Does Tire Speed Rating Matter When Buying New Tires?

Commercial Truck Tires

There is a lot to consider when purchasing new tires. You need to pick a good brand, the right size, and quality tires. While these are considerations we all know about, have you ever considered the tires’ speed rating?

Every tire has a speed rating that indicates how fast it can go while carrying its expected load. While most of us will never have to think much about our tire speed ratings, there are cars for which it is very important, such as high-performance vehicles.

How Is Speed Rating Determined?

To determine a tire’s speed rating, a specialized testing machine is used. Generally, tire manufacturers seek to meet the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) standards, meaning that the scale is based upon kilometers per hour.

To test the tire, it is inflated, then mounted to a machine. Ambient temperature is kept at 72 degrees Fahrenheit. The tire is then pressed down on a metal drum with pressure that mimics a normal load for the vehicle type that the tire is meant for. The tire is then spun at differing speeds, incrementally going up, for 10 minutes per speed. Once it reaches its target speed, it is spun for ten minutes and then inspected for any failures in the tire.

What Tire Speed Ratings Are Available?

Speed ratings are assigned a letter and can be found on the sidewall of the tire. The letters include A1-A8, B-Y, and ZR. The speed ratings increase as the letters go up, except in the case of H which comes between letters U and V in a nod to the original speed rating system. Speed ratings go from 3 miles per hour to over 186 miles per hour.

The most commonly used ratings are S and T, which go onto sedans, light trucks, and minivans; H which goes on sports cars and coupes; N, P, Q, and R which are used on light trucks; and V, W, and Y which go onto high-performance cars. Winter tires typically have speed ratings of Q, S, or T.

Questions About Your Speed Rating? Stop In Today!

We have professionals on hand that can help you to pick out the right speed ratings for your needs. If you need tires in West Palm Beach, call us today at (561) 847-4097, or drive right in – no appointment necessary.

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