How to read car and bike tyre markings?


It can be quite confusing for a new tyre buyer to understand all the technicalities involved in selecting the right tyre for their car or bike. Well, at Apollo Tyres, road safety is always our priority and we don’t want you to end up with a set of mismatched tyres on your wheels. That’s why we are sharing a guide to help you read tyre markings.

Decoding the sidewall

If you look at the sidewall of your tyre, you will notice a lot of markings and text there. Let’s sort out the text first before we move on to the markings. For example, the text may read something like this “P215/65 R16 95H”.

  • P: Stands for passenger vehicle. Similarly, LT will indicate a tyre made for light trucks.

  • 215: It is the width (in millimetres) of the tyre from sidewall to sidewall. If you are looking for upsizing to a wider tyre, this is the number that needs your attention.

  • 65: Next up is the aspect ratio of the tyre. It indicates the height of a tyre’s cross-section to its width. The higher the aspect ratio, the taller your tyre. A higher tyre means more comfortable rides but at the cost of vehicle handling.

  • R: Of course, it stands for Radial. These are the preferred type of tubeless tyres these days, as they offer better traction and even tread connect with the road, meaning better performance. If there is a B instead of the R, it would mean, it’s a Bias tyre.

  • 15: Represents the wheel diameter. Another number to look for when you are upsizing car or SUV tyres. Also, in general, this number is important because otherwise the tyre won’t fit your vehicle.

  • 95: This number denotes the load bearing capacity of the tyre. To get an idea about the specific load-carrying capacity of the tyre, you will have to check the manufacturer’s tabloid. All Apollo Tyre dealers are mandated to provide this information to the customers.

  • H: Lastly, the speed rating. It is another important parameter when you are buying a car or SUV tyres. If you are planning to drive mostly on the highways, a higher speed rating will keep the tyre cool during those stressful desert stretches of Rajasthan.



Now to the markings

Let’s quickly have a look at the other markings you find on a tyre, before you can get back to your tyre search online.

PSI or Inflation Pressure: These denote the appropriate amount of air pressure that needs to be maintained to keep the tyre rolling at full efficiency. PSI can have significant impact on fuel economy and tread wear of your car tyres.

Temperature: If you are an extreme weather enthusiast, these markings will tell you if the tyre you are buying is fit for cold or hot weather operation or not. Although, you can always ask that to an expert at Apollo Tyres shop near you.

Regulatory Approval: A symbol like the ISI mark that tells you the tyre is passed by appropriate authority for quality and road safety.

Directional Arrows: Tyres with unidirectional treads will usually have arrows to indicate the forward direction whereas asymmetrical tyres have in and out indicators on them.

MFD: Tells you about the date of manufacturing. Usually it is not advised to buy tyres which have 6 months or older manufacturing date.

Now that you know all the nuances, you can get along and find the best tyres for your beloved vehicle. If you are still in a fix, there is a handy tyre finder by Apollo Tyres which you can use to find tyres by car model and make.



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