Decoding the markings on the tyre sidewall | Continental tyres

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Tyre markings

How old is your tyre?

It's vital to know how old your car tyres are and luckily it's really easy to do! You can find an embossed window on your tyres sidewall, if you have trouble finding this watch the video below!

Within the embossed window you will find four numbers, the first two numbers denote the week and the second two numbers denote the year the tyre was born. It is wise to change your tyres if they are 10 years old or older. Older tyres tend to be more susceptible to damage and also less effective especially in wet conditions. Be sure to check your spare aswell.

Tyre Size

How to find out the size of your tyre

Importance of tyre markings


Why exactly are these markings so important? This information is necessary when the time comes to fit your wheels with replacement tyres. Every driver wants to maintain optimal safety and performance when buying new tyres; understanding the sidewall markings is an effective way of achieving exactly that.

Let’s start with the following sequence of tyre markings as an example: 225/45 R 18 95 H

Tyre width

The first number to appear in the sequence is “225”. This number is the nominal width of the tyre (in millimetres) from one sidewall to the other.

Aspect ratio

Following the slash, the next number in the sequence is “45”. This number is the tyre’s aspect ratio – essentially the height of the tyre’s profile outward from the rim represented as a percentage of the tyre’s width. We calculate this number by dividing the tyre’s section height by the tyre’s section width. So, if a tyre has an aspect ratio of 45, that means the tyre’s height is 45% of its width.


Next in our series of tyre markings is a letter instead of a number. This letter indicates the type of construction used within the casing of the tyre, which in our example is “R” for Radial construction. Other examples are “B” for Bias-ply or “D” for Diagonal construction.

Radial tyres are the most common tyres on the road today. They’re called radial because the tyre’s internal ply cords are orientated in a radial direction, from one bead over to the other, at right angles to the direction of the tyre’s rotation.

Rim diameter

The number “18” in our example represents the diameter of the wheel rim in inches.

Load index

The number after the rim diameter represents the load index. In our example, “95” is a code for the maximum load a tyre can support when fully inflated. Passenger tyres have load indices spanning from 75 to 105, where each numeric value corresponds to a specific load capacity. The carrying capacity for each value is described in a load index chart in your vehicle or tyre documentation. More information on the load index.

Speed rating

Last in our sequence, we come to the speed rating. Letters ranging from A to Z represent the speed rating. Each letter denotes the maximum speed a tyre can sustain under its recommended load capacity. In our example, “H” is equivalent to a maximum speed of 130 mph (209 kph). Even though a tyre is capable of performing at this speed, drivers should not exceed legal speed limits. Read our guide to speed ratings.

Additional markings

After this sequence of information, other letters and symbols may also be present on the sidewall.

In our example, they denote the following:

   7 Self-Supporting Run-flat tyre
   8 Mercedes Original Equipment key
   9  Suitable for mud and snow conditions

Compliant with Department for Transport vehicle safety standards

11 Week of manufacture
12 Year of manufacture

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