Tyre Load Ratings Explained

The majority of motorists never stop to think about the load rating of their tyres - in fact, most drivers probably aren’t even aware that there is a defined load rating for every vehicle tyre.


The majority of motorists never stop to think about the load rating of their tyres - in fact, most drivers probably aren’t even aware that there is a defined load rating for every vehicle tyre. You wouldn’t attempt to fit a tyre of the wrong size or type for your vehicle, but it’s equally as important to be aware of your car manufacturer’s recommendations and adhere strictly to any load ratings as set out in your vehicle’s handbook.


What Is a Tyre Load Index? 

A tyre’s load index gives the maximum amount of weight that each individual tyre can carry. Usually considered in combination with a tyre’s speed index, the rule of thumb is that tyres with a higher load index number are capable of carrying a heavier load capacity than those with a lower number.
 
It’s absolutely crucial to the safety of your driving experience that you select a tyre with an appropriate load rating for your vehicle’s needs. If in any doubt at all, always go for a higher load rating than you need, as this won’t cause any harm to your vehicle. However, it’s very important not to go lower than your vehicle’s recommended load rating, as this could compromise your vehicle’s safety and could even invalidate your vehicle’s insurance policy, leading to potentially crippling costs in the event of an accident.

 

The load index is marked on each individual tyre’s sidewall as part of the series of letters and numbers that denote its statistics.
 
As an example, for a tyre with the markings 205/55/R16/ 91V, 205 denotes the width of the tyre in millimetres, 55 denotes the tyre’s aspect ratio, which is the sidewall’s height given as a percentage of the width, R16 specifies that it is a radial tyre with an inside diameter of 16 inches and 91V indicates the load index.

Below you’ll find a conversion table that tells you what each load rating number means, and in this case the 91 shows that the tyre’s load is 615 kg.
 
Load Index Load (kg) Load Index Load (kg) Load Index Load (kg)
62 265 84 500 106 950
63 272 85 515 107 975
64 280 86 530 108 1000
65 290 87 545 109 1030
66 300 88 560 110 1060
67 307 89 580 111 1090
68 315 90 600 112 1120
69 325 91 615 113 1150
70 335 92 630 114 1180
71 345 93 650 115 1215
72 355 94 670 116 1250
73 365 95 690 117 1285
74 375 96 710 118 1320
75 387 97 730 119 1360
76 400 98 750 120 1400
77 412 99 775 121 1450
78 425 100 800 122 1500
79 437 101 825 123 1550
80 450 102 850 124 1600
81 462 103 875 125 1650
82 475 104 900 126 1700
83 487 105 925    
 
Why the Load Index of a Tyre Is So Important Subjecting a tyre to weight levels that it has not been designed for has serious implications for the continuing stability of that tyre. Subjecting your vehicle’s tyres to weights that they have not been designed to cope with creates great stress on the tyres, creating excessive heat build-up which will eventually compromise its integrity, with potentially catastrophic results. This can be compounded even further where the tyre pressure is incorrect.
 
The tyre’s load index becomes even more important whenever you are towing a caravan or trailer or when travelling off-road, which places further strain on the tyre’s structures. Off-roaders should always be aware of the need to ensure that their tyres are correctly inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressures when returning to on-road driving to prevent premature wear and damage.
 
At Protyre we are happy to discuss your requirements and suggest suitable tyres for your needs from our extensive range, which includes all the major brands, including Pirelli and Bridgestone.

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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