Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: PA Just outside of Phila.
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The bigger the wheel and tire height (meaning the bigger wheel in general if you imagine a cave mans stone wheel) the less times it has to spin around to go the same distance. Imagine if you could put skateboard wheels on your car, one full turn would move your car a few inches instead of a few feet your motor would have to be at full throttle just for the car to be moving at a very low speed. That said if you have bigger wheels on an older 3 speed car the motor is not racing just for the car to go at highway speed.
It also has the same effect as a ten speed bike shifting gears, so if you put on bigger tires the motor will have to work harder to get the car moving like you would have to pedal harder to move a bike trying to start off in tenth gear. Guys who want to race 1/4 miles at the track want lower rear gears (same theory as smaller wheels) to take off faster like 411s or to a lesser extent 3:55, they don't mind the motor having to race at highway speeds as much cause they don't do long trips. As some of us car guys get older we cruise more and race less, so the low gears and 14' tires that some GTOs came with to be factory quick off the line is no longer a good thing to us as it uses a lot of gas and runs the heck out of the motor on the highway. Newer cars with 6 speed transmissions don't suffer from this problem as much as the older 2 and 3 speeds.