Buying Tires Based on Speed Rating

For those into car tuning, besides having a car that looks great, top performance and safety are also important attributes. One of the most important parts of your car is your tires. While the tire is an obvious component of any vehicle, when you think about the fact that all that touches the pavement from your vehicle at any given time is a few inches of rubber- the tire seems like it never is given enough credit.

Since tires are one of the most important components of a well tuned car, choosing the right tire for your vehicle is essential. While a given vehicle can usually safely utilize several different sizes whether it is diameter or width, speed rating is an important and obvious feature. Here are some tips on choosing tires for your car based on speed rating.

Knowing the Speed Rating of Your Tire

On the side of your tire, there will generally be a mix of numbers and letters to let you know the exact specifications of a tire (For instance: P215/65R14 95H). The speed rating will be listed as the letter in the second group (95H). As you can see from the speed rating list below an H rating is good for speeds up to 130 mph which is perfect for practically all passenger cars.

General Tire Speed Ratings
Q- Up to 100mph
R- Up to 106mph
S- Up to 112mph
T- Up to 118mph
U- Up to 124mph
H- Up to 130mph
V- Up to 149mph
W- Up to 168mph
Y- Up to 186mph
Z- 149mph and over

For those looking to get the most performance possible and that take your vehicle on the track, you may want tires that exceed the normal limit for speed. Many tuners choose tires with a speed rating of Z (149 mph and over) and some tires that are considered exotic are sold with speed ratings of V, W and Y.

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  1. It’s good to talk about speed ratings when you’re buying a tire, but it’s important to note that nearly all high-speed tires have “summer” tread. If you live in a place with a real winter, you might have to buy a second set of tires for part of the year.

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