What to do about dodgy tires

By: Unique Cars Magazine

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Tired of crap tyres? Here's what to do.

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So, let's say you’ve just bought yourself a classic car for those early morning spirited drives on long weekends.

Only problem is, it’s a car that has older 13 or 14-inch rims as stock, which means that finding a modern performance tyre conducive to enthusiast driving is harder than drifting a B-double.

Many, many enthusiasts have come across this problem. I circumvented the it by doing what most do: going for a bigger size wheel to accommodate more rubber.

It’s not an easy decision to make, and finding the right aftermarket wheel that suits your car's aesthetic can be a nightmare, especially if your pride and joy is more than two decades old.

But, it can be done, and in the case of my own car, I not only kept the car looking original but drastically improved the handling thanks to simply having more tyre on the road which, in turn, led to more mechanical grip.

However, there are a few things you need to take into account before you start loosening the wheel nuts.

For a start, each state in the country has rules about changing wheel and tyre sizes on your vehicle, and they vary from state to state.

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This can be a real hassle if you’re buying a car interstate.

Something to keep in mind is older cars often rely on a decent sidewall as part of the suspension package – lose too much and it may ride like a dray.

You’ve also got to consider that if you do go for the upgrade, you either need to keep the total rolling circumference standard (get the calculator out and be sure) or recalibrate your speedo.

Clearance can be an issue if the rolling circumference or the width changes, and you'll need to check this out at full compression on the suspension - with the front wheels turned. There are ways around this, such as rolling your wheel arches, but this can be very troublesome.

Bottom line is, upgrading your wheel and tyre sizes is a worthwhile strategy that can lead to serious handling improvements, but like most things, you need to do your research and find the combination that’s right for you. This is where a knowledgeable tyre shop can be very handy.

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