Big Tire Vs Small Tire : Know The Difference Between Them

Tires are essential to make sure that a vehicle moves smoothly on the road. The majority of vehicle owners and drivers do not give much thought to tires and tire sizes.

Big Tire Vs Small Tire

In today‚Äôs world, all vehicles, from bicycles to trucks, come with various sizes of tires. The size of the tires plays a major role in the handling, acceleration, and aesthetics of a vehicle.  

Even though many people do not think about the size of the tires, it is an important factor to consider.

We typically categorize tires in two general categories: big tires and small tires. In this guide, we will discuss small tire vs big tire and come to a conclusion about which tire size is better.

Tire Size Explained

Tire Size Explained

Tires come in different heights, widths and are suitable for different types of vehicles. Each and every tire available in the market feature a few numbers and letters that indicate the size of the tire. You can know about the size of the tire by looking at the numbers imprinted on it.

Type Of The Tire

The first indicator on the tire is a letter that tells you about the type. You will usually see any one of these three indicators: P, LT, and ST.

The indicator P stands for passenger vehicle tires. These tires are generally suitable for use in cars, minivans, small trucks, and so on.

The LT on the tire indicates light truck tires. You will usually see these LT tires in towing trailers, small trucks that have a weight between 0.75 tons to 1 ton, and also in SUVs.

The letters ST on the tire stand up for Special Trailer. Special Trailer tires are generally fitted in all sorts of trailers.

Width Of The Tire

After the first letters on the tire, you will see a three digit number on it. This number tells us the width of the tire in millimeters (mm). This number is also known as the section width of the tire.

Aspect Ratio

After the three digit number of the tire width, you will notice a forward slash that separates a two digit number from the width of the tire. This two digit number is known as the aspect ratio. The height or sidewall of the tire depends on the amount of the aspect ratio.

The aspect ratio of a tire is not mentioned as millimeters or centimeters, but it is mentioned as the percentage. The sidewall of a tire is expressed as the percentage of tire width, measuring from the rim of the wheel to the tire tread.

For example, if the aspect ratio of a tire is 60, then the sidewall is 60 percent of the tire’s width. In order to know about the height of the sidewall, convert the tire width from mm to inches. Multiply the conversion by 0.60, and the result is the height of the sidewall.

Construction Type

After the aspect ratio, you will see that there is a letter mentioned on the tire. This letter represents the construction type of the tire. The construction type of a tire is represented with any of these two letters: R and D.

The letter R stands for radial tires, and these tires are the standard for the majority of tires in the vehicle industry. These offer a much better grip and durability than the majority of the bikes sold previously.

Not only that, but the radial tires offer great traveling comfort. In radial tires, the plies are at a 90-degree angle from the traveling direction.

Construction type D represents bias-construction tires, and the plies of these tires are diagonal. Even though not in much use these days, a few bike or trailer models still install the bias-construction tires.

Diameter Of The Wheel

You will notice a two digit number mentioned on the tire after the construction type. This number represents the diameter of the wheel. The diameter of the wheel is the distance between the two points where the tire gets sealed to the wheel. This measurement is provided in inches.

Load Index Of The Tire

Next to the diameter of the wheel, you will notice a two digit or three digit number on the wheel. This number represents the load index of a tire, and this value indicates the amount of weight the tire can support. With this, you would know about how much weight a tire supports by following the standard tire chart.

Speed Rating Of The Tire

The last indication on a tire is a letter, and this letter represents the speed rating of the tire. The speed rating indicates the top speed at which you can travel safely for a certain period of time.

Tires that come with a higher speed rating generally withstand more heat and allow the driver to control the vehicle easily. You will find the speed that the letter represents by looking at the tire chart.

Advantages Of Using Big Tire

Big Tire

There are certain advantages that you get due to using big tires in your vehicles. These advantages are:


Big tires are large in both height and width, and this means that these big tires feature more rubber compared to small tires. More rubber means that the tires have the ability to form a much better contact with the roads. This allows the tires to get a better grip.


As we discussed above, bigger wheels have better contact with the roads due to the width and sidewall of the tires. These features allow the tires to be more stable on the road, and this allows the driver to ensure a great cornering and handling.


When we apply brakes, the vehicles travel a certain distance before coming to a complete stop. Big tires come with big rims, and therefore they have a better grip and handling. Installing big tires in your vehicle will give you great balance on the road and will effectively reduce the braking distance when you apply the brakes.

Better Aesthetics

We all love good-looking and classy cars, and tires play a major role in the aesthetics or the overall look of a car. The installation of the big alloy tires will increase the look of the car and will also provide quite a few additional design benefits.

