What Do the Numbers on Tires Mean?

Closeup of Tire Numbers with Wheel Rim

When it’s time to order new tires from your local Woodbury tire shop, it’s paramount to order the correct type for your vehicle. Tire types are designated by a series of numbers and letters on the sidewall, but if you’ve ever seen them, you probably wondered, “What do tire numbers mean?” In this article, the expert service team at Mauer Buick GMC will break down every component of the tire code so that you can be informed when you order your next set of tires. Keep reading to find out, then use our Tire Finder tool to find the tires your vehicle needs!



What Do Tire Numbers Mean?

Every tire’s sidewall carries a code consisting of letters and numbers indicating the tire’s size, load index, speed rating, and other information important for you or your Inver Grove Heights service center to know. What do the numbers on tires mean? The easiest way to learn is to use an example:

P215/65R15 95H

Each piece of this code has a specific meaning that details a different aspect of the tire’s construction, dimensions, or rating.

Tire Number Meaning: Decoding P

The P in our example tire’s number stands for P-Metric tire, which is used for passenger vehicles. Other designations include LT (light truck)and ST (special trailer) as well as the lack of a letter preceding the rest of the code. In this case, the tire is Euro-metric, similar to a P-metric tire, but has different load capacities.

Tire Number Meaning: Decoding 215

After P, 215 indicates the tire’s width, in millimeters, from sidewall to sidewall. In this example, the tire is 215mm wide, or a little under 8.5 inches.

Tire Number Meaning: Decoding 65

Following the tire’s width and a forward slash, the aspect ratio code is the ratio of the tire’s cross-section height to its width. In our example, the number 65 indicates that the tire’s height from its inner to outer edge is 65% of its width.

Tire Number Meaning: Decoding R

Next up, the letter R indicates the tire’s construction. In our case, the tire is radially constructed, which is the most common type of tire construction in use today. There are other types, including bias and diagonal, but they’re relatively rare.

Tire Number Meaning: Decoding 15

The number 15 indicates the tire’s rim diameter in inches, or what size wheel the tire will fit on. It’s important to get a tire designed for the diameter of your vehicle’s wheels.

Tire Number Meaning: Decoding 95H

Finally, 95H at the end of our example tire’s code indicates the load index and speed rating of the tire. The load index is a measure of how much weight the tire can support when properly inflated—in passenger vehicles, it generally ranges between 75 and 105. The speed rating is a letter that indicates how fast the tire can safely travel. In our example, the H indicates a maximum safe speed of 130 miles per hour.

Now you can answer the question, “What do the numbers on tires mean?”

How Do I Check My Tire Pressure?

No matter what kind of tire you have, you can keep them in the best condition for as long as possible by keeping them properly inflated. While checking your vehicle’s tire pressure manually in Eagan is quick and easy, most newer vehicles have Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) that will automatically alert you if a tire is under- or over-inflated. When you get a TPMS indicator on your dash, take your car to a gas station to top off your tires or to our service center, where we can fill up your tires and perform all sorts of other maintenance!

Turn to Mauer Buick GMC for All Your Maintenance Needs!

Now that you’ve read this article, if your friend ever asks you, “What do tire numbers mean?” you can confidently tell them! And, of course, if you have questions, you can always contact our service center for the answers you seek.

Whether you need new tires, brakes, or even a regularly scheduled oil change, the fine folks at Mauer Buick GMC have you covered for all your maintenance, service, and parts needs! Make an appointment with our service center today, or walk in for speedy service while you wait!


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