What Do Tire Numbers Mean?

Stack of Tires

You’ve probably noticed the combination of numbers and letters on the sidewall of your tires while cleaning or dressing them, or checking to see when you need to rotate your tires. When you noticed them, you probably asked yourself “what do the numbers on my tires mean?”. Well, here at Leson Chevrolet Company, Inc., we’re here to answer all your service & parts questions just like this one! 

Tire numbers generally provide information about their size, tire type, and performance capability. In need of a new set of tires? Check the DOT Date Code, a 4-digit code indicating how old your tires are. If they’re older than 6 years of age, it’s a good idea to replace them, even if they have considerable tread left. Read on to learn more about tire numbers! 

Tire Number Meaning: What You Should Know

When you look at tire numbers, or codes, you’ll notice a series of numbers and letters, such as P205/60R15 95H.

While at first glance, these codes or numbers may seem like they’re inconsequential, or even confusing, they indicate key components of your tires, such as their width, aspect ratio, and even construction! Learn more below:

What the “P” in Tire Numbers Means

The “P” in your tire numbers stands for “P-Metric tire,”. All that means is that your tire is meant for passenger vehicles. If your tire were to say “LT,” that would indicate it’s meant for a “light truck,”. If there’s no letter before the numbers, you have a Euro-Metric tire. These tires have different load capacities than American tires.

What the “205” Means

Following the “P” is the “205” number, which stands for tire width in millimeters from sidewall to sidewall. A 205 indicates that your tire, therefore, is 205 millimeters wide. Many different tire widths exist.

What the “60” Means

After the forward slash you’ll see a code for your tire’s aspect ratio code, indicated in our example by “60.” This number refers to the height of the tire’s cross-section to its width. In this case, our tire has an aspect ratio wherein its height is equal to 60% of its width. Larger aspect ratios indicate larger sidewalls.

What the “R” Means

The “R” in a tire number tells you about the tire’s construction. Specifically, “R” denotes a radial tire.

What the “15” Means

“15” indicates the wheel diameter. In this case, the vehicle with a 15 has 15-inch wheels.

What the “95H” Means

At the end of your tire number sequence you’ll see a number and letter, like “95H”. This tells you both the load index and the speed rating of the tire. The load index (“95” in this instance) indicates how much weight the tire can support when it’s properly inflated, and can range from 75-105 for passenger vehicles. “H” denotes the speed rating, which is how fast the tire can safely go based on its load capacity. This rating is ranked from A-Z. Tires with an “H” rating can reach a maximum speed of 130 mph.

How to Check Tire Pressure Yourself

Now that you know more about what the numbers on tires mean, you may also be wondering about other ways to maintain your tires. Checking your tire pressure frequently is a key way to ensure optimal tire health. 

Most new vehicles come equipped with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). This system alerts you if your tires are either overinflated or underinflated so you can easily fill them up at a Gretna gas station, or by using a pump at home. If your car doesn’t have TPMS equipped, you can easily use a tire pressure gauge to check the pressure, measured in PSI, or pounds per square inch, and fill to the recommended PSI setting for your particular vehicle as recommended in your owner’s manual.

Leson Chevrolet Company, Inc. Can Help with Your Tire Needs!

We hope we’ve answered the question: “what do tire numbers mean”. Looking to learn more about tire number meaning or tire maintenance? Here at Leson Chevrolet Company, Inc. we are happy to help you with all your tire needs, or provide you with your next new set of tires. Contact our service experts now for additional information!

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