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Is Bigger Always Better? Pros And Cons Of Big Wheels

by John Eastwoodon November 29, 2022


Regarding wheels, many truck owners agree that bigger is always better. Big wheels offer many benefits for drivers, but upgrading your factory-installed wheels to a more extensive set may be only some of it's cracked up to be. Many of the pros of upgrading to larger wheels revolve around the style and off-roading performance of the vehicle. But style isn't the only reason people upgrade big wheels. Big wheels increase the truck's performance when engaged in off-road activities.

When you are ready to upgrade your truck wheels and tires, you can go bigger to improve its appearance and performance in some situations. However, consider a few things before deciding.

Big Wheels Easily Navigate Rugged Terrain 

If you are into off-roading with your truck, you understand how rough terrain affects your truck's performance. Rugged terrain is easier to navigate with bigger tires, wheels and over rocks and debris. The larger the wheel, the wider the tires, which increase the surface area of the rubber that makes contact with the ground, gripping the terrain better. 

Protects Your Chassis With Increased Clearance

Larger wheels will raise your truck or SUV's height, increasing its clearance from the ground. The increased clearance makes a considerable difference when off-roading as it offers more protection for your vehicle's chassis. The higher your truck, the less chance the chassis will collide with obstacles like rocks and other natural debris. Trucks that don't have enough clearance risk damage to the undercarriage, which could be costly to fix. 

Drive Through Standing Water

While taking your vehicle into unknown standing water and flooded areas is not recommended, having bigger tires helps you more safely navigate these areas if needed. If you are exposed to driving in wet conditions, having larger tires makes it much more manageable. The extra height the big wheels give your vehicle helps keep the exhaust pipes and cabin free from water. Larger wheels also may make your truck heavier, which keeps your tires in contact with the road. The deeper tread patterns on big tires help to channel the water away from the tire, decreasing your chances of hydroplaning. 

Reduced Fuel Efficiency With Larger Tires

Something to consider when upgrading to larger tires is that your fuel efficiency will be impacted. The truck engine has to work harder to rotate the tires because of the added drag and weight resistance. You will burn more fuel to get your truck or SUV up to speed, reducing your vehicle's fuel economy. Some truck owners don't worry about having larger wheels because they only use their trucks for recreation. But if you drive your truck for daily commutes, consider the added cost. 

Big Wheels Can Alter How Your Truck Handles

When you increase the size of your wheels, your vehicle will handle differently than it did with the factory-installed set. With larger tires, each set rotates over a longer distance, making changing directions more challenging. With the added weight, torque, and grip, you can also expect your truck's braking distance to be affected. If you steer your truck and it's bigger tires scrub against the wheel wells, your steering angle may also be impacted.