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How Tires Support Your Challenger's Raw Power

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Tires are one of those mods that fall under both styling and performance. Aggressive tread designs inspire awe from onlookers and wide drag slicks have a similar effect. Softer rubbers enhance traction but sacrifice tire life. Be sure to go for the appropriate balance for your Challenger's build.

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Fitting Challengers with power mods means that will hurl your ride down the quarter mile in no time does arrive some issues. The main issue you need to get a grip on is traction. Wider tires underneath your car are there for more than just looks; they are meant for keeping the power under control when the power is sent to the ground. You also need to understand what kind of tires your application needs to perform properly.

Why You Need New Tires

Stock tires fitted to the Challenger are great for all-around performance. They are meant to be used on the road all year round on multiple surface types. Performance tires usually are fitted to the Hellcats, SRT models, and Demons for a reason. These cars are designed for precision driving and Dodge decided to give owners a leg up with tires designed to handle the sort of conditions these cars are destined to handle.

Think of tires like tools; they are designed to perform specific tasks. If you are driving around town, driving on the quarter mile or trying your hand at an autocross or road course each scenario will call for different tire requirements for optimal performance.

Factory Challenger Tire Sizes

Before dancing around with tire sizes, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the factory tire sizes Dodge fitted on the Challengers from the factory. Understanding the baseline and how your car performs with the factory tires will give you a good idea of where you need to be when moving up in size.

Submodel 2008-2014 2015-2018
SE 215/65R17 - 225/60R18 -
SXT 235/55R18 - 245/45R20
R/T 235/55R18 - 245/45R20 245/45R20
SRT 245/45R20 - 255/45R20 275/40R20
GT - 235/55R19
Hellcat - 275/40R20 - 305/35R20
Demon - 315/40R18

Tire Width

Before investing in the biggest tires you could afford for your Challenger you need to be sure they fit. The Demon model Challengers and Widebody Hellcats were fitted with the largest tires Dodge ever offered on this platform.

That doesn’t mean that the same sized tires could be fitted underneath standard Challenger models. The largest tire you could squeeze underneath standard model Challengers are 295/40R20s on the rear and 275/40R20s on the front. Any tire size larger will result in binding against the inner wheels housing and mechanical components within.

Tire Design

A larger footprint isn’t everything. Tires need to be designed to handle the challenge thrown at them.  Sidewall, tread pattern, compounds, and structural design all factor into how well the tire performs in specific environments. ​​

Side Wall: On modern vehicles, low profile tires have become the standard. Larger wheel diameters allow for larger brakes and lower sidewall profiles reduce roll in the body of the tire which helps with the tires handling capabilities. It’s important not to go too thin though as a super stiff tire won’t be flexible enough to grab the ground properly during launches. When shopping for tires it’s important to balance how you need the tire to perform in turns vs how well it will work during launches. 

Tread Pattern: Tire tread pattern dictates how well the tire will grab the ground. Performance tires will have wider contact patches between the treads to ensure they keep as much of the rubber in contact with the ground as possible. Tires with tread patterns designed for track use generally do not perform well on the street. Performance tires aren’t designed to handle everyday conditions and can be dangerous to drive on in wet weather or other poor weather conditions.

Compounds: Different compounds are used for different conditions as well. Softer compounds are generally used for track conditions while harder compounds are found in street tires. Softer tires have better grip but will wear out faster making them better for recreational use than for practical daily driving. 

Radials vs Slicks: Challengers are cars that will spend a considerable amount of time on the drag strip. This will leave many owners trying to decide on slicks or radials for their car. Radials seem like a tempting choice because many are lead to believe that they are better for street use. In reality, neither is practical for daily driving. Radials do use steel belts that reinforce the sidewall making them a stiffer tire. Slicks have sidewalls that are designed to collapse during launching. For Challengers with manual transmissions, slicks are the better choice because the tires will absorb much of the shock given off by the high RPM launch. Automatic transmissions will benefit from the use of radials as the lower RPM launch will be instantly directed to the ground.

Speed Rating

Tires are made of soft rubber compounds and are fitted with speed ratings. Paying attention to the tires speed rating is crucial to your safety. Pushing a tire beyond its rating will result in the tire becoming unstable. When this occurs, situations can become extremely dangerous. So if you intend on pushing your Challenger to its limit, you need to pay attention to your tires speed rating. 

Use the Right Tire Street vs Track

Tires are a defining factor in how well Challengers will perform in specific conditions. There is a line drawn between using street tires for street driving and performance tires on the track. This isn’t to say you cannot use performance brand names street tires for street use. 

Mickey Thompson, Nitto, Cooper, and BF Goodrich all make excellent performance tires alongside their lines of street-rated tires. It’s important to note that they will still usually use softer compounds on their street tires. If you just want street tires with very little performance use you can turn to names like Michelin and Bridgestone.

Fitment includes: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, SRT8, RT, SE, SXT, RallyeRedline, ScatPack, Hellcat, GT, TA, Demon