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Numbers On Tires Explained - Simple and Easy Guide

Numbers On Tires Explained - Simple and Easy Guide | Airpark Auto Pros

Ever stood by your car, staring at the sidewall of your tires, and wondered what those numbers and letters mean? You're not alone. These numbers aren't just random; they're the key to understanding crucial aspects of your tires, from size to load capacity. But fret not, we're here to decode this numerical puzzle for you. By the end of today's article, you'll be reading tire numbers like a pro, making tire shopping or maintenance a breeze. 

Understanding the Aspect Ratio

The aspect ratio of a tire refers to the height of its sidewall in comparison to its width. For example, if the aspect ratio is 55, it indicates that the height of the tire is 55% of its width. Lower aspect ratios generally correspond to wider tires, which may result in improved handling and stability.

Deciphering the Service Description

At the end of the tire size sequence, you'll find a service description. This includes a number, representing the maximum load the tire can handle, and a letter, indicating the tire's maximum speed rating. For example, a service description of 91V means the tire can support a load of 615 kilograms at speeds up to 240 km/h.

Width Matters

The first number you see, which is a three-digit number, is the tire's width in millimeters from sidewall to sidewall. For example, a tire marked 225 is 225 millimeters wide. This width impacts your car's handling and the tire's grip on the road.

Specialized Tire Numbers

Off-Road and Winter Tires

Off-road and winter tires have additional markings. For example, a 'M+S' marking means the tire is suitable for mud and snow, while a three-peak mountain snowflake symbol indicates that the tire meets specific snow traction performance requirements.

Run-Flat Tires

Some tires are designed to be driven even when punctured. These run-flat tires will have a marking such as 'RFT' or 'ROF', indicating their capability to function even with reduced air pressure.

Tire Age and Its Importance

Decoding the DOT Code

Apart from size and type, it's crucial to know your tire's age. This is usually a four-digit number in the DOT code indicating the week and year of manufacture. For instance, a code of 3217 means the tire was made in the 32nd week of 2017.

Why Tire Age Matters

Tire age is important because tires degrade over time, even if they're not used. It's recommended to replace tires every six years, regardless of tread life, as older tires can pose safety risks.

Have additional questions contact Airpark Auto Pros at 301-990-2990.