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SIDEWALL NUMBERS how to read...what they mean


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Let me start this thread by saying I TOOK THIS FROM ANOTHER SITE. Other then that, its self explanatory. I know most people have no idea what the numbers mean other then "its 40 series bro".

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The sidewall of your tires is filled with important information that tells you everything you need to know about your tire. The numbers can be a bit overwhelming to the untrained eye, so the best way to understand tire markings is to take an example and break it down, bit by bit.

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For our example, these numbers are:

P215/65R 15 95H

(P) Service Description

The service description may not always appear on the tire, but it is important to know how it can affect your vehicle. If there is a "P" on the sidewall, it stands for "passenger car." This refers to the U.S. (P-metric) method of tire sizing. "LT" stands for Light Truck. "ST" is for "Special Trailer." And "T" stands for "Temporary," which is primarily used for small spare tires. If a tire does not have a "P" or another letter in front of the numbers, it is considered a "Euro-metric" tire. A Euro Metric tire conforms to the European tire specifications, and often carries a different load index than a comparably sized P-metric tire.

(215) Tire Width

The first number in this series refers to the tire's section width, or distance from sidewall edge to sidewall edge (in millimeters) when measured up and over the tire's tread. Generally speaking, the larger this number is, the wider the tire will be.

(65) Aspect Ratio

This number is the tire's aspect ratio, or its section height compared to its section width. In this example, the section (or sidewall) height is 65 percent of the section width. This number can be very indicative of a tire's purpose. Lower numbers, like 55 or less, mean a short sidewall for improved steering response and better overall handling.

® Internal Construction

The "R" refers to radial construction, which has been the industry standard in passenger-car tires for more than 20 years. Prior to radial tires, most cars came with bias-ply tires, which had a crude construction that made for poor handling. Bias-ply tires (which use a "B" for their description) are still used for certain truck applications.

(15) Rim Diameter

This is the rim — or wheel — diameter, in inches, for which the tire was sized. Pay particular attention to this number if you plan on upgrading your wheel size. If your wheel diameter changes, you'll have to purchase a new set of tires that matches this new diameter.

(95) Load Index

A tire's load index is a measurement of how much weight each tire is designed to support. The larger the number, the higher the load capacity. This is one of the most important numbers on your tire. To find out what "95" means, it must be looked up on a Load-Carrying Capacity Per Tire chart. In this case, 95 indicates a maximum weight of 1,521 pounds. Remember that this is per tire, which means you have to multiply by four to get the total capacity for a complete set of tires. If the vehicle has its original tires, you can just refer to the doorjamb, which lists the maximum cargo capacity with passengers.

Some vehicles are equipped with "XL" tires. No, it doesn't mean that they're extra large, but it does mean that they are extra-load tires. The load index on these tires is much higher than a standard-load tire — which is why it is important to replace an XL tire with another XL tire.

Remember "P-metric" and "Euro-metric sizing"? Their difference in load rating can lead to confusion and potential trouble. For a given size, P-metric tires will have a load index that is one or two points lower than corresponding Euro-metric tires. So if your car came with Euro-metric tires, don't replace them with P-metric tires. You can, however, replace P-metric tires with equivalent-size Euro-metric ones because you gain load capacity that way.

Why is this important? Generally speaking, you don't want your replacement tires to have a lower load index number than the originals (as indicated by the driver's doorjamb or the owner's manual), particularly with high-capacity vehicles that ride on smallish tires, such as minivans.

Also, and contrary to popular perception, optional large-diameter wheels with lower-profile tires tend to have less load-carrying capacity because they contain less air. And it is the volume of air inside the tire, not the rubber itself or the wheel material that shoulders the load. The load index is especially important when shopping for a tire online, since many retailers do not specify whether a tire is P-metric or not.

(H) Speed Rating

The speed rating is a measurement of the speed at which the tire is designed to run for extended periods. An "H" speed rating signifies that this tire can be run safely at speeds of up to 130 mph for extended periods. Will it explode if it goes to 140? No, not immediately. But it might if it is run at that speed for an extended time.

Here is a complete list of the various tire speed ratings, and their associated letters:

S 112 mph

T 118 mph

U 124 mph

H 130 mph

V 149 mph

*Z Over 149 mph

*W 168 mph

*Y 186 mph

*(Y) Over 186 mph

*The "Z" rating used to be the highest rating for tires having a maximum speed capability greater than 149 mph, but as tire technology improved, it is was ultimately split into the "W" and "Y" rating. A "ZR" may sometimes appear in the size designation, as a sort of nod to the prior rating, but it will also be used in conjunction with a W or a Y.

Additional Information on Your Tires

DOT Code

The DOT code is used by the Department of Transportation (DOT) to track tire production for recall purposes. If a tire proves to be defective, this number helps keep track of where these tires ended up so that buyers can be notified of the problem. At the end of the DOT code you'll find a four-digit number. This is the manufacturing date of the tire. The first two digits stand for the week; the other two are the year. For example, if your tire had "1610" listed, it was manufactured on the 16th week of 2010. This code can give you a rough idea of the age of the tires.

