What Does W Speed Rating Mean on Tyres?

By David Sholicar

Have you ever noticed the series of numbers and letters on the side of your tyre wall? Did you know that this tells you specific details about the speeds that your tyres are able to handle?

Speed Rating on Tyres

There is a wide range of ratings for tyres but here we will be focusing on one particular tyre rating, W.

Why do tyres have speed ratings?

So, what does tyre rating W mean? Essentially, it means that your tyres will be able to handle a specific maximum speed while carrying a load. Typically, tyres with a W rating can handle a maximum speed of 168 mph. However, it is important to keep in mind that your tyre rating does not necessarily indicate the top speed that your vehicle is cable of reaching. Vehicle manufacturers specify higher ratings to stay safely within the capabilities of the tyres.

How do I find a tyre's speed rating?

To find the speed rating on your tyre, you should have a look at the sidewall of the wheel. There is a series of numbers and digits that precede the speed rating. These may seem confusing at first, however, knowing what each series of numbers means makes it easier to decipher. The first series of digits indicate the width of the tyre. Next is your tyre height, followed by the aspect ratio of your tyres, rim size, and load capacity. Finally, you will find a letter that indicates your tyre's speed rating. Your speed rating may also be found in your owner's manual.

speed ratings

Who should choose these types of tyres?

There are a wide variety of tyre ratings that typically range from L - Z. Our tyre professionals will confirm that the law requires you to fit tyres with a minimum speed rating of that given by the manufacturer. The higher rated tyres, specifically W rated tyres, tend to be required on high-performance sports cars. So, what does tyre rating W mean? It means that you have a car that is capable of driving safely at high speeds up to 168 mph.

Still a little unsure? Let the professionals help...
Protyre offer Free tyre Checks at all of our garages where our expert technicians will be able to advise on the most suitable tyres for your vehicle and driving style. Click the button below to book:

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Why is it important to fit the right tyres on your car?

Your car tyres are designed to handle a range of fairly extreme forces and, as such, are integral to the performance, handling and safety of the vehicle. Tyres with a W speed rating will have a very different construction to those designed for a small family hatchback. Not only this, but the law requires it and you may face a stiff penalty and points on your licence if you attempt the false economy of lower rated tyres.
Similarly, fitting tyres of the incorrect speed rating may invalidate your insurance.
If you need help choosing the right tyres for your vehicle, why not take a look at the tyre search function on our website where you will find tyres from leading brands including Pirelli, Falken and Bridgestone, all at highly competitive prices. Alternatively, you can always head to your nearest Protyre garage for a free-of-charge tyre check.

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About the author

Article Author Photo
By David Sholicar
David is the National Retail Operations Manager for Protyre. One of David’s areas of responsibility and expertise is dealing with the DVSA and MOT’s for Protyre. As the Authorised Examiner Designate Manager ( AEDM ) David deals with applications for changes to the many Vehicle Testing Stations ( VTS’s) including managing the growth of the Number of MOT testing stations that Protyre operate, allocating MOT tester roles, and monitoring the MOT Test logs to ensure that Protyre MOT standards are maintained as the best in the industry.
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