What Do the Numbers On Tires Mean?

Tire Row

When you’re filling a low tire or ordering new tires from your Los Angeles-area parts center, you might have noticed a combination of numbers and letters on the tire sidewalls. You’ve probably been wondering, “what do tire numbers mean?” Typically, these numbers are used to indicate the size and type of tire, as well as the specific performance purpose. 

Whether you’re searching for new tires or simply want to know what the numbers on tires mean, the team at Kia of Cerritos is here to teach you with our helpful guide below.

Tire Number Meaning Explained

When Carson drivers get tire service at Kia of Cerritos, our technicians use the tire number meaning to find the size, load index, speed rating, and type of tire Kia models need for optimum performance. 

So what do tire numbers mean? Let’s break down tire number meanings using an example code: P215/65R15 95H

While this code may seem long and confusing, each part of the tire code points to finding the correct replacement tire. So what do tire numbers mean? The first part of the code, “P,” stands for “P-Metric tire” and shows that it is a tire meant for passenger vehicles. When a tire reads “LT,” this shows that it is meant for a “light truck,” or light-weight pickup trucks. Typically, when the tire doesn’t have a letter at the beginning of the code, it means it’s a European style tire, or Euro-Metric tire, that has different load capacities.

What the first set of tire numbers mean is that the tire width in millimeters from sidewall to sidewall is “215” millimeters.

After the forward slash, the second set of numbers on the tires point to the aspect ratio code, which is basically how tall your tires are relative to your wheel. For example example, “65” indicates the tire has an aspect ratio where its height is equal to 65% of the tire’s width. A larger aspect ratio means that the sidewalls will be bigger. 

The “R” represents the tire’s construction. In this case, “R” shows that it’s a radial.

Following the construction type is the tire number that indicates the wheel size end-to-end, and lets the Orange County-area parts center find the tire that fits the vehicle’s wheel. The “15” in this example code indicates the tire is meant for a 15-inch wheel.

What this last set of code, “95H,” indicates is the load index and speed rating for the tire. The load index of this example is “95” and shows how much weight the tire is able to support when properly inflated. For passenger vehicles, your range will typically be roughly 75 to 105. The “H” is your speed rating, which indicates how fast the tire can safely go based on the load capacity. The speed rating ranges from A to Z. In this example, a tire with an “H” rating can reach a top speed of 130 mph.

Learn About Tire Care with Kia of Cerritos!

So what do the numbers on your tire mean? Looking for more information about your tires? If you have any questions like these, don’t hesitate to contact our team at Kia of Cerritos. And of course, our service experts will always be ready to help you install your tires when you need replacements.


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