Whenever you look at a tire, you’ll likely notice a long string of numbers and letters along the side. While it may seem like these are simply a fun design choice, each letter and number correlate to specific information about the type of tire you’re looking at.
These can denote the size, performance abilities, and speed rating of a tire to help you make sure you buy the right one for your model and driving style. But what is tire speed rating, and how can it impact your drives near Palatine, Arlington Heights, or Rolling Meadows, Illinois?
Arlington Toyota has the answers. Let our team be your guide and explain all about tire speed ratings.
The tire speed rating essential lets you know the highest speed a tire can perform at. Beyond that, it won’t offer ideal levels of traction and control, which can easily become dangerous.
The speed rating is found using special testing to determine how fast it can go while maintaining structural integrity. Since this is done in a simulated environment, you can find some variation depending on driving conditions and the age of your tires, among other factors.
If you travel at the speed limit, you shouldn’t have to concern yourself much with the speed rating of your tires. Most drivers will find themselves happy with the performance abilities of S- or T-rated tires, with the ability to achieve up to 112 MPH and 118 MPH, respectively.
However, if you’re looking for a performance vehicle with tires to match, you’ll need to consider the ideal speed rating for you. It’s also important to note that with a higher speed rating, certain trade-offs come with it, as they can wear out faster than lower-rated tires.
Looking at the long string of letters and numbers printed on your tire, you can easily determine the type of tire and its service needs if you know how to decode it.
The tire speed rating is typically the last letter printed at the end of the code. As mentioned, S and T tend to be the most common ratings, but there are a wide variety of ratings available covering most of the alphabet.
With A1 through A8 and B through Y—or ZR—available as ratings, you’ll generally find that the later the number lands in the alphabet, the higher the speed rating is. There is one notable exception, though. The letter H is one of the highest speed ratings available, ranking at 130 MPH.
Going beyond the speed rating for your tires can cause them to wear out faster. Additionally, having multiple tires with different speed ratings on your vehicle can introduce certain issues.
If you want to check on the condition of your tires, there are a few simple tricks you can try. A visual check is always helpful in determining if there are any major issues with your tires. Check to make sure that there are no obvious signs of cupping or intense wear.
Using the Penny Method, you can check that your tire treads are still in road-ready condition with ease. Just place a penny with Lincoln’s head down between the treads of the tire and see if his head is covered. A covered head means you’re good to go, but if it’s uncovered, you’ll need to replace your tires.
The tire speed rating is just one small part of tire care. So, let us walk you through the essentials so you can keep driving near Palatine, Arlington Heights, or Rolling Meadows, IL, in confidence.
Contact us to learn more about your tires with the help of the Arlington Toyota team today!