What Do Tire Numbers Mean?


If you have ever had to check your tires or order new ones from your local West Bloomfield parts shop, you may have noticed a seemingly odd combination of numbers and letters stamped on the sidewall of them. After that recognition, you are probably wondering, “What do tire numbers mean?” The series of numbers and letters found on your tires indicate the size, type, and performance purpose of your tires.

If you need to order new tires or you’re simply wondering what do the numbers on tires mean, the service pros at Mercedes-Benz of Bloomfield Hills are here to teach you. Learn more about the tire number meaning with us below!

Determining Tire Number Meanings

So, what do tire numbers mean? The numbers and letters on your tire form a code that indicates the size, load index, speed rating, and type of tire your vehicle needs for optimized performance on the Southfield streets. Let’s look at this example and decode the tire number meaning together:

Example: P215/65R15 95H

While it may seem like trying to read hieroglyphics, finding out what do the numbers on tires mean is not that difficult! Each section of the code represents a different piece of information used to identify what type of tire your vehicle needs.

Decoding “P”

To start, the “P” indicates a “P-Metric tire.” This means that the tire is used for passenger vehicles. If you find “LT” at the start of your code, that stands for a tire meant for a light-weight pickup. If there is no letter to be found, that means it is a Europeans style tire, or Euro-Metric tire, which will have different load capacities.

Decoding “215”

After “P” you will notice the number “215.” This stands for tire width in millimeters, from sidewall to sidewall. So, our example tire is 215 millimeters wide.

Decoding “65”

After the forward slash, you will see “65” which indicates the aspect ratio. A tire’s ratio is the height of the tire’s cross-section compared to its width. For our example, our tire has an aspect ratio where its height is equal to 65% of the tire’s width. The larger the aspect ratio, the bigger the sidewalls will be.

Decoding “R”

The “R” is code for the tire’s construction, with “R” representing that it’s a radial tire.

Decoding “15”

15” determines the wheel size from one end to the other. This tells us what tire can fit on a particular wheel. Our example code indicates that the tire is meant for a 15-inch wheel.

Decoding “95H”

Finally, we find “95H” at the end of our example code. This expresses the load index and speed rating of the tire. The load index “95” determines how much weight the tire can support when properly inflated. This number can range from 75-105 for passenger vehicles.

H” represents the speed rating, or how fast the tire can safely go based on its load capacity. Speed ratings range from A-Z, with an “H” tire having a top speed of 130 mph.

How to Check Tire Pressure

No matter what type of tire your vehicle uses, one of the easiest ways to keep them in good health is to keep them properly inflated. Your vehicle’s Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) will alert you when your tire pressure is out of whack. Keeping your tire pressure at the proper level is critical for maintaining fuel efficiency and performance. You can stop at any number of gas stations and find an air pump when your tires get a bit low on air.

Turn to Mercedes-Benz of Bloomfield Hills for All Things Auto

Still unclear on what do the numbers on tires mean? Turn to our tire center for personalized guidance on all of your tire care needs. Whether you need a simple tire rotation or a major repair, you can visit us in Bloomfield Hills for all of your maintenance and parts needs. Simply schedule service with us at your convenience, and we will take care of the rest. Our location near Birmingham means reliable car care is never far away. Explore our service specials before your appointment for added savings.

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Mercedes-Benz of Bloomfield Hills 42.557334, -83.22114.