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tire markings speed rating load index UTQG basic tire info
Mavis information on tire markings
Tire Type
The type defines the proper use of the tire. "P" indicates this is a passenger tire or SUV tire. If the tire has an "LT" designation, it is meant for a Light Truck.

Tire Width
Tire width is an indication of the tire's width as measured in millimeters from sidewall to sidewall. In the sample above, the section width is 215 millimeters. The width of the tires is determined by need. For instance, wider tires are generally found on performance cars because they help hold the road around curves and turns at higher speeds.

Aspect Ratio
Apect ratio is the ratio of the height of the tire's cross-section to its width. In the sample above, 65 means that the height is equal to 65% of the tire's width. The significance of aspect ratio in today's market is that many customers prefer lower aspect ratios that provide quicker handling.

High-performance tires have a low aspect ratio, generally 70 or below. Although the tire is less flexible, it is able to quickly transmit input from the steering wheel to the tread. This translates into faster steering response, more precise cornering and easier performance handling.

Construction tells you how the tire was put together. The "R" stands for radial, which means that the body ply cord runs radially across the tire from bead to bead. A "B" indicates the tire is of bias construction, meaning the body ply cords run diagonally across the tire from bead to bead.

Rim Diameter
Rim diameter is the distance from one outside corner of the rim to the opposite side. The diameter in the example above is 15 inches.
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Speed ratings are alphabetical designations indicating the top speed for which the tire has been certified. Speed ratings originated in Europe, where the lack of speed limits made certification necessary. Their function in the U.S. is to make sure the tires match the speed capabilities of the vehicle. Generally, it is recommended that a speed rated tire be replaced with a tire having an equivalent or greater speed rating. In situations where tires having different top speed ratings are mixed on a vehicle, the maximum speed certification is limited to the top speed certification of the tire with the lowest speed rating.

Speed ratings do not indicate how well a tire handles or corners. They only certify a tire's ability to withstand high speed. You will find the speed rating designation at the end of the stamp: P225/65R15 95S or right after the aspect ratio: P255/50 ZR16. When load and speed symbols are used together, like 95S shown above, it is referred to as a service description.
Load Index is a number that corresponds to the maximum load (in pounds) that a tire can support when properly inflated. You will also find the maximum load (in Ibs & kg) molded elsewhere on the tire sidewall. The load that a tire is required to carry and the operating speed have a direct effect on the strength, tread life and cornering capabilities of the tire. These characteristics are so important that the U.S. Government Department of Transportation (D.O.T.) has made regulations to keep users informed of tire load. So, if you see a size that includes a number such as 105, you can verify the load carrying capabilities of the tire by checking the load index chart. This commonly will not be used or needed for most passenger cars. However, they should be used with pickups, SUVs or other light trucks. Always check the door placard and owner's manual for this information.

WARNING: Before you replace your tires, always consult the vehicle owner's manual and follow the vehicle manufacturer's replacement tire recommendations. If the vehicle owner's manual prohibits changing tire sizes, you must not change the size of the tire. Vehicle handling may be significantly affected by a change in tire size or type. When selecting tires that are different from the original equipment size, see a professional installer in order to make certain that proper clearance, load carrying capacity and inflation pressure is selected. Never exceed the maximum load capacity and inflation pressure listed on the sidewall of the tire. Always drive safely and obey all traffic laws. Avoid sudden, sharp turns or lane changes. Failure to follow this warning may result in loss of control of the vehicle, leading to an accident and serious injury or death
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UTQG (Uniform Tire Quality Grading System)
Except for snow tires, the D.O.T. requires manufacturers to grade passenger car tires based on three performance factors: treadwear, traction and temperature resistance.


• More Than 100 - Better
• 100- Baseline
• Less Than 100 - Poorer
The treadwear grade is a comparative rating based on the wear rate of the tire when tested under controlled conditions on a specified government test track. A tire graded 200 would wear twice as long on the government test track as one graded 100. Your actual tire mileage depends upon the conditions of their use and may vary due to driving habits, service practices, differences in road characteristics and climate.

