What Do Tire Numbers Mean?

Car tire

Those minuscule numbers printed on the side of your tires may look cryptic, but they actually do have an important meaning. They convey information that can tell you their size, load capacity, and how to use them safely. It’s a code, but once you understand what it all means it’ll make caring for your tires easier and maybe even help extend their use lives.

Interpreting Tire Numbers

That nine-figure alpha-numeric sequence that includes a back-slash identifies the dimensions and type of tire. For instance, a “P” at the beginning indicates it’s for a passenger vehicle, while the subsequent three-digit number is the tire’s width in millimeters. The two-digit number after the back-slash represents the tire’s height as a percentage of its width.

Width is followed by a letter indicating the tire’s construction (i.e., “R” would mean it’s a radial), and a number showing its diameter. Therefore, P212/63R16 means a passenger tire 212 millimeters wide with a height that’s 63 percent of the tire’s width, with radial construction, and 16 indicating it would fit a 16-inch diameter rim. Following tire size you’ll find a separate two-digit number that shows load index, meaning the maximum weight the tire is able to carry.

What Can Tire Numbers Tell You

You’ll also find a number showing the tire’s maximum inflation limit, an important figure to know for tire preservation and fuel efficiency. In most cases, treadwear, temperature, and traction grades, as well as tire ply construction and materials used in construction, will also be shown. If you live in the Lakeland area, call us to schedule service or consult with our tire experts at Regal Kia to better understand what tire numbers are telling you.

Tire Numbers and Tire Care

Paying attention to these important numbers can save you money. For example, adhering to the inflation limit and load index numbers will help your tires last longer and wear more evenly. That, in turn, means better mileage and savings at the gas pump, not to mention less wear and tear on the shock absorbers as you drive around Winter Haven.

Don’t hesitate to call our service center for more detailed information on upkeep and best practices. The tire experts at Regal Kia can handle regular maintenance tasks like tire balancing and rotation, and they’re the people to see for flat tire repair, tire patching, and more.


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