You are here
Tire Tech - Sidewalls and stretch
The hella functional movement is on its way up the ranks. With it comes the placement of tire stretching. Yes, there is a legitimate use for tire stretching... to a point. The only legitimate use for stretching tires in drifting is to eliminate sidewall flex. For the low power and average drifter, junk yard tires are a free or cheap way to budget tires. Unfortunately, you don't have many choices when your tire width is less than 205. They tend to be for 14/15 inch rims and come with a 65 or taller sidewall.
This is what normally happens with a stock sized rim with larger sidewalls. Stage 1 is driving normally while stage 2 is the initial effect of momentum on the tire. The car will move but the tire will still have some adhesion to the road. Stage 3 is kick back from the tire flexing. It will feel as if the car has stopped drifting while it still technically is. If the momentum is enough, stage 2 and 3 will repeat. The driver will feel as if the car is doing a second mini drift. Think of water sloshing around in a tank. It will make the car unpredictable and difficult to drift.
The two remedies for this are simple. Either stretch your tires or get tires with a smaller sidewall. You can air up the tires more but there is only so much that it can do. Smaller sidewalls (45 or lower) for anything sub 205 is near impossible to find. The only logical solution would simply be to stretch tires.
The simplest way to stretch is to get a wider rim of the same diameter and stretch the tire. It will look like the image above under the same conditions as the first example. With the "V" shape the tires take, the sidewall has to receive more force to deform than unstretched. Be careful of stretching as too wide of a rim will cause debeading. Too narrow and the tire will still flex.