“Bigger is always better!” Where have I heard this saying before??? When it comes to trucks and offroad performance, adding bigger tires often means better performance. However, there is a lot you need to consider before putting bigger tires on your stock truck.
Lifting your truck puts components like the suspension and drivetrain, and brakes under added stress. This makes it necessary to change those components for a safer and smoother ride. But is there a way of fitting bigger tires without installing a lift? That is what we seek to find out below.
Can I Put Bigger Tires On My Truck Without A Lift?
Yes, you can. In most trucks, you can easily switch to larger tires. It is possible to fit up to 33” tires in most trucks without needing a lift kit.
However, it is possible that you may need to do some modifications like the use of wheel spacers, using leveling kits, adjusting the torsion keys and cutting of fenders.
Many people buying stock trucks always, almost immediately, want to fit bigger tires, not knowing what will not and will fit into their truck correctly. Below are some of the modifications that might be necessary for you to go bigger on tires without needing a lift.
Adjusting the torsion keys of your truck
This arguably the most straightforward way that facilitates the fitting of larger tires onto your vehicle. This can be done by simply adjusting the stock torsion keys. It is important to note that this process can only be done to 4WD trucks that use a bar suspension system. Luckily, most trucks in the market have this setup.
It is, however, not advisable to adjust the stock torsion keys too much as you could end up ruining the overall feel of your ride and also damage your suspension system as time goes by.
This is because once they are adjusted to their limit, there will be no down travel beyond the fixed height that you have just adjusted to. For this reason, when you are adjusting them, be careful to not adjust to the maximum to avoid a low ride quality.
There are also aftermarket torsion keys available in the market. These torsion keys can be adjusted to lift your truck between 1 to 1.5 inches above its stock height. This enables you to fit larger tires even if you do not have a leveling or lift kit installed.
Rolling of your trucks fenders
It might be physically impossible to fit bigger into your trucks stock wheel wheels without a lift, and that is why you need your fenders rolled up. Fender rolling basically entails the bending of the inner lip of your truck which is located above the tires.
It invoLves changing their shape from L shape to v shape. This is done by using heat and special tools. Fender rolling creates more space for larger tires which enables them to move freely inside the wheel well without rubbing on the sides.
Installing wheel spacers
Wheel spacers will definitely save you some cash that would have otherwise been used in lifting your truck in order to fit larger tires.
Before installing wheel spacers, it is vital to have your suspension inspected to find out if it will be subjected to more stress than it was initially built for. This stress comes from the new angles that are created when wheel spacers are installed.
In most cases, wheel spacers are combined with an off-road bumper to give added wheel clearance when fitting larger tires without installing a lift kit.
Use of leveling kits
The work of leveling kits, as the name suggests, is to lift the front of your truck so that it comes to the same level as the back of the truck.
In any truck, it is the front tires that need more space to move both back and forth when turning right or left. It is for this reason that leveling kits are very important when you are fitting larger tires.
Leveling kits have been known to increase the height at the front of the truck to about 2 inches. This increase in height does a great deal of creating extra room to fit larger tires on your vehicle without lifting it.
Compared to lift kits, leveling kits are considerably cheaper and are relatively easy and quick to install. The only catch is that by lifting the front of your vehicle, the aerodynamics of your vehicle is affected negatively, which could lead to lower fuel efficiency.
Trimming and cutting of fenders
Bigger wheels require more fitting space. That is why neatly done, easy and quick trimming away of parts of the wheel well is needed on your truck in order to fit bigger tires.
This process can also last for a couple of hours, depending on the amount of work needed and still turn out to be a mess. It is advised that you let a custom shop do this job.
If you plan on doing this job yourself, however, be careful not to trim away body pieces that have been connected like spot welds and pinch welds.
If you trim away pieces that have been welded together, your truck will literally fall apart because the structural integrity will be compromised. Cutting of relief cuts and banging the panels down using is a hammer is another alternative to creating extra room.
It also advisable that you plan on where you want to cut before you start. This can be done by marking out the areas you want to trim and going through the procedure mentally from start to finish.
What are the advantages of using bigger tires?
First of all, bigger tires offer more ground clearance than stock tires. This allows you to get over more enormous obstacles, easily making off-road adventures more enjoyable.
Larger tires, also by increasing your vehicles overall height, enables you to have a better view of the road ahead of you. This allows you to maneuver your vehicle more confidently.
Traction and handling when you are off-road are significantly increased as larger tires make more contact with the ground allowing your truck to tackle rugged roads with ease.
Braking distances are reduced when using bigger tires as they have more contact with the ground to generate the necessary friction. This makes them ideal for emergency stops.
Finally, you will be making much few stops at the tire center because bigger tires wear much slower than normal smaller tires. This is because bigger tires come with more rubber that doesn’t wear as fast.
What are the disadvantages of using larger tires on my truck?
To begin with, larger tires increase fuel consumption rate because they offer more traction and extra weight that slows down the vehicle.
Larger tires also reduce some aspects of vehicle performance like acceleration and cruising speed.
Additionally, an increase in tire size can make your drive train and transmission to wear out more quickly than usual. This is because larger tires make your transmission to work harder than usual in order to spin the larger wheels. Re-gearing of your system is, therefore, necessary to ensure that they are working correctly.
Finally, bigger tires are more expensive than ordinary-sized tires.
It is possible to lift your truck a couple of inches without using a lift kit with are often quite expensive. However, there are some minor modifications you need to do to your vehicle for the setup to work.