Understanding Tire Markings

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Understanding Tire Markings

Decoding Your Tire’s Sidewall

Your tires are an essential part of your vehicle. They are in charge of keeping your car on the road and keeping you safe when the road conditions are less than optimal. New tires, on the other hand, are a frequently disregarded element of auto maintenance.

While most car owners dread the start of a new tire season, it is something that must be done regularly. But, on average, how long do tires last, and how can you know when you need new tires? We’ll tell you everything you need to know about how long your tires should last and how to tell when it’s time to get new tires in this article.

Eric’s Car Care strives to deliver an efficient tire sales procedure to all of its customers. If you’re looking for new tire sales in Houston, Texas, see us now to find out how we can help you get the greatest tires for your money.

A Guide to Understanding Tire Markings

While it may appear difficult at first, understanding what the letters and numbers on your tire sidewall indicate are simple with a little explanation. The rest of the tire sales and repair process will be a snap once you comprehend the following information:

Tire Type

The initial letter on the tire identifies the type of tire. The letter ‘P’ stands for a motor vehicle’s tires, including buses, SUVs, crossovers, minivans, and smaller pick-up trucks. Tires with the ‘LT’ letter combination are designed for heavier trucks and those with towing capabilities. The letters ‘ST’ represent trailer, fifth-wheel, boat, and utility trailer tire sizes.

Tire Width

The width of the tire, measured from the outer to the inner sidewall, is represented by this three-digit figure. The unit of measurement is always millimeters.

Aspect Ratio

In a two-digit aspect ratio, the aspect ratio shows the sum of the tire’s width. The higher the aspect ratio, the higher the tire’s rubber sidewall or “profile.”


This letter describes the tire’s internal construction. The letter ‘R’ stands for radial, the letter ‘D’ for diagonal bias, and the letter ‘F’ for run-flat tires.

Wheel Diameter

The diameter of the wheel is represented by this two-digit value.

Load Index

The load index is a numerical designation for the tire load index, which specifies how much weight a tire can support.

Speed Rating

The last letter stands for the speed rating, which indicates the maximum speed at which the tire may be driven safely for longer periods of time. When you travel faster than the specified speed, you may require more frequent tire maintenance.

How Long Do Tires Last?

The answer to this question is contingent on several things. When evaluating the lifespan of new tires, many factors should be considered, including the tire manufacturer, the vehicle itself, your driving patterns, where you live, and how often you have them inspected. A new pair of tires should last you anywhere from 60,000 to 75,000 miles, or around five years in most situations.

How Do I Know When I Need New Tires?

Check Tread Depth

The traction of your tire is determined by the tread depth. A penny test, which involves dropping a penny upside down in one of the grooves and ensuring that you can see some of Lincoln’s head, is a quick way to check the depth of your tire tread. You have more than 2/32 of an inch of tread if you can see Lincoln’s top, but anything less means your tire tread is below the acceptable tread.

Look For Bulging and Blistering

Bulging or blistering happens as tires deteriorate, which can often result in roadside blowouts. Make an appointment with a tire sales specialist right away if you notice any bulging, blistering, or bubbling on the surface of your tires.

The Best Tire Sales in Houston, Texas

While understanding your tires seems complicated, it’s a vital component in the tire sales process. We hope that this article alleviates some of the stress and anxiety that comes with purchasing new tires.

For every customer who visits our shop, our goal at Eric’s Car Care is to make the auto maintenance and tire sales process quick and hassle-free. If your car, truck, or SUV needs new tires, give us a call or come in today at our Med Center location for the best tires in town.

Written by Eric's Car Care