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 is there to minimise the damage of the wheel.

Why all tyres don’t have rim protectors

The rim protector is not necessary to maintain the good condition of the wheels. Usually it is used in low-profile models, i.e. tyres whose sidewalls are shallower than normal. These models are the most vulnerable to mechanical damage. In practice, this means that rim 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.

Why you may want to choose low-profile tyres

More and more drivers decide to compromise on 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.

Find out more about low-profile tyres in the video.

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, they may specify if a rim protector is required (it’s easier to mount wheel caps on tyres without a rim protector).

How to check whether my tyre 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.

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?  

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).

Abrasion is the most common type of wheel damage.

Abrasion is the most common type of wheel damage.

A damaged rim protector or the lack of rim protector 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 driving in the city. 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 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. There’s more material at the widest part of the tyre, which protects it against any damage to the sidewall. It also increases the amount of rubber that must be worn out before the tyre gets cut or its inner cords get exposed (e.g. after repeatedly hitting a curb).

Where you can find FR marking

FR marking, despite direct associations with France, does not indicate a French product. This symbol is of German origin (Felgen Ripen) and may be translated 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:  

RFPRim Fringe ProtectorGoodyear
FPFringe Protector Goodyear
MFSMaximum Flange ShieldDunlop
FRFelgen Ripen (Rim protection ring)Continental
CordCord (on tyre sidewall)Pirelli - currently not used

 Bridgestone and Michelin do not use supplementary indications.