How to Select The Right Tire Size For Your Car 

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Choosing the right tire will significantly impact the performance of your car. From mileage to speed coverage and control, everything relies strongly upon the size of your tire. While there are countless factors that you might have to consider, selecting the right size tire remains a vital requirement. Whether you choose small all terrain tires or 37 inches, here’s how you can get your perfect set:

car tires ratings

How To Find The Right Size? 


Each size has its perks and drawbacks. So it comes down to your preference. However, if you’re looking for the right size or a perfect fit, then your vehicle comes with a document that provides recommendations regarding tire size. 


Tire shops can also look up sizing for you vehicle and other size options.


What you need to Know to Shop for Tires 

The numbers are on your tires. These numbers tell you everything you need to know about the tires you have. In addition you want to know if you tires are good in snow or rain or maybe all weather. Lastly consider the warranty as this will vary with each tire.


While selecting your tire, speed rating, load index, and size are three primary factors to consider. These three combine to make the actual size of your tire. More importantly, these three determine the fuel efficiency and performance of your car. You can find these numbers written either at the door side of the drive, in the glove compartment, or the vehicle’s manual (document). Here’s what each one means: 


  • Speed Rating: It determines the maximum speed your car can sustain with load for a certain amount of time. This is an essential factor for better control and durability of your tire. The speed rating of your tire should match the maximum speed of your car. 

  • Load Index: It is the maximum load capacity of your tire. How much weight and force can a tire withstand is determined by the load index.
  • The Size: Finally comes the actual size with width, breadth, and other similar numbers for the tire. Now, these are crucial to ensure that your car delivers optimum performance. The rim of your vehicle can fit a specific size at best, and that’s where size comes into play.


Tire Ratings / What do they Mean


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P205/60 R16 91S

Let’s start with the P

This is service type. P means the tire is for passenger vehicles. 


You many have this instead of the P. This means light trucks. Generally LT requires high pressures.


205 Width 

P205/60 R16 91S


The next number is your tire size. The bigger the number the bigger your tire width will be. This measurement is of the sidewall to sidewall, in millimeters. 


60 Aspect Ratio

The next number on this example, 60: The bigger the aspect ratio the taller the tire. The aspect ratio is a ratio of the crosssection to the tires width. With 60 this means the height of the tires is 60% of the tires width. 


R P205/60 R16 91S

Construction, What does an F mean on car tire


What type of ply or how is your tire made up. This R number on your tire is teh design of the cord piles. They are arranged at 90 degrees to the direction of spin. You may have run-flat tires in this case the letter F will follow the R.


Other tire constructions D and B


Instead of R you may see a D. D on the tire means internal plies crisscross on a diagonal, tires using this construction are for light truck and spare tire applications.

Instead of R in rare cases you may have B. B on the tire would mean that the tire plies crisscross on a diagonal and they are reinforced with belts under the tread area. This is called Belted. These are rare and most will never see them. 

Tire Diameter

P205/60 R16 91S


This comes after the R or construction rating on the tire. Diameter is length of a straight line through the center of a circle. An example of a diameter is the length of a line sliced down the center of the tire.


P205/60 R16 91S


Load index and S

We touched on these at the beginning of the post. 91 is the load index. Load index rating correlates to a weight rating chart. See it here. 


Speed Ratings

Speed Rating Miles/Hour KM/Hour

L 75 120 Trailer tires
M 81 130 Spare tires N 87 140 Spare tires

R 106 170 Passenger /LS 112 180 Passenger,LT /T 118 190 Passenger, LT

H 130 210 Passenger sedans, coupes, SUV and CUV’s tires
V 149 240 Performance sedans, coupes, and sports cars tires
W 168 270 Performance sedans, coupes, SUV and CUV’s tires
Y 186 300 Exotic sports cars tires
Z 149+ 240+ High-Performance vehicle tires

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Crucial Tip: When you select a tire, make sure that these three numbers fall under the recommendation of the company for your vehicle. The tire’s size should never be smaller, and the load capacity should never be less than the tire you currently have in your car. If you carry a spare or replacement tire, make sure that it matches these specifications to the point. Consult an expert for better insight. 

tire sizes

How The Size Of The Tire Affects Your Car


Getting a standard or exact size for a tire in your car means that you will have an optimum performance that your vehicle is intended to deliver. However, if you decide to go for larger tires, you will get better handling and control over your car. They are better for providing better ground clearance. Hence, larger tires are popular with people who like off-roading with their vehicles. 


On the downside, your car might require extra upgrades to withstand larger tires. The speedometer won’t be accurate, and your mileage will take a significant hit. 


Correlatively, smaller tires than the standard measurement will provide better acceleration. They offer better speed and mileage. You get a more comfortable ride that you won’t feel with quieter performance. However, they lack control and prevent you from taking sharp turns. 


Others Tips For Choosing The Right Size Tire For Your Car:


  • If you want to customize your car and break from the recommended size or other limits, consult an expert. The same applies for small all terrain tires, or other tweaks.


  • Replace all four tires together; don’t replace one or two. In rare cases that you decide to do so, make sure to get the tires with the correct measurement as the other tires.
  • It is a good idea to consider the type of terrain you will frequently travel on. From that, you can determine which a better fit for your car is.

In the end, car tires are not just for show and to ‘get the job done.’ They determine the speed, control, and other performance of your car. So choose wisely and stay safe.