Low profile tires?

Lots of sports cars esp. European ones use low profile wheels/tires. Is there any benefit to passengers from that or it is pure look/cosmetic effect? I heard most low profile tires get rims dinged or do get often flat tires. If you have one run flat tires on them then double whammy not only you will pay for expensive tire plus for the wheel as well.

How low is very low profile tire (I meant in terms of tire height specifications, like 17/45/205)?

Low profile tires improve dry road handling and are a detriment in all other conditions.
Ride terrible too.

“Low profile tires improve dry road handling and are a detriment in all other conditions.
Ride terrible too.”

Very true oldtimer 11

The major benefit is there CAN be improved handling due to less sidewall to flex. However that is not a passenger benefit as much as a driver one.

The major issue now is many car makers especially domestic and some Asian have decided to jump on the low profile/larger rims looks bandwagon. So they equip their vehicles with low profile tires which are simply engineered for low cost and best ride possible. The benefit is not so much improved handling.

European car makers who equip vehicles put performance tires on, not cosmetic ones like domestic and Asian car makers.

However some owners of the decent Chevy Cruze, Ford Fiesta, Kia, Hyundai models are in for a rude awakening at tire replacement time due to larger wheel diameter low profile tires.

It appears to be a status symbol in some demographics. The Rent-N-Roll dealer here sells 26" Rimz and finances them on weekly terms.

I used to like the way they looked, especially when I had a set of 4 winter tires and rims to change to when needed.

However, a couple of sidewall cuts turned me off of the low profile tires.

I Hate The Dxxn Things ! I Recently Bought A Newer Car And Had To Be Sure Not To Get One With Those On It. It’s Getting Tougher Finding Such Cars.

Folks who spend extra money on those things probably won’t believe me when I say that I think they look stupid, too. I like to see some meat on those rims ! I put them in the same category as those wheel covers that keep spinning after a car stops . . . just a waste of money for that “Hey, look at me !” driver.

Besides that, low profile tires are not practical for the roads our family cars run. The roads in my neck of the woods are going to hxxx in a handbasket ! I would think many parts of the country face the same road maintenance problem . . . higher MPG cars, people with less money to spend on gas, declining gas sales, and less gas tax revenue collected to spend on roads.

There, Thanks, I feel better now.


To me low profile starts at 50 series and below, so the 45 OP quoted are low profile to me. Many cars are now designed to use them and may ride OK, but the tires are much more likely to be damaged, or the wheel to be damaged, by potholes, etc. That said, both my cars have 50 series tires, ride ok (firm, but I like that) and have had no damage in 3 years.

My current car has 55 series, but I was happy enough with the 70 series on a previous car.
I think my current car would ride quieter and smoother on 65 series, but I’d have to change rims.

Not yet mentioned: Low profile tires = larger dia wheels = more unsprung weight = slower acceleration and lower fuel mileage. Only benefit is more space for huge brakes, which is not generally necessary on family cars.


Most of time the overall diameter is going to be the same, on my car for example the tire choices from the factory were as follows

The base model got 225/55/R16
The GT model got 245/45/R17
The Cobra got 275/40/R17

The overall diameter of all these tires is the same, if there’s a difference it’s less than a 10th of an inch. Also larger wheels made of lightweight alloys can and often are lighter than smaller steel wheels.

@FoDaddy -
True, but sometimes the base wheels are alloy, so they do get heavier with wheel size. However, it there was a big impact on mpgs I think the carmakers would be rushing back to smaller wheels, given the new CAFE regs. I don’t see that happening, so the effect must be pretty small.

In addition to the disadvantages listed already, low profile tires are expensive to replace. I will never buy a car that has them.

Tires with an aspect ratio of 50-55-60 deliver excellent handling while remaining able to stand up to “normal driving conditions” and have an acceptable ride. Once you drop down into the 30,35, 40, 45 aspect ratios, handling improves very little and tire/wheel failure due to normal road hazards like pot-holes increases dramatically… They also make your car ride like it was a forklift…

I don’t understand the obsession some people have with oversize wheels. I recently saw a large SUV with enormous rims and thin tires. The tires barely fit under the vehicle, and apparently sometimes didn’t fit; the front tires had scars that seemed to be caused by scraping against the body. In exchange for the high cost, this guy got tires that are easier to damage and require great care when turning, especially on a bumpy road.

Some people seem to want to just throw the tires away and put some rubber tread right on the rim.

. I recently saw a large SUV with enormous rims and thin tires.

I’ve yet to see the SUV or pickup that has the low profile tires on them that look good…To me…it is NOT attractive.

A 50 series is about the lowest profile tire I’d want on anything and even that’s a tossup.
I much prefer a 60 or 65 series.

Another point to consider is that a very low profile (40 series, etc) is also going to be a bit rougher on suspension components such as ball joints, shock/strut mounts, control are bushings, etc. There’s simply less sidewall to cushion the impact from potholes and whatnot.

I remember when it seemed every other pickup in Virginia was jacked up to where the driver needed a short ladder to get in.

Just a matter of time before some cro-magnon gets the idea to fit tiny rims and 80 series tires…

Car & Driver did a test about how different wheel and tire sizes impact a car’s performance and mileage


There is no upside…It’s all downside…This fad will not last very long…