Published on March 4, 2014
How to Read Tire Codes and Understand What They Mean
Example P245/65/16 102T You will find a series of codes that is engraved into each side wall of every tire, that represents useful information to the consumer regarding that specific tire, such as brand of the tire, whether it is a tubeless or a tube type, tire grade, speed rating, maximum load and maximum inflation. lets review what each series of codes stand for, whether it is a passenger tire, light duty, SUV tire, or a trailer tire.
The first letter we see is a "P" this means that this specific tire is manufactured for a passenger car as opposed for a tire that is made for a truck or other vehicles. The P-metric is the US version of a metric tiresizing system. "LT" designates the tire is a light duty truck or SUV tire also we have an "ST", which is specifically manufactured for trailers and large payloads
"245" Section Width: This is the measurement of the width of the tire measured in millimeters from sidewall to sidewall. This all depends on the width of the rim the tire will be mounted to, larger on a wider rim and smaller on a narrow rim. This calculation is measured with the tire fitted to the tire tires manufacturers recommended rim width.
"65" Aspect Ratio: The ratio of height to width, in this case the tire's height is 65 percent of it's width.
"R"Construction: This provides you with information on how the piles are constructed in the tire carcass or you may also found these other letters in place of the "R".
"B" in place of the "R" Means that this tire is a belt bias type of construction.
"D" In place of the "R" Means that this bios diagonal bias construction.
The majority of the modern cars and SUV's use radial tires.
"16" Rim Diameter: This is the diameter of your Steel or Aluminum Rim, that the tire will be mounted on.
"102" Load Index: This tire has an industry-standard maximum of 1,874 pounds. Different numbers will correspond to different loads. The maximum load is shown in lbs (pounds) and in kg (kilograms), and maximum pressure in PSI (pounds per square inch) or in kPa (kilopascals).
"T" Speed rating: This tire has an industry-standard maximum service speed of 118 mph or 188 KLM. Tires that use an older European system carry the speed rating in the size description:
205/60/R16 92 H, again different letters would indicate different speed ratings for that specific tire
Here are some of the most conman speed ratings, you will encounter when your buying a set of tires.
Rating Max Speed Q 99 mph or 158 klm, S 112 mph or 179 klm, T 118 mph or 189 klm, U 124 mph or 198 klm, H 130 mph or 208 klm, V 149 mph or 238 klm, W 168 mph or 269 klm, Y 186 mph or 298 klm, Z Above 149 mph or 238 klm
Speed Rating Chart
One other piece of information a consumer should also check out is the date that the tire was manufactured, you will also find this information on the side wall of your tire. Misconception of tires is not how much tread is left; but when it was produced will determine how much life the tire will have.
This is the end result when the tire is old and the compounds in the tire have dried up. View the picture of a three month old tire that a consumer purchased. Thinking and investing in a current year tire, what you would expect, not at a 2 year old tire.
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