Low-Profile Tires Aren’t Keeping a Low Profile

If the idea was to stay out of the public eye, low-profile tires aren’t doing a very good job. Maybe we should think of a new name. Low-profile tires give the customers a larger wheel for a more fashionable aesthetic. And one thing I know to be true about life is that looking good is pretty important. Especially when it comes to our cars.

What is A Low-Profile Tire?

A tire’s profile is simply the height of the sidewall, which is a percentage of the width of the tire. For example, if a tire’s size is 215/60R17, the aspect ratio is 60; this tells you that the tire’s sidewall is 60 percent of its width in millimeters. So the lower the aspect ratio, the wider the tire is compared to its height.

A lot of vehicles are turning toward low-profile tires, allowing for a very sleek look with some added driving benefits and larger brakes. With more tread in contact with the road, these tires will change your driving experience. But for the better?

Advantages

  • Improved handling
  • High-speed stability
  • More precise cornering
  • Greater stiffness in sidewalls

Disadvantages

  • Steering feel may change
  • Noise increase
  • Wheel alignment adjustment
  • Comfort may be altered
  • Braking capabilities may vary
  • More susceptible to road hazard damage

By having a stiffer sidewall, your low-profile tires are less likely to shift or bend when taking corners, giving you way more stability and better handling. What it also means, though, is that you have less space between the road and your awesome rims. It’s safe to say that if you’re riding on low-profile tires, a serious pothole can cost you a couple of new alloy wheels in no time. Without being able to absorb the bumps in most roads, you can damage your rims much more easily, and your ride will be noisier.

Because of the desire for people to want to ride on bigger wheels, it’s easy for buyers to add them on when purchasing a new car. But that means you will be getting a tire with a lower profile so they can fit in the wheel well. But sometimes you don’t have the choice as some car models value the handling advantage over other tire and wheel packages.

The best advice seems to be to utilize the wheel size determined by the manufacturer, and therefore purchasing tires that fit that rim best. That way, you’ll get the most out of your wheel and tire sets for the duration of ownership.

If you added low-profile tires, tell us about your experience in the comments section.