Low Profile Tires: Pros and Cons
By: Discount Tire
What are low profile tires?
Note: our locations do not stretch and mount tires beyond their safe load-carrying capacities.
Low-profile tires (also known as “low pro tires”) are generally street performance tires such as performance all-season, summer, ultra-high performance and competition tires that go on larger diameter wheels and necessitate shorter overall sidewall heights. (Also known as aspect ratio.)
A telltale sign of a low-profile tire is an aspect ratio of 50 millimeters or less.
Low-profile tire pros
Because they have less flex under acceleration, reduced rolling resistance under braking, and usually come with wider contact patches over non-low-profile tires, they are going to provide increased lateral-G’s and more direct overall steering inputs.
Long story short, low-pro tires can increase your vehicle performance in just about every way.
And if you’re thinking about switching to larger wheels on your vehicle or you’re considering upgrading your vehicle’s brakes or suspension, you might have to switch to a lower profile performance tire.
On a lot of vehicles, they also look great.
Low-profile tire cons
There’s no two ways about it. A lower sidewall is going to make for a rougher ride around town.
Every vehicle (and tire) is different, but you might encounter increased tire noise at highway speeds alongside general vibration and harshness.
And there’s another risk that goes with going low-pro.
You actually increase the likelihood of blowouts and tire failure on rough roads and potholes. Because low-profile tires don’t have as much space to absorb the impact of bumps, ruts, objects or potholes, it’s not uncommon for low-profile tire failure to coincide with catastrophic wheel and rim damage.
In most cases, this type of damage isn’t something you can claim on your car insurance—which can lead to costly out-of-pocket expense.
Are low-profile tires right for you?
At the end of the day it depends on what you’re after. As long as you understand the risks that go with them, you stand to gain looks and potential performance by throwing on a set of low-pro tires.