Designed for your sporty beast, low profile tires are the ideal choice for drivers fond of extra-long drives. Today, these tires are taking up the automotive industry. If you are someone who likes to tour the city driving on your own, then your car must be rolling on low profile tires. It’s not just about the suave moves, aesthetic looks, or drifting, but there is more to the picture about low profile tires, which sets them apart.
What Do You Mean by Low Profile Tires?
The world of automobiles first came across this amazing technology in the 1960s. The first-ever made low profile tire was P7 as the first high-performance tire. It took no time to get in business with luxury vehicles like BMW and Porsche 911 turbo. However, today, it’s not limited to that market and sports tracks. As the market is adopting new trends, low profile tires are the fashion that is in favor. As you go out, look around every car parked in the lot or in a showroom, you can easily spot a Honda Accord, Audi or Lexus with a low profile tire.
Difference Between Regular and Low Profile Tires
The only difference that you can make between a regular one and a low profile tire is not the tire tracks it leaves behind. If you are thinking about getting a new pair for your vehicle, then you must know everything about it. You can easily tell the difference between two tires with their aspect ratio.
If you look closely at the sidewalls of your tire, you will find a code in numbers separated by a slash sign. Let me explain this. If you find code like P215/65 R15, then the number after the slash is the aspect ratio of the tire m. This number indicates the aspects of your car that is the ratio of its width to its height. In the case above, the height of the tire is equal to 65 times that of its width. A normal tire will have a high aspect ratio and longer sidewalks as compare to the low profile tires. The above example is of a normal tire. A low profile tire has an aspect ratio of less than 50. This means it has a narrow sidewall, which gives it more area for height making it larger. This gives your car a look of a sporty brute.
What’s New About Low Profile Tires?
Over the past few years, science and revolution have sparked up the automotive industry. Tire designs and development is no exception. It didn’t stop at the introduction of low-profile tires, but the innovation it has gone through during these few years is tremendous. Back then, in the 1970s, the tires graded as low profile tires had an aspect ratio of 80.
Higher Grip and Protection for Tire’s Interiors
Now, you can gasp at the ridiculous pace of this evolution. Their tread depth ensures a higher grip on the road protecting the tire interiors. Tread doesn’t do this alone. The stiffness of steel belts or stretchy sidewalls backs it up to protect the interior against shock and damage. The rim is held against the tires with the bread wires. They are designed in a way for their sturdy and reliable performance. There is no doubt in how a 205/55 R16 has made up to the roads on Europe rolling in Nissan or Lexus. Notwithstanding the absence of rim protection, it has been knocked off the list.
Low profile tires stand out as they come with a protective rim these days. You can only find tires with an aspect ratio of 55 or below. This way, the rim makes it easier to track down a low profile tire. So, you don’t need an expert to spot a difference between a regular one and a low profile tire.
Are Low Profile Tires Prone to Damage?
The thrill of sporty drive in your Honda or Lexus comes at the cost of the long life of low profile tires. Those long and satisfying road trips made them driver’s number one choice, which is the reason behind their wear and tear.
The innovation in these tires has single them out for perfect speed and traction. This is why they are made out of softer material, but this only makes them further prone to damage. Next time you go for selecting new tires for your car, pick one that doesn’t only give you a smooth drive but also suits your driving style. For instance, if you use your vehicle to moving heavy machinery at long distances, then you need to check the index of a low profile tire before you buy one.
Size and speed rate, along with the load index, are kept in view for producing a longer-lasting tire by the manufactures against any other tire on in the industry. Then, tread and bead added in their framework to support their structure and toughness. As a driver, we need to focus on the way we drive because rough driving could lead to wear and tear even before time. See if you are turning about the junction at high speed or if you hit brakes on high speed. Sometimes we drive without checking the tire pressure.
Thanks to technology that we don’t have to spend time changing tires on the roadside. Run-flat tires allow you to continue driving even if there is a rapid pressure loss. Apart from speed, reckless driving, and pressure, there are other factors contributing to the wear and tear of low profile tires. Yes, I am talking about the road surface. Potholes can do more than just a puncture in the tire. It can even damage the sidewalls or belts, so watch out as you drive your car through such areas because falling into one could be a disaster.
Suspension in the Low Profile Tires
Today, the new models are coming with their own pair of low-profile tires. These tires are there to complement their in-built suspension system making them go tough on roads with a better life span. The electronic and pressurized suspension kits are perfect examples of specially designed custom made systems.
