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the code

Understand the Tire Code

The tire code, also known as the tire size designation, is a series of letters and numbers that provide information about a tire’s specifications. It is usually found on the sidewall of the tire. Let’s break down a typical tire code:

  1. Tire Type and Width:
    • The first letter indicates the tire type. Common types include “P” for passenger tires, “LT” for light truck tires, and “T” for temporary spare tires.
    • The three-digit number following the letter represents the tire width in millimeters. It measures the distance from one sidewall to the other.
  2. Aspect Ratio:
    • The two-digit number after the slash (/) is the aspect ratio. It represents the ratio of the tire’s sidewall height to its width. For example, an aspect ratio of 60 means the sidewall height is 60% of the tire’s width.
  3. Construction Type:
    • The letter following the aspect ratio indicates the tire construction. “R” stands for radial construction, which is the most common type.
  4. Wheel Diameter:
    • The two-digit number after the construction type represents the diameter of the wheel (rim) in inches.
  5. Load Index:
    • This is a two or three-digit number that indicates the maximum load-carrying capacity of the tire when properly inflated.
  6. Speed Rating:
    • The final letter in the code is the speed rating, which indicates the maximum speed the tire can sustain under its recommended load capacity. Common speed ratings include “H” for up to 130 mph and “V” for up to 149 mph.

Here’s an example to illustrate a tire code: P215/60R16 95H

  • P: Passenger tire
  • 215: Tire width is 215 millimeters
  • 60: Aspect ratio is 60%
  • R: Radial construction
  • 16: Wheel diameter is 16 inches
  • 95: Load index of 95 (load capacity)
  • H: Speed rating of H (up to 130 mph)

Understanding the tire code is essential when selecting replacement tires to ensure compatibility with your vehicle and proper performance. Always refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual or consult with a tire professional for the correct tire specifications for your specific vehicle.


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