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Learning How To Read A Tire Sidewall...

29 December 2015, 12:25 PM

Tires are the most critical of equipment on a vehicle than most other parts on it. You could have the fastest car in the world or one capable of driving through the most difficult of conditions. But if your tires are not up to the mark, then you’re not going to get too far. Most new cars these days come clad with tubeless tires, with many of the performance oriented ones being equipped with run-flats.

Fitting the wrong tire, not only hampers performance but it can also quickly become a safety hazard. This is why it is critical that you know how to read a tire sidewall and the information below should help you in doing just that:

The most prominent of markings on the side will be the manufacturer’s name. There are a good number of tire manufacturers in the market and their name will be present on the sidewall of their respective products.

The product name (alphabetic or alpha-numeric) will be next to be present on the side-wall. Each product range has its own performance characteristics and buyers can easily identify the different types in a glance.

Each tire has a specific maximum weight that it can support and this is mentioned on the side wall in the form of a two or three digit number. Multiplying this by a factor of four gives you the total weight that the car can safely support.

The maximum speed that a car can attain varies as per the type, the engine running under the hood and the purchase price (broadly speaking). Car manufacturers also supply tires on their products as per their intended usage. So, a sports car which would have a higher top-speed than say, an entry-level hatchback, would be kitted with complementing tires. The maximum speed rating on the side wall dictates their intended application. Most of the commonly sold mass-market new cars these days come with a speed-rating of ‘S to H’ in India.

The tire size is another critical bit of information mentioned on the sidewall, usually denoted by a series of numerals. For example, a tire that has 155/R70/R13 mentioned indicates that the contact patch is 155mm wide. R70 stands for the Aspect Ratio which is the sidewall height to the tire width in percentage terms.

Now that you know how to read a tire sidewall, why don’t you read the ones on your car and share them here, so we can all learn & share.

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