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.


Load Index

Photo showing where you can find the load index on the side of a tire.

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
INDEX
LOAD
(lbs)
LOAD
INDEX
LOAD
(lbs)
LOAD
INDEX
LOAD
(lbs)
65 639 94 1477 123 3417
66 661 95 1521 124 3527
67 677 96 1565 125 3638
68 694 97 1609 126 3748
69 716 98 1653 127 3858
70 739 99 1709 128 3968
71 761 100 1764 129 4079
72 783 101 819 130 4189
73 805 102 1874 131 4299
74 827 103 1929 132 4409
75 853 104 1984 133 4541
76 882 105 2039 134 4674
77 908 106 2094 135 4806
78 937 107 2149 136 4938
79 963 108 2205 137 5071
80 992 109 2271 138 5203
81 1019 110 2337 139 5357
82 1047 111 2403 140 5512
83 1074 112 2469 141 5677
84 1102 113 2535 142 5842
85 1135 114 2601 143 6008
86 1168 115 2679 144 6173
87 1201 116 2756 145 6393
88 1235 117 2833 146 6614
89 1279 118 2910 147 6779
90 1323 119 2998 148 6944
91 1356 120 3086 149 7165
92 1389 121 3197 150 7385
93 1433 122 3307    


Load Range (Ply Rating)

Photo showing where you can find the load range on the side of a tire.

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
A 2
B 4
C 6
D 8
E 10
F 12

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.