Tyre Markings - Tyre Sidewall

Have you ever looked at the sidewall of your tyres and wanted to know what all the markings mean? We have put together a guide to help drivers understand what all the numbers and symbols on your tyres stand for.

How to locate where information is on your tyre sidewall

1. Tyre Sizes

Some would consider the TYRE SIZE the most important detail on the sidewall of the tyre. It looks like this... 205/55/R18 105V and each number in each section stands for a different part of the tyre’s size.

  • The first number e.g. 205 is the tyre width in millimetres 
  • The second number usually 2 digits e.g.55 indicates the tyres sidewall height as a percentage e.g. 55% of the tyre width 
  • Thirdly a letter e.g. R indicates that the tyre is of radial construction 
  • And lastly the number e.g. 18 is the wheel rim diameter measured in inches

2. Mounting Direction

Not all tyres have this feature, but on an asymmetric tyre it is important to know which way round the tyre should be placed. The indicator shows which side of the tyre must face outwards. Directional tyres have an indicator to show which direction of rotation is required too.

3. Maximum Load and Pressure

Tyres have a maximum load they can carry as well as a maximum pressure. Your vehicle handbook will have information on recommended tyre pressures, suitable for every day driving.

4. Tyre Pattern Name

There is a vast range of tyre patterns available from each manufacturer. Each pattern is designed for different purposes so it’s essential to be able to distinguish all the varying kinds of tyre.

5. Materials

You will sometimes find details of what the tyre is made from and how it has been made, included on the sidewall.

6. European ECE Type Approval Marks and numbers

This proves that the tyre being purchased has been tested and passed all European safety standards. The ‘S’ symbol indicates Sound – which means the tyre complies with EC noise directive.

7. Load Index

The load index is identified at the end of the tyre size string 205/55/R18 105V – it is the number that appears before the letter. This code indicates the maximum load a tyre can carry. The number relates to the below table – so in this example the tyre can carry 925kg.

Load Index Kilograms Load Index Kilograms Load Index Kilograms
65 290 80 450 95 690
66 300 81 462 96 710
67 307 82 475 97 730
68 315 83 487 98 750
69 325 84 500 99 775
70 335 85 515 100 800
71 345 86 530 101 825
72 355 87 545 102 850
73 365 88 560 103 875
74 375 89 580 104 900
75 387 900 600 105 925
76 400 91 615 106 950
77 412 92 630 107 975
78 425 93 650 108 1000
79 437 94 670

8. Speed Index

The speed index, is the letter that follows the load index next to the tyre size 205/55/R18 105V

This indicates the maximum speed the tyre can service. The following table identifies the speeds in relation to the Letter.

Speed Symbol Approx MPH
Q 99
R 106
S 112
T 118
H 131
V 149
VR 131
W 168
Y 186
ZR 149

9. County of Manufacturer

Details of where the tyre was made will be evident on the sidewall.

10. Tyre Brand

The manufacturer of the tyre will be identified on the sidewall.

11. Tyre Wear Indicator

Some manufacturers add tread wear indicators to their tyres. The indicator is set at 1.6mm. When your tyre tread wears and reaches the indicator, it’s time to have the tyre replaced by law.

If you have any questions regarding the symbols on your tyres or if you’re looking to buy new tyres, find your nearest Tyre Group branch and drop by or give them a call.

If you are looking for new tyres, search online and buy quickly and simply then arrange fitting at your local Tyre Group branch, at a time to suit you.

Buy tyres online with The Tyre Group for fitment at one of our branches in the Midlands, South West England, South Wales and Scotland Contact The Tyre Group incorporating Malvern Tyres, Discount Tyres, County Tyre, King David Tyres Ltd and AutoTyre & Battery Co. We have more than 50 branches located throughout the Midlands, South West England, South Wales and Scotland