Maximum Air Pressure

This number refers to the maximum amount of air you can put in a tire before you harm it. It is not the recommended tire pressure; that number can be found in your owner's manual and on the doorjamb.

Traction Rating

A traction rating can also be found on the sidewall of all modern tires. It can be represented as AA, A, B or C. This is a rating of a tire's traction when tested for straight-line braking on a wet surface. For this rating, AA signifies the best traction performance and C indicates the worst.

Temperature Rating

The temperature rating refers to the ability of the tire to withstand heat under high speeds. The ratings, from best to worst, are: A, B and C.

Treadwear Rating

Finally, you might find the word "TREADWEAR" on the sidewall followed by a number like 120 or 180. This is a rating of the tread's durability, as tested against an industry standard. The reference number is 100, so a tire with a treadwear rating of 200 has an 8O percent longer predicted tread life, while a rating of 8o means a predicted tread life only 8O percent as long as the industry standard.

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Will be useful to members not seasoned in the auto field.....

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Trolls never learn............

All BS aside, If I see one more comment in here that is NOT about the pre-sale, I will start the vacations. And that includes the trolls feeding the trolls.

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find one and make a new post :) we need to get this section poppin.

i know i can scrounge past threads and move them over but im teh lazies :D


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Well hell, back in the day all we had was 15" rims so all you needed to say was "I need me some 40 series bro. Hook it up" :D

Designing, building, and shipping boxes. Yahoo IM - kingsuv00If the listening level is too loud, please inform the driver, so he can promptly pull over, and let you out.

not many cars can get me to pluggin my ears but this one.......damn. I mean the first minute is ok but that thing just really starts digging deeper and deeper in your earhole till you cant stand it no more. Seems like it does it with relative ease....16 12's on 8 amps.........gotta love it. :)

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Well hell, back in the day all we had was 15" rims so all you needed to say was "I need me some 40 series bro. Hook it up" :D

ok noob, i think you forgot....when 15's were cool, there was no 40 series. 50 was a "rubber band" haha!

if you didnt have a 195/50/15 on your KMC or Enkie rim, you werent SHIT! LOL :D :D


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Well hell, back in the day all we had was 15" rims so all you needed to say was "I need me some 40 series bro. Hook it up" :D

gimme sum too O fiv foody fiddines

Designing, building, and shipping boxes. Yahoo IM - kingsuv00If the listening level is too loud, please inform the driver, so he can promptly pull over, and let you out.

not many cars can get me to pluggin my ears but this one.......damn. I mean the first minute is ok but that thing just really starts digging deeper and deeper in your earhole till you cant stand it no more. Seems like it does it with relative ease....16 12's on 8 amps.........gotta love it. :)

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Well hell, back in the day all we had was 15" rims so all you needed to say was "I need me some 40 series bro. Hook it up" :D

ok noob, i think you forgot....when 15's were cool, there was no 40 series. 50 was a "rubber band" haha!

if you didnt have a 195/50/15 on your KMC or Enkie rim, you werent SHIT! LOL :D :D

I got sum Big O foody fiddines on my galaxie right now :D

Designing, building, and shipping boxes. Yahoo IM - kingsuv00If the listening level is too loud, please inform the driver, so he can promptly pull over, and let you out.

not many cars can get me to pluggin my ears but this one.......damn. I mean the first minute is ok but that thing just really starts digging deeper and deeper in your earhole till you cant stand it no more. Seems like it does it with relative ease....16 12's on 8 amps.........gotta love it. :)

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Well hell, back in the day all we had was 15" rims so all you needed to say was "I need me some 40 series bro. Hook it up" :D

ok noob, i think you forgot....when 15's were cool, there was no 40 series. 50 was a "rubber band" haha!

if you didnt have a 195/50/15 on your KMC or Enkie rim, you werent SHIT! LOL :D :D

I got sum Big O foody fiddines on my galaxie right now :D

HAHA I bet you do :D

in the beginning i only had 14's and i was praying they would make a 50 series 14 so i could have rubba bands like my friends.....they might now but they didnt back then FTL. Now my 13's were a diff story. A 175/50/13 on a 13x7 REVERSE McClean was the SHIT :D well now its SHIT but back then it was THE. haha Times change, i cant believe my rotors now, are bigger then my wheels were.


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when 16's were big..lol

and a 4-6 drop was slammed.

5-7 wut!!..

Gawd, 1994 was fun.

2008 California state record holder 157.2 Bassrace2009 California state record holder 157.0 BassraceRollin 50's 158.7db2009 King of Cali Bassrace2009 USACi score 160.5 @ 42hz
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I cant tell you how many rednecks I argued with who would keep using the width measurement to tell me how tall their tires were. I bust out the calculator and school them on calculating tire size. They knew the common sizes were about a 31" or a 33", but when big rims or extra wide tires, they were way wrong on diameter and couldn't figure out why. I won a little money off a hard headed buddy who thought he knew it all.

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