What Do Tire Numbers Mean?

close up of tire tread

If you have taken a look at your tires, you may have noticed a combination of numbers and letters on the sidewall of the tire. We hope you haven’t had to stare at a tire while you’re parked on the side of the road, and instead were checking your tire pressure or washing your rims. Whatever has you staring at your tire wall, you’re probably wondering what those tire numbers mean. They’re not nonsense — they detail an incredible amount of information about your tires.

Tire Number Meaning

A tire’s code is made up of a series of letters and numbers that indicate size, load index, speed rating, and type of tire your vehicle needs for maximum performance. Below, we have provided a sample tire code to explain how to find the perfect tires for your vehicle.

Example: P215/65R15 95H

  • P: The “P” stands for “P-Metric tire,” which indicates that it is a tire created for passenger vehicles. If your tires have “LT” on the sidewall, it indicates “light truck” This lets you know that the tire is intended for light-weight pickup trucks. You may also see that the tire has no letter at all before listing the code. If this is the case, it is a European style tire, or Euro-Metric tire. These tires will have different load capacities.
  • 215: Next in the code is the“215” number. This number represents the tire width in millimeters from sidewall to sidewall. 
  • 65: Following the forward slash is the number “65. This is the aspect ratio code. What is the aspect ratio? It indicates the height of the tire’s cross-section to its width. When you look at the example above, this tire has an aspect ratio where its height is equal to 65% of the tire’s width. As the aspect ratio increases, so does the size of the sidewalls.
  • R: The “R” indicates the tire’s construction. In this case, it is a radial tire. 
  • 15:“15” shows the wheel size from one end to the other. In the example, the tire is for a 15-inch wheel. 
  • 95H:95H” indicates the load index and speed rating for the tire. For this example, the load index of 95 shows how much weight the tire can support when it’s properly inflated. For a passenger vehicle, that number can range from 75-105. The speed rating is indicated by the letter “H” in the example. This means how fast the tire can safely go based on its load capacity. This rating ranges from A-Z. A rating of “H” means that the tire can handle speeds up to 130 mph. 

Checking Tire Pressure 

If you want to prolong the life of your tires on the roads of Savannah and Jacksonville, making sure they are properly inflated is a must. This is actually quite a simple task, most new vehicles have a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). When your tires are not inflated to the correct level, the TPMS feature sends you an alert. 

Greenway Nissan of Brunswick: Your Tire Care Experts

Now that you know a little more about the tire number meaning, you may have other questions about tire care and maintenance. The experts at Greenway Nissan of Brunswick would be more than happy to assist you. Contact us today, or set up an appointment with one of our highly-skilled technicians.

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