Note: Treadwear grades are valid only for comparisons within a manufacturer's product line. They are not valid for comparisons between manufacturers.

• A - Best
• B - Intermediate
• C - Acceptable
Traction grades represent the tire's ability to stop on wet pavement as measured under controlled conditions on specified government test surfaces of asphalt and concrete. The traction grade is based upon "straight ahead" braking tests; it does not indicate cornering ability.

• A - Best
• B - Intermediate
• C - Acceptable
The temperature grades represent the tire's resistance to the generation of heat when tested under controlled conditions on a specified indoor laboratory test wheel. Sustained high temperatures can cause the materials of the tire to degenerate and thus reduce tire life. Excessive temperatures can lead to tire failure. Federal law requires that all tires meet at least the minimal requirements of Grade C.
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We know how important tires are to the safety of all drivers. That's why we have assembled this guide to assist in the proper care and maintenance of your tires. Take the time to study this guide and learn how to best prepare yourself for the road. With just a little of your time, you can help add to the life of your tires.

Proper Inflation
Maintaining proper air pressure is the single most important thing a driver can do for their tires. In the space of just one month, a tire can lose 10 pounds of air pressure. It is important to check air pressure regularly, to make sure your tires are neither under- nor over-inflated. Under-inflation is the worst enemy a tire can have. It causes increased treadwear on the outside edges (or shoulders) of the tire. It also generates excessive heat, which reduces tire durability. Finally, it reduces fuel economy by increasing rolling resistance - soft tires make vehicles work harder.

Over-inflation is also detrimental to the tire. Too much air pressure causes the center of the tread to bear the majority of the car's weight, which leads to faster deterioration and uneven wear. Any kind of uneven wear will shorten the lifespan of tires.

To find the proper air pressure for tires, look in the vehicle owner's manual, on the driver's side door jamb or in the glove box. Check your tire air pressure at least once a month, and use a good quality air gauge. Or, stop by one of our locations and have the air pressure checked and corrected for free.
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Balance & Alignment
Having your tires balanced and properly aligned is important not only to the longevity of the tire, but to the safety of the driver and to the performace of the vehicle.

Unbalanced tires cause road vibration, which leads to driver fatigue, premature tire wear (also known as cupping or dipping) and unnecessary wear to vehicle's suspension. Tires should be balanced when they are mounted on wheels for the first time or when they are remounted after repair. They should be balanced at first sign of shimmy or vibration, and should be balanced at least once a year, regardless.

A vehicle is said to be properly aligned when all suspension and steering components are sound and when tire and wheel assemblies are running straight and true. Proper alignment is necessary for even treadwear and precise steering. Uneven front or rear tire wear, or changes in a vehicle's handling or steering can indicate misalignment.

The cost of keeping your tires balanced and your vehicle properly aligned will more than pay for itself in tire milage performance and comfort.
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Regular Rotation
The weight of a vehicle is not evenly distributed to all four tires. Therefore, regular rotation is necessary to maintain even treadwear and get the most out of your tires.

There are several methods or rotation. For all-season tires and most vehicles on the road, tires from the rear axle are moved to the drive axle and crossed to opposite side of the vehicle. The tires from the drive axle are moved to the rear, but remain on the same sides. This is known as the modified "x" pattern.

Tires with directional design are rotated differently. In this case, all tires remain on the same side of the vehicle and are rotated straight forward and straight back.

For four-wheel-drive vehicles, it is recommended to switch all four tires, both from side-to-side and in axle position.

You should check your owner's manual for the manufacturer's rotation recommendations. If no rotation period is specified, tires should be rotated every 6,000-8,000 miles. Four-wheel-drive vehicles may require rotation as soon as every 4,000 miles. The first rotation is the most important, and remember to adjust inflation pressures to the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations after every rotation.
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