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How Long Do Low Profile Tires Last? [+FAQs]

How Long Do Low Profile Tires Last

Low Profile Tires due to their aesthetic look and performance are becoming common nowadays. Initially, they were used in sports and luxury cars, but considering performance their use has considerably increased in the market.

Owing to their popularity in the automotive market, most car owners are curious to know how long do these low-profile tires last?

Though these tires give the car a great look and style, it is believed that they are not long-lasting as the standard tires. The standard tires last anywhere between 50,000 to 80,000 miles. While the low-profile tires, on average, last between 30,000 to 50,000 miles. However, this life may get prolonged or shortened depending on how and where you drive.

Now, to understand why these tires don’t last as long as normal tires, first, you need to understand what low-profile tires are and how do they differ from the standard tires. Then, will discuss some of the pros and cons of these tires.

Let’s start with Low profile Tires.

What are Low Profiles Tires?

If you have ever examined a tire’s sidewall, you might have seen some numbers and letters written on it. For instance, you may get to see P205/55 R16, written on the tire.

Here, 205 is the tire’s width in millimeters, 55 is the sidewall aspect ratio, and 16 is the diameter of the tire. The only dimension you need to focus on is the aspect ratio, which is the ratio of the tire section height to the section width. The lower the aspect ratio, the lower the profile of a tire. Generally, the threshold is an aspect ratio of 50%.

So, the tires with an aspect ratio of less than 50% are called low profile. However, some manufacturers also consider 55% as the threshold aspect ratio.

How can you distinguish between the standard and Low-Profile Tires?

Firstly, the low-profile tires have a very shorter sidewall compared to standard tires. Secondly, they are also wider than the standard tires.  Lastly, to confirm if the tire is really a low-profile, you can read the aspect ratio etched on its sidewall.

Figure 1-Low Profile vs High Profile (Standard) Tires

How long do low-profile tires actually last? 

On average, the low profile last between 30,000 to 50,000 miles. As per the US Department of Transportation and Highways, an average American driver drives 13,500 miles per year. Considering that, these low-profile tires can last from 2.2 years to 3.7 years. Whereas, an average standard tire usually lasts more than 5 years.

Why do Low Profile Tires don’t last longer than normal tires?

Due to wider tread widths, low-profile tires provide more traction and stability, which makes them highly popular. But, the increased road contact causes low-profile tires to wear out more quickly.

Since low-profile tires are built from thinner and softer compounds, these tires are more vulnerable to damage. So, it is extremely crucial to maintain the right tire pressures in order to assist prolong the tire’s lifespan. In addition, keep in mind that tires will wear out more rapidly if you turn at high speeds and stop forcefully, especially if you do it frequently.

Low-profile tires frequently have lower suspensions, so be careful over speed bumps. If you have low-profile tires and hit a pothole, you might end up with catastrophic damage. Regular maintenance is important to reach the best out of low-profile tires.

Pros and Cons of Using Low Profile Tires

Now, let’s talk about some advantages and disadvantages of these types of tires over standard tires.

Pros

Let’s start with some pros of using tires that have a low profile.

  • Stylish Look: In general, customers who purchase low-profile tires are pleased with their appearance.  Since low-profile tires are often integrated with big, vibrant alloy rims, they give a stylish look to your vehicle.
  • Great Handling: Low Profile tires have reduced height which necessitates stronger sidewalls. This improves the overall stability and handling of the car.
  • Better Traction Control: With more tread width, tires make more area in contact with the ground. In addition, they have larger treads. This provides a smooth grip on the road.
  • Braking Performance: These tires come with large rims, so you can install bigger braking installments. Hence, the braking performance is also significantly enhanced.
  • Enhance Fuel efficiency: Low-profile tires provide less rolling resistance due to short, rigid sidewalls and simple tread patterns. And fuel efficiency is improved as a result of lower rolling resistance. The tires reduce the fuel consumption by 20-35%.

Cons

Apart from a lot of pros, there are some cons to the use of low-profile tires

  • Rough Ride: Since low-profile tires have very narrow sidewalls, so there is less spacing between the vehicle’s rim and the tires. So, slight shocks that the tire’s cushion could have absorbed, are now the responsibility of the suspension system. If the car comes with default low profile tires. Then, the suspension would be compatible with them. But in the other case, these tires make the ride rough and damage the suspension.
  • Noisy: Low-profile tires have more grooves, which makes them a little noisier. In addition to that, they make more contact with the ground, further creating sounds.
  • Prone to Damage: Since there is quite less cushion between the wheels, rims, and the road. So, the low-profile tires might cause more damage to the car from potholes than standard tires. For instance, rims may get bent, or the tire may get punctured, etc.
  • Expensive: These tires because of their stylish look and use are more expensive compared to the standard tires.
  • Not Suited for all road surfaces: Low-profile which are known for excellent handling on the plain and smooth surfaces, don’t work the same on uneven surfaces. Like you will get a bumpier trip on gravel roads. Similarly, their performance is equally poor on snowy and icy roads.
  • Wear Out Faster: Though low-profile tires provide a better grip and traction; more contact rapidly increases the wear and tear of these types of tires.
  • Rapid Deflation: Low-profile tires are thinner and have less air compared to the standard tires. So, when they get punctured, the tires deflate so quickly that you get a flat tire within a few minutes.

How Often Should You Change Low Profile Tires?

NHTSA recommends car owners replace their tires every 6 years, even if they seem good. But as we have known the average life of these tires with a low profile is about 50,000 miles or 3.7 years. So, you should get replaced after 3.7 years.

However, if you get these tires rotated every few thousand miles and get them scheduled maintenance, they may last longer, even up to 5 years.

Final Words

In addition to improving the car’s aesthetic look, low-profile offers a lot of advantages, such as great handling, performance, and fuel efficiency. However, they don’t last long as standard tires.  Their rides can be rough, and uncomfortable. Keeping in view these factors, you can decide if you want to replace your standard tires with low-profile ones.

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