DECODING TIRE SIZES

 

 

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BUYING NEW TIRES: WHAT DO ALL THOSE LETTERS AND NUMBERS MEAN ON YOUR TIRE

If you’re like most folks when it comes to tires, the way you know what tires you need to purchase is by looking at and reading the label on your existing vehicle tires. After you compare the prices of compatible tires in your budget, you make a choice of what ones you want to purchase.

You might second guess yourself: “Are these the right tires for me?” When it comes to reading your tire label, you might be wondering what it all means and if, in your purchase, if you’re getting the right tire. You could actually be dismissing several tire options…without ever releasing it!

What you’ll generally see on a tire label is this: P185/60R 13 82H. Believe it or not, that little sentence holds a vast amount of information. Of course, if you have no idea what it means, it’s not going to do you a lick of good.  Thus, it’s time you learned what the sentence on your tire means before you go to the tire store.

What Does The Sentence Mean

1 – On the tire label, the first thing you see is a P, which stands for the type of vehicle you have. P means passenger, T is for temporary/spare time and LT means light truck.
2 – The numbers “185” means the tire width in millimeters; narrow tires will have lower numbers.
3 – The numbers that come right after the slash designates what the aspect ratio is of the tire. This translates to the section height to the section width in percentages. Essentially, the height of the tire is 60 percent of the tire’s width. Performance tires will have lower numbers.
4 – The type of the tire is signified by the next letter. R, for instance, means radial. Right after the R is the 13, which means the diameter of the rim wheel in inches.
5 – The 82 signifies the tire load index. The Maximum Load-Carrying Capacity chart, the four tires can handle a vehicle that weighs 4,188 pounds.
6 – The last letter means how fast the tire can travel under the best driving conditions.  Speed ratings are listed as:

S – Up to 112 miles per hour
H – Up to 130 miles per hour
V – Up to 150 miles per hour
Z – More than 150 miles per hour

Keep in mind that tires will become extremely hot at very high speeds, causing the tread to tear away from the belts. Speed ratings will inform you of how fast you can go…safely!

When you’re choosing tires for your vehicle, it’s important to look at the qualities of it that can affect the performance of your vehicle. You also need to be considered with the tire’s durability. Be sure to ask questions of the dealer if you’re not sure of a term he/she uses.

Remember, it’s your money and you want the best and safest possible tire on your vehicle for the money you pay. For the most part, tire sizes and speed ratings are similar on vehicles. However, if you’re unsure about anything, refer back to your owner’s manual.

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