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What do the Numbers on a Tyre Sidewall Mean?

Snapshot: If the numbers on a tyre sidewall don’t make much sense to you, we will help you understand what they mean. This would help you make the right choice when you are looking for replacement tyres. Different tyres have different ratings like 205/45 R16 83V.

Apart from the manufacturer name and model, you must have noticed lot of markings on the tyre sidewalls. These markings include numbers and alphabets that indicate various factors related to the tyre. If they don’t make much sense to you, we will help you understand what they mean. This would help you make the right choice when you are looking for replacement tyres. Different tyres have different ratings like 205/45 R16 83V.

Tyre Width
The number 205 in the marking indicates the width of the tyre in millimetres. This is the width of rubber which actually comes in contact with the road surface in case of a car tyre. It is very obvious that a wider section would provide better grip on the road. Wider rubber would also offer more resistance and thus it is advisable to use the recommended width of tyre.

Profile of Tyre
The number followed by the forward slash indicates the profile of the tire. This is how high or low the car sits on the wheel. The number indicates what percentage of the width is the tyre profile. In the example mentioned above, 45 means that the tyre profile is 45 percent of 205mm. So, on a 225mm tyre, a 65 profile would be higher as compared to what it is on a 205mm tyre. A higher tyre profile results in a comfortable ride and it puts less strain on the suspension system. They are more suited to the road conditions we have here. Low profile tyres are more suited to performance vehicles. However the ride quality isn’t very impressive on low profile tyres.

Tyre Construction
The R that follows the numbers indicates Radial construction of the tyre. Most of the tyres being sold these days are radials. Unlike cross ply tyres, these tyres don’t have crossing belts. As the radial tyres are softer, they offer better ride quality as compared to cross ply tyres.

Diameter
The number after this indicates the size of wheel on which the tyre is supposed to be mounted. Like in this case, the 16 means that it is meant for a 16 inch rim. This size of rim is found on hatchbacks. On sedans you would find 15 to 17 inch wheels.

Load Capacity
The load index is a code which represents the maximum load that each tyre can carry. Obviously these capacities are valid for a healthy tyre and a worn of tyre would be capable of much less. Here 83 indicates a load capacity of 487kg for each tyre. A higher number indicates higher load carrying capacity.

Speed Rating
The alphabet after the load rating indicates the maximum safe speed for the tyre when it is loaded within the limits. Here the V indicates a recommended top speed of 240kmph. Performance vehicles will have higher rating like W that indicates 270 or Y that indicates 300.

ALSO READ: What is ABS in cars and how does it work?

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