Reading Your Tires Sidewall

Reading Your Tires Sidewall

Got the best set of tires from our online wheels store? Understand some of the information you could see on this article.

Some information you may find on your tires sidewalls are somewhat a confusing combination of numbers and letters, but remember that these information are helpful on understanding your tires well. You take a look on the numbers and characters put on the sidewalls, and this will be an advantageous thing for sure. Some information included on the description on the sidewall for your tires are construction, size, the type of the tire, as well as other features. If you are knowledgeable about how you could read these details, you will be confident enough when describing the type of tires you own.

Sidewall of a P-Metric Tire

P-Metric Sidewall Codes

The tire you have is a P-Metric sized tire if the description begins with letter “P”. It is mentioned to be originated in the US, around late 1970s.
On the given example or picture above, the first character designates the tire class.

  • “P” was labeled to show identification for P-metric tires made by the US standards
  • Another description is “LT” which is known as a label for light truck tires. It is not constructed within the group of P-metric, but they are also made by US standards.
  • If there’s no letter indicated at the beginning, it means that it is a Euro-metric type of tires.

After understanding the tire class, the next number described is also known as the “Section width”. This is a measurement used for describing the size in millimeters from sidewall to sidewall.

  • This “section width” is generally composed of 3 digits
  • On the example given, the section width is 205

After finding the aspect ratio follows the tire construction. It refers to the composition of the tires.

  • “R” means that the tire is using a radial construction
  • “ D” means that the tire is using a diagonal bias construction

The next number described after the section width is called as the “aspect ratio” . It is designated to the height of the sidewall in a percentage of the section width.

  • You could find the aspect ratio by getting the two numbers after the slash mark
  • In the example given, the aspect ratio is 55

The last two numbers after the aspect ratio is called as the wheel diameter. It refers to the diameter of the wheel used of which this could be mounted on. On the example given, the diameter is 16, which means that a 16-inch wheel will fit.

High Flotation Tire Codes

Light trucks has a slightly different features on the codes mentioned on the sidewall.


The high flotation codes on the sidewall of the light trucks start with the tire’s diameter, also the height in inches of a tire mentioned.
  • It is a two digit number on the beginning
  • On the example given, 35 is the diameter

Next set of numbers will be referring to tire width in inches.
  • It’s a three to four numbers that has a decimal point
  • On the example given, the tire width is 12.50 inches.

After the tire width is the tire construction.
  • “R” means it uses a radial construction
  • “D” means it uses a diagonal bias construction


After getting the tire construction, the tire’s wheel diameter is described. This refers to the measurement of the rim’s diameter on which could be installed. On the example given, the wheel diameter is 17 inches, meaning this will be fitted for 17-inches wheel.
To summarize the description of the flotation codes, this would give you the load range, which is referring to the capacity of the tires on holding the air and capacity to hold on its weight.
  • It is usually represented by a letter.
  • On the given example, load range is E.
Also take note that there are some more sidewall markings like speed rating and many more that would be helpful for most car owners to understand. It is all good that all car enthusiasts know how to read this information for you to be more reliable.