Home F.A.Q. Tyre Load Capacity – Reading a Tyre

Tyre Load Capacity – Reading a Tyre

by Mark Nolan
2 minutes read

Did you know that although your tyres are designed to carry a variety of loads in your vehicle, from just the driver to a full quota of passengers and luggage, there are limits to the amount of pressure we can subject the tyres to. This is known as the TYRE LOAD CAPACITY.

Knowing how to read a tyre forms part of the driving test in Spain, which is testament to how important the DGT feel the subject is.

If you look at the side of the tyre you will see a sequence which looks something like this sample, “195 / 55 R 16 87V”. Here, “195” refers to 195 millimetres, the nominal section width of the tyre. “55” is 55%, the aspect ratio, representing the height of the tyre sidewall as a percentage of the nominal section width, i.e., in our case, 55% of 195mm. “R” stands for radial construction. “16” is the diameter of the tyre´s inner rim, this time in inches. What we are looking for in this example is “87”, the load capacity of the tyre, and “V”, the maximum permitted speed. There is also the stamp indicating the week number and the year of manufacture.

Sadly, for the average driver, they don´t make it too simple for us to immediately see what the load capacity is, as the number in the code needs to be converted to a weight. In our example, 87V, the tyres can carry a maximum load of 545 kilograms. Keep in mind though, this is the total maximum weight of the vehicle. It also shows why it is important that all the tyres on the vehicle match, as if they are different, the load capacity may be lower.

In our example, the letter “V” refers to a maximum speed of 240 kilometres per hour, but speed limits must be maintained by the road and conditions, rather than the maximum that the tyres can endure.

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