So, what exactly are the numbers on tyres, also known as tyre markings? The writing or markings on the rubber of your tyre is there for two main reasons:
To convey important information such as the size and specifications of the tyre
To prove that the tyre has passed necessary safety standards.
This information is presented as tyre signs and symbols – which can be confusing if you don’t know what you’re looking for! Take a look at this helpful introduction to tyre markings and learn what your tyre is telling you.
This string of numbers (in the image 255/55 R16) indicates the size of the tyre. This is important as you will need to ensure that any tyres you fit to your vehicle are the correct size as specified in your vehicle handbook. These tyre numbers mean:
This indicates the width of the tyre in millimetres from sidewall to sidewall.
These digits express the height of the tyre sidewall expressed as a percentage of the tyre width. In this example, the tyre height is 55% of its width.
The letter ‘R’ indicates that the tyre is of radial construction, as most tyres manufactured today are. Other types of construction include ‘B’ (bias belt) and ‘D’ (diagonal).
This figure signifies the size of the wheel rim in inches that the tyre is intended to be fitted to.
The load index is a numerical code, in the image represented by 105, and this refers to the maximum load that a tyre can carry. The load index is directly related to a weight in kilograms as displayed by the table below. In this example, the load index of the tyre is 105 so the maximum load it can carry is 925kg.
|Load Index||Kilograms||Load Index||Kilograms||Load Index||Kilograms|
This number gives you an indication of the maximum load your tyres can handle. This is especially important to know if you are loading your car with heavier items. You can find the tyre labelling on the sidewall of your tyre. Look for a two-to-three-digit number which indicates the tyre load capacity.
The speed rating is displayed by a letter, in the example ‘V’, and this indicates the maximum speed that a tyre can service when carrying its maximum load. The speed rating letter relates to speed expressed in miles or kilometres per hour, as displayed by the table below. In this example, the speed rating of the tyre is ‘V’ – so the maximum speed is 149 mph, or 240 km/h.
|Speed Symbol||Approx MPH||Approx KM/H|
The brand who manufactured the tyre will be displayed clearly. This is often the largest piece of writing on the tyre.
Tyre manufacturers produce different tyres that have different patterns. The pattern of your tyre will be displayed clearly on the tyre sidewall.
Where your tyre was manufactured will be indicated by the writing on the sidewall. In this example, the tyre was manufactured in the United Kingdom.
Tread wear indicators will be situated in the grooves of the tyre rather than on the tyre sidewall. They may be in the form of the letters ‘TWI’, a small image or logo or other markings. These will only be visible when the tyre tread is close to approaching the legal minimum of 1.6mm. Not all tyres have tread wear indicators – so it is important that you frequently check your tyre tread depth.
Displayed as a string of numbers and letters (which looks something like DOTXXXXXXXX1017) is information about when your tyre was manufactured. The last four numbers relate to the date of manufacture, so you can identify the age of your tyre. In this example, the date code is 1017 which would mean that the tyre was manufactured in the 10th week of 2017.
This indicates that the tyre has been tested and passed European safety standards. The digit following the E is a code that relates to country in which the tyre was approved. In this example, E11 means that the tyre was approved in the United Kingdom.
For further advice and guidance on the tyre markings and what they mean, contact our friendly team - our tyre experts are always happy to help. Alternatively, you can find one of our nearby tyre branches to access a range of services. Here, you can buy tyres, car batteries, book an MOT and more motoring services.
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