Low Profile tire vs high profile tire, which is best for cars: A brief comparison of high profile and low profile tires


Some differences can also be seen in the tires used in vehicles used for different purposes. For example, the tire used in a performance car has some differences from the tire used in a normal car.

How do these two types of tires differ? Is there any difference in practicality between these beyond the differences in appearance?

This article is about the two types of tires used in cars, the high profile and low profile tires.

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How do these tires differ?

The sidewall height of a tire determines whether it is a high profile tire or a low profile tire. This sidewall height is also called section height or profile of the tire.

Sidewall height is the distance between the tread and the rim (wheel). If the tire has a high sidewall height it is called a high profile tire and if it has a low sidewall height then such tires are called low profile tires.

High profile tires 


As mentioned above, If the tire has a high sidewall height, that type of tire is called a high profile tire.

The sidewall height can be calculated using the aspect ratio which is marked on the tire. If the aspect ratio is 'X', then the sidewall height will be 'X' percent of the section width of the tire. The section width is the width of the tire.

If the tire marking code is 165/80R14, the number 165 (in mm) denotes its section width and the number 80 denotes the aspect ratio. So here the tire has a sidewall height of 80 percent of 165, which means the sidewall height of the tire will be 132mm.

If the value of the aspect ratio is above 50 or 55 then such tires belong to the category of high profile tires. Most of the cars we see around us use high-profile tires.

Advantages of high profile tires

1. Low cost: It is relatively inexpensive compared to low profile tires, so most of the cars we see around us use high profile tires.

2. Provide better riding comfort: We know that high profile tires have a high sidewall height, so they can absorb road shocks better than low profile tires. Because high profile tires are more flexible as the sidewall height is higher. This makes for a comfortable ride, even on rough roads.

3. Better fuel efficiency: The vehicle that uses high profile tires gets more mileage than the vehicle which uses low profile tires. Generally, this type of tire is made of a low section width, which reduces the friction with the road surface. It improves the fuel efficiency of the vehicle.

And also it provides a smooth ride, it is more flexible because of the high sidewall height. It helps to improve fuel efficiency to some extent.

Disadvantages of high profile tires 

1. Poor vehicle stability: These types of tires provide poor high-speed stability. Because of the larger sidewall height, it is more flexible, which adversely affects the stability of the vehicle at high speeds.

2. Poor handling: These type of tires provides poor steering response also, especially when taking a sudden cornering it's handling is poor compared to a low profile tire.

3. Disappointing braking performance: The braking performance of these types of tires is a little bit disappointing when comparing them with low-profile tires. 

The first reason for this is the high sidewall height and the second is that high profile tires do not have a larger section width as compared to low profile tires. Due to the low section width, the contact area with the road is reduced which adversely affects the braking.

4. Do not have an attractive look: Compared to low-profile tires, these tires are not as attractive in look.

Low Profile tires

If the tire has a low sidewall height (Section height)  it is called low profile tires, these types of tires are most commonly used in performance cars.

If the aspect ratio is below 55 or 50 then such tires belong to the category of low profile tires. The low-profile tires are a little bit rigid, because of their lower sidewall height. And also these types of tires are made with high section width, which improves their performance.

Advantages of low profile tire

1. Better vehicle stability: This type of tire provides good stability at high speeds. Here the sidewall is very rigid, which helps to increase the stability.

2. Better handling: It also provides better steering performance even in sudden turns. This is also because of the rigid sidewall and larger section width.

3. Provide good braking: It is another advantage of lower sidewall height. Here the flexibility of the tire is minimal, which enhances the braking.

Not only this, but generally the low profile tire has a larger section width when comparing it with the high profile tire. It increases the friction between road and tire, which improves the braking performance. 

4. Attractive look: The low profile tire is more attractive than high profile tires. It helps to get a sporty look for the car.

Disadvantages of low profile tires

1. Poor riding comfort: The flexibility of this type of tire is minimal, So on rough roads, it is unable to provide good riding comfort. The hardness of the tire also leads to breaking the wheel when riding through a rough surface.

If this type of tire is used in normal cars, it will lead to damage to the suspension parts quickly. 

The high profile tires absorb the road shocks to some extent because it is more flexible. In the case of a low-profile tire, the majority of road shocks act on suspension components.

2. Noisier: It is very noisy than high profile tires, because of the larger section width. The larger section width increases the friction, that's why increases the tire noise.

3. Low life: Generally,  this type of tire has low life.

4. High price: This type of tire is more expensive compared to high-profile tires.

The low-profile tires are made for performance vehicles, They perform well on good surfaces. But in normal road conditions, it can't perform well. The high-profile tires are made for use on normal, rough roads. So the high-profile tire performs well in this situation.

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