Disadvantages Of Using Big Tire

High Fuel Consumption

Big tires are heavier compared to regular or small-sized tires. In order to drive vehicle with big tires, a higher engine power is necessary.

Therefore, the vehicle uses more fuel to make sure that the engine produces a greater amount of power.

However, this fuel consumption does not affect the efficiency of the engine. But these engines have a high fuel consumption; thus, it is not an economical option.

Slows Down Acceleration

As we know, big tires are quite heavy compared to small tires, and this weight of the tires affects the overall weight of the vehicle. Due to this high weight, it is often challenging for the driver to steer the vehicle properly. Not only that, but the weight also slows down the acceleration of the vehicle.

Tire Wear

A major disadvantage that comes with big tires is that these tires will have to be replaced often. This is because the big tires wear down easily. The heavy steering scrapes the rubber of the tires and causes the thickness of the tire to decrease.

Speedometer Error And Safety Warnings

The speedometer of a vehicle is set up to work depending on the standard installations and technology of the vehicle.

When you install any other component other than the standard components of the vehicle, the speedometer cannot identify that, and thus, you might get an incorrect response from the speedometer.

Similar to the errors of the speedometer, safety devices also often fail to respond properly when you upgrade the size of the wheels and install big tires.

Advantages Of Using Small Tire

Small Tire


One of the top advantages of using small tires is that these tires offer a great handling to the drivers. This is because the aspect ratio of the tires is less, and this causes the tires to have a harder or tougher exterior. The tough exterior makes sure that the tires have a better contact with the road, and this allows the driver to have a better handling of the vehicle.

Low Fuel Consumption

As the small tires have a small aspect ratio and are not that heavy, the engines do not need much power to roll the tires. As the engine of the vehicle does not have to produce any extra energy, the fuel consumption of the engine is normal. This allows the owner or the driver to save money on extra fuel.

Better Braking

Small tires have a small height, and in order to fit the vehicle, the rim of the car has to be big. Due to the small size of the tires, it does not have much weight. This allows the vehicle to work efficiently at its normal stopping power. So, the vehicle comes to a stop easily when you apply the brakes.


The majority of people who purchase small tires for their vehicles usually enjoy the sporty look it provides to the vehicle. The small tires are said to give the vehicle a sporty and luxurious look.

Disadvantages Of Using Small Tire

Bumpy Rides

As we mentioned above, the height of small tires is not much. This means that the length between the vehicle and the road is not much as well.

This causes the suspension of the vehicle to endure the shocks of the unevenness and patches of the roads. This often causes the riders to experience an uncomfortable and bumpy ride.

Quick Deflation

Small tires usually have less space for air due to their thin tubes. So, whenever the tires get punctured, there is not much air in the tire to lose, and this causes the tire to deflate easily.

Easily Damaged

One of the major disadvantages of using small tires is that they can get damaged very easily. As the tires are thin, hitting an uneven surface or a hole on the road can deflate the tire and can even damage the rims of the wheel.

Comparing Small Tire Vs Big Tire

Big Tire vs Small Tire

Many people think that there is only one difference between big tire and small tire, and that difference is the size. However, this is not true as there are quite a few differences between small tire and big tire. These differences are:

Grip and Handling

Both big and small tires offer a good grip and handling to the drivers on the road. However, if we compare these two, then we will see that the big tires offer a significantly better grip and handling than the small tires. This is because the big tires have a larger tire width and better contact with the road.

Fuel Consumption

The small tires have much less fuel consumption compared to the big tires. This is because the engines have to produce more power to roll the big tires compared to the power required to roll the small tires. Less power means that the engine uses less fuel; thus, small tires have a lower fuel consumption.


The big tires are more durable than the small tires. The reason behind this is that the big tires contain a larger amount of air and have a greater height than the small tires. This causes the big tires to last for a longer period of time even if the tires scrape due to force and friction.

Braking Power

There is not much difference between the braking power of the two tire sizes as both have the ability of reduced stopping distance due to different reasons.

Big tires are quite heavier compared to the small tires and have a better contact with the road due to their large surface area. The weight and the rim size of the big tires balance the vehicle on the road and causes the vehicle to reduce the braking distance.

However, small tires are lightweight compared to big tires. These tires do not need much braking force to come to a complete stop due to their weight and rim size.

Which One Is For You?

As we discussed in the comparison of big tire vs small tire, both of these tire sizes have their own advantages and disadvantages. Both big tires and small tires are quite popular among users for different reasons.

However, if you ask for our personal opinion, then we will most certainly go with the big tires. The reason behind choosing big tires is better durability, grip, and handling.

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