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How Do I Find the Right-Size Tires?

How Do I Find the Right-Size Tires?

There are several ways to find out which tire size is right for your vehicle.

You can search by vehicle or by tire size. To search by vehicle, simply enter the make, model and year of your vehicle in our Tire Finder. To search by size, enter your vehicle's current tire size or the size you're looking for in our Tire Finder.

To look for the tire size in your vehicle, check the driver's-side door placard or the vehicle owner's manual. If you find more than one size listed, you should look on the sidewall of your tire, instead. Always shop for tires that have the same or higher speed rating and load index.

How to Determine Your Vehicle's Tire Size

Tires sizes are a combination of many different variables: the actual size in width, height and diameter, and then the ratings related to load-carrying capacity and speed-handling ability. Look in your vehicle's owner's manual to find the correct tire size, or check the metal tag often found inside the driver's door jamb, glove-compartment door or fuel hatch. If you find more than one size listed, you should look on the sidewall of your tire instead.

How to Read the Sidewall of a Tire

The "P" designates passenger or performance tires. "LT" designates light-truck tires.
 

Aspect Ratio

This number tells you how tall your tire is. The bigger the number, the taller the tire. Typically, the lower the aspect ratio, the higher performance the tire. An all-season passenger tire will typically have an aspect ratio between 65 and 80. It is expressed as a percentage of the height divided by the width (75%, 70%, 65%), and is commonly referred to as the tire series (75, 70, 65).

Load Index

The load index refers to how much weight a tire can carry. If your tire has a load index of 82, locate that number on the chart below and look to the right of it under load (lbs.) to see that it can support 1,047 lbs. at maximum air pressure. Multiply that by four to get your maximum load-carrying capacity. It is not a good idea to install tires with a lower load index than the factory tires that came on your vehicle.

Speed Rating

The U.S. government issues each tire a speed rating based on how well it reaches and sustains a specific speed. A higher speed rating generally means that the tire will provide better handling.

Things to think about when looking at speed ratings:
 

  • Downgrading the speed rating of your tires may result in poor handling and unpredictable steering. If you're looking for better cornering response, install a higher speed-rated tire on your vehicle.
  • Never mix and match tires with different speed ratings on your vehicle. This will cause serious handling problems.

Temperature Grade

This represents a tire's resistance to heat when tested under controlled test conditions. The grades from highest to lowest are "A," "B" and "C." All three grades pass the federal safety standard. "A" is the coolest running tire, "B" runs warmer and "C" just meets the minimum performance requirements, but by no means is unsafe.

Traction Grade

This represents the tire's ability to stop on wet pavement as measured under controlled conditions on asphalt and concrete test services. The grades from highest to lowest are "AA," "A," "B" and "C." These grades do not take into consideration the cornering or turning performance of a tire.

Treadwear Grade

This is a comparative rating based on the wear of a tire when tested carefully under controlled conditions. This tire grade is useful only when comparing tires made by the same manufacturer. For example, a tire graded 300 should have its useful tread last twice as long as a tire graded 150.

Another manufacturer may have a different number system, so a different brand tire graded 500 isn't necessarily better than the 300 of a different brand.

Uniform Tire Quality Grading System (UTQGS)

The U.S. government has established the Uniform Tire Quality Grading System (UTQGS) to help you in deciding which tires you want to purchase. Understand that it is a relative comparison system, not a safety rating and not a guarantee that a tire will last for a prescribed number of miles. Under UTQGS, tires are graded by manufacturers in three areas: treadwear, traction and temperature.

When purchasing tires, this information can be found on the paper label on the tread and on the tire's sidewall.

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Important Walmart Safety Disclaimer: Proper service and repair procedures are vital to the safe, reliable operation of all motor vehicles as well as the personal safety of those performing the repairs as well as those riding in the motor vehicles. Standard safety procedures and precautions (including use of safety goggles and proper tools and equipment) should be followed at all times to eliminate the possibility of personal injury or improper service which could damage the vehicle or compromise its safety. Although this material has been prepared with the intent to provide reliable information, no warranty (express or implied) is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Neither is any liability assumed for loss or damage resulting from reliance on this material.