Ever looked closely at your tires, and wondered what all of the letters and numbers on them mean? All of that information is actually very important in maintaining your tires! Below is a breakdown of each number and letter combination, and what they mean.
- P Designation: Tires for Passenger vehicles, including cars, minivans, SUVs, and light trucks, will start with the letter P for “passenger”.
- Section width: The first set of three numbers is the width of the tire, measured in millimeters.
- Aspect ratio: The next number is the ratio of height to width. SUVs and trucks come standard with tires that have a higher profile that are usually expressed with a 65 or higher aspect ratio number, while cars have an aspect ratio number of 55.
- R designation: There is a letter (or multiple letters) indicating the construction of the tire. Depending on your tires, R represents Radial construction, D is for diagonal construction and B is for belted construction.
- Rim Height: The third number set is the rim height the tire is to be mounted on. The rim height is important because if you get this wrong, the tire won’t even fit on your wheels, let alone on your car.
- Load Index: The final number is the load index, which indicates the amount of weight the tire is made to carry. Lighter cars may have a lower number, while heavier cars or SUVs have a larger number. These numbers range from 70 for about 700 pounds per tire to 110 for 2,300 pounds per tire.
- Speed Rating: The final letter that comes just after the three tire size numbers corresponds to the speed the tire is rated for – the later in the alphabet, the higher the speed. W and Y designations are designed for exotic cars, while S and T, although rated at a maximum speed just over 110 miles per hour, are designed for vans and family cars.
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