Q: Are Low-Profile Tires More Likely To Blow Out Or Puncture?

asked by on November 12, 2015

Are low-profile tires more likely to blow out or puncture?

Installing larger diameter wheels on your vehicle can drastically change the way that it looks and performs. They are becoming more popular and available for just about every vehicle. To offset the size of the wheel, the tire size will need to change to maintain proper clearance from the tire to the fenderwell and even to some of the suspension components. This means that low profile tires will need to be installed to compensate for the change in wheel size. Changing to a lower profile tire can result in some improvements to the vehicle, but there are also some negative effects that can come with them.

A tire that has a small sidewall is considered to be low profile. This can be known as a 60 series tire, a 50 series, a 40 series, and even a 30 series or smaller. This number is known as the aspect ratio. When reading a tire size, such as 225/45/19, the middle number is the series or height. The 45 means that the tire sidewall is 45% that of the width, which is 225 millimeters noted by the first number in the size. The lower the aspect ratio, the smaller the sidewall of the tire.

There are some benefits to low profile tires. The most common improvement is from a performance standpoint. Being that the low profile tire has a smaller sidewall, that sidewall will naturally have less flex. That lack of flex in the sidewall will assist in cornering at higher rates of speed. On a typical tire, when turning a corner the sidewall will flex making the vehicle a little less stable. The lack of flexing from a low profile tire will keep your tires firmly on the road which gives you better contact while cornering. The smaller sidewall also makes it stiffer. The stiffer sidewall assist in the tire holding its shape at higher speeds. This assists in keeping the tire round at high speeds which will typically give it a higher speed rating.

The negative impacts of low profile tires are much more prevalent than the positives. The first thing is cost. Low profile tires tend to be more expensive than tires with larger sidewalls. We previously talked about how much stiffer the sidewalls are on low profile tires. This rigid sidewall will cause your vehicle to ride rougher also. This is because the tires are the part that is initially responsible for absorbing road shock. If there is not much flex in the tire, that shock will not be absorbed by the tire, but will instead resonate through the rest of the vehicle. That can also result in bulges and blowouts in the sidewall of the tire. If you hit potholes and other imperfections in the road then that can damage the inner structure of the tire causing it to fail. Low profile tires also cannot handle much of a load so the should not be used on larger vehicles such as SUV’s or vehicles that are used for towing. Low profile tires can also pick up nails and other foreign easier causing punctures. This tends to occur from the low profile tire having a shallower tread depth which makes it more vulnerable. This can allow a nail to make it through the tire faster causing it to puncture. Tires with a deeper tread pattern will be less likely for a mail to make it through the tire.

Whether your vehicle came with low profile tires, or if you chose to install them on your car, they can make the vehicle perform better and add a nice look. You should alway keep in mind that there are limits to this as not all vehicles should have low profile tires on them. It is always important to do some research and ask professionals for their opinions on what is a good size tire to use and what may be too much.

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