Decoding Tire Code: Type of Tire and Section Width

Even though tires may basically look the same, there are a lot of distinct characteristics and features to consider when selecting tires. If you are shopping for a new set of tires, you may be overwhelmed by the choices, and wondering which tires are the right ones for you.  Fortunately there’s  a pretty quick and easy way to gain a lot of information about your vehicle’s tires – just read the tire code on the tire.  You may have noticed the tire code, which is imprinted into the side of the tire, while washing your car or checking your tire pressure.

Tire Code
Each section of this alpha-numeric sequence tells you something about the tire. Being able to decode the tire code on your current tires will help you determine the type of replacements you need.
 

Tire Code - Tire type and widthType of Tire

The type of tire and it’s intended use are indicated by the first letter in the code. Letter designations include P for passenger vehicles, T for temporary spare, LT for light truck metric, C for commercial, and ST for special trailer service.

Section Width
Following the tire type letter is the section width of the tire, which is listed in millimeters. This is the widest point from sidewall-to-sidewall, so a larger number indicates a wider tire.
In this case, the tire has a width of 215 millimeters.

Why are Tire Type and Section Width important?

The correct size and tire type are necessary to assure safe and optimal tire performance. Selecting a quality tire will not assure the best performance if the tire is not made to accommodate the weight and design of your vehicle. Additionally, tire size is a factor in the calculations of the computerized functions of today’s vehicles. To assure accuracy, it is important to hold to the recommended tire size.

Next week, we will continue to decode tire code by taking a look at Aspect Ratio, Tire Construction, and Wheel Diameter.