What Do Tire Numbers Mean?

Row of tires


You’ve probably seen the numbers on the side of your tires while filling them with air or checking their pressure levels, but what do tire numbers mean? Well, your tire code can actually tell you quite a lot about the kind of tire that you’re working with! It can be useful to understand tire number meanings if you’re gearing up a replacement set, so we’ll show you how to decode this combination of letters and numbers below.

What Can You Learn from a Tire Number?

Your tire number can tell you about:

  • Your tire’s intended usage
  • Your tire’s width
  • Your tire’s aspect ratio (height vs. width)
  • Your tire’s construction
  • The wheel size that the tire fits
  • Your tire’s load index and speed rating

Let’s look at one example to see how the code breaks down.

Decoding Your Tire Number’s Meaning: P215/65R15 95H

Decoding “P”

The “P” in this tire code stands for “P-Metric tire,” which tells you that it is intended for use in passenger vehicles. You might also see “LT” in this position, indicating that the tire is intended for use on light trucks. 

Decoding “215”

215 is the measurement, given in millimeters, of the tire’s width from sidewall to sidewall. 

Decoding “65”

After the forward slash, the next two-digit number represents the tire’s aspect ratio, i.e., the ratio of the tire’s width to its height. A ratio of “65” means that the tire’s height is equal to 65% of its width. Higher aspect ratios correlate to a smoother, more comfortable ride, while lower aspect ratios correlate to sharper, more agile handling.

Decoding “R”

In this position, “R” stands for radial. Most tires employ a radial construction because this design is very good at dissipating heat generated by friction.

Decoding “15”

The last number before the space is one of the most important parts of your tire code! That’s because this “15” indicates that the tire has been designed for 15-inch wheels. If you know your wheel size, you can effectively shop for new tires by checking the last number here!

Decoding “95H”

The letters “95H” represent something a little more complex: the load index and speed rating that tell you what kind of driving your tire can sustain. Load index–represented by the double-digit number “95”–tells you how much weight the tire can support. This ranges from 75 to 105 for passenger vehicles.

Your speed rating can be any letter from A-Z, although some letters are certainly more common than others! A rating of H indicates that the tire can handle a top speed of 130 mph.

How to Check Tire Pressure 

Most vehicles in Sicklerville and Mullica Hill come equipped with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System that will let you know if one of your tires is low on air! If all of the tires on your vehicle seem to be in good condition, make sure to check your spare! 

If your tire pressure light won’t go off after you’ve refilled your tires, come into our service center and let us take a look! We’ll get you back on the roads of Turnersville and Williamstown in no time. While you’re here, learn more about proper tire care with our guides to tread depth and tire rotation.

Turn to Cadillac Of Turnersville for All Your Maintenance Needs

So, what do the numbers on your tires mean? If you’d like us to break down the details of your tire code, all you need to do is let us know! You can also take advantage of our tire finder service to find the right set for your vehicle today.

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