What Do Tire Numbers Mean?

looking at tire

If you’re shopping for a new set of tires in and want to ensure that you get the right ones for your car, truck, or SUV, it’s important to take note of the combination of numbers and letters on the tire sidewall. What do tire numbers mean? They indicate the size and type of tire your vehicle needs, as well as its specific performance purpose. Learn more about tire number meaning in this guide from the experts at the Sam Leman Automotive Group service centers.

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Deciphering What Tire Numbers Mean

The tire code is a series of letters and numbers that specify the size, load index, speed rating, and type of tire your vehicle requires. While this string of letters and numbers may look confusing at first glance, each section of code represents a piece of information to correctly identify what kind of tire it is. The example below will help you understand tire number meaning.

P215/65R15 95H

  • The “P” stands for “P-Metric tire,” meaning that it is used for passenger vehicles. A tire code that starts with “LT” means it’s for a light truck. If the tire does not have a letter preceding the code, it is a European style tire or Euro-Metric tire, which have different load capacities.
  • Following the “P” is the number “215”, which represents the tire width in millimeters from sidewall to sidewall. In this example, the width of the tire is 215 millimeters.
  • After the forward slash comes the aspect ratio code, indicated in the example by “65.” A tire’s aspect ratio is the height of the tire’s cross-section to its width. This tire has an aspect ratio where its height is equal to 65% of the tire’s width. The larger the aspect ratio, the bigger the sidewalls will be.
  • The “R” indicates the tire’s construction, with “R” meaning that it is a radial tire.
  • “15” is the wheel size from one end to the other in inches or centimeters. This lets you know what wheel size this particular tire will fit. The example code tells us that this tire is meant for a 15-inch wheel.
  • At the end of the code is “95H,” which is the load index and speed rating for the tire. The load index shows how much weight the tire can support when it’s properly inflated. Typically the load index for passenger vehicles will be between 75 to 105. “H” represents the speed rating, which is how fast the tire can safely go based on its load capacity. This rating is ranked from A-Z. In our example, a tire with an “H” rating can reach a maximum speed of 130 mph.

Get Professional Tire Service Today with Sam Leman Automotive Group!

If you need a new set of tires installed or are due for your next tire rotation or wheel alignment, you can rely on the experts in the Sam Leman Automotive Group service centers. We can handle all of your car maintenance and tire care service, as well as offer advice and information on how long you can drive on a spare tire and what the TPMS light on your dashboard means. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

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