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How to Find the Right Tyre

Find the size on your tyre

  • Look at the sidewall of any one of your tyres and make note of the numbers and letters on it.
  • The information will allow you to research tyres that fit your car.

What do these letters and numbers mean?

Tyre Width or Section Width

Width of the tyre (or thickness) in millimetres is measured from a tyre’s widest point of its outer sidewall to the widest point of its inner sidewall.

Aspect Ratio

Aspect ratio is the relationship between the tyre’s sidewall height and the tyre’s width. The lower the ratio, the smaller the sidewall height, which means better cornering, but a rougher ride.

Construction

This indicates the tyre’s internal construction. They can be “Radial” like most tyres, or D, for “Diagonal construction” or B, for “Belted”.*

Wheel Diameter

The number is in inches and indicates the diameter of the wheel on which the tyre is designed to fit.

Load Index

This indicates how much weight the tyre is certified to carry at maximum safe inflation. Numbers refer to a chart that specify the load capacity that the tyre can carry. For example 97 = 1,609 pounds.

Load index chart

LOAD INDEX lBS kg
71 761 345
72 783 355
73 805 365
74 827 375
75 853 387
76 882 400
77 908 412
78 937 425
79 936 437
80 992 450
81 1019 462
82 1047 475
83 1074 487
84 1102 500
85 1135 515
86 1168 530
87 1201 545
88 1235 560
89 1279 580
90 1323 600
LOAD INDEX lBS kg
91 1356 615
92 1389 630
93 1433 650
94 1477 670
95 1521 690
96 1565 710
97 1609 730
98 1653 750
99 1709 775
100 1764 800
101 1819 825
102 1874 850
103 1929 875
104 1984 900
105 2039 925
106 2094 950
107 2149 975
108 2205 1000
109 2271 1030
110 2337 1060

 

Speed Rating

This indicates the maximum safe speed at which a tyre is certified to carry a load under specified conditions. Speed ratings range from A (lowest) to Y (highest), with one exception: H falls between U and V. To find the maximum speed for your tyre, refer to the speed rating chart. Exceeding the lawful speed limit is neither recommended nor endorsed.

Speed rating chart

  MAXIMUM SPEED
L 75 mph 120 km/h
M 81 mph 130 km/h
N 87 mph 140 km/h
Q 99 mph 160 km/h
R 106 mph 170 km/h
S 112 mph 180 km/h
T 118 mph 190 km/h
U 124 mph 200 km/h
H 130 mph 210 km/h
V 149 mph 240 km/h
Z 149+ mph 240+ km/h
W 168 mph 270 km/h
Y 186 mph 300 km/h
(Y) 186+ mph 300+ km/h
  TYPE/VEHICULE TYPE
L Off-Road & Light Truck Tyres
M Temporary Spare Tyre
N Temporary Spare Tyres
Q Winter 4x4
R Heavy Duty Light Truck
S Family Sedans & Vans
T Family Sedans & Vans
U Sedans & Coupes
H Sport Sedans & Coupes
V Sport Cars
Z Sport Cars
W Exotic Sport Cars
Y Exotic Sport Cars
(Y) Exotic Sport Cars

Find your tyre size in your vehicle owner’s manual or on the inside of your car door

Find the information in your vehicle owner’s manual in the glove compartment or on the tyre information sticker on your driver’s side door. Usually those elements contain all the information relating to your tyre size and specifications, as well as the appropriate tyre pressure.

See the “Find the size on your tyre” tip above for a full description of the numbers and letters.

What are OE tyres?

OE stands for “Original Equipment”, meaning that the tyres were approved by your vehicle manufacturer to come standard on your vehicle.

Some vehicle manufacturers, such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes and others, equip their vehicles with tyres that are specifically made for their brand. These tyres have a special OE marking on the sidewall.

Table of OE markings by vehicle brand:

 = BMW, Mini
MO = Mercedes
AO = Audi
VO = Volkswagen
N0, N1, N2, N3, N4 = Porsche
MO1 = AMG
RO1 = QUATTRO

What should I think about when choosing a tyre?

Once you know what size tyres can fit your car, you need to be able to choose between the different types of tyres.
Tyres may look similar, but they can be optimised to perform for very different conditions and usages.

Think about the following things:

  1. What weather conditions do I drive in? What are the worst situations I may face?
  2. Where will I be driving? City streets, long motorways or forest tracks require different performance characteristics.
  3. What is your driving style: do you like to feel every curve or be cushioned from the road?

How can the labelling legislation help me choose?

Tyre labelling for passenger cars and light trucks will take effect from 1 November 2012 under European Regulation (EC) No. 1222/2009.
This new regulation will bring a major advance in consumer information on tyre safety (wet braking) and the tyre’s impact on the environment (rolling resistance and external noise).
The graphics on the label may be familiar as they are already used for household appliances and more recently for new cars, but what are the benefits for consumers?

Compare fuel economy

Use this diagram to see how a tyre performs on fuel consumption.
Fuel-efficiency is graded from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient).
Save up to £110 or 80 litres of fuel over the life of the tyres. That’s for a car fitted with four A-rated tyres driving at 50mph – it uses 7.5%1 less fuel than with G-rated tyres.
Results can vary with type of car or climatic conditions but the performance gaps are proven.

