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The Connection Between Oversized Tires & Transmissions

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Nothing makes you feel like you own the road more than some large tires. They give you a larger-than-life feel while also providing an aesthetic look to your vehicle. In this Tire Review Continental Tire Garage Studio video, we discuss the trend of large tires and the issues they could cause for your customers’ vehicles.

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The biggest issue with installing taller tires is the increased strain on the drivetrain. When you increase the radius of a tire, it now requires more torque from your driveline to turn that larger tire.

Generally, this does not have much of a negative effect on the engine components themselves. However, it will now require the engine to work harder to maintain the same speed as before. The transmission components, on the other hand, especially the clutches and bands, take most of the abuse. Clutches and bands will begin to create excessive heat as they struggle to operate under higher constant stress. Excessive heat cycles will cause the friction surfaces to start slipping, and at that point, the transmission will need to be overhauled. If the core problem of the failure is not addressed – increased tire size – problems will occur again and again.

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So, how do you safely run big tires on a vehicle that didn’t come stocked with them? Re-gear the vehicle. All rear-wheel-drive vehicles have a set of gears inside the rear axle housing called the ring and pinion gear that determine the final gear ratio. Four-wheel drive vehicles have a set in the front and rear axle housings.

Modifying the final gear ratio will correct the drivetrain deficiencies caused by larger tires. It is more expensive and difficult to modify a four-wheel-drive gear ratio than a rear-wheel-drive because there are two sets to change.

Without this change, those big tires will cause big problems. So make sure to re-gear the vehicles so they can handle the tires installed.

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and Twitter @Tire_Review and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more tire, service, and shop operations videos. Thanks for watching!

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