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How to read your tires codes

When shopping for tires, knowing how to read your tire’s sidewall can be very helpful. This article will explain the numbers & letters on your tires to make shopping for tires simple.

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When shopping for tires, knowing how to read your tire’s sidewall can be very helpful. The letters and numbers give you information about your tire size, speed rating, load index, and operation purpose.

When the letters and numbers are broken down and explained, its actually quite simple to understand them. Let’s go over a popular passenger tire size together:

Lets break a popular passenger tire size down: P215/60R16 94V

The “P” stands for passenger.

Other letters you might see are:

LT: Light Truck

ST: Special Trailer

T: Temporary (spare tire)

NO letter at the beginning of the size description indicates that the tire is Euro-Metric. The biggest difference in a Euro-Metric tire is the difference in load carrying capacities.

“215” represents the width of the tire from sidewall to sidewall.  The larger the number, the wider the tire.

“60” is the aspect ratio. This is the official sidewall height shown as a percentage of section width.

“R” is the radial construction. This is the industry standard for passenger car and truck tires.

“16” means this tire is designed to fit on a rim with a 16 inch diameter.

This number is important if you plan on upgrading your wheel size. If your wheel diameter changes, you’ll have to purchase a new set of tires that match the new diameter.

“94” is the tire's load index. It is a measurement of how much weight each tire can support. “94” indicates a maximum weight of 1,477 pounds per tire. Be sure you multiply your load carrying capacity by 4 to get the total capacity for a complete set of tires.

This number can vary but each number can be found on the Load Carrying Capacity Per Tire Chart below:

“V” measures the speed rating. “V” signifies that this tire can safely drive up to 149 mph for an extended amount of time.

The table below shows what each speed-rating letter represents:

Once the letters and numbers are explained, it’s pretty simple to understand, right? You can also use our helpful Tire Search tool to find, compare, and purchase tires.

Feel free to call one of our friendly, helpful technicians if you need any guidance or have any questions. We’re happy to help!

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