Choosing the best low profile tires
A low profile tire buying guide
Replacing your passenger car tires with new low profile tires can improve the appearance and performance of your vehicle. But choosing the best low profile tire requires some consideration. Making the right choice can keep your journey safe and simple. Knowing a few key buying tips and a little about tires helps simplify your decision. Some low profile tire benefits include their skinnier, race car look, improved tread-wear, better lateral stability and great gripping power for smoother curves and transitions. You will find that there are many choices among low profile tire brands designed to suit your needs.
>> Consider your tire size
A key component in choosing the best low profile tires is to understand the numbers that correlate to low profile tire sizes. There are three numbers you will commonly see associated with tire size. They appear in the model name of the tire and are often separated by slashes or letters. A common listing is seen when looking at P235 tires. An SUV tire might have the designation P235/65R17. The first number refers to the width of the tire in millimeters. In the previous example, the tire would be 235mm wide. The next code is the aspect ratio. This is the ratio of the height of the sidewall compared to the width of the tire. In this case, the ratio is 65 percent. The R stands for radial, and describes how the tire is made. You may see other letters here. The last two digits represent the size of the wheel, in inches, that the tire is made for, which is 17 inches in this case.
Knowing these numbers is important when selecting a low profile tire brand that will fit your vehicle. It is important to check your car's owner's manual to verify which low profile tire sizes your car manufacturer recommends.
Top rated low profile tires can be identified by the aspect ratio (the middle number). When you buy low profile tires, look carefully at this number. A low profile tire has an aspect ratio that runs from 25 to 40. This is helpful information when buying new low profile tires.
>> Consider your wheelbase circumference
The next step to take as you buy low profile tires is to analyze your wheel base circumference. This guarantees that you have the proper tire and also ensures that your car won't sit too low when the tires are on. Make sure the rim size and the tire width are properly matched. Refer to your car's owner's manual for this number. For example, in P205 tires, the rim size is listed as R15, which corresponds to a 15-inch rim size. You can check the owner's manual to guarantee that the tire is wide enough for their rims.
>> Consider your load capacity
The last number to know is the car's load capacity. Load capacity refers to how much weight a tire can safely carry. Typically, the load indexes of the tires on passenger cars and light trucks range from 60 to 110. This translates into loads from 550 pounds to 2340 pounds respectively per tire. If you're not sure what the minimum load rating you need for your car is, ask a professional.
>> Consider your climate
Top rated low profile tires are well suited to drier climates. The same characteristics that increase low profile tire benefits while driving also cause them to be less effective in wet, snowy weather. The smaller grooves and spaces between the treads mean that while low profile tire brands have extra gripping power to smoothly maneuver curving roads, there is a smaller place in these performance tires for water to run on a wet day. The best low profile tires can easily become summer and fall tires if you live in a wet climate. You can use all-season tires or snow and ice tires for the portions of the year that feature more inclement weather.
>> Consider your car's handling characteristics
The best low profile tires will increase your car's gripping potential in several ways. If you think about your car's current handling tendencies and decide that you need better cornering, purchasing performance tires like low profiles might be the way to go. One advantage of low profile tires is that the compounds that are used to make them are softer, which also improves road contact. Another benefit is that they feature stiffer sidewalls and smaller tread space to maintain the most contact with the road at each rotation.
Considering your car's handling characteristics and the typical terrain you drive on daily will help you choose the best low profile tires for your vehicle. Low profile tire benefits are best seen at high speeds on even, dry terrain. The speed rating of a tire indicates the top speed at which it can safely carry the maximum load for its capacity. It is important to remember these numbers, especially when packing for trips or moving heavy loads.
The size and shape of low profile tire brands means that they are skinnier than traditional tires. These high performance tires are used in race cars for a reason. They offer greater stability at higher speeds. If you tend to do a lot of highway driving, the best low profile tires could improve your commute. If you tend to traverse a lot of back roads or take your car off-roading, mud tires or those like P265 tires with a larger diameter might be a better choice.
>> Consider how frequently you will replace your tires
Low profile tire brands feature thinner treads. When maintained properly, these tires wear evenly but slightly faster than traditional tires. Choose low profile tires if you are comfortable checking your tires frequently and are prepared to replace them slightly more often. You can also use them if you plan to alternate them with more seasonally appropriate snow and ice tires.
Buying low profile tires is just a matter of considering a few factors. Once you find the right ones for you, you'll be on the road to a great destination.