Auto Dismantler and Recycling

How to Read Tire Rating: A Guide for the Super Time Strapped

How to Read Tire Rating: A Guide for the Super Time Strapped

The info on your tires – a jumble of intimidating numbers and letters thrown together seemingly at random – can be critically important to your and your family’s safety. In this ultra-beginner’s guide to reading tire ratings, we will discuss and explain key elements that will help you research and figure out what you need (and don’t need) from your tires.

What’s the Tire Designed for?

The first thing you will see on the rating is a letter – P, LT, C, or T. These letters refer to various types of vehicles. P equals passenger car; LT equals light truck; C equals commercial vehicle; and T equals spare tire.

Width of the Tire

After that letter, you will see a three-digit number, which is a measure of your tire’s width in millimeters. After that, you will see a three-digit number that measures the height of the side wall in terms of the tire’s width.

The Nature of the Tire’s Construction

After these numbers, you’ll see another letter – almost always the letter R, but sometimes the letters D or B. This indicator tells you the nature of the tire’s construction. Since radial tires have been industry standard for two decades, you will most likely see R for radial. But you might also see bias-belted (B) or diagonal bias (D).

Tire Rim Number

The next number gives you a measurement of the tire’s rim size. Commonly, this number is between 13 and 16, but certain custom rings can be twice that size.

Load Rating

The load rating consists of a number and a letter. This is not found on all tires. This indicates how much weight the tire can bear before deforming or underperforming.

Speed Index

The next letter indicates what speed the tire can handle without compromising safety.

Conveniently enough, the speed ratings do not go alphabetical order. In other words, C-rated tires are not necessarily faster than A-rated tires. You can find charts online detailing the make and model of your tires for specific information about the speed index.

Other Information on Your Tires

You can also find tread wear, traction, and temperature ratings (also known as the Uniform Tire Quality Grading Standard), which will give you a general estimate of the tire’s capacities. Of course, these capacities depend on driving conditions, how you drive, weather conditions, and a host of other unpredictable factors.

Help Reading Your Tire Rating

Whether you need help choosing a new set of tires, or you are confused about how or whether to replace an old set, connect with the professionals at Rock & Roll Auto Recycling for efficient, comprehensive, and intelligent insights into your automotive repair needs.  Find more about our team at, or call us today at 888-550-9944.

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