How to Read Your Tire
Those markings on the side of your tire are easier to understand than you might think! We will teach you how to read your tires on this page. Understanding the different tire markings can help you communicate better with your technicians.
Example tire size: (looks like: P225/60R16 or LT245/75R16)
A ‘P’ indicator at the beginning of your tire size indicates that it is manufactured for a passenger car. Conversely, an ‘LT’ designation is used for tires manufactured to withstand heavier vehicles like light trucks and SUVs.
The first numbers after the ‘P’ or ‘LT’ refers to the ‘section width’. This is the measurement of the tire’s tread width, from sidewall-to-sidewall (measured in millimeters). A P225/60R16 tire is 225mm wide. An LT245/75R16 is 245mm wide.
The second set of numbers is called the ‘aspect ratio’. This refers to the sidewall height as a percentage of the tread width. For example, a P225/60R16 tire has sidewalls which measure (from rim to tread) at 60% of 225mm (135mm). An LT245/75R16 tire would have sidewalls that measure at 75% of 245mm (183.75mm).
The final numbers in the tire size refer to the wheel diameter, in inches. A P225/60R16 tire is only for a 16” rim, as is an LT245/75R16 tire.
Load and Speed Rating
Example load rating: (looks like: 105T or 98V)
The first number in the index is the load rating. The load rating represents the maximum weight that a tire can withstand (including the vehicle itself). For example, a 105T tire can carry up to 2039 lbs. per tire. A 98V tire can carry 1653 lbs. per tire.
The second number in the index is the speed rating. The speed rating of a tire designates the maximum speed that a properly inflated tire can withstand; each letter represents a certain speed. For example, a ‘T’ speed rating means a tire can withstand speeds up to 118 mph. A ‘V’ speed-rated tire can withstand up to 149 mph.
Although you shouldn’t ever be traveling at these speeds, a speed rating is really a rating on how the tire can perform and handle. For example, a ‘V’ rated tire handles better than a ‘T’ rated tire.
Maximum Inflation Pressure and Load
It’s time for a little myth busting – the max inflation pressure on the tire is NOT the appropriate tire pressure for your vehicle. In fact, the tire doesn’t know what kind of vehicle it’s on – so consult your door placard for proper tire inflation.
If you have any questions on how to read your tires, contact your local tire shop.