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Tyre sidewall information

Useful information on the tyre sidewall

What's the purpose of all the numbers and symbols on the sidewall of the tyre? There's a lot of information located here, and you'd be forgiven for feeling a little puzzled. But these tyre sidewall markings are standard and required by law, so for your safety it's important to understand what they mean.

One way they help, for example, is with tyre selection for your car. First and foremost, each tyre must be suitable for the vehicle. This applies to its outer dimensions (diameter, rolling circumference, width) which are indicated in the tyre's standardised size designation.

In addition, the tyre must comply with the manufacturer's vehicle requirements in terms of load and speed.

The data in the charts below will make things clearer. Consult these three tables and you can interpret sidewall markings for factors like speed rating, tyre size, height, load index, tread wear indicator, and the tyre age.

There's also a handy visual guide showing how to read a tyre sidewall, which you can refer to in tandem with the vehicle handbook for complete safety and peace of mind.

This is where you can identify whether the tyre size is compatible with the wheel of vehicle. A car tyre size of 205/55R16, for example, indicates that it has a section width of 205 mm (nominal), 55 indicates an aspect ratio of 55% (ratio of tyre sidewall height to section width H/S). The R stands for “radial construction” and the number 16 is the rim diameter in inches. 

The service description follows the tyre size. For example, 91V indicates a load index of 91 – by referring to the load index table, this shows a maximum carrying capacity of the vehicle tyre of 615 kg and V a maximum speed of 240 km/h (150 mph). 

The tyre age can also be identified by examining the characters following the symbol “DOT”, which stands for Department of Transportation. The last four numbers identify the date of manufacture of the tyre to the nearest week. The first two of these four numbers identify the week of manufacture (which range from “01” to “53”). The last two numbers identify the year of manufacture (e.g., a tyre with the information “DOT XXXX XXX 3112” was manufactured in the 31st week of 2012).

Sidewall

How to read a tyre sidewall?

Sidewall markings include:

  • tyre manufacturer (trademark or logo)
  • tyre product name
  • dimension designation (tyre width in mm, height-to-width ratio, radial construction and rim diameter in inches)
  • load index/speed symbol
  • markings “tubeless” and “Department of Transportation”
  • the tyre’s certification and adherence to required safety regulation, shown by the relevant symbols and country information
  • approval number
  • Tread Wear Indicator (TWI)

Click to enlarge the image below to see where you can find all the markings on your car tyres:

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