Understanding tyre labels, markings and ratings
Buying the right tyres for your car needn’t be a confusing business.
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
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 MarkingSidewall MarkingN||Speed in mphSpeed in mph87|
|Sidewall MarkingSidewall MarkingP||Speed in mphSpeed in mph93|
|Sidewall MarkingSidewall MarkingQ||Speed in mphSpeed in mph99|
|Sidewall MarkingSidewall MarkingR||Speed in mphSpeed in mph106|
|Sidewall MarkingSidewall MarkingS||Speed in mphSpeed in mph112|
|Sidewall MarkingSidewall MarkingT||Speed in mphSpeed in mph118|
|Sidewall MarkingSidewall MarkingU||Speed in mphSpeed in mph124|
|Sidewall MarkingSidewall MarkingH||Speed in mphSpeed in mph130|
|Sidewall MarkingSidewall MarkingV||Speed in mphSpeed in mph149|
|Sidewall MarkingSidewall MarkingZ||Speed in mphSpeed in mph150+|
|Sidewall MarkingSidewall MarkingW||Speed in mphSpeed in mph168|
|Sidewall MarkingSidewall MarkingY||Speed in mphSpeed 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 indexLoad index62||Load in kgLoad in kg265|
|Load indexLoad index63||Load in kgLoad in kg272|
|Load indexLoad index64||Load in kgLoad in kg280|
|Load indexLoad index65||Load in kgLoad in kg290|
|Load indexLoad index66||Load in kgLoad in kg300|
|Load indexLoad index67||Load in kgLoad in kg307|
|Load indexLoad index68||Load in kgLoad in kg315|
|Load indexLoad index69||Load in kgLoad in kg325|
|Load indexLoad index70||Load in kgLoad in kg335|
|Load indexLoad index71||Load in kgLoad in kg345|
|Load indexLoad index72||Load in kgLoad in kg355|
|Load indexLoad index73||Load in kgLoad in kg365|
|Load indexLoad index74||Load in kgLoad in kg375|
|Load indexLoad index75||Load in kgLoad in kg387|
|Load indexLoad index76||Load in kgLoad in kg400|
|Load indexLoad index77||Load in kgLoad in kg412|
|Load indexLoad index78||Load in kgLoad in kg425|
|Load indexLoad index79||Load in kgLoad in kg437|
|Load indexLoad index80||Load in kgLoad in kg450|
|Load indexLoad index81||Load in kgLoad in kg462|
|Load indexLoad index82||Load in kgLoad in kg475|
|Load indexLoad index83||Load in kgLoad in kg487|
|Load index||Load in kg|
|Load indexLoad index84||Load in kgLoad in kg500|
|Load indexLoad index85||Load in kgLoad in kg515|
|Load indexLoad index86||Load in kgLoad in kg530|
|Load indexLoad index87||Load in kgLoad in kg545|
|Load indexLoad index88||Load in kgLoad in kg560|
|Load indexLoad index89||Load in kgLoad in kg580|
|Load indexLoad index90||Load in kgLoad in kg600|
|Load indexLoad index91||Load in kgLoad in kg615|
|Load indexLoad index92||Load in kgLoad in kg630|
|Load indexLoad index93||Load in kgLoad in kg650|
|Load indexLoad index94||Load in kgLoad in kg670|
|Load indexLoad index95||Load in kgLoad in kg690|
|Load indexLoad index96||Load in kgLoad in kg710|
|Load indexLoad index97||Load in kgLoad in kg730|
|Load indexLoad index98||Load in kgLoad in kg750|
|Load indexLoad index99||Load in kgLoad in kg775|
|Load indexLoad index100||Load in kgLoad in kg800|
|Load indexLoad index101||Load in kgLoad in kg825|
|Load indexLoad index102||Load in kgLoad in kg850|
|Load indexLoad index103||Load in kgLoad in kg875|
|Load indexLoad index104||Load in kgLoad in kg900|
|Load indexLoad index105||Load in kgLoad in kg925|
|Load index||Load in kg|
|Load indexLoad index106||Load in kgLoad in kg950|
|Load indexLoad index107||Load in kgLoad in kg975|
|Load indexLoad index108||Load in kgLoad in kg1000|
|Load indexLoad index109||Load in kgLoad in kg1030|
|Load indexLoad index110||Load in kgLoad in kg1060|
|Load indexLoad index111||Load in kgLoad in kg1090|
|Load indexLoad index112||Load in kgLoad in kg1120|
|Load indexLoad index113||Load in kgLoad in kg1150|
|Load indexLoad index114||Load in kgLoad in kg1180|
|Load indexLoad index115||Load in kgLoad in kg1215|
|Load indexLoad index116||Load in kgLoad in kg1250|
|Load indexLoad index117||Load in kgLoad in kg1285|
|Load indexLoad index118||Load in kgLoad in kg1320|
|Load indexLoad index119||Load in kgLoad in kg1360|
|Load indexLoad index120||Load in kgLoad in kg1400|
|Load indexLoad index121||Load in kgLoad in kg1450|
|Load indexLoad index122||Load in kgLoad in kg1500|
|Load indexLoad index123||Load in kgLoad in kg1550|
|Load indexLoad index124||Load in kgLoad in kg1600|
|Load indexLoad index125||Load in kgLoad in kg1650|
|Load indexLoad index126||Load in kgLoad in kg1700|
|Load indexLoad index||Load in kgLoad in kg|
First published 07 December 2016