When you’re in the market for new tyres on your vehicle, you need to know what the recommended tyre load rating is in order to buy the right ones. How much weight (or load) a tyre can handle will affect its performance and safety. Incorrect load rating tyres can increase the chances of damage and accidents.
What should you know about tyre load ratings to keep yourself, your family, and other drivers safe?
This is the maximum weight a moving tyre can carry when properly inflated and at its top speed. The rating applies to a single tyre (not all four). When buying tyres, you want all four to have the same load rating.
The load rating is designated by a numerical value. The higher this number, the more load-carrying capacity of the tyre. For instance, a tyre with a 69 load index equates to 325 kilograms for the tyre. If a tyre has a 99 load index, it can carry up to 775 kilograms.
The majority of passenger vehicles have a load index range between 82 and 126.
For some light trucks, the load index has two ratings, designated by the forward slash. For instance, 113/110. Why do light trucks have two ratings? Light trucks tend to have dual tyres on the back axle. The first number informs you of the carrying capacity of a single wheel-rear axle with the second number being designated for a dual-rear axle.
If you notice, the second load index number is less than the first one. This is done to ensure that if one tyre fails, the reserve load capacity is still manageable. It would ensure the remaining tyre can support the load of both tyres.
Tyre manufacturers set the load ratings themselves. When a company produces a tyre for a particular vehicle class, they determine how much the load rating of that tyre.
In cases of original equipment tyres, tyre companies reach out the vehicle manufacturer to find out what the vehicle’s weight is. They use this information to get the tyre load rating. Remember, tyres will carry the weight of the car, any passengers, and cargo along with any force added to it to ensure it moves.
Tyre manufacturers must know a vehicle’s overall weight and the maximum weight to get the exact tyre load rating. Once a rating has been determined, they will conduct tests to ensure the proper load rating was given.
The range of numbers for tyre load ratings is 0 to 279 (subject to interpretation of tyre application). The numbers relate to the tyre’s maximum load or weight – usually a two or three-digit number.
Useful Tyre Baron Tip – If the tyres you currently have on your vehicle are original tyres, look at the sidewall and placard to get its load index. If the tyres have been replaced, look at the tyre placard or find the vehicle’s owner manual.
When it comes to learning what the tyre load rating is on your vehicle, you have the choice to look at the tyre sidewall or placard.
Tyre Sidewall – The load rating can be found on the tyre (part of the code and is a series of numbers and letters. This lets you know what the car’s classification is, the tyre size, load rating and speed rating. The load rating will be before the tyre speed and after its measurements.
Tyre Placard – The placard is located on the inside of the driver’s side door. You’ll be given a number and total load capacity of passengers and luggage. The placard will also provide information of original equipment tyre size and suggested cold tyre pressure.
You can also look at the owner’s manual, reach out to the car company or look online to find this information. If you look online, validate the information to ensure it’s accurate.
By knowing a tyre load rating, drivers will not install the wrong tyres on their cars. This protects themselves and others on the road from catastrophic accidents that can occurs when a tyre is subjected to too much weight.
An overloaded tyre carries too much weight than it was designed for. It can also be a tyre with less pressure in it than the manufacturer recommends, which leads to friction and high heat. When this happens, it can cause a catastrophic tyre blowout.
Make sure to learn what the manufacturer suggests for your vehicle’s tyre’s capacity. Besides the overload dangers, you could actually void your insurance if there is an accident and you don’t have the proper load index tyres.
While you can use a higher load rating tyre on your vehicle, is it beneficial in any way?
All of these reasons are why you need a tyre with the proper load rating for your vehicle.
Bear in mind that a tyre load rating is only accurate with a properly inflated tyre. Make sure that your tyre’s air pressure is within its recommended pressure levels – not less, no more.
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