Tyres with a rim protector. Are they worth buying?

  • Author: OPONEO.CO.UK

A rim protector is not a necessary feature of a tyre, but sometimes 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. The rim protector protects wheels against damage resulting from daily use. 
 

Why don’t tyres with rim protectors dominated the market?

The rim protector is not necessary to maintain the good condition of our wheels. Usually it is used in low-profile models, i.e., in those 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. 

A protective rim occurs most often on low profile tyres.
A protective rim occurs most often on low profile tyres.  

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 and protecting it against damage. A higher tyre profile also increases driving comfort by reducing noise and giving better performance on uneven surfaces.

 With so many tangible benefits, why drivers choose low-profile models?

More and more drivers decide to sacrifice driving comfort for better performance. Tyres with the profile lower than 55 have attractive appearance, superior grip on dry roads and a more reliable response. Their extra rigidity makes them better suited for dynamic driving, but at the same time they are more vulnerable to road bumps and mechanical damage. Therefore, most of them have additional protection in the form of a rim protector.

Check whether low-profile tyres are worth your attention: 

 

 

You may find some tyre models available both with and without rim protector. 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 are facilitate mounting wheel caps).

How to check whether my tire has a rim protector?  

The rim protector is easy to recognize. It is an additional layer of reinforced rubber, located in the contact area of the tyre and wheel. Its structure is distinguishable from the rest of the tyre, so it is difficult to overlook it. 

A rim protector is an additional, reinforced rubber layer installed in the tyre bead.

A rim protector is an additional, reinforced rubber layer installed in the tyre bead.


Worth remembering!

Rim protector protection is not installed on all tyres. Different versions of the same model from one manufacturer are also available.

Tyres with rim protection are usually 10-15 % more expensive than regular models.  

 

Does the rim protector protect the wheel or tyre?  

Many drivers wonder what is the difference between a wheel rim protector and tyre rim protector. The answer is surprisingly simple: there is no difference.

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).

Abrasion is the most common type of wheel damage.

Abrasion is the most common type of wheel damage.


A damaged rim protector or the absence of this may result in major problems. A damaged wheel structure will corrode and corrosion eventually spreads to the surrounding metal parts. The rim protector protects the wheel against abrasion and surface damage. 

 

Watch video and see how manufacturers protect their products against such damage:

 

 

What is the best use of tyres with a rim protector? 

Tyres with a rim protector 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 tires, without worrying about damages. Products with a profile below 55 have an attractive look and reliable performance during dynamic driving 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. Protectors help to protect the rim against damage caused by bumps and other off-road obstacles.

Tyres with a rim protector protect tyre against damage

Tyres with a rim protector protect tyre against damage


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.

FR marking - where to find it? 

FR marking, despite direct associations with France, does not indicate a French product. This symbol has German origin (Felgen Ripen) which may be translated just as the wheel rim. Most manufacturers use their own symbols for additional protection used in their tyres.

MFS is used on Dunlop tyres to indicate a rim protector.

MFS is used on Dunlop tyres to indicate a rim protector. 


The following table lists the most popular markings of rim protector: 

 

SYMBOL: ABBREVIATION MEANING: USED IN TYRES:
RFP Rim Fringe Protector Goodyear
FP Fringe Protector  Goodyear
MFS Maximum Flange Shield Dunlop
FR Felgen Ripen (Rim protection ring) Continental
Cord Cord (on tyre sidewall) Pirelli - currently not used

 Bridgestone and Michelin do not use supplementary indications.

 

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