When it comes to tires, there are many different types to choose from, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. One type of tire that has become increasingly popular in recent years is the low profile tire.
Low profile tires have a unique appearance and offer a number of benefits, but they also come with some disadvantages. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what low profile tires are, how they work, and the pros and cons of using them.
What are low profile tires?
Low profile tires are tires with a lower aspect ratio than traditional tires. The aspect ratio is the ratio of the tire’s height to its width.
Traditional tires typically have an aspect ratio of 65 or 70, whereas low profile tires typically have an aspect ratio of 50 or lower. This means that the height of the sidewall of a low profile tire is smaller compared to a traditional tire.
How do low profile tires work?
Low profile tires work much the same as any other tire, by providing your vehicle with traction and grip to the road. However compared to your average tire, low profile tires use a wider tread and shorter sidewall.
This means that they often can provide improved handling and performance. The wider tread allows for more contact with the road surface, while the shorter sidewall reduces flex during cornering. This makes low profile tires more suitable for sporty vehicles and applications.
Benefits of low profile tires
- Improved handling: Low profile tires have a shorter sidewall, which means there is less flex when the tire is put under lateral loads. This translates to improved handling and better cornering performance.
- Better aesthetics: Many drivers choose low profile tires for their sporty appearance. The shorter sidewall gives the tire a wider and more aggressive look, which is often preferred by enthusiasts.
- Increased braking performance: Low profile tires have a wider tread and shorter sidewall, which allows for better contact with the road surface. This means that the tire can provide better braking performance in both wet and dry conditions.
- Improved fuel economy: Low profile tires are often lighter than traditional tires, which can lead to improved fuel economy.
Disadvantages of low profile tires
- Reduced ride comfort: The shorter sidewall of a low profile tire means there is less cushioning when driving over bumps or uneven surfaces. This can lead to a harsher ride and increased road noise.
- Reduced durability: Low profile tires have less rubber in the sidewall, which can make them more susceptible to damage from potholes and other road hazards.
- Higher cost: Low profile tires are often more expensive than traditional tires due to their specialized design and construction.
- Reduced winter performance: Low profile tires are not as effective in winter conditions as traditional tires. The reduced sidewall height means there is less space for snow and slush to be evacuated from the tire’s contact patch, which can lead to reduced traction and control.
Which cars can use low profile tires?
Low profile tires are used on a wide range of cars, but they are most commonly found on sports cars, performance cars, and luxury vehicles. These types of cars are often designed to provide enhanced handling and performance, which low profile tires can help to deliver.
However, low profile tires can be used on any car that is compatible with their size and aspect ratio, and many drivers choose to use them for their sporty appearance and improved performance. It’s important to note that low profile tires may not be suitable for all driving conditions, so it’s important to choose a tire that is appropriate for your driving needs and the type of car you are using.
What to know before you switch to low profile tires
If you’re thinking about switching to low profile tires, there are a few important things to consider before making the change. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:
- Compatibility: Before switching to low profile tires, make sure they are compatible with your car’s size, weight, and load capacity. Installing tires that are not properly rated for your vehicle can result in safety issues, reduced performance, and potential damage to your car.
- Rim size: Low profile tires typically require larger rims than traditional tires. This means that you may need to replace your rims in order to use low profile tires, which can add to the overall cost of the switch.
- Performance vs. comfort: Low profile tires can provide improved handling and performance, but they often come at the cost of reduced ride comfort. Consider your driving needs and preferences when deciding if low profile tires are the right choice for you.
- Road conditions: Low profile tires may not be suitable for all driving conditions. They are often less effective in winter conditions, and can be more susceptible to damage from potholes and other road hazards. Consider your typical driving conditions when deciding if low profile tires are the right choice for you.
- Cost: Low profile tires are often more expensive than traditional tires due to their specialized design and construction. Make sure to factor in the cost of the tires, as well as any necessary rim replacements, when considering the switch to low profile tires.
Overall, switching to low profile tires can provide improved handling and performance, as well as a sporty appearance. However, it’s important to consider your individual driving needs and preferences, as well as any potential downsides, before making the switch. If you’re unsure if low profile tires are the right choice for you, consult with a tire professional for personalized advice.
Low profile tires can offer a number of benefits, including improved handling, better aesthetics, increased braking performance, and improved fuel economy.
However, they also come with some disadvantages, including reduced ride comfort, reduced durability, higher cost, and reduced winter performance. Ultimately, the decision to use low profile tires will depend on your individual driving needs and preferences.
If you are looking for your next set of tires, check out our brand reviews for the best tires for your vehicle here!