Understanding your tyre, the specific sections and imprints can be confusing. You may find yourself asking, what does the writing on my tyre mean? Although you may believe the information on your tyre is irrelevant, knowledge is power. It will be beneficial for you to comprehensively understand what all that writing means, beyond the tyre size.
The tyre size in the numbered and lettered code on the sidewall. P stands for passenger tyre and demonstrates the vehicle type. This will be found at the beginning of the sequence. The first section will tell you the section width of the tyre. The following will describe the aspect ratio or height of the sidewall (as a percentage of the section width). The centered R will stand for radial construction. The following number (often 15, 16 or 17) will stand for the diameter of the inner rim. The load index and speed rating will end the secondary sequence.
What will mirror the tyre size on the outer section of the tyre is the treadwear, traction and temperature grades (in said order). The largest piece of writing on the sidewall is often the tyre style and manufacturer. This could be good to know if you are pricing your existing tyre to purchase new.
Parallel to the rim is often the smallest text imprint. This ‘wrapped’ text will inform you of the maximum load limit, maximum cold inflation, dot safety standard code, manufactures plant & date, and tyre composition.
Are you still confused as to what these terms mean?
Tyre Size: You will refer to this when purchasing new or second-hand tyres
Section Width: The width of the tyre in mm
Aspect Ratio: Height of the tyre sidewall as a percentage of the section width
R: Radial construction (the construction of the tyre)
The Diameter: This is the diameter of the inner rim
Load Index: Maximum tyre carrying capacity. You can convert this online
Treadwear: Reflective of the tyres anticipated lifespan. The greater the number the better the wear. You can find a conversion online to compare your tyre to others
Traction: This indicates your vehicle’s stopping ability in certain conditions. Rated from AA (the best) – C (the worst)
Temperature Grade: This is reflective of a tyre’s resistance to heat. This is ranked from A (highest) – C (lowest)
Tyre Style & Manufacture: This is something to tell your tyre specialist if you wish to purchase the same, but newer tyre
Maximum Cold Inflation: PSI
Dot Safety Standard Code: Indicates if tyres are compliant (Australia)
Manufactures Plant & Date: Date of manufacture
Tyre Composition: Material