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Tire Basics

Tire Basics Article

Being your source for all things truck, is expanding our product lines to be the place for your tire and wheel needs. From badass, knobbly off-road shoes for your trail rig to directional rubber bands for your street cruiser, we've got you covered.

But do you know enough about tires to make an informed decision? To help you out, we placed a Tire Selector to narrow down your search for the perfect tire by width, ratio and size. At Stylin', we know it pays to have knowledge. So here’s some basics.

Tire Classes

Passenger Tires: Passenger tires are designed with decent all-around characteristics. They can handle a bit of snow, rain and are quiet enough on the road. Also, these tires feature a tread design and a rubber compound that gives you the most longevity for your money. Passenger tires feature a tread pattern that is omnidirectional, meaning it doesn't matter which direction the tires spin in. If it'll roll, you can go.

Performance Tires: Performance tires are designed to have better handling and/or handle more speed. The better handling and speed characteristics come from the specialty tread pattern and a softer tread compound. Performance tires feature a tread pattern that is directional, meaning that the tires are designed specifically to roll in one direction. This allows the tire engineers to shape the tire and treads for maximum grip and maximum handling.

Also, the Tread Compound, or rubber mixture, on performance tires is softer than on passenger tires. This softer tread compound grabs the road better, giving you increased handling and better traction. The drawback is that this softer compound also wears down quicker. So you get better handling and traction, but less mileage from the tire.

Competition/Racing Tires: Competition Tires are dedicated track-only tires designed for optimum performance. Some are federally approved (read: legal for the street) but they don't have much tread life and are no good in any kind of rain or snow. Save these shoes for autocross or road racing.

Light Truck: Light truck tires are those designed for most consumer (non-commercial duty) trucks on the road today. They are manufactured with more plys, or layers, than passenger car tires, typically 4-ply or 6-ply (depending on the Load Range, see below.) They are designed to handle more weight so your truck can actually be used as a truck.

Speed Ratings
This gives a measure of how much speed the tire can handle for a given testing period (usually 10 minutes) without becoming damaged.

Symbol Speed MPH (KPH)
Q 99 (160)
R 106 (170)
S 112 (180)
T 118 (190)
U 124 (200)
H 130 (210)
V 149 (240)
W 168 (270)
Y 186 (300)
(Y) 186+ (300+)

(UTQG) Universal Tire Quality Grade
Every tire made for the road has a Universal Tire Quality Grade (UTQG) rating. Tires are assessed in three categories – treadwear, traction, and temperature – allowing a comparison between brands and models of the same size.

Treadwear Rating: This rating referrs to the potential tread life of the tire. Tires with a higher treadwear rating tend to last longer.

Traction Rating: This records the tire's traction and skid performance on concrete and asphalt as well as wet and slick conditions. The highest grade is AA and the lowest grade is C.

Temperature Rating: This measures the tire’s ability to generate or dissipate heat. If the tire is unable to dissipate or minimize the heat effectively, it diminishes the tire’s ability to run at high speeds. The highest rating is A (more than 115 mph) and the lowest is C (between 85 and 100 mph.)

Tire Size:
Usually, the size of your truck tires will be marked on the tire sidewall, for example: LT215/60R17. So what does it all mean:

LT: "LT" which indicates it is a Light Truck tire, or "P" for a passenger rated tire.

215: The first three numbers are a measurement in milimeters of the width of the tire.

50: The sidewall height representing a percentage compared to the tire width. A rating of 50 means that the sidewall measurement is equal to half or 50% of the tire width.

R: The "R" stands for radial construction. Most tires are radials.

17: Identifies the wheel diameter in inches.


Load Range
This deals with truck tires and refers to the number of plys, and the corresponding PSI that the tires are to be inflated to. Load Range F = 12 ply and 95 PSI, which is a Semi-truck tire.

More Info:

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