How a car speedometer works
Speed is the measurement of distance over time. But a car speedometer doesn’t actually measure how fast you travel from Point A to Point B. Car speedos usually work by measuring rotation of the car’s driveshaft, axle or wheel. They then use some basic maths to extrapolate that rotation and determine how fast you are travelling. It’s a very similar concept to a bicycle speedometer.
However, if the diameter of the wheel/tyre alters, the extrapolation calculation will be incorrect. For example, the diameter will increase if you put new tyres on the car (more tread, which wears down over thousands of miles) or increase the tyre pressure. This means that, for each revolution of the wheel, the car is travelling further, meaning your speed is greater.
If the diameter decreases (eg – worn tyres, less air in the tyres, a different brand of tyre with slightly different dimensions, more load in the car weighing it down and compressing the tyres), then the car will be travelling a shorter distance for each revolution of the wheel, therefore you will be going slower.