When it comes to replacing your truck tires, bigger can be better for a couple of reasons but there are pros and cons that come with bigger tires as we’ll go over shortly.
Quite a few people who buy a stock truck or SUV want to get bigger tires, but they are unfamiliar with the vehicle to know what will and won’t fit properly.
In most cases, you can put bigger tires on your truck without a lift. You can fit up to 33” tires on most trucks with no lift required.
Other modifications like adjusting the torsion keys, using wheel spacers, cutting fenders, and using leveling kits may be required depending on your truck and tire combination.
Let’s take a closer look at a few ways in which you can put bigger tires on your truck without a lift being required.
Adjusting The Torsion Keys
This may be the easiest way to fit bigger tires onto your truck. You can adjust your stock torsion keys if your truck uses a bar suspension system, most 4WD trucks do.
It is not recommended that you adjust the stock torsion keys too much as you can ruin the feeling of your ride and mess up your suspension system in the long run. So while adjusting the torsion keys is a quick and easy fix, never adjust the keys to their maximum.
Aftermarket torsion keys can be adjusted to raise your truck about 1 to 1.5 inches higher which can help for bigger tires if you haven’t got a lift or leveling kit installed.
Pro-Tip: Don’t crank your stock torsion keys up to their limit, you won’t have any down travel past the adjusted fixed height which will cause low ride quality. This can also cause damage to the rest of your suspension.
Fitting Wheel Spacers
Wheel spacers can save you from lifting your truck if you’re getting bigger tires for it. Wheel spacers will position your wheels further away from your truck to eliminate rubbing of the tires against the wheel wells.
Whenever fitting wheel spacers, you must have the suspension checked to make sure it’s not under too much stress caused by the new angles created by the wheel spacers. In a lot of instances a combination of wheel spacers and an off-road bumper will allow for bigger tires without lifting the truck.
You can put bigger tires onto your truck without a lift required if you get your fenders “rolled” Fender rolling is the process of bending your truck’s inner lip above the tire from an L shape to a V shape with special tools and heating. This will allow more space for your bigger tires to be able to move around without rubbing against the wheel wells.
Cutting/Trimming The Fenders
Cutting away part of your wheel wells can be quick, easy, and neatly done. It can also turn into hours upon hours of painstaking effort and turn out to be a mess. If you ever plan on cutting and trimming away your truck, make sure not to cut away pieces of the body that are connected together like pinch welds or spot welds.
Your truck will fall apart if you accidentally cut away pieces of material that are welded onto each other. Rather try to cut relief cuts into them and bang them down with a hammer to make extra room.
Always mark out where you plan to cut your truck body and mentally go through the procedure from beginning to end before starting the cut.
Using Leveling Kits
Leveling kits lift your truck up in the front to level out the height with the back of the truck, hence the name leveling kit. The front tires of your truck are the ones that need additional space to move around while turning left and right which makes leveling kits ideal for accommodating bigger tires.
Leveling kits are usually able to add around 2 inches of height to the front of your truck. This is one of the most popular ways of making some extra space to fit bigger tires onto your truck without using a lift kit.
Leveling kits aren’t very expensive compared to lift kits and they’re quick and easy to install. Raising the front of your truck will decrease the fuel efficiency because of the aerodynamics being changed negatively.
Why Use A Lift Kit On Your Truck?
Lift kits raise both the front and rear of the truck from 3 to 12 inches above the stock height. Usually, lifting your truck 3 inches or more is done to allow for bigger tires and therefore better off-road handling, getting through mud and rivers easier, driving over big rocks and tree branches, and moving through uneven terrain.
Having said this, there are many people who are in the market for buying lift kits and bigger tires for the way it makes their truck look. Nobody can deny that a truck that’s been lifted a few inches above its stock height certainly has a tough and capable look to it. Add the big tires to the lifted truck and you have one mean looking machine.
Advantages Of Bigger Tires
- One of the main advantages of bigger tires is the increased ground clearance to get over obstacles easier and to conquer off-road territor.
- Bigger tires increase the overall height of your truck and give you a better view of the road ahead.
- Fitting bigger tires to your truck will improve your towing stability because your bigger tires have a larger contact area with the road.
- Bigger tires are better for off-road handling and traction because there is more tire making contact with the ground.
- Bigger tires have more stopping power on the road and off the road. For emergency stops.
- A bigger tire wears down slower than a smaller tire because there’s more rubber to connect with the road.
Disadvantages Of Bigger Tires
- Bigger tires will increase your fuel consumption because of the extra weight and traction.
- Bigger tires will decrease your acceleration and overall speed.
- Increased tire size can wear out your transmission and drivetrain quicker. Your transmission and drivetrain are going to be working harder to rotate those big wheels and so it is recommended that you regear your system to accommodate the new tire size.
- Your speedometer and odometer will give you lower figures compared to your actual speed and distance. This is because the speedometer displays your speed based on how fast your wheels are rotating. Bigger tires cover more distance in one rotation than stock tires but the speedometer just keeps checking for full rotations and works out the speed and distance based on the stock standard size tire.
- Bigger tires are more expensive.
- The bigger the tires, the more braking power required, wearing your brakes down quicker than normal.
- In most cases, you‘ll need to modify your truck to accommodate bigger tires.
To-Do List After Fitting Bigger Wheels
- You’ll need to have your speedometer and odometer recalibrated to match up to the bigger tires. Otherwise, you’ll be seeing figures that are lower than your actual speed and you might land up with speeding tickets.
- Your transmission will be working harder than before and could do with an upgrade to make sure it doesn’t fail on you.
- Adjust your headlights to make sure you don’t blind oncoming traffic because of your increased height due to the bigger tires.
Will Bigger Tires Lift My Truck?
Yes, bigger tires will lift your truck because bigger tires are higher and the truck axle connects at a higher point in the air onto the wheel. With this in mind, if you fit tires that are two inches bigger than your current tires and then use a leveling kit to raise the front up 1 or 2 inches, you’ll have an extra 3 or 4 inches of height in the driver’s seat.
What Size Tire Can I Put On My Truck With A Leveling Kit?
In most cases, a level kit is only going to lift the front of your truck up by about 1 to 1.5 inches.
This helps a lot when going from a 31” tire to a 33” but won’t help much more than that. A combination of a leveling kit and one or two other methods mentioned above can give you enough room to use even bigger tires but you will have to double-check the measurements before making the purchase.
Most tire dealerships will give you the opportunity to check how the wheel fits before making the purchase. Then you can turn the wheels fully to the left and right to see where they make contact with the wheel well of your truck.
Depending on how much contact they make you can choose the appropriate combination of techniques above to fit the tires properly without using a lift kit.