A rim protector is not a necessary feature of a tyre, but it can be very useful. Car wheels, especially in city traffic, are exposed to cracks and abrasions. High curbs, ramps and small objects pose a constant threat on a daily basis. The rim protector prevents wheels from getting damaged on the road.
Why don’t all tyres have rim protectors?
The rim protector is not necessary to maintain the good condition of our wheels. It is usually used in low-profile tyres, i.e. in the models with a relatively small height of the sidewall compared to its width. These tyres are the most vulnerable to mechanical damage. In practice, this means that this type of protection is frequently used in models with a profile below 55.
High-profile tyres do not require the rim protector, as their rubber at the widest point extends beyond the contour of the rim, creating a natural shield protecting it against any damage. A higher tyre profile also increases driving comfort by reducing tyre noise and giving better performance on uneven surfaces.
Why do drivers still choose low-profile models then?
More and more drivers decide to sacrifice driving comfort for better performance. Tyres with the profile lower than 55 offer attractive appearance, superior grip on dry roads and a more reliable response.
Their extra rigidity makes them better suited for more dynamic driving styles, but at the same time they are more vulnerable to road bumps and mechanical damage. That’s why most of them have additional protection in the form of a rim protector.
Some models of car tyres are available both with and without rim protectors. This is a result of agreements between car manufacturers and tyre producers. If an automotive company orders a product for its model, it may require it without rim protector (tyres without rim protector facilitate mounting wheel caps).
How to check if my tire has a rim protector?
You can easily tell if a tyre comes or doesn’t come with a rim protector. Rim protection is nothing else but an additional layer of reinforced rubber, located in the contact area of the tyre and the wheel. Its structure is distinguishable from the rest of the tyre so you will definitely see it.
Rim protection is not installed on all tyres. From the same manufacturer you can find different versions of the same model.
Tyres with rim protection are usually 10-15 % more expensive than regular models.
Does the rim protector protect the wheel or tyre?
There is no difference between a wheel rim protector and tyre rim protector. The rim protector is an element located only on tyres. An additional rubber layer is positioned on the foot of the tyre, i.e. in the place of contact with wheel elements.
It protects both the wheel (against damage that may cause corrosion and problems in balancing the wheels) and the tyre (against bulges and cracks caused by excessive forces between the rim and the tyre on uneven roads).
A damaged rim protector (or no protector at all) may cause many serious problems. A damaged wheel structure will corrode and corrosion eventually spreads to the surrounding metal parts. The rim protector helps to protect the wheel against abrasion and surface damage.
Watch an expert video to see how manufacturers protect their products against such damage.
What is the best use of tyres with a rim protector?
Tyres with rim protection are perfect for everyday urban driving. They help to avoid damage and scratches when parking or overcoming high curbs. They would help you enjoy the benefits of low-profile tyres without worrying about damages.
Products with a profile lower than 55 have an attractive look and reliable performance when driving more dynamically on dry roads.
However, the rim protector is installed not only in low-profile models. It is also available for off-road tyres, even with a profile of 70. Rim protectors help to minimise the damage caused by bumps and other off-road obstacles.
Tyres with one or more raised ribs at the maximum cross-section width are often used for vans and trailers. An additional material layer at the widest part of the tyre protects it against any damage to the sidewall and increases the amount of rubber that must be worn-out before repeatedly hitting a curb will result in cutting the tyre or exposing its inner cords.
Where can you find FR marking?
FR marking, despite direct associations with France, does not indicate a French product. This symbol has a German origin (Felgen Ripen) which may be translated as “the wheel rim.” Most manufacturers use their own symbols for additional protection used in their tyres.
The following table lists the most popular markings of rim protector:
Bridgestone and Michelin do not use supplementary indications.