The Euro Stretch Tyre Look For VW, Right, Wrong Or Illegal?

by chris sanders on 21st May 2015

Volkswagen_Caddy_MK1_by_Agus5593

Which Tyres? are taking a step into a new area and the ever popular Euro look for stretched tyres on VW’s, is it right, wrong or even legal?

There is a huge debate about this style of set up with two very clear camps and opinions. So where should we start and, more importantly, what’s our view point?

As reviewers of tyres and wheels, we really do like the style and the look and understand that VW owners have embraced this whole sub-culture and made it their own.  We actually feel that, as with any other forms of modifications, there is a limit from uber cool to uber stupid. The Caddy above, Uber cool, the MK1 Golf below, Uber stupid, but that’s only our view point, personal taste.

Oversized and bad camber VW Golf MKI

Why? To us it looks as though something has been dropped on it, it does nothing for the suspension set up, handles badly and more so, your tyres will last all of 3k miles as they will wear on the inner edges and the tyre is more prone to slipping off the rim and losing pressure, see the picture below showing uneven wear patterns.

Excessive and uneven tyre waer

Lets look at how tyres are fitted, just how do you ‘stretch’ a tyre? You can fit a tyre anything up to 70mm narrower than the rim its going on, although this is really is a stretch. By doing this, you are pulling down the tread and collapsing the side wall. Dependant on the gap between the tyre wall and the outer rim decides the level at which the tyre will run and if you are more at risk of rapid deflation at lower speeds and when cornering.

Take a look HERE at how some have achieved the look at home. We don’t recommend this, get it done by a competent or qualified person.

The tread then won’t sit well on the road surface, it has the effect of over or under inflation so you risk losing traction and grip, and more importantly braking grip.The side wall is the tyres integral strength and is there to make it stable, fit the rim bead properly and most important, ensure that the whole of the tread makes contact with the road surface.  But, the stretch scene isn’t about driving fast, its all about the cruise. So running tyres in this way isn’t going to be to much of an issue so long as they are fitted well, checked for air pressure regularly and the tread kept an eye on for excessive wear.

Euro Style Wheel and Tyre

Looking at the picture above which is showing a pretty standard Euro set up with the popular Nankang NS-2 tyres, you can see the gap between the outer rim bead and the side wall, and you can also see that the side wall is pushed out and ‘stretched’ to the furthest point of its limits.

Ok, we know how to do it, what the pitfalls are or could be and how some VW’s look great and others, well, terrible, but that’s the scene, that’s the look and all in all, we do like it very much!

Our advice? Subtle is better, we don’t feel the gap between rim and tyre needs to be huge, keep it small, safe but looking good. Watch the camber on those wheels, you’re paying for a great look, you don’t want to be doing it over and over again because you only got 3000 miles from your tyres. The practice isn’t illegal but you have to watch the arches and that you keep it within the tolerance of the MOT test. Some examples have been pushed to the limit and are illegal and potentially dangerous.

The most commonly used tyre brand for stretching seems to be Nankang. These are reasonably priced tyres with softer side walls that work well for the stretch, just don’t over stretch them. Nankang are widely available but the best place we know is Jungle Tyres on-line.

This scene is new to us, so if you have a comment or a review then please share, we welcome them.

Thanks for reading

The Which Tyres? Team

Golf with stretch

Thanks to all who took the photo’s that we have borrowed.

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