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What Do Tire Numbers Mean?

While filling up your tires or browsing new tires when you need to replace them, you may have noticed a set of numbers and letters listed on the tire sidewalls. What do tire numbers mean? Each number and letter that make up the code can tell you something about the type of tire you’re looking at, which helps drivers discern whether a certain type of tire will work for their vehicle. If you need new tires but are still a little confused about the answer to “what do the numbers on tires mean?” Hendrick Chevrolet Cary can help! Check out the guide below to explore tire number meaning in detail.

How to Decipher Tire Number Meaning

What do the numbers on tires mean? They dictate information about the tire size, load index, speed rating, and more. To better explain tire number meaning, let’s decode an example:

Example Tire Number: P215/65R15 95H

At face value, this code probably seems a little nonsensical! But when you break it down into sections, you’ll see that each portion of the tire number can relay vital information.

“P”

The first letter indicates what type of vehicle a tire is intended for. In this example “P” stands for “P-Metric tire,” which indicates that the tire should be used for passenger vehicles. Other tire codes include the letters “LT” in the beginning, which stands for “Light Truck,” meaning those types of tires are intended for trucks and SUVs. If you don’t see a letter at the beginning of a tire number, it’s because it is a European style tire, or a Euro-Metric tire.

“215”

After the first letter, we see the number “215”. This number is the tire width in millimeters, running from sidewall to sidewall. In this example, the tire width from sidewall to sidewall measures 215 millimeters.

“65”

As you can see in the example code “P215/65R15 95H,” there is a forward slash that breaks up the code. Immediately following the forward slash is a number that indicates the aspect ratio of the tire. In our example, that number is “65.” This means that the height of the tire is equal to 65% of the tire’s width, as the aspect ratio is measured by the height of the tire’s cross-section to its width. In other words, the greater the aspect ratio, the larger the tire.

“R”

The first letter that comes after the forward slash indicates the tire’s construction. In our example, the letter “R” means that the tire uses a radial construction.

“15″

The next number tells you what size wheel the tire will fit. In this example, the number “15” means that this tire would fit a 15-inch wheel.

“95H”

Finally, at the tail end of the tire number, we have a number/letter combination: “95H”. This is the load index and speed rating. The load index tells you how much weight the tire is able to support when inflated to the proper level (95). For passenger vehicles, the load index ranges from 75-105. The speed rating (H) tells you the maximum speed at which the tire can travel safely, ranked from A–Z. On this scale, “H” indicates a maximum speed of 130 mph.

Find New Tires at Hendrick Chevrolet Cary!

Need help finding the right tire size for your Chevrolet? Hendrick Chevrolet Cary can help! Contact us or visit our service center to find new tires that are the right fit for your vehicle as well as to learn how to unlock your steering wheel and more. We can also help you find specific tires based on the performance you want when traveling in Apex and Raleigh.

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