What Do Tire Numbers Mean?

Car tire

If you have ever looked for a new set of tires, or dropped by the mechanics shop in Richmond, you’ve probably seen the combination of numbers and letters on the sidewall. When it comes to upgrading your tires, you may be curious “what do the numbers on tires mean?” If you’re looking for tires, the code indicates the size and type of tire it is, as well as its performance purpose. The team at Short Redmond SuperStore helps you get the right tires for your used vehicles.

What Do the Numbers on Tires Mean?

The series of letters and numbers on a tire make up the code that helps to inform you or your Richmond service center about the size, load index, speed rating, and type of tire your vehicle needs for maximum performance. Here is an example code to help you explore tire number meanings:

Example: P215/65R15 95H

This code has distinct information to help you determine the size and purpose of your set of tires. Here are the tire number meanings according to the example above:

Decoding the Letter “P”

The “P” in the code, means the tire is a “P-Metric tire,” so it’s used specifically for passenger vehicles. If the tires read “LT,” this stands for “light truck,” which indicates that the tire is designed for light-weight pickup trucks. If the tire does not have a letter preceding the code, then it is a European style tire, or Euro-Metric tire, and will have different load capacities.

Decoding the “215”

After the letter “P”, the number “215” stands for tire width in millimeters from sidewall to sidewall. In this case, the width of this tire is 215 millimeters.

Decoding the “65”

Following the forward slash is the aspect ratio code, and it’s indicated by the “65.” The tire’s ratio informs you of the height of the tire’s cross-section to its width, in this case the aspect ratio informs you that the height of the tire is equal to 65% of its width. The bigger the aspect ratio, the bigger the sidewalls will be.


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