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How to read a tire ? Everything you need to know

How do you read a tire? It is very likely that while performing a routine inspection of your tires, you have noticed that on the sidewalls is engraved an inscription composed of symbols, numbers and letters.

Because of its location and the low contrast it creates with the rest of the tire, you may not have paid enough attention or tried to find out what it means. However, not knowing the tire symbols meaning can have consequences that can ultimately put you, pedestrians and other drivers at risk.

Whether you are an inexperienced driver, about to make a tire change or just for personal knowledge, Liqui Pneus would like to present this informative guide on how to read a tire.

Remember that failure to maintain your tires may result in a fine and in more serious cases even a penalty.

If you are interested in preventing any incident and know all the information about it, stay with us and continue reading this article.

What do the numbers on a tire mean? Where to start ?

The layout of the letters and numbers found on the sidewalls of the tires may seem overwhelming to you. However, after a brief review, you will be able to identify each of their meanings and functions. Let’s get started!

How to find the tire size?

How to read a tire? The first inscriptions we find on the sidewalls correspond to the tire brand and model, which we can identify as a simple generality.

However, it is when we look at the first string of numbers and letters that we may experience some problems in identifying their meaning. So, how to interpret the dimensions of a tire?

For this purpose, there is usually atire size chartby brand, although the measurements are fairly standard. This mark and the one that follows represent the ratio between the width and the height of the tire and are expressed as a percentage. Finally, the third value corresponds to the outside diameter of the tire and is expressed in inches.

Added to this is a letter referring to the type of construction, which is usually radial (R) or diagonal (D).

How to read the load and speed index of a tyre?

Just as it is important to have an explanation of tire size , it is necessary to know how to interpret other values. The next thing we will identify on the tire sidewalls are those that correspond to the load and speed ratings .

The load index is located immediately after the dimensions, and indicates the maximum weight that the tires can support.

On the other hand, the speed index of the tire is located after the load index. This measurement is expressed by a letter, the explanation of which (and which corresponds to the most common speed indices) is given in the following table:

I 120 km/h
M 130 km/h
NOT 140 km/h
Q 160 km/h
R 170 km/h
S 180 km/h
T 190 km/h
U 200 km/h
H 210 km/h
V 240 km/h
V+ 240+ km/h
W 270 km/h
Y 300 km/h

Meaning of the tire code

For practical examples, on a regular tire, the information above would look like this:

205/55 R16 91V

Or :

205: Corresponds to the width of the tire in mm.
55: Represents the ratio between height and width. In this case, it is 55%
A: Indicates the construction type of the tire. In this example, radial.
16: Expresses the outer diameter in inches.
91: Represents the load index.
● V: Expresses the speed index.

How to read a tire ? Other things to consider

Although the above information is considered by many to be the fundamental reading for a tire , there are a number of other pieces of information that we cannot ignore. It is :

DOT: This inscription is essential for the tire, which we can interpret as a safety mechanism, guaranteeing compliance with the stipulated standards.
In addition, next to this inscription we find an alphanumeric digit , which contains its identification number, the place and date of production of the tire, the dimension code and other symbols that are also of interest.

Tubuless: Simply put, this is a tire that does not have a tube and has a sidewall representation of TL.

Tubetype: Contrary to the above, tubetype tires do use an inner tube . Its representation is TT and it is mainly used on agricultural machinery or 4×4 vehicles.

XL: What is XL on a tire? This acronym stands for Extra Load, which implies that it has the ability to increase tire pressure and therefore load capacity.

Date of manufacture: Finally, in this section, we must emphasize the importance of the date of manufacture. This data is presented in a series of four digits which allude to the week and the year of production .
For example, for the number 1522, this would represent that this tire was manufactured in the fifteenth week of the year 2022.

How to read a tire ? Winter symbols

One thing that should not be overlooked are winter symbols. Remember that in Quebec, changing tires for the winter is part of the city’s regulations and that, therefore, we must pay particular attention to comply with them.

To identify these values on the sidewalls of our tires, we must identify two particular symbols.

3PMSF: It stands for Tree Peak Mountain Snowflake and is used to indicate tires that are optimal and functional even in adverse weather conditions.
M + S: Its meaning is Mud and Snow, thus establishing that such a tire can be used in winter conditions.
Suggested reading: Why choose the purchase of studded tires in winter in Quebec?

Why is it important to read a tire?

Learning to read tires will give you universal knowledge that will serve you well throughout your life. Remember that in addition to avoiding mishaps on the road by ignoring the physical condition of your tires, you will know which tire to buy when the time comes to make a change.

And do you know who are the best in this field? Of course, at Liqui Tires!

We have the best tire brands for all seasons of the year. In addition, for specialist advice, contact us via our contact methods:

Telephone: 450-256-1685

Or visit us here . It would be our pleasure to help you !