Find The Right Tires For My Car – Installing the correct tires on your vehicle is essential to the overall performance and safety of your vehicle. The tires you choose should reflect the conditions you drive in and your preferences for vehicle response and handling. However, in order to make the most informed decision, you need to understand how to read tire sizes when it’s time to buy tires.
Fortunately, determining the correct tire size for your vehicle is relatively simple. All the information you need is available in the owner’s manual or somewhere on the vehicle itself. Do you already know how to read a tire size number? Skip the explanation and find the right Bridgestone tires for your vehicle online or by visiting your nearest Bridgestone tire dealer.
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In fact, while physical measurements such as width and diameter are factors in finding the right tire size, there are additional details to consider. Knowing how to read a car’s tire size means understanding terms like load index and speed rating that affect your vehicle’s overall capabilities.
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No matter what vehicle you drive, finding the tire size recommended by the manufacturer should be easy. The best place to start looking is the owner’s manual.
If you can’t find the manual, don’t worry; You can also find tire fitting guides on these sites:
You can also find tire size information on the sidewalls of your current tires (assuming they are the correct size). However, regardless of where you find your tire size, you need to understand the sequence of numbers and letters. Don’t worry if it seems confusing at first – all the letters and numbers have a straightforward meaning. Let’s see how to read car tire size.
Let’s take a look at what each number and letter means in the order they appear in your tire size information. We’ll use this tire size as an example: P225/70R16 91S.
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On most vehicles, you’ll see the letter “P” before the starting number sequence: P225/70R16 91S. “P” is short for “P-metric,” the Tire and Rim Association’s designation for a “passenger car” type tire. “P” indicates that the tire is primarily designed for use in passenger vehicles, including cars, minibuses, SUVs, and other light trucks.
If you see “LT” instead of “P,” it’s because you need a “light truck” tire – “LT” is short for “LT-Metric,” which is the standard for “light truck tires” from Tires and Rims. Association. “. Tire type. Light truck tires are designed for use on vehicles capable of carrying heavy loads or pulling a trailer.
Likewise, the “T” stands for “temp” and is for your spare tire. If you see “ST”, it means “Special Trailer”. Special trailer tires are never attached to the drive or steering. It is for use on trailer axles only.
The first number you see in the tire size information is your vehicle’s exact tire width, in millimeters: P225/70R16 91S.
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Tire width always refers to the side-to-side measurement. Thus, a tire with a gauge of “P225” is for a passenger vehicle and has a nominal width of 225 mm.
After the slash mark, the next number you’ll see is the tire’s aspect ratio, which basically tells you how tall your tire’s profile is: P225/70R16 91S. Aspect ratios are given in percentages. Tire manufacturers calculate aspect ratio by dividing the height of a tire’s sidewall by its width. If a tire’s aspect ratio is 70, it means the tire’s height is 70% of its width.
Low aspect ratio tires such as the 60 series provide vehicle handling performance advantages over high aspect ratio tires such as the 75 series.
After the aspect ratio a letter to indicate the tire brand: P225/70R16 91S. The “R” stands for the internal composition of your tire and gives you a general idea of its stability.
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As a classic car site, bias-ply tires were used on automobiles and light trucks until the 1970s, Hemmings reports. But radial tires represent the majority of tires on the road in the United States today. In fact, radial tires have been the industry standard for over 40 years, so you’ll always see the letter “R” on tires. Radial construction means that the cords of the tire’s inner layer are oriented in a radial direction (at 90 degrees to the centerline of the tread).
The next number is the diameter of the wheel. For example, a P225/70R16 91S tire will fit a 16-inch diameter rim.
Note: If you decide to change the size of your rims, you will also need to get new tires that accommodate the size change. 16-inch wheel diameter tires will not stretch to fit the new 18-inch rims.
The next number you need to read tire size numbers is the load index of your tires. The load index tells us the kilograms of weight the tire can carry when fully inflated: P225/70R16 91S.
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It’s called a load “index” because the number doesn’t tell us how many kilograms of load the tire can take, at least not alone. Instead, the number corresponds to a specific load capacity listed in an index. Starting at 1 and ending at 150, the numbers on the load index indicate carrying capacity from 99 to 7,385 pounds.
Also, you may not be able to find this number on all tires. This is because the law does not require the load index to be printed on the tyre. If your tires do not have a load index measurement, check your owner’s manual or contact your local Bridgestone tire dealer for more information.
The last number in the tire size sequence is the speed rating, represented by a single letter: P225/70R16 91S. Just as your load index number corresponds to a specific load, your speed rating letter corresponds to a specific speed capability based on a standard laboratory test.
For example, a tire with an “S” speed rating is rated at 112 mph, while a tire with an “R” rating is rated at 106 mph. Keep in mind that this is not the recommended cruising speed, but the maximum speed that the tire can handle. Of course, you should always obey the legal speed limits on the road.
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Tires with higher speed ratings provide better handling performance. Replacement tires must have the same or higher speed rating to maintain the vehicle’s speed capability. If a vehicle has tires with different speed ratings, the speed rating of the “slower” tire determines the vehicle’s maximum speed.
Like the load rating, the speed rating is not required by law to be listed on all tires. If your tires do not have a speed rating listed, your owner’s manual will have the relevant information for your model’s tire type.
You may find “M+S” or “M/S” after the main tire size sequence on some tires. This shows that the tire has some ability to handle snow and mud. This marking is common on most radial or “R” tires.
You may see another set of letters and numbers beginning with “DOT” on the side of your tire. This is not an indication of tire size, but rather the performance of the tire in accordance with federal motor vehicle safety standards. “DOT” means the Department of Transportation, followed by a tire identification number.
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The first two letters or numbers after DOT indicate the manufacturing plant where the tire was made, and the last four numbers indicate the week and year the tire was made. For example, the number 4318 indicates that the tire was manufactured in the 43rd week of 2018.
While upgrading your tire size is certainly possible, it’s best to stick with your manufacturer’s recommended tire size for optimal performance. Increasing the size of your tires will give your car more ground clearance, but it will affect handling, engine performance and fuel economy. Keep in mind the changes in key figures mentioned above, such as load index and speed rating, and how they will affect your vehicle’s capabilities if you decide to go up a tire size.
Once you learn to read the numbers on tires, you can find them by size and quickly narrow down your tire choices. Compare tire sizes online or visit your nearest Bridgestone tire dealer for help.
See if this tire is right for your vehicle and see a map of the nearest stores where you can buy this tire
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This article was written by Howard Fleishman and staff writer Sophia Latorre. Howard Fleishman is a tire and auto repair specialist and CEO of Community Tire Pros & Auto Repair, which has ten locations in Phoenix, Glendale, Yuma and Casa Grande, Arizona. Howard specializes in full auto repair, tire replacement, and care of domestic/import vehicles and large trucks. Howard’s dedication to the professional tire and auto repair community
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