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Identifying your 4x4 tyre

Choosing a tyre for your 4x4 has never been easier; follow the guides below to find out the basics of finding your tyre size and what 4x4 tyre is best for you. With the new EU tyre labelling choosing a tyre is simpler than ever.


How to find my 4x4 tyre size

You can find your tyre size moulded into the side wall of your tyre, sometimes the tyre size can also be found in the owner’s handbook however we always recommend to check the tyres that are fitted to the vehicle as this could have easily been changed. It's important to check both front and rear tyres as sizes can be different. The tyre size specifies the dimensions of the tyre.

Tyre sizes have grown in complexity over the years; there are two types of tyre measurements and codes that could be moulded on your tyre side wall. Most tyres sizes are given using the Metric sizing system which is measured in millimetres, however the Imperial sizing system is also often used which is measured in inches. It is actually very simple, please see the breakdown below which indicate both imperial and metric tyre sizes and what they mean.

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Metric tyre sizes

Metric tyre sizes are measured by millimetres (mm).

 Metric Tyre Size

Width - The width of the tyre in millimetres.
Profile - The height of the tyre sidewall as a percentage of the tyre width.
Rim Size - The diameter of the tyres inner rim, in inches.
Speed Rating - The maximum recommended speed for the tyre at full load.

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Imperial tyre sizes

Imperial tyre sizes are measured in inches and are often found on off road vehicles.

 Imperial Tyre Size

Diameter - The overall diameter of the tyre in inches.
Width - The height of the tyre sidewall as a percentage of the tyre width.
Rim Size - The diameter of the tyres inner rim, in inches.
Speed Rating - The maximum recommended speed for the tyre at full load.

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Tyre load index

Tyres are specified by the manufacturer with a maximum load rating. Loads exceeding the rating can result in unsafe conditions that can lead to steering instability and even a puncture.

The tyre load rating indicates the maximum weight each tyre is able to carry.

The load rating of a tyre is usually found after the diameter reading and before the speed rating on the sidewall marking.

The table below shows the weight capacity in kilograms of each load rating.

Load Index

Load in kg

 

Load Index

Load in kg

 

Load Index

Load in kg

62

265

 

84

500

 

106

950

63

272

 

85

515

 

107

975

64

280

 

86

530

 

108

1000

65

290

 

87

545

 

109

1030

66

300

 

88

560

 

110

1060

67

307

 

89

580

 

111

1090

68

315

 

90

600

 

112

1120

69

325

 

91

615

 

113

1150

70

335

 

92

630

 

114

1180

71

345

 

93

650

 

115

1215

72

355

 

94

670

 

116

1250

73

365

 

95

690

 

117

1285

74

375

 

96

710

 

118

1320

75

387

 

97

730

 

119

1360

76

400

 

98

750

 

120

1400

77

412

 

99

775

 

121

1450

78

425

 

100

800

 

122

1500

79

437

 

101

825

 

123

1550

80

450

 

102

850

 

124

1600

81

462

 

103

875

 

125

1650

82

475

 

104

900

 

126

1700

83

487

 

105

925

     

 

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Tyre speed ratings

The speed rating denotes the maximum speed at which a tyre is designed to be operated. These ratings range from 100 to 200 mph (160 to 300 km/h).

The speed rating of a tyre is indicated by a letter at the end of the tyre size on the sidewall of the tyre usually next to the load index.

For example a tyre with a speed rating of "S" can reach speeds of up to 112mph.

A tyre's speed rating is the result of specific tests ran by engineers. These involve running the tyre at 6.2mph steps in ten minute increments until the required speed has been met.

If your vehicle is fitted with a 4x4 tyre with a lower speed rating than is appropriate for your vehicle you could invalidate your insurance, therefore it is essential you check your vehicles speed rating before purchasing new tyres.

The table below shows the maximum speed in mph & km/h of each speed rating letter.

Speed Rating Letter

N

P

Q
R
S
T
U
H
V
Z
W
Y

Miles per hour (MPH)

87

93

99
106
112
118
124
130
149
150+
168
186

Kilometres per hour (KM/H)

140

150

160
170
180
190
200
210
240
240+
270
300

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What is EU Tyre Labelling?

EU Tyre LabelNew European regulations passed on 1st November 2012 states all tyres must be labelled on their performance on wet roads, fuel economy, rolling distance and road noise.

The new tyre labels are very easy to read, they have the same colour coding letter rating system as white goods i.e. washing machines and fridges.

Tyres are rated on a scale of A-G, A being the best. This is great news for consumers as you can now make an informed choice through performance rating.

New regulations around tyre performance labelling helps you make an informed tyre choice, it's never been easier!

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When should i replace my 4x4 tyres?

Tread depth must be no less than 1.6mm and all drivers must know how to check their tyres correctly. It is illegal to drive if your tread depth is less than 1.6mm and you could receive a fine and penalty points.
Checking tread depth is easy. You can use a 20p coin as the rim of it measures 1.6mm. Place the coin inside the tread groove and if the tyre covers the coins outer rim, your tread is ok.
For a more accurate reading, you could invest in a tyre depth gauge.
You should also replace your tyres if

  • there are any bald patches
  • bulges are visible from the sidewall
  • the internal construction can be seen
  • it differs in size to the one on the opposite axel
  • or if you can see any cracks, splits or perished rubber

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What tyre is best for me?

All Season (AS)

The All Season tire classification is a compromise between use on dry and wet roads. The type of rubber and the tread pattern best suited for use under summer conditions cannot, for technical reasons, give good performance on snow and ice. The all-season tyre is designed much for day to day road use.

All Terrain (AT)

All terrain tyres are typically used on Pickups, SUVs and light comercial vehicles. These tyres often have stronger sidewalls for greater resistance against puncture when traveling off-road, the tread pattern offers wider spacing than all season tires to remove mud from the tread. Many tyres in the all terrain category are designed primarily for on-road use but if you wish to venture off track the tyres will be man enough for the job.

Mud Terrain (MT)

Mud terrain tyres are typically used on off-road 4x4 vehicles, they have a much larger spacing than all terrain tyres in the tread of the tyre to grip on difficult terrains like mud, snow and sand. When used on a the road surface mud terrain tyres can be significantly loader and wear much faster on road compared to an all season or all terrain tyre.

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My 4x4 tyre is not listed.

Your tyre size is specifically required when ordering 4x4 tyres with RoughTrax, if you are unsure what size tyre you have or your tyre is not listed please contact RoughTrax by email info@roughtrax4x4.com or telephone +44(0)117 986 9065 and we will be happy to assist you with any tyre queries you may have.

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Legal Tyre Requirements

The law on tyres in the UK is comprehensive for good reason. Tyres ultimately mean safety. Driving with worn or damaged tyres drastically increases the risk of an accident. You could face a steep fine and 3 points per tyre on your driving license if you drive with damaged or worn tyres.

The legal limit of a tread depth for your tyre is 1.6 mm around the whole tyre. Checking the tread depth is easy, many tyres have tread wear indicators. These indicators are small raised areas at the bottom of the grooves. If the surface of the tread rubber is level with these raised areas then the tyre depth is most likely very close to the legal limit, or below it!

You can also use a 20p coin to measure tread depth. Simply insert a 20p coin into the lowest tread depth of your tyres. If you can see the outer rim of the coin, your tyre depth is less than 3mm and you should consider replacing that tyre. Specialist tyre depth gauges are also widely available from most car shops, so you can ensure you keep on the right side of the law and more importantly, you can keep safe!

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