Speed Ratings & Load-Carrying Capacity

Load Index

Many tires come with a service description added on to the end of the tire's size. These service descriptions contain a two-digit number (load index) and a letter (speed rating). The load index is a representation of the maximum load each tire is designed to support. Because the maximum tire load-carrying capacity is branded on the tire's sidewall, the load indes is used as a quick reference.

Speed Rating

In Germany some highways do not have speed limits and high speed driving is permitted. Speed ratings were established to match the speed capability of tires with the top speed capability of the vehicles to which they are applied. Speed ratings are established in kilometers per hour and subsequently converted to miles per hour (which explains why speed ratings appear established at "unusual" mile per hour increments). Despite the tire manufacturer's ability to manufacturer tires capable of high speeds, none of them recommend the use of their products in excess of legal speed limits. The maximum operating speed of a vehicle must be limited to the lowest speed rated tire on the vehicle.


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