Tires are parts of the vehicle that are in direct contact with the road surface. This part plays the role of transmitting traction to help the vehicle move and decelerate when braking. It is also a part of the suspension system. This part is also perfect for loads, friction, wear, high temperature, and high pressure.
Low profile tires have a sporty look that is more eye-catching than other tire products. It also adds excellent traction and steering and handles braking situations effectively. Besides those advantages, many disadvantages make low profile tires less unique. Let's find out together!
What Are Low Profile Tires?
About low-profile tires, let's talk about the concept. The tire wall is the rubber part from the outer edge of the rim to the road surface. So, what are the bases to determine if the tire wall is thin? It is the ratio of the height of the tire wall to the width of the rubber tread in percent. This ratio of 55% or less is thin-walled tires.
Low-profile tires are tires with shorter sidewalls or a lower aspect ratio than regular tires. They also have large spikes and can be made from specialized compounds. Usually, a tire size 55 or smaller is a low-profile tire.
For tire information, you can read the specifications in your vehicle's owner's manual. The door bar next to the driver's seat, behind the glove compartment cover, or on the fuel tank cap.
Let's take an example to understand the parameters better. The P225/45R15 has a 15-inch wheel size with a tread width of 225 mm. Otherwise, the sidewalls are 45% of the tread width, or 101 mm. With a higher aspect ratio, the thicker the sidewalls, the more convenient the ride, while the lower aspect ratio makes driving more difficult.
The parameters on the tire help you identify the tire. The second parameter in the sequence printed on automobile tires represents this ratio. For example, on a tire that says P205/40R16, it means the sidewall height is 40% of the tire's 205 mm width, or 82 mm. However, with two tires of the same ratio, it is still possible for one tire to be thinner than the other. For example, a 185/55 R15 tire must have a thinner wall than a 205/55 R16 tire.
Why do you need low profile tires?
The first reason that low-profile tires are installed is to change the design of the vehicle, changing the appearance of the vehicle. The larger wheels and brighter sidewalls in a normal-size wheel mean manufacturers can make room inside the wheel for larger brakes. Low-profile walls are also stiffer, providing better cornering and road feel.
For sports cars, rolling in the corners is also very important. In addition to stiffer suspension, its low-profile tires allow the car to maintain a parallel position with the road (under load, the tire doesn't compress as much as a standard tire). The aerodynamics of sport transport depends on this.
In the world of luxury cars and racing cars, low-profile tires are always the preferred choice because of their grip and stability. If you want the best performance in terms of dry grip and steering response, changing the thin side tires is not a terrible choice.
However, it comes at the expense of the tire's lifespan that will wear out faster. The principal reason behind this is to improve traction. The selected material will be softer and more susceptible to damage. In addition, both the seeds and spikes on the surface are carefully reinforced.
However, thin tires have some disadvantages. According to the experience of many people when driving with thin-walled tires, their movement is quite harsh, especially on low-quality roads.
They sense all that is unusual on the road surface. The sidewall and rims are more likely to be damaged. Potholes are a nightmare for thin tires. So, if you like a comfortable feel, ordering smaller wheels equipped with a large sidewall will provide a softer ride. Finally, less powerful shocks can give you peace of mind when driving. But it requires your quick handling.
Pros and cons of low-profile tires
It is not possible to create the ideal tire for all situations, so using low-profile tires has not only advantages but also disadvantages. First, let's consider what are the pluses of this tire:
1. Advantages of low-profile tires
1. Sporty look
Tires have an important role in the overall design of the vehicle. Low-profile tires have the advantage of increasing the aesthetic appearance, giving the car a sporty appearance. In addition, low-profile tires often have a large tire width that helps to increase traction.
2. Better cornering handling
On such tires, you can drive at higher speeds. The thinner the tire wall, the more accurate the vehicle will be and the more realistic the driving feeling, especially when the car is cornering or running at high speed
When the car is going through corners at high speed, the low profile tires help reduce the body's shaking force (due to stiffer sidewalls, the sidewalls of the tire do not deform too much under load).
