How to Read Tyres

How to Read Tyres

The tyres are considered to speak a coded language and hence one needs to read that coded language to understand the tyre. It is seen that in the sidewall of the tyre there are codes like P215/65 R15/95H.



Decoding the above code — P215/65 R15/95H is important. The alphabet P is considered as the application, number th215 width, the number 65 is the aspect ratio, the alphabet R is the construction, r the numb15 is the wheel diameter, the number 95 is the load index and the alphabet H is the speed rating.

Application—The very first alphabet in the tyre denotes the application of the tyre. Here the alphabet P stands for passenger. There are many tyres with LT alphabet meaning that the tyre is for light truck.

Width – The number here is the width of the tyre. It is measured in millimetres from one sidewall to another sidewall. The width is decided by the manufacturer according to the vehicle. The width is very important as it plays a very significant role in vehicle handling, traction and fuel consumption.

Aspect Ratio – The number that is following the slash is known as the aspect ratio. This is the ratio of the height of the tyre cross section to its width. For example- 65 indicates that the height is equal to 65% of the tyre’s width. If the aspect ratio figure is higher then the sidewall of a tyre is taller. The heavy vehicles have aspect ratio like 95%. The higher aspect ratio does compromise on the handling level but provides comfort. The cars that delivers high performance has low aspect ratio thus it provides a better handling of the vehicle and reduced rolling around the corners and thus compromising on the comfort. The manufacturer usually strikes a balance in the aspect ratio to provide both handling and comfort.

Construction —After the aspect ratio comes the tyre construction and the alphabet denotes that. The R in this example means Radial. If the alphabet is B then it means that the tyre is bias ply tyre.

Wheel diameter – The number after the alphabet denotes the wheel diameter and here it is 15. It is the OD or the rim or alloy that will be wrapped around the tyre.


Load index – The load index here that is 95 means the maximum load carrying capacity of the tyre. The tyres that are lower in profile have lower index. If the manufacturer fits an incorrect load rating then there can be serious accident in the road while driving the vehicle. The number is the index and has to be checked with the corresponding weight. The load index here is 95 thus denoting that the load carrying capacity is 690 kg.

Speed rating – The speed rating is the maximum service that the tyre can maintain. The speed ratings are specific for passenger car tyres and not the light truck tyres.

Apart from the above markings there are many other markings like the inflation pressure, temperature indicator, approval signature, directional arrows, date of manufacturing etc.

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