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Do I Need To Upgrade My Brakes If I’m Running On Big Tires?

If you’ve upgraded to bigger wheels/tires or you’re just thinking about it, you might be wondering if this change will impact your vehicle’s braking performance.

The short answer is yes. Bigger wheels and tires will impact braking performance. In this article we’ll talk about how bigger wheels and tires reduce your truck’s ability to stop, and how you can upgrade your brakes to alleviate the problem.

Jeeps

How Much Braking Power is Lost After Upgrading to Bigger Tires?

The laws of physics dictate that when you make your wheels bigger and/or increase the weight of the tires and wheels, your truck isn’t going to stop as fast as it used to unless you upgrade the brakes too.

To calculate how much braking power is lost after installing bigger tires and wheels, take a look at the 10-10-10-1 rule of thumb.

The 10-10-10-1 Rule of Thumb

This rule of thumb essentially shows that:

  • Wheels that are 10% bigger in diameter reduce your truck’s braking performance by about 10%. That’s because it takes 10% more energy to stop a wheel that’s 10% larger. The brake system can only provide so much stopping power. That means in hard braking, your oversized tires are going to make your vehicle’s braking system less effective.
  • A 10-pound increase in the weight of the wheels and/or tires will reduce braking performance by about 1%. In other words, every pound you add to your wheels and tires makes the brakes work harder.
  • A real life example – New Jeep Wrangler Rubicons come with tires that are 33″ in diameter, and weighing 51 lbs. Many people upgrade to 35″ tires. A 35″ tire is typically at least 15 lbs heavier, and about 6% larger in diameter. Using the math above, that means that your braking performance will be reduced about 6% for increased diameter, plus about 1.5% for increased weight. So about 7.5% total.

This article explains the 10-10-10-1 rule of thumb in more detail: How Heavier Wheels and Tires Impact Braking Distance

A 7.5% decrease in braking effectiveness might not sound like much. But in an emergency stop from 60 to 0, that’s about half a car length. If you’re going 80 mph and you have to stop, it’s more than one car length.

It’s easy to think that when there’s extra diameter or weight in your wheels/tires, upgrading your brakes is a good idea.

Upgrading to Big Brakes

You can upgrade your brake system with a big brake kit (that contains new rotors, new calipers, new pads, stainless steel brake lines, etc.). However, that might be overkill. Most vehicle owners find that a good set of upgraded brake pads give them better performance without breaking the bank.

Your best bet is to upgrade to brake pads made for oversized wheels. A set of such brake pads that better match your oversized wheels will go a long way in ensuring that your truck’s braking performance remains optimal.

OEM Brake Pads are Not Designed for Oversized Wheels

Even though OEM brake pads are good quality products, they’re still not designed to handle oversized wheels and tires. When you install brake pads that can handle oversized wheels, they’ll last longer, generate less dust, and restore some of the brake system performance you lost.

big brakes

Trail rated rear brake pads for 2007-2018 Jeep Wrangler JK/JKU models

At Beefed Up Brakes, we offer high quality trail rated and heavy duty brake pads and drum shoes specifically for Jeeps, Toyotas, etc. with oversized wheels. Our brake pads work up to 30% better than OEM brake pads, depending on conditions. In other words, installing our pads on your truck or SUV will actually make your vehicle stop better than it did before the upgrade. Check out Beefed Up Brakes pads here!