can grip and accelerate on dry surfaces much better than narrow ones. They're also great for specific applications like winter driving conditions.

These modifications are road-legal so long as the driver is aware of the changes in handling to their car, for example, when it comes to cornering and braking, and they don't exceed the safety guidelines recommended by either the vehicle or tire manufacturer. The documentation that comes with your vehicle will further specify the widest tires you can fit to the rim without impairing safety or performance.

For comparison, you can identify your car's stock size on the tire sidewall, under the fuel cap, or on the pillar of the driver's door. In a sequence of markings like 225/50 R 17 98 H, for example, the first three numbers "225" represent the section width, in millimeters, of the tire from one sidewall to the other.

Illustration about different properties with wide tires.

Advantages of wider tires in winter

When it comes to the winter season, there are definite advantages to fitting your wheels with wide tires over standard narrow tires.

A wider tire equates to better performance on dry or wet roads and compacted snow. They provide excellent performance in all winter conditions because:

  • More sipes interlock with the ground, even on snow;
  • Shorter braking distance due to larger tread blocks;
  • Consistent and balanced drivability and better steering precision;
  • Sportier driving comfort.

In our high-performance-tire segment, Continental can offer excellent solutions for wide tires for high-performance vehicles, medium and luxury-class cars, and SUVs.

Possible adverse effects of wider tires

If disregarding the vehicle or tire manufacturer guidelines, there are potential hazards to fitting your wheels with wide tires.

For one thing, tires may be more susceptible to aquaplaning or hydroplaning. Also, the car will have less control on slippery, loose surfaces like gravel.

Elsewhere, a wide tire may not fit correctly inside the wheel. It may protrude outwards. One consequence of this is to restrict the freedom of motion and your turning radius.

Last but not least, noise from the road will increase, further impacting ride comfort.

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