Upgrade your vehicle knowledge with important terminology. Here’s what you should know about tire speed ratings and why they matter.Don’t miss this insightful post!
What Are Tire Speed Ratings?
Tire speed rating is the speed your tire can safely maintain while driving. Generally, a higher speed rating means better control and handling when driving at high speeds—your tires can take the extra heat. Tires with high speed ratings can also handle slower speeds just as well.
Tires with an inadequate speed rating for your vehicle can lead to safety issues like tire failure or loss in fuel efficiency. Tire speed ratings matter because they indicate the preferred speed. You don’t want to accelerate wear and tear or cause safety problems.
A Quick Rundown
The speed rating has an alphabet system. Tires rated near the end of the alphabet manage heat and fast speeds well. Sedans, minivans, and some light trucks use S and T-rated tires.
H ratings are for passenger cars, sports cars, and light trucks. N, P, Q, and R ratings are for light trucks. V, W, and Y tires are for high-performance and some electric vehicles. Most winter tires have Q, S, or T speed ratings.
Here is a speed chart:
- M – Up to 81 mph
- N – Up to 87 mph
- P – Up to 93 mph
- Q – Up to 99 mph
- R – Up to 106 mph
- S – Up to 112 mph
- T – Up to 118 mph
- H – Up to 130 mph
- V – Up to 149 mph
- W – Up to 168 mph
- Y – Up to 186 mph
How Do Manufacturers Determine Ratings?
Tire manufacturers determine a tire’s rating and capacity for heat and speed with a testing machine. They start with a speed of 40 km/h and spin the tire for 10-minute increments at higher speeds until it reaches the target rate.
Then, the tire spins for 10 minutes at the target speed. Professionals remove tires from the machine and inspect them for failures (i.e., separation of treading). A tire passes the speed rating if it’s undamaged!
Where To Find Your Speed Ratings
Inspect your vehicle’s tires to discover their speed rating. Typically, the rating is on the tire’s sidewall and includes the letter. Some tires have a letter and a number. You can also find the rating in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.
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