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Tyre Speed Ratings And What You Need To Know



tyre speed ratings

Every car tyre comes with a specified speed rating. The speed rating indicated the maximum speed a tyre is legally approved for. Going beyond your tyres speed ratings may end up landing you in trouble that can cost you your life.

Speed ratings were established to match the speed capability of tyres with the top speed capability of the vehicles to which they are used.

Being aware of your tyres’ speed rating will make you know the maximum speed your tyre is capable of safely maintaining.

To find the legally approved speed rating, you’ll have to check the sidewall of the tyre as shown in the image.

tyre speed ratings

Additionally, most tyre manufacturers maintain that a tyre that has been cut or punctured no longer retains the tyre manufacturer’s original speed rating, even after being repaired because the tyre manufacturer can’t control the quality of the repair. Hence, it is important to note that speed ratings only apply to tyres that have not been damaged, altered, under-inflated or overloaded.

The most common tyre speed rating symbols, maximum speeds and typical applications are shown below:

1. Tyre Rating: L

  • Maximum speed: 75 mph 120 km/h
  • Typical application: Off-Road & Light Truck Tyres

2. Tyre Rating:M

  • Maximum speed: 81 mph 130 km/h
  • Typical application: Temporary Spare Tyres

3. Tyre Rating: N

  • Maximum speed: 87 mph 140km/h

4. Tyre Rating:P

  • Maximum speed: 93 mph 150 km/h

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5. Tyre Rating:Q

  • Maximum speed: 99 mph 160 km/h

6. Tyre Rating:R

  • Maximum speed: 106 mph 170 km/h
  • Typical application:H.D. Light Truck Tyres

7. Tyre Rating: S

  • Maximum speed: 112 mph 180 km/h
  • Typical application: Family Sedans & Vans

8. Tyre Rating: T

  • Maximum speed: 118 mph 190 km/h
  • Typical application: Family Sedans & Vans

9. Tyre Rating: U

  • Maximum speed: 124 mph 200 km/h

10. Tyre Rating: H

  • Maximum speed:130 mph 210 km/h
  • Typical application:Sport Sedans & Coupes

11. Tyre Rating: V

  • Maximum speed: 149 mph 240 km/h
  • Typical application:Sport Sedans, Coupes & Sports Cars

Z-speed rated tyres are capable of speeds in excess of 149 mph; how far above 149 mph was not identified. This ultimately caused the automotive industry to add W and Y speed ratings to identify the tyres that meet the needs of new vehicles that have extremely high top-speed capabilities.

12. Tyre Rating: W

  • Maximum speed: 168 mph 270 km/h
  • Typical application:Exotic Sports Cars

13. Tyre Rating: Y

  • Maximum speed: 186 mph 300 km/h
  • Typical application:Exotic Sports Cars

Your engine might be able to do the speed but your tyres can betray you. Many have left the world due to the mistake of stretching the limits of their tyres.

Before now, did you know about tyre speed ratings?Do you have an experience you would love to share? Kingly use the comment section.

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Emeka is a Contributor at Autojosh. A graduate of Electrical/Electronic Engineering with a B.Eng degree. Emeka is a car enthusiast who is interested in traveling, writing, movies and driving. He also loves drinking garri with cold water.