In your driveway
At a local tire shop
Delivery only, you handle install
We’ve Got You Covered!
10% off any set of 4 wheels!
Save 10% on a set of 4 rims with coupon code WHEELS10. Get FREE delivery, too.Shop now
Understand the key differences for an informed decision this Spring!Check it out
Check out our most popular truck tire: The Nitto Ridge Grappler!Shop now
The forecast calls for colder weather, with slick and icy streets. Are you ready?Shop now for best selection
A tire's contact patch is the area of the tire that comes in contact with the ground, much like a footprint. Believe it or not, most tires have a fairly small contact patch -- a little larger than the size of your hand. As a result, not much of the tire's surface area is touching the ground, so the amount that does touch the ground must handle a great deal of weight and force.
The contact patch will vary in shape and size depending on the geometry of the tire, and this affects various performance characteristics of the tire. Tires with a higher profile or aspect ratio (that is, the height of the sidewall is fairly large compared to the width of the tire), tend to have a long and narrow contact patch. Typically, these would be tires made for passenger cars and light trucks. The longer, narrower contact patch gives these tires a smooth ride and allows them to handle in a predictable manner. They may also have especially good traction in snowy conditions.
Conversely, most high-performance and ultra-high performance tires have a lower profile (lower aspect ratio). As a result, the contact patch is generally shorter and wider, which gives them strong cornering stability and traction. This allows high-performance and ultra-high performance vehicles to have very responsive handling, especially on dry roads.
Shop for High Performance Tires
Shop for Ultra High Performance Tires
Shop for Tires
Tell us what you drive and we?ll show you all the best options.
Sign up and be the first to hear about promotions and more.
• Privacy notice • CCPA Privacy Notice for California consumers
Personal data request • Do not sell my personal information
By continuing to use our site, you consent to the placement of cookies on your browser. Learn more×