Monday, October 1, 2007

Tire Sizes

What are they? – If you’re like most people, or maybe like myself, the way you choose what new tires you should purchase for your car is by reading the label on the side of your existing car tires. After comparing the prices of the compatible tires with the amount of money in your tire budget, then a choice can be made. But is it the correct choice? If you have no idea what the label on your tire means or what your purchasing, you could then be left out of a whole new world of tire options and accessories.

A typical car tire label reads like this “P185/60R 14 82H”. In this care label description, there is an abundance of information. But it doesn’t do you any good if you haven’t the slightest idea of what it all means. So, this guide to car tire language can come in handy on your next trip to the auto store.

The first letter on the tire label indicates what type of vehicle the tire is intended for:

P = Passenger Car

LT = Light Truck

T = Temporary or Spare Tire

The numbers immediately following, “185” in this label, is the section width of the tire in millimeters. Shorter or narrow tires have lower numbers.

The numbers immediately following the slash indicate the tires aspect ratio, which is the section height as a percentage of the section width. In layman’s terms, this tire’s height is 60 percent of it’s width. Performance tires would have a lower number in this space.

The next letter stands for the tires’ type. In this case, “R” stands for Radial. The 14 immediately following is the wheel rim diameter in inches.

The next number in the label, “82” stands for the tire’s load index. According to the Maximum Load-Carrying Capacity Chart, a set of four tires could safely support a vehicle weighing 4,188 pounds.

The final letter stands for the amount of traveling speeds that the tire is capable of sustaining safely under optimal driving conditions. The Speed Ratings are:

S = Up to 112 MPH

H = Up to 130 MPH

V = Up to 150 MPH

Z = 150 +

At high speeds the tire can get very hot and the treads can separate from the belts. The speed ratings indicate how fast you can go and still be safe.

When selecting tires for your car or motorcycle you should also pay attention to some other tire qualities which may affect your car or motorcycles performance or the durability of your tires. While the most important considerations for you to consider when purchasing new tires will be the tread type, size and mileage warranty, don’t hesitate to ask questions if your dealer uses a term that your are not familiar with.

After all, it’s your money and you want the safest most durable tires for your dollar. Most of the tire and speed ratings are the same for care and motorcycle tires, but always refer to your owners manual for the correct information. Best Tire Shops on the Net

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