What Do Tire Numbers Mean?

Closeup of Tire Numbers with Wheel Rim
 

If you’ve ever looked at your vehicle’s tires closely in your Fort Wayne garage, you’ll see a series of letters and numbers printed on the sidewall. They tell service technicians various pieces of information about the tire to make sure it correlates with the manufacturer-recommended tire size and rating. Find out what tire numbers mean with our handy guide from Don Ayres Honda.

What Do Tire Numbers Mean? 

So what do the numbers on tires mean? The alpha-numeric code printed on the side of a tire indicates the size, type, and performance rating of the tire. The numbers follow a certain standard, letting manufacturers, dealers, service technicians, and auto service centers know they’re getting the right tire for the vehicle.

What Do the Tire Numbers Mean for You?

The series of letters and numbers indicate the type of vehicle, tire size, inner construction, load index, and speed rating to make sure your vehicle’s tires perform as they should. When decoding the tire number meaning, look at this example:

P215/65R18 95H

It may look like a secret code to unlock the underwater kingdom of Atlantis. But this code represents pieces of information to correctly identify the type of tire it is.

“P”

The “P” stands for “P-Metric tire,” indicating it’s for passenger vehicles. If your tires say “LT,” this stands for “light truck,” and the tire is intended for lightweight pickup trucks. If the tire does not have a letter preceding the code, it is a European-style tire.

“215”

In our example, the “215” portion of the code stands for tire width in millimeters from sidewall to sidewall. The width in this case is 215 millimeters, or 21.5 centimeters, which is about 8.5 inches, or the width of a standard sheet of paper.

“65”

After the forward slash is “65.” This number is the tire’s aspect ratio. A tire’s aspect ratio is the height of the tire’s cross-section compared to its width. In our hypothetical example, the aspect ratio shows the height is equal to 65% of the tire’s width. The bigger the aspect ratio, the bigger the sidewalls will be and the skinnier the tires will be.

“R”

The “R” indicates the tire’s construction, with “R” representing a radial. All tires have steel belts on the inside of them to give the rubber its structure. A radial pattern simply indicates how the steel belts are laid out inside the rubber.

“18”

The number “18” shows us the wheel size as a diameter from one end to the other making a straight line through the center. This code tells us that this tire is meant for an 18-inch wheel, which is typically for an SUV or a larger car.

“95H”

At the end of the code you’ll see “95H,” which is the load index and speed rating for the tire. The load index, or 95, tells you how much weight the tire can support when properly inflated. Load indices can range from 75 to 105 for passenger vehicles. 

The letter “H” in the tire code represents the speed rating. The speed rating is how fast the tire can safely go based on its load capacity. Speed ratings are shown in letters A through Z. An H speed rating is good for up to 130 mph (please don’t drive 130 mph on Indianapolis highways.

How to Check Tire Pressure

You’ll need to check the tire pressure every so often to make sure they work properly for every Wabash drive. This process is easy. If your Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) lights up on your dashboard, it usually means your tires under-inflated. Take your vehicle to a gas station to top off the air in the tires, or we’ll do it for you when you come in for a service visit at Don Ayres Honda. 

Tire Service & New Tires in Fort Wayne

Do you need new tires for your vehicle? Contact us, call 260-205-8885, or schedule a service appointment with our team near Warsaw. We’re happy to help in any way we can!

 

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