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Speed rating for tyres

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205 / 55 R15

How to choose tyres by the speed rating

One of the main parameters that should be considered when choosing tyres, is the speed rating – it indicates the speed at which the tyre is capable of withstanding its allowable load. It is marked with Latin letters on the tyre sidewall. This marking is located near the number that indicates the load rating. In this article, we tell you what these markings stand for. Choose the speed rating in accordance with the operating conditions of your vehicle.

Tyre speed ratings
Speed rating Speed, km/h
Z, ZR> 240

Also commercially available are tyres with other speed ratings. For instance, the products marked with B, D, E, F, and G can be used at speeds from 50 to 90 km/h. Usually, these tyres are mounted on special vehicles.

Differences in the speed rating for winter and summer tyres

Generally, winter tyres are designed for calmer driving: slippery and ice-covered roads are not suitable for racing. In most cases, such tyres have the R, S, or T rating. The Q-rated products can be seen less often. More expensive tyres can bear the H rating.

Summer tyres are designed for higher speeds, and, as a rule, have the H, V, W, or Y rating. However, there are tyres rated S, T, or even Q. Usually, they are installed on SUVs, where the load rating is more important than the speed rating.

Also, there is a direct connection between the speed rating of tyres and their sidewall height. The higher it is, the lower is the speed the tyre is designed for. This can be easily explained by the fact that higher sidewalls are more prone to deformation so they are not suitable for high-speed driving.

4 tips for choosing and using tyres

  1. When buying summer tyres you should opt for the ones with the same speed rating as that of your standard tyres, or higher. As for winter tyres, it’s allowed to choose the ones with a speed rating lower than your vehicle’s maximum speed.
  2. If you choose tyres with a lower speed rating than that of your standard tyres, consider that it should be about 15% higher than the speed you usually drive at. If you have such tyres installed, take into account: in some countries a sticker with the speed rating of the tyres should be located within driver’s field of vision. Never go over this speed limit.
  3. It isn’t worthwhile buying tyres with an excessively high speed rating. Usually they are harder than standard ones, which can impair the driving comfort.
  4. The tyres on the same axle should have the same speed rating. Tyres designed for high speeds are made of a harder rubber compound. Difference in the stiffness of the tyres can result in impaired vehicle steerability. The car starts to pull to one side.

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