Use of Suspension System
A suspension system keeps you more in control on the road, especially deriving through rough areas. It absorbs the shock produced by getting into potholes or hitting road bumps. The science behind the adaptability of suspension to the rim and tire is in its unique geometry and design. When you compare it with a regular tire, the wheel diameter and tire combination is not up to the par. Inaccurate readings on odometer and speedometer will boggle your mind.
Variations in Tire and Wheel Size
This variation in tire and wheel size will disturb the suspension system setting off the bushings. The outcomes can be worse than you could imagine. Think about driving a car with the front end out of alignment, damaging the tires. However, there are still some models in the market that don’t come with a proper suspension system to support low profile tire performance. This is just the starting of the chain. It can even lead you to suspension failure.
Thus, the suspension system should be compatible with the new rims and tires of the car, so you don’t have to empty your pockets at a service center.
Pressure in Low Profile Tires
To maintain your vehicle, tire pressure is another perimeter that you have to keep an eye on. A difference in tire pressure from the car values can put your vehicle in trouble. The right amount of pressure can be of great value when your car, its tire, aspect ratio, its size, loading, and carrying capacity.
Dangers Caused by Over-Inflated Tires
If the tire has more air-filled inside, then you are putting your vehicle at the risk of damage. This is because the over-inflation of the tire makes the tread footprint smaller. This makes the tire prone to tears, especially in the middle. Don’t think that you can escape it doing things the other way around.
Issues with Under-Inflated Tires
A less inflated wire has its own risk, for example, overheating and increased risk of road accidents. The contact patch between the road and the tire loses its shape due to low pressure, thus producing more pressure on the round section exactly between the tread and the sidewall of the tire.
Advantages of Using Low Profile Tires
Before you make your mind to spend money on a low profile tires, you need to know the strings attached. Every other revolution has its own pros and cons, so does the low profile tire. However, let’s first look at the brighter side of sitting in a car rolling on low profile tires.
1 Add Value to your Car’s Appearance
Look wise, low profile tire add value to your car appearance. They give your vehicle a bold and aggressive look, especially if you pair them up with chrome wheels. This is influenced by the concept of “more wheels and less tire.” As this trend is gaining popularity, you can easily find one like that around you on roads.
2. Compensate for Reduced Height
Due to stiffer sidewalls, as compared to that of a regular tire, low profile tires can easily compensate for their reduced height. This increases the surface area of the wheel, giving you a better grip on smooth surfaces, thus increasing the wheel response. Lower means the car should have stiffer springs, adding less weight as a bonus into the equation, while speeding or applying the brake. You can speed up and stop anywhere in no time.
3. More Road Grip
Larger rims in the low profile tires provide more road grip due to contact patch. All thanks to the larger hardware mounted in the tire, you get better braking. For driving on different roads, you need to be more in control and a wider tire, and larger rim makes it possible. It also gives you a better stopping power, such an option would not be denied by a driver who loves speeding.
4. Better Fuel Economy
Tires of your car are their only connection to the road. They consume around 20% of fuel at low speed and 35% while driving at a higher speed. Lesser resistance on the road provides a better fuel economy due to less consumption. With shorter sidewalls and a simplified tread pattern, low profile tires seem to be a go-to option for car owners who wants to go easy on pockets in the future.
5. Improved Stability
Though regular tires have their own benefits however low profile tires have the edge over them for stability. The overall credit goes to the width. Moreover, the stiffness of their walls also counts for their stability, as they don’t have curved corners like those of ordinary tires.
Disadvantages of Low Profile Tires
Now, let’s dive more into the topic and focus on what can ruin the idea of settling for a low profile tire.
1. Makes A Lot of Noise
Low profile tires are the best choice for a wider patch area to turn your car into a sporting wheel; however, they make a lot of noise than a regular tire. The air passing through the tread pattern is the reason behind those sounds. As low profile tires have more grooves, more air could pass through them, making them louder. To find out the real sound of the tire, take your car on a freshly paved road. Give it a spin.
Finding the Noise From Your vehicle
A freshly paved road is bump-free. You need to know that the noise from your vehicle can also result from pressure on the tires and the tread vibrations. Manufacturers are considering introducing a remedy to it. They are aiming to produce something with white noise that does not irritate. The sound of air in each section will vary if you add asymmetric tread patterns of different sizes. Another solution is to add softer compounds in the rubber tire blend, which would ultimately change the noise produced.