Compare braking on wet roads

This chart grades a tyre on how well it brakes in wet conditions. Performance scales from A (the safest, stopping in the shortest distances) down to G (least safe, with longest braking distances).
Stop up to 4 car lengths shorter. For a car fitted with four A-rated tyres driving at 50 mph, stopping distance can be up to 18 metres or 30%1 shorter than with G-rated tyres.

Compare external noise level

This diagram shows you a tyre’s noise level in decibels (dB). The 3-wave pictogram tells you how it rates in relation to future European mandatory limits. Tyre noise heard outside the car doesn’t necessarily relate to what you hear inside the car.
3 black waves = Noisier tyre. Level greater than the future limit but complies with today’s noise regulation
2 black waves = Average tyre. Noise level equal to or below future limit by up to 3 dB (A)
1 black wave = Low noise tyre. Noise level 3 dB (A) or more below future noise limit
3dB doesn’t sound much but it is actually double the noise level!

What else matters when choosing tyres?

Labelling is a good start, but 3 other performance factors are just as important for you:
Tyre longevity: a longer-lasting tyre can cost you less in the long run. The right tyre could give you more than a year of extra driving compared to another tyre.
Road handling performance: 25% of accidents2 are on bends.
Dry braking performance: 70% of accidents2 occur on dry roads.

Guess who makes tyres with all the performance that counts…

For over 120 years, our engineers have pioneered and perfected tyres that deliver on these important performance factors, as well as the 3 factors listed on the new labels. With Michelin, you can enjoy an excellent balance of performance– without compromise.

Want better fuel economy and safety from your tyres?

You have a role to play…
The tyres themselves are part of the story, but you as a driver can make a difference.
Eco-driving: go easy on the accelerator, and enjoy considerable fuel savings over time.
Right tyre pressure: check regularly to ensure minimal energy loss due to excessive rolling resistance, and optimum grip on wet roads.
Keep your distance: a safe driving distance behind the car in front reduces your risk of an accident.

 

1 - Performance measured in accordance with the testing methods set by Regulation CE 1222/2009. European Commission’s Impact Assessment SEC (2008) 2860.
2 - Verkehrsunfallforschung (VUFO) and Technical University of Dresden: 10,000 accidents analysed over 10 years.

How do I choose between versions of a tyre line?

Each of our tyre lines is made in a selection of sizes to fit appropriate vehicles.

Sometimes a tyre line will have several versions of the same tyre size but with different technical specifications such as speed ratings (i.e. S, T, H, V, W, Y, etc.), load index (i.e.: 91, 94, XL, etc.) or OE markings (designating that a version was specifically designed for a vehicle manufacturer, i.e.:   = BMW or Mini, MO = Mercedes, etc).
These technical specifications are important details that can determine whether or not that version is compatible with your vehicle and the way you drive.

If several versions are compatible with your vehicle, we recommend that you choose the version with the same specifications as your original equipment tyres.
You can also safely select a version with higher speed rating or load index; however, higher speed or load capability can negatively impact upon tread life and ride comfort.

Can I mix different types of tyres?

  • For maximum safety and best all-around performance, the same type of tyre should always be used on all four wheel positions.
  • Mixing tyres of different size designations, constructions and stages of wear may affect vehicle handling and stability.
  • The one exception to this rule are vehicles that were intentionally fitted by the vehicle manufacturer with different size tyres on the front and rear axles.

How to read speed ratings:

Tyre speed ratings range from A (the lowest) to Y (the highest).
However, the chart is not completely in alphabetical order. For example, H for high speed is between U and V.

Can I change my load capacity?

  • You can only mount a tyre of equivalent load or higher load than indicated for your vehicle.
  • The higher the tyre's load index number, the greater its load-carrying capacity. Typically, the load indexes of the tyres used on passenger cars and light commercial vehicles range from 70 to 130.

What information should I prepare before going?

The more prepared you are before coming to the dealer, the more assured you can be to find the right tyre for your driving needs and have confidence in your purchase.

First, make sure that you know what tyre size is compatible with your vehicle using our Tyre Selector tool, looking on your current tyres, or in your vehicle’s manual or tyre information door sticker.

Show me where

Next, think about what you need your tyres to be able to do for you: what weather or road conditions will you drive in, how you like to drive, etc.

See Define your needs

  • If you’ve done all of this using our Tyre Selector tool, you can easily print out your search information or send it to your mobile/e-mail. The information pack will have all the information on your search, your selected product and other compatible alternatives.

Five questions to ask the dealer

  1. What type of tyres do you recommend for my vehicle and my specific driving needs (weather conditions, types of roads, driving style, etc.)?
  2. For that type of tyre, what specific product do you recommend?
  3. Why do you recommend this tyre over others?
  4. Does its price include mounting and balancing?
  5. Are any other services included?

Keep in mind:

  • If a tyre that you’ve selected is not immediately available at your dealer, you can always ask them to order it. It may be available in just one or two days.
  • Remember that a good price is not always good value: a tyre that lasts longer, helps you to save on fuel and keeps you safe in every condition is better value in the long term.