Do Low Profile Tires Have a Harsh Ride?

Often times when moving to a larger diameter wheel, a car must use tires with a shorter sidewall height in order to keep the same overall diameter. This concept is called Plus Sizing. Take a look at one of my previous blog posts for additional information. The chart below displays the changes in tire profile when moving up to larger diameter wheels :

In most cases, the larger diameter tires have shorter sidewalls and are referred to as lower profile tires. These tires can have a firmer ride as a result of less sidewall cushioning. However, in many cases, this can be minimized by choosing a tire with a softer ride, such as an all-season tire or touring tire. 

For example, a 2008 BMW 335i owner may have a vehicle that comes equipped with the 225/40R18 size in the front and 255/35R18 rear performance tires. This driver then upgrades to a 19" staggered set-up and now uses 235/35R19 fronts and 265/30R19 rears. If the driver chooses a similar summer performance tire, such as the top-rated Michelin Pilot Super Sport, the ride may be a bit stiffer due to having a lower profile tire. If the driver is willing to give up some handling and grip for a tire with a softer ride, he/she could use an all-season tire such as the Continental ExtremeContact DWS

If you're afraid of losing ride quality when going to larger diameter wheels, check first to see if there are tire options that will alleviate that concern.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013 by Bob

Question. Running Michelin Pilots (245-45-17's)all the round on my '91 735i. Car just doesn't feel steady or "safe" over 50 mph. Want to keep my 17 inch rims. What would be a "better" size or setup?
Wednesday, April 3, 2013 by Gary


You do indeed have the correct size that we would use for 17" tires when used on your car. You may want to have the tires inspected or other suspension components checked if the vehicle does not feel steady at highway speeds.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 by Kevin Yu

Gary, I own a 2013 Lexus GS350 F-Sport RWD. It came with staggered setting, front 235/40/19 and rear 265/35/19. OE tires were Bridestone RE050A, and about 20 months ago, my rear hit a pothole, I replaced the rear set to Michelin Pilot super sport. And at the time, the AAA guy told me my front still very new, about 8/32 (@16K miles) so, I only change the rear. Now, all 4 tires are at about 4.5/32 (@35K miles for front and almost 20k for rear).

I domicile in Southern California, most dry and wet when it rains. I recently drove to San Diego, and it was raining hard, and I felt that the tires skid when I was driving on the freeway about 80-85mph, especially when I brake.

I'm about 50/50 on local and freeway.

Here are my questions for you, due to the OE spec, there are limited selections for me, so my friend told me that I can go 245/40/19 in the front and 275/35/19 in the rear.

1. Will the set up damage my car? Will MPG be affected or will the alignment be messed up? Or will the performance of car be possibly affected? Or will there be higher chance of car losing control and when I don't slow down at some of the ramps that do about 180 degrees turn.

2. What type to tires should I get, Summer or A/S?

(I'm no longer in my 20's, I don't drive crazy anymore, but maybe fast on the freeway, I do care more about the treadlife of the tires, Ride comfort and tire noise, but definitely SAFETY is also very important. I been doing a lot research lately and many people said Summer tires are better in Rain (wet road), if I switch to A/S will there be a higher possibility of losing control when driving high speed on the freeway, I do not intend to go over 90mph. And usually at high speed, I use cruise control to drive and I try not to cut cars.)

3. I'm debating over Continental DW or DWS? What do you think of ride comfort, noise, treadlife of these two, how many miles do you think I would get for rear. (I'm getting a whopping 35K for my front tires which tread life rated at 140 only. Also, I know Continental is excellent in wet condition, and in dry condition they are above average, but should I still be careful of dry road? The reason I pick Continental is they are known for Ride quality)

4. Should I change the tires after summer? I heard that heat can deteriorate the summer tires faster, what about A/S tires?

(And since it's summer time, its expected of dry road, and with my current tires condition, it should be ok for dry road right? )

5. Can I rotate DW and DWS , Michelin Pilot Sport A/S side to side?

6. Should I be concern that the DW and DWS 245 and 275 series are made in different countries?

7.Should I pick the Michelin PS A/S over the continentals? Will it last, I just want to get a little more than 30K miles in the rear til it reach below 4/32 with my staggered set up. I saw the test, you guys did with DWS 06, and looks to me the ride quality and noise is only off by a little, will this "little difference" be a big difference?
UTQG 540 vs UTQG 500? will there really be a big difference?
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 by Gary


Due to the number and depth of questions involved I will attempt to reply to you directly via email.
Friday, July 31, 2015 by Gary


We have fit 245/40R19 up front with no problems, handling, vehicle damage or otherwise. Keep in mind that this is a very small tire size change versus 235/40R19.

Summer tires have better handling and grip, whereas most all season tires have a softer ride and longer tread wear. Average wear on the Continental DW summer tire is about 20,000 miles, while most are seeing about 40,000 miles out of the all-season DWS. Both have great ride quality in their respective classes.

We have not found that tires deteriorate more quickly in the summer enough to have any real world affect for your situation. Country of origin is not a concern, and either of the tires you mentioned can be rotated from side to side.

The difference in wear between the DWS and DWS 06 is negligable, and the ride quality difference between all three tires is not dramatic, but noticeable.

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