What Do Tire Numbers Mean?

Tires Stacked Up on Shelves

Chances are you’ve noticed the numbers and letters on the sidewall of your tires, either when you’ve ordered replacement tires or during routine service. If so, you may be wondering, “What do tire numbers mean?” These numbers indicate the size of the tire, as well as the intended use of the tire. If your new vehicle needs replacement tires and you’re wondering which ones are appropriate, the numbers on the sidewall will tell you everything you need to know. Learn more about tire number means from Lynch Truck Center!

Determining Tire Number Meanings

Tire codes use a series of numbers and letters to convey information to tire specialists, such as speed ratings, load indexes, tire types, and tire sizes. Here’s an example:

  • P215/65R15 95H

Sure — at first glance, this looks like a nonsensical string of numbers and letters, but it’s actually a crucial code to ensure your tires last as long as possible. Let’s break it down segment by segment:

  • First Letter: First starters, “P” stands for “P-Metric tire.” What does this mean? This type of tire in particular is used for passenger vehicles. If your tire code starts with “LT,” it means you’re using “light truck” tires designed for light-duty pickups.
  • 215: Next is 215.” This tells us the tire width in millimeters from sidewall to sidewall. In this case, the tire width is 215 millimeters.
  • 65: “65” follows the slash and signifies the aspect ratio code. Essentially, the aspect ratio code is the height of the tire’s cross-section to its width. According to the sequence above, the tire’s height is equal to 65% of its width. Larger aspect ratios usually indicate larger sidewalls.
  • R: The letter after the aspect ratio indicates tire construction. “R” is short for radial.
  • 15: Next, the code tells us the end-to-endwheel size, so it’s clear what kind of tire is appropriate for the wheel. In this case, a tire that’s suited for a 15-inch wheel is needed.
  • 95H: Finally, we have the “95H,” which is the load index and speed rating. The load index, or 95 in the code above, indicates how much weight the tire can support when properly inflated. The “H” on the other hand, is the speed rating. This tells us what the safest top speed is for the tire, according to its load capacity. The range is A-Z; H indicates a maximum speed of 130 mph.
Commercial Truck on Highway Near Lake

Learn More About Tire Care from Lynch Truck Center’s Service Center!

Now that you know the answer to the question, “What do the numbers on tires mean,” you’re ready to shop for a new set! Whether you’re comparing tire brands, want to learn more about tire tread wear, or have questions about your commercial vehicle checklist, rely on the service team at Lynch Truck Center. Schedule a service appointment online or visit us near Milwaukee and Racine. While you’re here, check out our service tips and tricks hub for more information on how to best care for your commercial vehicle.


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