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Jamie Gibbs

Understanding tyre labels, markings and ratings

Buying the right tyres for your car needn’t be a confusing business.

Car tyre

Shopping for a new set of car tyres?

This guide will help demystify some of the labels and markings you’re bound to encounter.

Tyre labels explained

EU tyre label

All new tyres sold in the EU after November 2012 come with a standard label. It classifies the tyre into three categories – fuel efficiency, wet grip and external noise – with a rating for each area.

The rating goes from green A (best) to red G (worst). And external noise is measured in decibels (dB).

The label itself looks very similar to the one that household appliances have. The aim is to provide drivers with enough objective, and reliable information to make an informed decision when buying new tyres.

Fuel efficiency

Fuel efficiency label

This label relates to a tyre’s rolling resistance. It measures the amount of energy lost when a tyre is rolling, which is affected by the day-to-day wear and tear.

Tyres which have lower rolling resistance tend to provide better fuel efficiency. Thus receiving a better energy rating.

Wet grip

Wet grip label

The rating of the Wet grip label is based on stopping distances in wet conditions. In the real world, stopping distance is affected by a number of factors, but the main ones remain tyre grip and tyre pressure.

Tyre manufactures have the difficult job of balancing rolling resistance, which affects fuel economy, and road grip, which affects stopping distance.

External noise

External noise label

The External noise rating is measured in decibels (dB) and was introduced to help drivers be more aware of noise pollution generated from a tyre. The goal is to reduce noise from road transport. It’s represented with black sound waves, starting with one for the lowest noise level.

Driving with quieter tyres is not only better for those around you, but it also reduces cabin noise making your journey more pleasant.

Understanding tyre markings

Every tyre has letters and numbers which provide enough information for you to choose the right one for your car and needs. The markings represent a tyre’s width, sidewall height, diameter, profile, load index and speed rating.

See the example below:

Tyre marking example

And here’s what each marking means:

  • 193 – The width of the tyre in millimetres.

  • 60 – The height of the tyre sidewall as a percentage of the width of the tyre.

  • R – The tyre is of radial construction.

  • 15 – The diameter of the wheel’s inner rim in inches.

  • 94 – Indicates the load rating of the tyre.

  • W – Indicates the tyre speed rating.

These markings are also used to figure out your car's ideal tyre pressure.

Tyre speed rating

The tyre’s speed rating is the last letter of the markings. It shows the maximum speed a tyre can handle. An average Ford Fiesta is best suited to V-rated tyres, which allow for speeds of up to 150mph.

Here’s the full table of tyre speed ratings:

Sidewall Marking Speed in mph
Sidewall MarkingN Speed in mph87
Sidewall MarkingP Speed in mph93
Sidewall MarkingQ Speed in mph99
Sidewall MarkingR Speed in mph106
Sidewall MarkingS Speed in mph112
Sidewall MarkingT Speed in mph118
Sidewall MarkingU Speed in mph124
Sidewall MarkingH Speed in mph130
Sidewall MarkingV Speed in mph149
Sidewall MarkingZ Speed in mph150+
Sidewall MarkingW Speed in mph168
Sidewall MarkingY Speed in mph186

Tyre load rating

As the title suggests, this rating represents the maximum weight a tyre can carry.

A tyre with a load index of 91, for example, is capable of carrying 615kg. Multiply that by four and you’ll have 2,460kg – the absolute maximum weight your car can handle (this includes the weight of the car).

For example, the basic trim Ford Fiesta weights approximately 1,045kg. Standard tyres for the car have a load rating of 81, which means the maximum weight they all-together can carry is 1,848kg. This leaves you with roughly 804kg to carry people and luggage.

Overloading a car could compromise safety and result in an accident. It also affects handling and fuel economy.

Here are all load ratings:

Load index Load in kg
Load index62 Load in kg265
Load index63 Load in kg272
Load index64 Load in kg280
Load index65 Load in kg290
Load index66 Load in kg300
Load index67 Load in kg307
Load index68 Load in kg315
Load index69 Load in kg325
Load index70 Load in kg335
Load index71 Load in kg345
Load index72 Load in kg355
Load index73 Load in kg365
Load index74 Load in kg375
Load index75 Load in kg387
Load index76 Load in kg400
Load index77 Load in kg412
Load index78 Load in kg425
Load index79 Load in kg437
Load index80 Load in kg450
Load index81 Load in kg462
Load index82 Load in kg475
Load index83 Load in kg487
Load index Load in kg
Load index84 Load in kg500
Load index85 Load in kg515
Load index86 Load in kg530
Load index87 Load in kg545
Load index88 Load in kg560
Load index89 Load in kg580
Load index90 Load in kg600
Load index91 Load in kg615
Load index92 Load in kg630
Load index93 Load in kg650
Load index94 Load in kg670
Load index95 Load in kg690
Load index96 Load in kg710
Load index97 Load in kg730
Load index98 Load in kg750
Load index99 Load in kg775
Load index100 Load in kg800
Load index101 Load in kg825
Load index102 Load in kg850
Load index103 Load in kg875
Load index104 Load in kg900
Load index105 Load in kg925
Load index Load in kg
Load index106 Load in kg950
Load index107 Load in kg975
Load index108 Load in kg1000
Load index109 Load in kg1030
Load index110 Load in kg1060
Load index111 Load in kg1090
Load index112 Load in kg1120
Load index113 Load in kg1150
Load index114 Load in kg1180
Load index115 Load in kg1215
Load index116 Load in kg1250
Load index117 Load in kg1285
Load index118 Load in kg1320
Load index119 Load in kg1360
Load index120 Load in kg1400
Load index121 Load in kg1450
Load index122 Load in kg1500
Load index123 Load in kg1550
Load index124 Load in kg1600
Load index125 Load in kg1650
Load index126 Load in kg1700
Load index Load in kg


First published 07 December 2016

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