Tyre Speed Rating Explained

Understanding tyre data can seem confusing at the best of times but at Protyre we are here to help!

 

Where to find the speed rating on a tyre


 
There is a wealth of information embossed on the sidewalls of your tyres, including the diameter of the wheel, the depth of the sidewall and the width of the tyre. There is also a speed rating, which is indicated by a single letter at the end.
 

But what is a tyre’s speed rating and why is it important?


The speed rating indicates the maximum speed at which the tyre can be safely driven. Speed ratings range from N (87 mph) up to Y (186 mph). High-performance supercars such as Ferraris and McLarens sometimes have Z-rated tyres, although these are very specialist. These speed ratings exist to ensure the safety of your tyres.

At higher speeds the wheels turn faster and more heat is generated. So, it’s important that the chosen tyre can cope with this extra heat, and running a tyre with too low a speed rating for the car risks the failure of the tyre at high speeds.

A tyre’s speed rating is the top speed it can maintain under its approved load capacity. For example, a tyre with a speed rating of ‘Y’ has a top speed of 186 mph.

Your tyre’s speed rating can be found in the tyre’s sidewall data and is always referenced in the form of a letter, usually after the wheel diameter. In the image below you can see the tyre has a diameter of 16 inches, a load rating of 87 and a speed rating of ‘V’.

For most modern cars, the tyre rating doesn’t reflect the actual speed that the vehicle is capable of. Most family cars will have a tyre speed rating that is much higher than the car’s maximum speed. For example, smaller city cars tend to have a T rating (118 mph); most common on family cars are H-rated (130 mph) and V-rated (149 mph) tyres.

Partly this is due to current fashion, as the trend for alloy wheels with low-profile tyres means that manufacturers tend to choose tyres for their aesthetics, so higher performance tyres are fitted. But partly this is due to safety, to ensure that the performance of the tyres always exceeds the performance of the car. A higher speed rating ensures that the tyre is able to cope with the loads imposed by acceleration, braking and high-speed cornering.

Speed ratings are measured from the results of tests carried out by engineers in 6.2 mph steps, at 10 minute increments until the desired speed has been met.


Tyre speed rating table

The table below displays a tyre’s maximum speed and its rating:
 

SPEED RATING MAX SPEED (mph) MAX SPEED (km/h)
B 31 50
C 37 60
D 40 65
E 43 70
F 50 80
G 56 90
J 62 100
K 68 110
L 75 120
M 81 130
N 87 140
P 93 150
Q 99 160
R 106 170
S 112 180
T 118 190
U 124 200
H 130 210
V 149 240
W 168 270
Y 186 300
ZR 150+ 240+
 

FAQs


Can I fit a higher or lower tyre speed rating?

When it comes to changing tyres, there is no problem with fitting new ones that have a higher speed rating than your existing tyres. However, you shouldn’t fit tyres with a lower speed rating than the manufacturer’s original fit, as this can invalidate your insurance.

Can I mix tyre speeds?

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What happens if my tyre speed is too low?

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Can I double check my tyre speed rating?

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Further questions?

If you have any questions please contact us or get in touch with your local Protyre garage.
 


 

Find the right tyres for your car

If you’re not sure of the rating of your current tyres, then your local Protyre garage should be able to advise you.

Alternatively, use Protyre's quick and easy tyre finder below. Simply enter your registration number and hit the 'Search' button. This will give you not only the tyre size but also show you a range of brands available at different price points. It will provide you with extra details about each tyre, including its ratings for fuel economy, wet weather grip and noise levels.



Find your local Protyre garage

There are more than 100 Protyre garages around the country, collectively fitting around a million tyres every year, so you can be confident in the expertise of your local garage.



 

About the author

David Sholicar

David is the National Retail Operations Manager for Protyre. One of David’s areas of responsibility and ...

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