Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Chris asks: Just a follow up to my suggestion of an article about the lower profile tire problem i mentioned a few days ago. My mom came up for mothers day yesterday. She’s 82. She said, I’m getting rid of the Mercedes. Why mom? I’m tired of all the flats. hahahaa….. she bought a GLK a couple years ago and I went to look at it, and it had the same tire size as my wife’s E350. Go figure. She lives in the suburbs of Philly.
My reply: For readers who missed the first part of this, Chris was asking about low profile (short sidewall) tires and their greater vulnerability to blowouts/damage of the sidewall. He asked why these types of tires are being fitted to cars that aren’t high-performance cars (which benefit from the sharper steering feel/lesser flex of short sidewall tires).
The main reason is styling. People seem to like the look – and so the OEMs (that’s industry jargon for the car companies) put them on their cars. This includes even family-type cars and SUVs.
I agree it makes not much if any sense.
Unfortunately, it’s often hard to change the factory short sidewall tires to a tire with a taller sidewall because of the diameter of the wheels. Installing a tire with a taller sidewall would effectively increase the overall diameter and possibly cause interference and other problems. So, to get the taller sidewall tires, you’ll probably need to go with a smaller diameter wheel.
The good news – sort of – is that in many cases there is a factory option; a smaller diameter wheel/taller tire combo that was offered from the factory and so which should be a direct, bolt-in swap.
It will not be a cheap swap, though.
I personally wish standard cars would go back to sane-sized wheel/tire combos.
. . .
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