Learning The Art of Reading a Car Tyre | Reading a Tyre

Have you ever been amazed at how experts can tell everything about a tyre just by looking at it? It is an incredible and necessary skill that they must have. However, it isn’t a difficult task. A lot of car owners also know how to read a tyre. 

Reading a tyre means decoding what the inscriptions on the tyre say. All the Pirelli Tyres Airdrie have markings on their sidewalls. These markings pertain to certain information about the tyres model, type, specifications, etc. Interpreting them will make you a pro at analysing tyres. 

Some of the wording is quite easy to understand, while some require marking knowledge. There are different codes given on the tyres that have a fixed meaning. The codes and letters, together, refer to further data already defined by the authorities. 

If you don’t know anything about reading a tyre, you are in luck. Here, we will try to explain the meaning behind these markings and how to decode them. 


As said earlier, take a look at the sidewalls of your tyres, and you’ll find some markings. These could be combinations of letters and numbers. For example – LT200/95/R14/90H. Apart from this, the name of the manufacturer, arrows for direction, ratings, approvals, air pressure, seals, and other details are also mentioned on the tyre. 

Let’s look at the meaning of the example above.

  • 200 – It is the width of the tyre, measured from one sidewall to another. The standard unit is millimetres. The manufactures take into account the vehicle model and type and set the width accordingly. The width influences the handling, fuel efficiency, and driving experience, and thus, it is crucial to consider the width when buying tyres. 
  • 95 – This is the aspect ratio. It refers to the ratio between the height and the width of the tyre. 95 means that the cross-section height is 95% of the size of the width. The smaller the ratio, the smaller will be the sidewall and vice versa. 

Usually, a 95 aspect ratio is used in the tyres of heavy vehicles to provide for a smooth ride. Heavy vehicles have slow speed and hence, a little compromise in handling can give an enjoyable ride. 

On the other hand, faster vehicles like cars need better grip and traction. Thus, a low aspect ratio helps to handle and control the car effectively. A balanced aspect ratio can give perfect comfort and safety to the passengers. 

  • R – It tells us about the construction type. R stands for a radial type of tyre, while B stands for a bias-ply tyre. One can know about the specifications of the tyre from this.
  • 14 – The next number indicates the diameter of the wheel. It refers to the diameter of the rim that the tyre will surround. Always purchase a rim depending on what kind of vehicle you have.
  • LT – These are the first alphabets on the sidewall. LT indicates that the tyre is for a Light Truck. There are many more alphabets specifying the application of the tyre. For example, P means passenger. So, it is suitable for passenger cars or normal routine cars. 
  • 90– The number marking after the diameter of the wheel depicts the load index of the tyre. It tells us the load/weight the tyre would be able to carry. Standard and budget tyres have a low index, while premium tyres have a high load index.

The number itself doesn’t tell you the weight capacity of the tyre. You’ll have to refer to tables in the manual for checking the weight your tyre can carry. 

  • H – Similar to the load index, the last alphabet portrays the speed rating of the tyre. It indicates the speed of the car that the tyre can survive. This rating can be found on passenger Car Tyres and not LT tyres. Check the corresponding speed in the vehicle manual and try to maintain the speed limit. Lest the tyre might face problems. 


I hope you have understood some of these number and alphabet markings. There are other signs like directional arrows, pressure indicator, and manufacturer date on the sidewall as well. These all markings are there so that people can decode the features of Tyres Airdrie by looking at them. You can refer to the manual for further information about other markings. The vehicle manual contains all the details about the specifications of the tyre. You must adhere to the values and data given in the manual for the perfect fitting of tyres.