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What are your tyres telling you?


IF YOU’RE like us and you’ve noticed the numerous markings on the sidewall of a tyre then chances are you’ve also wondered what these markings mean. We’ve decided to decipher tyre-markings for you to better understand tyres and aid in your purchasing decision. It is important to get the right tyres for your vehicle as the wrong tyres could fail, throw out your speedometer calibration, be unsuited for your application and even cause unwanted wear and tear on the vehicle itself.

You’ll usually notice the more prominent markings involves a succession of numbers, for example 225/55R/17 91 V.

  • Now the first number stands for the width of your tyre in millimetres from sidewall to sidewall.

  • The second number is the aspect ratio, which means the percentage of the height of the tyre in relation to the overall width of the tyre. In this instance, the tyre height is 55 percent of the width of the tyre.

  • The third marking indicates the diameter of the wheels in inches, which in this case, makes the tyre 17 inches.

  • The fourth marking is the load index, which indicates how much weight the tyre can tolerate, which in the instance a load index of 91 means 615kg. Load indexes range from 60(250kg) to 125 (1 650kg).

  • The final marking is a letter and indicates the speed rating, which in this instance, the “V” indicates a maximum speed of 240km/h. Speed ratings range from “A1” (5km/h) to “Y” (over 300km/h).

  • You’ll also notice perhaps a “P” or “LT” or “ST” or “T” on you tyre. This shows what the tyre is made for with “P” being Passenger, “LT” for Light Truck, “ST” for Special Trailer and “T” for Temporary.

  • There is often an “R” on modern tyres, which stands for Radial and shows you the construction of the fabric of the tyre.

  • You might also see a DOT code, which tells you the company, factory, mould, batch and date or production for each tyre.

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