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What Do Tire Numbers Mean?

Have you ever noticed the combination of numbers and letters on the sidewall of your tires? If so, you may be wondering, “What do the numbers on tires mean? Knowing the tire number meaning is actually quite important when you are purchasing a new set of tires for your vehicle near Hoover. This code indicates the size and type of tire, as well as its particular performance purpose. So, exactly what do tire numbers mean? The parts experts at Riverchase Kia explain below. 



Tire Number Meanings

A tire’s code uses a series of letters and numbers to let you know the size, load index, speed rating, and type of tire your vehicle needs to perform at its best on Meadowbrook roads. Let’s take a closer look at an example of a tire code. 

Example: P215/65R15 95H

While the tire code above may look confusing, it’s actually quite easy to understand once you break it down into sections. 

Decoding “P”

The “P” stands for “P-Metric tire,” which is the type of tire found on passenger vehicles. If your tires read “LT,” this stands for “light truck,” which means the tire is designed for light-weight pickup trucks. What happens if there is not a letter ahead of the code? This means that it is a European style tire, or Euro-Metric tire. These tires have different load capacities.

Decoding “215”

“215” indicates the tire width in millimeters from sidewall to sidewall. In the example above, the tire width is 215 millimeters. 

Decoding “65”

After the forward slash, the aspect ratio is listed. For the purpose of this example, that number is “65.” A tire’s ratio is the height of the tire’s cross-section to its width. In the example above, the aspect ratio indicates its height is equal to 65% of the width. The larger the aspect ratio, the bigger the sidewalls of the tires.

Decoding “R”

The “R” indicates the tire’s construction. “R” lets you know that it is a radial tire.

Decoding “15”

“15” denotes the wheel size from one end to the other. This is important so that you know what tire is able to fit on the wheel. In the example, a tire that fits a 15-inch wheel is needed.

Decoding “95H”

“95H” provides the load index and speed rating for the tire. In the example, “95” is the load index, which indicates how much weight the tire can support when inflated to the correct level. For passenger vehicles, the load index can range from 75-105. “H” represents the speed rating. Depending on the load capacity of the vehicle, this number lets you know how fast the tire can safely travel. This rating varies from A-Z. Like in the example above, a tire with an “H” rating can reach a maximum speed of 130 mph.

Checking Tire Pressure

You want your tires to last as long as possible and operate safely on the roads of Bessemer. A simple way to ensure your tires are ready for the road ahead is to regularly check the tire pressure. Many new vehicles have a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), and if this is the case, you no longer have to check tire pressure manually. If your vehicle’s tires are over- or under-inflated, the TPMS system will provide you with an alert. 

Keep Your Tires in Great Condition with Riverchase Kia

We have now answered the question, “What do tire numbers mean?” If your vehicle is in need of new tires, shopping for the right set is now easier than ever. Visit our tire center to find the perfect tires for your Kia. If you have any questions about tire care and maintenance, we would be more than happy to answer your questions for you. Contact us today.

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