31 Jan 2018

CHOOSING THE RIGHT TYRES

If you’ve never had to worry about it before, tyre sizing can be a bit confusing. What do those numbers and letters on the side mean? Here’s a rundown on how to choose the right tyres.

How to tell what size you need

When choosing new tyres, the first thing you need to know is the size. This appears on the sidewall of your tyre as a series of numbers and letters, like this: 195/70R15

  • The first number (195) is the width of the tyre in millimetres.
  • The second number, before the letter (70) is the aspect ratio or tyre profile (basically, the depth
  • of the sidewall of the tyre; it is given as the % of the tyre’s width).
  • The R stands for radial but you can also find the letters ‘D’ for diagonal and ‘B’ for belted.
  • The final number (15) is the diameter of the rim in inches.

You can also probably find this information in your owner’s manual or on the inside of the driver’s door.

All these elements go towards ensuring you choose the right size tyres and fill them to the appropriate pressure.

What is a load index and how can I tell my speed rating?

You might have noticed another number and letter after the size reference. The number is the load index, this specifies how much weight the tyre is certified to carry and the letter is the speed rating which identifies the maximum speed the tyre can handle.

LOAD INDEX

MAX KG

71

345

72

355

73

365

74

375

75

387

76

400

77

412

78

425

79

437

80

450

81

462

82

475

83

487

84

500

85

515

86

530

87

545

88

560

89

580

90

3600

91

3615

92

630

93

650

94

670

95

690

96

710

97

730

98

750

99

775

100

800

101

4825

102

4850

103

875

104

900

105

925

106

950

107

975

108

1000

109

1030

110

1060

 

 

MAX SPEED

VEHICLE TYPE

L

120 km/h

Off-Road & Light Truck Tyres

M

130 km/h

Temporary Spare Tyres

N

140 km/h

Temporary Spare Tyres

Q

160 km/h

Winter 4x4

R

170 km/h

Heavy Duty Light Truck

S

180 km/h

Family Sedans & Vans

T

190 km/h

Family Sedans & Vans

U

200 km/h

Sedans & Coupes

H

210 km/h

Sport Sedans & Coupes

V

240 km/h

Sport Cars

Z

240+ km/h

Sport Cars

W

270 km/h

Exotic Sport Cars

Y

300 km/h

Exotic Sport Cars

(Y)

300+ km/h

Exotic Sport Cars

OE Tyres

This stands for ‘original equipment’ and means the car’s tyres have been specifically chosen and installed by the manufacturer. Often these tyres have been specially designed to go with these cars and the manufacturer will recommend replacing like for like, that is, only tyres with the right OE marking.

Here’s what to look for by vehicle brand:

  • Mercedes – MO
  • AMG – MO1
  • Quattro – RO1
  • Audi – AO
  • Volkswagen – VO
  • Porsche – N0, N1, N2, N3 or N4
  • BMW, Mini - a solid black star symbol

Other things to consider when choosing the right tyres

  • What type of driving do you do – long commutes, off-roading, short A-B trips, etc?
  • Do you typically carry a heavy load or lots of passengers?
  • What are your local conditions and roads like – do you lots of rain, gravel roads, windy roads, snowy/icy roads in winter, etc.?
  • Do you enjoy performance driving?
  • Is safety a priority?
  • Is fuel efficiency a priority?

Got questions?

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