3. Increase acceleration
Improved vehicle dynamics, due to better traction, increased acceleration (within the allowable engine power range)
4. Better brakes
The braking performance of the car is improved, due to the same increase in grip with the road surface, the efficiency of the braking system increases. In addition, low-profile tires need large rims. You can install larger brakes, and the brake heat dissipation effect is also better.
5. Improved grip and traction
Due to the larger width, tires can make better contact with the road surface, thus providing better grip and traction. In other words, it allows for better vehicle handling, so the vehicle does not react as much to defects on the road surface.
2. Disadvantages of low-profile tires
Despite such advantages, using this tire on many vehicles is not the best solution. Here are some disadvantages of this type of tire:
- Usually, a stiffer suspension is installed on the vehicle to create sporty characteristics. Combined with the low profile tires, every bump will give the driver a thrill. This effect is especially enhanced in winter on roads with snow and ice.
- At low speeds, it is much harder for the driver to steer, so it is better not to put such tires on a vehicle without power steering.
- The price of low profile tires is high. Another minus point of low-profile tires is the higher cost than conventional tires. If your goal is a non-vibrant car, you shouldn't choose this tire. The smooth running of the car will help you save money on maintenance, repair, and replacement of spare parts.
- Sports tires have a shorter service life than standard tires. In terms of durability, low profile tires are not damaged quicker than normal tires as many people mistakenly believe because the tread and fiber structure are not much different. Low-profile tires fail more quickly because we often use them for high-performance vehicles. It is the harsher working conditions that cause low-profile tires to tear easier than conventional tires.
- In addition, because the buffer between the rim and the road is small, the driver can feel the uneven surface of the road surface. Tires are also part of the vehicle's suspension. So, with the suspension designed to adapt to the vehicles with thin-wall tires, you can choose enormous wheels, thin tires if you want your car to look good, more sporty. And if the shock absorbers do not meet this requirement, the low profile tires will make the car noisier when moving.
So, as you can see from this pros and cons comparison, the advantages of low profile tires have more to do with the car's appearance and speed characteristics, but the cons are related to comfort and negatively affect the vehicle itself.
What is the pressure in a low-profile tire?
Drivers have the general opinion that the pressure in a low-profile tire will be much higher than in a standard tire. In fact, this parameter mainly depends on the roads that the vehicle will drive, as well as the recommendations of the vehicle manufacturer.
If regular tires are not inflated according to the manufacturer's recommendations, the rubber will wear unevenly. But if the pressure in a low profile tire is lower than the manufacturer's recommendations for a particular vehicle, the risk of breakage when hitting a sharp-angled pit is greatly increased. Often this results in a tire bulge.
When you have to go through poor quality roads, to increase safety, the driver may decide to inflate the tires a little (increase the tire pressure between 0.15 - 0.20 bar above recommended rate). However, you should note that if the tire is overinflated, the tires will have less contact with the road. This will greatly affect vehicle control, especially at high speeds.
There are no general recommendations regarding the pressure in low profile tires. You must comply with the standards set forth by the car manufacturer. This parameter depends on the weight of the vehicle.
How to choose?
Although some drivers choose tires independently according to the wheels purchased for the vehicle, but it is better to follow the recommendations of the vehicle manufacturer if you do not want to have to regularly repair your car due to the wrong wheel installation.
Usually, when a new car model is released, the automaker says what type of tire can be fitted to it. The listing may contain a number of different options that will not seriously affect the vehicle's frame and suspension. This list also indicates the low-profile option.
For most drivers, low-profile tires are not the ideal choice. Because most people drive at a controlled speed, highways and inner-city roads speed on cars with regular tires.
But if you like zigzag roads and sharp corners, surely thin-walled tires will give you the best grip and experience. Through the above sharing, we hope you have had more useful information related to low-profile tires. Hope you will find the best choice for your car.