Both wide and narrow tires come with their pros and cons. Wider tires are often hailed as more stable yet less cost efficient. Narrow tires are better at handling snowy weather conditions, however they may not be better for all conditions.
Wider Vs Narrow Tires
At the end of the day, your decision between wide and narrow tires will be steered by factors such as the conditions you anticipate driving in most frequently, the weight of your car, and your budget.
Wider Tires: Bold, Brash, and May Cost You Some Cash
A wider tire will provide you more traction and stability on the road. It is worth noting that wider tires cause more friction, increasing fuel consumption.
Wider tires are not recommended for snowy weather, however they are more equipped to handle other conditions:
- Rainy Days & Wet Roads. The extra traction and increased stability are a must on rainy days or wet roads. This will reduce your chances of sliding out of control. Wider tires also have more "sipes", which are cavities designed to catch and remove water from the surface.
- Dry Roads. On dry roads, you'll able to feel the grip of the wider tires. This increased grip may also encourage the car to follow the camber or curve of the road, which some drivers may find unpleasant. You may also experience increased steering effort while driving at lower speeds.
Not only will the few extra stops to the gas station due to the fuel consumption of wider tires put a little dent in your wallet, wider tires are generally more expensive to purchase. The wider the tire, the larger the price tag. However, the enhanced stability will provide safer driving conditions in most cases - can you really put a price on safety?
Narrow Tires: What's the Skinny?
Narrow tires are economical and better equipped to handle driving through the snow. However, it may not be the best idea to invest in narrow tires if you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, or if you regularly drive in wet conditions.
As for the economics, narrow tires are more fuel efficient. They cause less friction, consuming less gas, and saving you money on frequent trips to the pump. You will also save money the moment you purchase narrow tires, as they are generally much less expensive than their wider counterpart.
A wider tire will provide stability and reduce the chance of slipping on wet roads while a narrow tire cuts costs and straight through snow. Ultimately, it is a matter of the conditions you will be driving in and your budget.
Another very important factor to take into consideration is the weight of your car. With both wide and narrow tires, the tires must be proportionate to your car. Too wide of a tire on a lighter car will result in wheel spins and chaos. On the flip side, too skinny of a tire on a heavy car will explode due to excess pressure per square inch.