Tyre speed ratings and load ratings are important aspects of your tyres’ capabilities that you should be aware of. What top speed can your tyres safely maintain? How much weight can they carry? Not only is this important for your safety, your insurance could be void if you’re not using the correct tyres.

Tyre speed rating

The tyre speed rating refers to the maximum speed a tyre can safely maintain when carrying its maximum load. It’s indicated by a letter which corresponds with the maximum speed. See the table below.

Speed SymbolMax Speed (km/h)Speed SymbolMax Speed (km/h)Speed SymbolMax Speed (km/h)

Where do I find my tyre speed rating?

Every tyre has a series of letters and numbers printed on its sidewall. In most cases, the symbol for the tyre speed rating can be found at the end of this series, immediately after a number representing the maximum load rating. We’ve broken down this series of numbers and letters so you know precisely what it all means.

The tyre speed rating for your car can be found in the owner’s manual or the driver’s door jamb.

Remember – you can use tyres with a higher speed rating than the rating found in the manual or the door jamb. It could even improve cornering ability and braking power. But NEVER use tyres that have a lower speed rating than that stipulated in the manual or the door jamb, this will also make the vehicle unroadworthy.

Can I mix tyres with different speed ratings?

We don’t recommend mixing tyres with different speed ratings. When you replace a tyre, the new one should have the same speed rating than the ones already installed.

Tyre load rating

The tyre load rating refers to the maximum weight a tyre can carry. The higher the weight, the stronger the tyre. Here are the symbols and their corresponding weight limits.

Load IndexMax Load (kg)Load IndexMax Load (kg)

Why is tyre load rating important?

Tyre load ratings are there to make sure that the correct tyres are installed for a given purpose. Overloaded tyres are dangerous; they operate under lower pressure, increasing friction, wear, internal heat and the possibility of blowouts. Dangerous for the driver and anyone around when disaster strikes.

Can I have tyres with mixed load ratings?

We don’t recommend this. It could lead to uneven tread wear and poor handling – dangerous at the best of time, but particularly so when under load.

The only time mixed load ratings are okay is when they are all above the minimum rating recommended by the manufacturer. In this case, the lowest-rated tyre is the limit to be used across all tyres.

Get your tyres fitted by professionals

There are different tyres for different purposes and conditions. They’re all tested under lab conditions to determine what top speed they can safely travel at and what weight they can safely bear. To make sure you have the right tyres for your needs, drop in to Eastern Tyre Centre. We have the knowledge and the range to make sure you are properly and safely kitted out.