Bognor Tyre and Exhaust

A and D Group

01243 826827


How to Read Your Tyres, with Bognor Tyre and Exhaust  

Believe it or not, the markings on your tyres are not as random as modern T-shirt inscriptions; they all mean something.  Once you understand what they mean, you can become familiar with what they represent, which is really helpful when you need to buy rims or new tyres for your car.  

In this blog we’ll help you learn all you need to know about reading - and understanding the sidewall of your tyres.  And don’t forget, our expert fitters at Bognor Tyres are always on hand to help you too.

Start learning what the numbers and letters on the tyre wall mean:

The most notable section of the sidewall inscription is the string of symbols that usually start with a letter, then a three-digit number, forward slash, two digit number and then again a letter and two more digits.

Something like this for instance: P205/65 R16 98H

You can find variations with several of these without spaces between them, with additional forward slashes, but with this example, you get the general idea.

The first letter of this tyre (P) shows that this is a tyre for a ‘passenger’ car (which includes regular cars, minivans, SUVs and more). This one is the most common tyres but there are also other markings, such as LT which means that the tyre is made for light trucks and they often require higher inflation pressures. This letter can also be missing from a tyre, in which case you will have to rely on the rest of the tyre’s markings.

Tyre Wall

The 205 stand for the section width in millimeters. It is measured from one sidewall to another.  The 65 is often called the profile and it represents the height of the sidewall. It is closely correlated to the section width, since the number 65 does not represent millimeters, but the ‘percentage’ of the section width. This is why many people speak of low profile tyres on sports cars, since the lower the percentage, the lower the sidewall and the more room there is for the rim.  This makes cars more stable in turns but less comfortable on bad roads (which is why most SUVs will often have high profile tyres).

The next letter, the R in our example, stands for the kind of tyre construction. The R, which is by far the most common one, stands for ‘radial’. Other types are B for belted bias and D for diagonal bias.

The next two digits, stand for wheel diameter measured in inches.  This is why you would need a comparably smaller profile to compensate for the increase in the rim diameter, if you want to switch to larger rims. These measurements should not be taken lightly either, so make sure you consult one of our professional expert fitters at our Bognor Regis garage, before you buy any new tyres or a new set of rims.

Finally, the 98 stands for the load index, which is the maximum weight the tyre can endure safely. On passenger cars these usually range from 75 to 105, even though they can go all the way up to 279. The number corresponds to a certain value. In the case of the 98 we choose for this example, our tyre would be able to support a 1653 lb of load.

The H after the load index stands for the speed rating the tyre can safely endure. The H means it is good for up to 130 mph.

Further information about speed ratings and tyre sidewall information can be found on the Goodyear website (as shown in the accompanying photo).

Find Bognor Tyre and Exhaust on the Southern Cross Industrial Estate, Bognor Regis, West Sussex 01243 826827.



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