Using Load Index & Load Range to Pick the Right Tires
When shopping for tires online, you’ll notice the terms load index, load range, and speed rating included within the technical specifications. (You can find these numbers and letters on your existing tires, located after the size of the tire.) Understanding the meaning of load index and load range can help you find the right tire for your vehicle and your needs. As always, the experts at Les Schwab can answer all of your questions about what tires are right for you, but in this quick article, we’ll cover some of the basics of these indicators.
The load index number stated on the sidewall indicates a tire’s carrying capacity. In this example, there are two numbers. The higher number (load index) is for single rear-wheel applications. The lower number is for dual-wheel applications. This indicates its load-carrying capacity when inflated to its maximum pressure. Remember, air pressure is what carries the load in a tire. You can find each tire’s carrying capacity with the chart below.
Load Range (Ply Rating)
On some tires, you’ll see a load range indicator on the sidewall, as shown here. The load range indicator and the ply rating are the same thing. This letter represents the load carrying strength, which is dictated by the tire construction. Load ranges are arranged in alphabetical order starting with the letter “A”. The ply ratings (load range) combined with the tire size tell you the tire load capacity.
The load range on replacement tires must meet or exceed the recommendation on your vehicle’s door placard or owner’s manual. It can be higher than recommended but never lower.
|LOAD RANGE||PLY RATING|
Les Schwab Tip: Some cars, including electric vehicles, may require tires with a higher load range due to weight with and without passengers.
We’re Your Tire Experts
If this seems confusing. Don’t worry. The pros at Les Schwab will show you all of your options, including the size, load range, and load index you need for work, weekends, or your daily commute.