How To Stretch a Tire… And How You Don’t

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If you’re not familiar with tire stretching, it’s essentially installing a tire on a wheel size that’s larger than what’s specified for the tire, causing the tire to have to stretch to fit the wheels.First time we had to use fire to make a tire stretch out.Stretching 195/45R15s on 9Jx15 BBS RMs.Didn’t work at first, but we got there! As more and more people cry about handling and whatever when it comes to stretched tires.

image/text credit: Stefan Shepherd

These wheels will be going on a stanced out 1986 Scirocco 16V weekend cruiser. It’s meant to look good in the first place, handling just comes second.Stretching tires that much will make the handling in fast corners worse…normal driving you won’t notice any difference though.On my MKIII GTI, I run 195/40s on 9″ wide rims for daily use and meetings, while I run 215/35s on 9″ wide rims for track use.

215s will just stretch slightly on 9″, stiffening the sidewall up only a little, giving you a more direct steering, while still allowing fast cornering.In combination with harder rubber bushings, more stiff suspension setup and unbiall top mounts, etc.etc.

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This results in an almost GoKart like, very direct handling…sure not the fastest setup, but fast and fun enough for me.Tire stretching probably isn’t good for your tires’ longevity. Stretching places undue stress on the tire sidewall and bead and can cause premature and irregular tire tread wear, particularly if you have an aggressive camber setup. Plus, the tire companies don’t like it.

VIAStefan Shepherd
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