The dimensions necessary to describe the tire fitment, found on the sidewall. In addition, you’ll find the recommended tire size, as well as the speed and load ratings for your vehicle on a placard in the doorjamb, the glove compartment, or on the fuel-filler door. To understand how size, works, consider the common: P235/70R16. In this example, P denotes passenger-car tire, even though the tire may be designed for a light truck (an LT, or light truck, prefix is for heavy-duty light-truck tires). The number 235 is the cross-section width in millimeters, while 70 is the ratio of sidewall height to cross-section width (70 percent). R means radial-ply construction and 16 is the wheel diameter, in inches.
Found on the tire sidewall, this letter denotes the maximum sustainable speed and is found directly after the load index. For S-speed-rated tires, it’s 112 mph; for T, 118 mph. Speed ratings for other tires include Q, 99 mph; H, 130 mph; V, 149 mph; and Z, 150 mph plus. While such speeds may seem wildly impractical, tires with higher speed ratings tend to provide better handling at legal speed limits. Choose tires that have a speed rating at least as high as the one specified on your vehicle’s placard.
Found on the tire sidewall, this number is based on the weight the tire can safely carry. You’ll find it after the tire size; the 94 load index for example correlates to 1477 pounds. Choose tires with a load index at least as high as the one that’s listed on your vehicle’s placard.
This is a tire’s maximum air pressure, given in pounds per square inch. But that doesn’t mean you should inflate your tires to that pressure, since automakers typically recommend an inflation pressure well below the tire’s maximum air pressure. Follow the advice on the vehicle’s placard, often located in the driver’s doorjamb, or owner’s manual.
Traction and temperature scores
These scores denote a tire’s wet-stopping ability and temperature resistance. For traction, AA is best, C is worst. For temperature resistance, scores range from A (best) to C.
A comparative government required grade that indicates how well a tire will wear as compared to a standard reference tire graded 100. In theory, a tire graded 500 should last five times as long as one graded 100. But the tire makers assign these wear ratings.
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