As one checks out the tires on your ride you will notice that there is a surprising amount on information there. Perhaps not a novel or latest tell-all, but very informative. A little knowledge may keep you informed of the tire’s specs and what you’re buying. Both domestic and foreign tire imports need to comply with the basic standards of tire labeling. Just like the grocery store, labels can reveal some interesting information, and like food, labeling is a requirement for the tire to be sold in the US.
Uniform Tire Quality Grade
The standard is the Uniform Tire Quality Grade or the UTQG. So, what is the translations of the data? Somewhere there is a numeric code that reports compliance with tread wear specifications. Unlike your cholesterol, big numbers are good. The higher the number the longer the tire will last and resist tread wear. A tread wear of ‘200’ will last twice as long as a ‘100’.
Tire Traction Rating Code
Next comes traction. The traction rating is alpha or letter code, AA is the best. Traction codes are “AA, A, B and C.” Another alpha code is coded temperature rating and an ‘A’ like your grades in school are the best. These are as follows: “A-over 115mph, B-100-115 mph and C- 85 to 100mph. The temperature rating indicates the high-speed performance rating of continuous highway travel without catastrophic failure. Needless say in our southwestern environment the ‘A’ rating is highly recommended and desirable. It is understood that these ratings come from the manufacturer who has conducted in house testing, not from an independent lab or agency. The USQG may have some relevancy in purchasing a tires, but the nuances of the data are difficult to grasp by the average buyer.
Tire Inflation Pressure Chart
Other information is the tire inflation pressure. This in PSI or pounds per square inch or for those who are orientated to metric, the pressure is kilopascals or kPa. Tire inflation is the maximum and is the maximum for cold inflation. The door sticker will list recommended pressure for that specific vehicle.
Tire Size By Vehicle
Then there is the tire size. P215/65R15 95H for example. The alpha-numeric size is in large and bold, usually white lettering. The first character is a ‘P’ meaning a P-metric tire for passenger car usage made in the US. No prefix letter indicates a Euro metric and the P-Metric and Euro-Metric tires may have different load capacities ‘LT’ as prefix or suffix indicates a light truck tire. The first numbers ‘215’ is the width of the tire in millimeters. For reference about 203mm equals 8 inches and 250mm is about 10 inches. The 65 is the aspect ratio. This is the height of the tires cross-section to its width. This means the tire is height is 65% of the width. The ‘R’ is the tire construction and in this case indicates a radial. The ‘15’ is the wheel or rim diameter and in this case it represents a 15 inch diameter wheel.
Tire Speed Rating
Speed rating rate tires from Q-99mph to Y above 186mph. The load index runs from ‘89’ at 1279 lbs. to ‘120’ at 3086 lbs. This is the maximum weight that the tire can support. Remember most passenger and light trucks have a weight bias towards the front as these tires must support the engine and in front-wheel driven vehicles they support not only the engine but the differential and transmission.
How to Read Tire Letters
It there are the letters ‘DOT’ this indicates that the tire conforms to the Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards in the US. The ‘TIN’ is the tire identification number and is a alpha-numeric that identifies the factory location, and the week and year of manufacture. For further reference 33 x 12.5 R15 is 33 inches in diameter, 12.5 inches wide and will fit a 15-inch diameter wheel. This is usually used on off road vehicles.
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Tires and brakes are the two most important consumables on the car. Consumables because they wear and need replacement as some point. Nonstop Towing can assist you in the event of a flat tire, blowout or other roadside emergency. Drive safe and contact us for all your towing and roadside needs!