Low profile tire question

So I am looking at a used Mazda 6 and the stock tries look they are low profile - 225/45/19. With the reduced sidewalk height, do low profile tires present a great risk of damage or flats (bumping a curb) or lower performance in snow? Thanks

Yes, those low-profile tires definitely put you in a position of likely getting more damage from curb hits, and even from large potholes. I do not believe that the tire’s profile has any effect on snow performance. Instead, the tread design is what affects snow performance.

But, many low-profile tires are “performance” tires whose tread is designed for great handling on dry roads, and as a result, they will have very poor grip on slippery winter roads. If you go onto the Tirerack website, and take a look at the tires that are available for that particular Mazda model, you may be able to find the exact tire model that is currently mounted on that car, and this will allow you to see their performance rating on winter road surfaces.


Second vote for low profile tires are more susceptible to impact damage, and it’s the tread pattern that affects snow traction.

But the next question you are going to ask is about changing that - and that involves the purchase of different diameter wheels. That’s a kind of expensive proposition.

No! You can’t go to high profile tires without changing wheels. They won’t fit under the fenders.


And, different wheels might not “fit” around the brake rotors.

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I’ll answer one more question that may come to mind…

You may or may not be able to install a smaller diameter wheel so you can install a higher profile tire. It depends on how large the brake rotors are on the front. Looking at other models of Mazda 6s to find if a smaller wheel will fit. I’d also go to Tire Rack and look for winter wheel and tire packages. You may see a smaller diameter wheel with slightly narrower tires offered as a package. That tells you IF the smaller wheel will fit you car at all.

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My car came with 235/45-18 tires and I was a bit nervous as well. So far, in six years, I haven’t had a problem with wheel damage even though I’ve hit a few bad potholes. That’s only one data point, of course. I’ve also been happy with the ride comfort, although my expectation there is a compromise of sportiness and luxury instead of ultimate luxury.

According to Tirerack, a 2016 Mazda 6 Sport had 17" base wheel size with 225/55 x 17 tires, with 18,19, and 20 optional. They even list a 16" option. So I bet the OP could get different wheels with taller tires if they want to spend the money.


Thanks, all - since the base 6 comes with 17" tires it seems that I could switch wheels asusming the larger wheel model brakes fit. But that could be an awful lot of expense for a used car (looking at 2017 models). So maybe it’s a look at a CX5 . . . just like the feel of the Mazda

Yes to both. If winter is a factor for you, buying a set of steel wheels with winter tires can be a smart and economical move.

If the current rims are in good shape you can sell them to offset the cost of replacements.
OEM rims command a high price, just a matter of finding a buyer.

p.s. I went to smaller rims and higher profile tires on my last car, and enjoyed a quieter, softer ride.

I have low profile tires on a 2010 and the only flat was from a nail from the home construction down the street . I certainly would not buy rims and tires for a used vehicle just because of it having low profile tires.

winter is not much of a factor here . . . owned a Jeep for three winters and needed 4WD just twice (of course, it was in the shop most of the time . . .) - more concerned about higher likelihood of flats from potholes or stupid running up against the curb things

That would be my concern, too. I would probably just get more practical steel wheels/tires for year-round use and save the OEMs intact for a future buyer who might prefer them.

Owned one car with 215/45/17 tires for 17 years in the snow belt. Bent one wheel slightly on a pothole in Detroit (I think). Caused a slight vibration it took me a while to find.

The car, a Saab, was awful in the snow with these wheels and tires. I switched to winter wheels, 60 series tires on 16 inch wheels, because of that.

If you live/drive in an area where you need snow tires, I would recommend a set of wheels with snow tires mounted and when snow season comes change to the snow tires/wheels, and reverse the plan when spring comes/

Donutman posted that snow is not much of a factor where he lives.