2. Uneven Driving Experience
Those who have an eye for low profile tires, often quote how they’re notorious for an uneven driving experience, especially on rough road surfaces. Why does it happen? It happens due to less space between the car and the road, which is a result of the height and size of low profile tires. The suspension system of your car, in these cases, need to endure the shocks resulting from uneven road surfaces. The spring rate rises if the shock absorption is less. The seat cushion, suspension, and the tires make up the spring rate of a car.
It can be said that the tires make up 10 times more of the spring rate than the seat cushions and suspension combined. A set of 45 series is bound to give you a more uneven driving experience than that of 70 series. However, if you have a suspension system tailored to match your low profile tire needs, you’d just be fine.
3. Prone to Damage
Prior to buying, you need to check how damage-prone the low profile tires are. If those tires aren’t run-flat than rapid deflation can cause a lot of damage. The rim may also cut through the sidewalls, known as a pincher cut that happens if the car runs into a pothole. As a driver, if you are thinking about speeding on an uneven road, please don’t. It also causes this issue. Shifting on to the larger tires, the electricity stability system may also breakdown. The program that is supposed to be reducing the loss of traction will start giving you incorrect readings.
You may have achieved better grip and good driving experience, but you’ve achieved something else too, the fast wearing of the tires. How is this effect amplified? Lower sidewalls, wheels scraping, and rough steering does the deed.
It’s a trade-off. The handling would improve, but the steering would become harder. There will be a decline in steering feedback and roll stability as compared to other tires of regular sizes, and that pretty much is a hassle.
4. Can be Costly
Replacing bigger wheels will also cost you a lot. From an 18inch SUV alloy wheel that typically costs $371, opting for a 20-inch wheel, the cost would shoot to $569. However, if you have purchased an optional package with a new car / higher trim level/ standard gear, then you may not be breaking your bank as much as those who didn’t purchase the optional package.
5. Aren’t Helpful on Ice or Snow
The low profile tires aren’t very helpful when you try to drive through ice or snow. However, they are still desirable when you try to corner on a dry road. That being said, a taller sidewall with a small wheel side is bound to offer a better grip in such extreme weather conditions. The wide low profile tires often plow through snow, which is an inconvenience in itself. How can it become worse? Your vehicle can aquaplane.
The extra-wide wheels do give a good look to the vehicle and can be worthwhile to flaunt, they mess with the function of your car. It burdens the axis and suspension much more than regular and ruins the fenders as well. No joke.
6. Increased Pressure on the Engine
Bigger wheels, bigger tires, and fuel economy cannot be achieved together. Didn’t they tell you that you cannot get the best of both worlds? The heavy wheels put more burden on the engine, which has to work harder to produce the same results as before with lighter wheels. This messes up the fuel economy and reduces acceleration. The low rolling resistance does contribute to efficiency, but, at most, it will be set off against the negative impact. The magnitude of the negative effect is majorly dependent on the engine’s power.
It is true that a powerful engine that produces more than substantial horsepower is not at all economic, but it does cater to the issues of slow acceleration. Thus that’s a positive point. Small engines with near to adequate horsepower do fine as well, but heavy tires would not help it much. They make the engines burn more fuel. Stick to what the manufacturer recommends if you want to fight the issue of slow acceleration or the added weight. What are we trying to say? Avoid pairing small engine cars with big wheels just for the sake of a good look.
7. Can be Confusing to Choose Preferred Ones For Your Car
The variety of tires available in the market with different aspect ratios and sizes can be baffle with your mind, especially if you’re planning to get a new pair. Picking the right one can be stressful, so keep every aspect of the tire and your vehicle needs in mind before you make a selection.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Tires
Don’t forget to keep factors like weather conditions in your area and your driving style in your mind before you head to the tire shop near you. After all, these are not just simple car components that you can compromise or make adjustments on. You need the right fit for your vehicle to enjoy a smooth and comfortable drive with the same pair for a longer time.
Making the right choice would save your vehicle from risks and allow you to drive with the stress of weather conditions, sudden brake impacts, and damages. If you don’t want to visit the tire shop again and again, then make a selection wisely. It’s impossible to enjoy a safe car ride without them.