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Reading A Tire Sidewall

A tire’s sidewall is pretty much what it sounds like – the outer and inner “walls” on the sides of a tire, if facing a tire on its side. Every sidewall has its own unique information that is divided into three main sections:

 

1. Tire Specs

This describes the fundamental characteristics of your tire. Size, construction, speed rating and more.

Tire Type: P
Tire Width: 225
Tire Aspect Ratio: 55%
Tire Construction: Radial
Wheel Diameter: 18
Load Index: 97
Speed Rating: T

2. Department of Transportation Safety Code

This assures that your tire complies with all Department of Transportation (DOT) safety standards. After the DOT insignia is your tire’s identification number, which begins with the tire’s manufacturer and plant code where the tire was manufactured (two numbers or letters). The ninth and tenth characters tell the week the tire was manufactured. The final number(s) signifies the year the tire was manufactured.

DOT
B9
YR
UJNX
50
08

3. UTQG Code

The Uniform Tire Quality Grading (UTQG) was established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to test tires following government prescribed test methods and then grade each tire on three main components:

 

Treadwear: This is the wear rate of the tire, comparable only to other tires within a tire manufacturer’s line. 100 is the baseline grade. Therefore a tire with 200 would theoretically last twice as long on the government’s course compared to a tire with 100.

 

Traction: Traction grades are AA, A, B and C (with AA being the highest grade). They represent the tire’s ability to stop straight on wet pavement as measure on a specified government track. Any tire rated under C is considered unacceptable for road travel.

 

Temperature: The temperature grades, from highest to lowest, are A, B and C. These represent the tire’s ability to dissipate heat under controlled indoor test conditions. Any tire rated below C is considered unacceptable.

 

Close up of BFGoodrich sidewall Treadwear 300.

4. Icons

Some tires have unique benefits, as showcased with specific icons. For example, a Mountain Snowflake symbol tells you that the tire meets or exceeds industry-established snow traction performance requirements.

Although not available online, we may be able to help you find a tire that fits your selection.

Please tell us the year, make and model of the vehicle for which you would like a tire recommendation. Also please let us know which tire features are important to you. Finally, let us know the area of the country where you do most of your driving. This way, we can provide you with our best recommendation.

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