But if your tires have rim protectors, you might be able to avoid accidental damage. How can you tell if a tire has a rim protector? Generally speaking, you'll want to look for thicker rubber molded at key locations on the sidewall. Standard tires don't typically feature a rim protector, as shown at right. This is because standard tires usually come mounted on steel wheels that require hubcaps. Rim protectors limit hubcap installation.
If your tire does have a rim protector, you'll notice one of three different designs: a raised rib adjacent to the bead (1), a deeply recessed bead area (2), or a scuff guard (3).
1. 2. 3.The first two typically help protect low-profile tires and alloy wheels from curb damage. And if it's used in light truck applications, the rim protector will shield the tire and wheel bead area from debris, rocks, tree stumps, etc. The last type of rib protector is typically found on delivery vans and trailers. The raised rib features extra layers of rubber which helps the tire last longer against repeated damage from curbs.
But, regardless of the type, every rim protector does one thing: protect the tire's internal structure and the wheels they're mounted on.
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