At Z-Tire Express we are often asked by our customers, if they should put Low Profile Tires onto their car or truck? Customers usually state that they like the look, but they have heard folks complain about jarring rides, frequent blowouts, rim damage, and greater wear at lower mileage. This is a great question especially since so many New Vehicles seem to offer low profile tires!
Basically, the low-profile tires do seem to becoming a lot more popular on vehicles these days, but they’re being offered for several reasons. Bigger wheels and skinnier sidewalls in a normal-size wheel well mean manufacturers can make room inside the wheel for larger brakes. Thin sidewalls are also stiffer and deliver better cornering and road feel. Let’s not avoid the obvious, that is Low-Profile Tires do look a lot cooler, and more stylish than regular tires.
When were talking low profile tires, we’re talking about the size of the edge of the tire. Read the numbers molded into the sidewall; the second number printed in the series is the aspect ratio, indicating sidewall thickness as a percentage of tread width. For example, a P225/45R15 tire has a 15-inch wheel size with 225 mm of tread width, and the sidewall is 45 percent of tread width, or 101 mm. The higher the aspect ratio, the thicker the sidewall and the comfier the ride; lower aspect ratios lead to thinner sidewalls and a stiffer ride. There are drawbacks to this kind of rubber.
Tires are a part of your vehicle’s suspension, the tire sidewalls absorb some of the most vicious road imperfections. Unless the vehicles suspension has been designed to accommodate the stiffer sidewalls, it can mean a rougher ride. Blowouts (a hole in the tire caused by road debris) shouldn’t be any more frequent than with normal tires since the tread and ply construction aren’t much different. Rapid deflation is something to be concerned about; hitting a pothole with thin sidewalls can damage the wheel. All the tire-makers (Domestic and Import) are constantly improving designs with more robust materials and construction, so newer tires aren’t damaged as often as old low-profile tires.
If you’re buying a new vehicle for comfort, order smaller wheels fitted with larger sidewall tires, they’ll offer a softer ride. Less aggressive shocks may help a bit but at the cost of handling. Beyond this, you’re looking at changes to suspension hardware, which isn’t for the faint of heart. You’ll have a tough time finding parts anyway, as the aftermarket usually aims to make vehicles more rigid rather than pillow soft.
The same goes is you have an older vehicle that you are customizing, before you go buy those stylish new custom wheels or rims for low-profile tires, you are also looking at changes to suspension hardware.
Sure you can always decide to ignore what we suggest and just switch over to those new custom wheels or rims with Low Profile tires on them, but your vehicles handling and ride may greatly suffer, so please don’t blame the tire, if you don’t prepare your vehicle for the change over.
So our answer to the question is “Its all a matter of personal taste, preference in road handling, and budgeting to change over your suspension for those low profile tires”.