One of the best aspects of owning a truck is the potential to improve and upgrade it, especially for off-roading. One popular modification of the Chevy Silverado is larger tires. If you plan to upgrade, you probably wonder what the biggest tires you can fit on a Silverado are. We've researched vehicle specifications for tire sizes to give you the answer.
If you are modifying a Chevy Silverado 1500 with its stock suspension to have bigger tires, the largest size you can use is 33.5-inch by default. The factory standard tire size is 31.6 inches for this truck model, noted as 265/65/R18. The 33-inch size tires are noted as 275/60/R20. So, you have clearance for one extra inch when going bigger on tires.
There are a lot of other considerations that go into upgrading your truck with bigger tires. Continue reading on to learn more about modifying your truck and all the different things to keep in mind for tire size.
Do Larger Tires Ride Better?
Larger tires and lift kits are understandably popular ways to upgrade your Chevy Silverado, as larger tires can perform better in certain situations, especially off-road excursions and high-speed driving. The additional weight of larger tires can generally improve handling; however, it can also alter your ability to control the truck in some scenarios. It is essential to make these modifications carefully and consult a qualified tire installer to modify your Silverado to understand all the safety implications.
For example, before modifying your tire size, you need to understand that the speedometer, odometer, torque, gearing, and traction control are all based on the distance that the tire travels over the course of one complete revolution. Since this number is based on the combined, outside diameter of the tire and wheel, a significant difference between the stock tires and larger tires can influence how the speedometer indicates the speed that you are actually traveling.
What Happens When You Put Bigger Tires On Your Truck?
Tires are the part of your vehicle that literally touches the pavement, so their overall effect on your Silverado is significant. The biggest reason to put larger tires on your truck is to increase its ground clearance or the distance between the undercarriage and the ground beneath it. However, there are both pros and cons to be aware of before you create your modification plan.
Advantages Of Bigger Tires
- The combination of larger wheels and larger tires means that you will get more ground clearance, further improved with lift kits and other modifications.
- Larger tires mean better control on dirt, gravel, and even pavement since there is more contact between rubber and pavement. Greater surface area or a larger footprint results in better traction on most surfaces.
- Larger tires generally have greater load capacity because each tire's individual load-carrying range improves. Trucks with stock suspensions tend to sometimes drop down onto the back axel when carrying heavy loads, so having larger tires and wheels can offset this issue.
- The larger surface area that bigger tires bring to your truck's capabilities can also reduce the overall wear on the tires, as the degradation is spread across a larger area.
Disadvantages Of Bigger Tires
- Larger tires and the lift kits associated with them are often expensive, and significant upgrades can add up quickly.
- The trade-off for the wider tread's increased traction reduces the fuel economy that you get. This consideration can be vital if you spend a lot of time on the highway in addition to off-roading.
- Remember that any increase in the height of your truck will also affect its center of gravity. In particular, this change can contribute to more difficulty in handling, especially with quick lane changes where you may find that your truck's body wants to roll more than before.
- You will need to update your tire pressure monitoring system as well as your odometer. Otherwise, your system will not be able to provide accurate readouts.
- Many lift kits have the potential to void the warranty of your Chevy Silverado 1500, so ensure that you are prepared to accommodate the loss in coverage or consider adding the lift kit only after the warranty has expired.
Do Larger Tires Make More Noise?
If you put on a large mud tire, chances are they will make some noise as you drive down the road. How much noise depends on the tread. A deep, widely spaced tread pattern tends to make that whining sound as you drive.
Other close and vertical tread patterns will make less noise. If you go with a larger, all-terrain tire like the Toyo A/T, you will not notice much difference in noise from the stock tires you may have had on.
However, depending on the tread, you may notice it harder to hear your passengers while driving down the road, so consider holding off on thick treads unless you'll be off-roading more than 30% of the time.
Using Lift Kits to Accommodate Bigger Tires
Additionally, it is essential to remember that lift kits come in two varieties: leveling kits and suspension kits. Leveling kits are designed to raise the vehicle's height to make the front and back even with each other. Most SUVs and trucks come with a default stance that makes the front slightly lower than the back. A leveling kit only raises the front end to bring it in line with the rear end.
On the other hand, suspension kits have virtually no maximum height, but they require significant changes to your Chevy's components. With enough investment and expert installation, you can achieve a monster truck feeling with your Silverado if you take the proper precautions to set it up correctly.
Overall, if you spend any amount of time off-road, a lift kit will be enormously helpful to prevent damage to the underside of your truck from ricks and other debris. Conversely, the added costs that you can incur from the decreased fuel economy can be enough to inhibit people from making this change.
Do You Need Bigger Tires With A Leveling Kit?
For many people, larger tires go hand in hand with leveling kits and your truck's increased height. However, technically speaking, it is unnecessary to purchase larger tires for smaller kits, especially those in the 2-inch range. Bear in mind that you will likely need to purchase larger tires if you plan to invest in a larger kit or a suspension kit, as those processes considerably change the balance and other aspects of your Chevy Silverado 1500.
If adding a lift kit for aesthetics, you may find that larger tires are necessary for the best appearance of a raised truck. Smaller tires can seem unusual when your Silverado is sitting three inches higher than it usually is.
What Size Tires Can You Put on Your Truck With A 2-Inch Leveling Kit?
Generally speaking, adding a 2-inch leveling kit to your Chevy Silverado 1500 will allow you to have up to 35" tires for the front and rear wheels. These kits, in particular, are very popular and Chevrolet offers a first-party lift kit to assist in making this process more comfortable than ever.
The added advantage of using a kit provided directly by Chevrolet is that adding it to your truck will not affect the warranty. Along with maintaining the warranty, these kits also include systems to reconfigure the electronic power steering and other driver-assistance features. Having fully integrated upgrades means that you are less likely to void the warranty and cause further problems for yourself.
Lift Yourself Up
While there are pros and cons to installing larger tires on your Chevy Silverado 1500, there is a reason that this is a popular modification to make. Nevertheless, making these modifications to your Chevy Silverado may garner the attention you're looking for while driving around and can give you a tremendous advantage while driving off-road.
If you find yourself wanting to see what lies over the next hill, consider looking into lifting your truck with larger tires. It may be the first step in a brand-new feeling of freedom.