Safety is key when modifying vehicles since you are changing an incredibly powerful operating system that is meant to protect you while you travel. Knowing the right way of how to stretch a tire can be a lifesaver in certain situations, since the proper function of your vehicle relies on the conditions of its tires.
Why Stretch a Tire?
A stretched tire has a smaller width than its wheel. There is usually a 1-3 inch difference. People sometimes stretch their tires for aesthetic reasons. Usually, people stretch the tires on show cars, which draws lots of attention to the wheels. It’s thought that it helps the car to withstand drifting at extreme speeds.
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Is Tire Stretching Legal?
It depends on where you live. In America, laws on tire stretching differ in each state. In the UK, the legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm, across 75% of the tire.
You must inform your insurance company of any adjustments made to your vehicle since it may deem your car not roadworthy and void any claim if you were in an accident.
Popular Tires to Stretch
A few popular tire brands that get stretched are:
Risks of Stretching Tires
Stretching is not beneficial for your tires’ longevity. When you stretch a tire, it has excess stress and heat that make it more prone to tear, cut, puncture, deflate, and de-bead. The more aggressive the stretch is, the more dangerous the tire is. Stretched tires have little to no sidewall, lacking protection for the wheels.
Do not stretch your tires if you travel on harsh roads, do high-performance driving, or try to maximize your traction. Stretched tires wear at a faster rate, thus reducing their lifespans.
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Types of Tire Stretches
There are three main ways to stretch tires. They are mild stretch, solid stretch, and full stretch.
The most modest tire stretch type, this is commonly the type issued certificates by manufacturers.
Solid stretches are when a tire reaches its maximum stretch angle, slightly taking off from the wheel rim’s seal.
The full or maximum stretch exposes the wheel. The rim touches the tire’s sidewalls.
How to Perform a Tire Stretch
Before you start, make sure to have an auto fire extinguisher in your workspace.
- Lay the tire and rim flat. Steel wheels are recommended for stretched tires.
- Apply a soap and water mixture to the bead of the tire with a paintbrush or spray applicator.
- Use a tire spoon or long flat head screwdriver to get the next bead over the rim.
- Spray a flammable substance like brake cleaner around the inner tire.
- Connect an air compressor to the tire.
- Light the flammable substance.
- Compress to the correct PSI (40-45) when the tire is beaded.
Maintaining Stretched Tires
To safely use your stretched tires, make sure the correct air pressure is maintained. Check your pressure often, preferably when the tires are cold overnight. Do not just estimate or guess by appearance. It is always better to know the exact tire pressure.
Regularly check the tread for cuts or abnormal wear. Since your stretched tires have excess stress, they may be more susceptible to damage. Remove pebbles from grooves and pay attention to the wear pattern as it should be relatively even on each side.
Don’t hesitate to get your vehicle inspected by a professional if you find anything out of the ordinary. Since you modified your tires, you lowered their longevity and increased the risks of damage. Be sure to make the professional inspectors aware of any modifications made in the past so that they can properly help you if it needs repair or adjustments.
Being careful about where you drive and how fast you go is the best way of being safe with stretched tires. It is recommended that you do not go off-roading or travel on rough terrain as it stresses the already overstressed tires, thus increasing the chances of damage.
People sometimes stretch their tires to make their vehicles look more interesting by drawing attention to the wheels. The process of stretching a tire at home is fairly simple, but do exercise extreme caution when handling fire and always have a fire extinguisher close by and ready to use.
It is highly recommended that you do at most a mild stretch, as the more aggressive the stretch is, the more dangerous it is to use the tire. Frequently check your tires’ air pressure to maintain safety and immediately have your vehicle inspected if you find something out of the ordinary or damaged.
Stretched tires may look cool, but you need to be careful when using them as they’re more likely to be damaged. Now you know how to stretch a tire with extra caution. Always keep in mind the risks you are taking!
If you find this guide helpful, we recommend to check out others as well:
How To Put A Tire On The Rim
How To Mount A Tire
How To Use Tire Machine
How To Mount ATV Tires
How To Take Tire Off Rim
How To Dismount A Tire