When you think of tyres reading, two thoughts come to mind. The first is that it’s too complicated for your average car owner to get their heads around, and the second is that it probably involves lots of highly technical jargon. However, neither idea could be further from the truth! We’ll look at tyre reading in more detail in this article and highlight what all those numbers mean. We’ll also take a look at why tyre reading is a necessary process and what you stand to gain by taking part in this procedure as part of your vehicle servicing routine.
If you’re not quite sure why we even bother to measure our tyres in the first place (and precisely what they’re counting), here’s a brief explanation: Tyres are essentially rubber, inflated to a pressure that will keep you moving safely along the road. Suppose your tyre pressure is low (by accident or on purpose!). In that case, it can lead to issues like poor fuel efficiency, excessive wear on your tyres, problems with steering or braking effectiveness, and in some cases, even damage to brake discs.
If there’s one thing that never gets any less complicated, it’s the sheer number of different tyres Reading options out there! However, they don’t need to be difficult to understand once you know what you’re looking for.
Here are some examples so that you can get a feel for what all those numbers mean:
This is any combination of numbers and letters that denotes your tires’ size. One hundred eighty-five stands for ‘width in mm (185mm), 65 is the aspect ratio (height to width) and 15 means that this tyre has a wheel rim that’s 15 inches across. Putting all these together gives us tyres that are 185mm wide with an aspect ratio of 65% and have a wheel rim diameter of 15 inches.
Many people think that the tyre size measures how much air goes into the tyres. This isn’t entirely true – it’s more to do with width and height measurements, as shown in this example. In this case, we’ve got 220mm wide tyres at 50% aspect ratio (width vs sidewall height) with 17-inch rims.
What you have here is a set of different measurements, all relating to the tyre’s construction and how it makes use of available space on your wheel rim. First off, we have set a sidewall height at 65%. After that, we show an ’89’, which tells us the load index for these tyres – meaning they can handle up to 615 kg before rolling over. Then at the end, we have ‘H’ which means this tyre has a radial construction (as opposed to bias-belted or cross-ply tyres, for example).
These are just three examples of all the different ways that tyre manufacturers can express their sizes. As you’ll see, it’s anything but complicated! If you’re not sure about your tyre size, you should view it on the sidewall of one of your tyres. Sometimes it will be difficult to read so you might need someone to help you by pointing out where it is if you cannot find it yourself…
Measuring our tyre pressure and reading our tyre treads is so crucial because it can help us find out if anything is wrong with the way our tyres are configured. If you notice any of these issues, don’t hesitate to bring your car down to your local mechanic for them to take a look…
- Tyres which wear unevenly (you’ll often see this on one side or corner more than anywhere else)
- Uneven tyre pressures – either side-to-side or front-to-back
If the latter sounds confusing,
let’s explain: Different cars have different pressure requirements depending on weight distribution and how much stress is being put on specific areas of the suspension system. To ensure your car stays in good condition for as long as, have your Continental Tyres Reading checked every time you bring your car in for servicing.
Your local mechanic can help you figure out what tyre pressures are correct for your vehicle and will also be able to let you know if the tread depth on any of your tyres is below what’s recommended for safe driving. You can find all this information on the sidewall of one of your tyres, so check it now and again.
Just remember that reducing tread wear makes it easier for wet weather roads to become flooded with water (which is very dangerous).
Try to keep at least 1-2mm of tread depth across all four tires to stay safe. This can mean replacing them before their expected expiry date but don’t worry – they’re not expensive! It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
OK – so now you know how to read your tyre sidewall and measure your tyre pressure! Good for you – we knew it wouldn’t be too complicated. You might not realise this but understanding your car’s measurements is one of the most important things that any driver can know.
So next time you’re at a service station, take some time out to check your tyres and get them looking good for spring ! Getting great new tyres on the correct rims could help improve both their longevity and performance, which would be great news for everyone concerned.
No matter what kind of car you drive, there are plenty of ways that new tyres can make an immediate difference to things like steering, cornering ability, grip levels and braking performance. Tyre technology has advanced in leaps and bounds in the last few years, and if you’re looking to get better handling and stopping power, then there’s no time like the present!
Just remember: Learning how to read your tyre sidewall will help keep you safe, so it’s worth taking a bit of time out to familiarise yourself with at least some of these measurements. It’s not as hard as you think…
As always, thanks for reading and be sure to check back next week when we’ll have another great article for you about tyres! Now that you know all about tyre sidewalls, stay tuned to hear about alloy wheels! They’re a vital part of customising any car – yes, even yours!