Summer, winter, 16s, 17s… Almost everyone knows at least the basic characteristics of a car tyre. However, we can read a whole range of details from the marking of the shoes, some of which you may not even have had an idea about.

The tire marking can be found on its outside, so it is easy to read on any car. As an example, let’s take a tire with a label 225/45 R17 91H. What does such marking tell us? Let’s go step by step:

  • 225 = width 225 millimeters
  • 45 = ratio of height to width, in our case 45% of 225 mm
  • R17 = diameter 17 inches
  • 91H = weight and speed index, i.e. the highest tire properties

Tire mass index

The mass index number is not directly related to the load capacity, so to get a specific value, it is best to look at the clear table. Our tire has a weight index of 91, which means that one tire can carry up to 615 kg. All mass indices can be found below:

Mass index kg / 1 ks pneu Mass index kg / 1 ks pneu
75 387 kg 100 800 kg
76 400 kg 101 825 kg
77 412 kg 102 850 kg
78 425 kg 103 875 kg
79 437 kg 104 900 kg
80 450 kg 105 925 kg
81 462 kg 106 950 kg
82 475 kg 107 975 kg
83 487 kg 108 1000 kg
84 500 kg 109 1030 kg
85 515 kg 110 1060 kg
86 530 kg 111 1090 kg
87 545 kg 112 1120 kg
88 560 kg 113 1150 kg
89 580 kg 114 1180 kg
90 600 kg 115 1215 kg
91 615 kg 116 1250 kg
92 630 kg 117 1285 kg
93 650 kg 118 1320 kg
94 670 kg 119 1360 kg
95 690 kg 120 1400 kg
96 710 kg 121 1450 kg
97 730 kg 122 1500 kg
98 750 kg 123 1550 kg
99 775 kg 124 1600 kg

Tire speed index

The same applies to the speed index of the tire, which is symbolized by a letter, a letter and a number or two letters. The speed index indicates the maximum possible speed from 5 to 300+ km/h. If the sample tire above has an H index, it means a maximum speed of up to 210 km/h. The speed index table will tell you more:

Speed ​​index Max. speed Speed ​​index Max. speed
A1 5 L 120
A2 10 M 130
A3 15 N 140
A4 20 P 150
A5 25 Q 160
A6 30 R 170
A7 35 S 180
A8 40 T 190
B 50 U 200
C 60 H 210
D 65 VR >210
E 70 V 240
F 80 W 270
G 90 Y 300
J 100 ZR >300
K 110

Special tire markings

Other tire brands include, in addition to the traditional ones winter tire flakes for example letters XL denoting reinforced construction, they are usually tires suitable for SUVs, off-road vehicles, but also pick-ups and vans. Mark FR means rim protection, letters SSR, RFT and others similar can mark tires run-flat.

Then you can still find marks on the tires indicating that it is a specific tire developed according to the requirements of the car manufacturer. For example, BMW tires have an asterisk, Audi a letter A or A0tires for Bentley cars have B in the wheel, the tires for the Porsche 911 have letters THAT and so on. Sometimes, however, you will also come across specially designed tires from “mass” brands, especially their stronger models, or cars that have a higher towing capacity.

Photo: Porsche

Tires for the Porsche 922 model bear the designation “NA”, which has the following meaning: N – approved by Porsche, A – developed for the Porsche 992 model. “Enka” differ from other tires mainly with regard to the geometry, the rubber compound used and the testing procedure .

Tire efficiency marking

In May 2021, there was a change in labeling of tires. The new labels, which we must find on the shoes, now carry more information. European officials hope that drivers will be better informed and, as a result, will save costs and the environment.

On the new labels the structure of listing the rolling resistance classes has changed a braking efficiency on wet roadswhile the noise level is indicated as a number of decibels and at the same time on the scale with the letters A, B or C. In addition, after reading the QR code, customers gain access from the label to additional information about a specific tire in the online EPREL database (European Product Registry for Energy Labeling = European product database with an energy label).

Photo: Continental Barum

This is how the shape of the label changed in May 2021…

Another change concerned light commercial vehicles (categories C1 and C2). For footwear for cars and vans class D is no longer unusedas it was before, but tires that belonged to class E will be moved to it. Tires with properties at the level of classes F and G have been moved to class E in the new labeling. At the same time, the have limited the maximum permitted values ​​of rolling resistance a braking distances on wet surfaces.

The new label also reduced the number of values ​​on the alphabetic and color-coded scale from seven to five. Classes A to C remained unchanged. C1 tires intended for passenger cars, or C2 intended for vans, which were previously in class E for rolling resistance and wet grip, are now classified in class D, which was not used in practice. Tires previously belonging to classes F and G are now classified in class E. The label was supposed to become clearer and easier to understand for consumers.

Photo: Continental Barum

… and thus the individual values. On the new ones, instead of seven (AG), we can now find only five (AE).

And why all this? According to EU representatives, the new label is intended to help consumers it is easier to choose shoes with higher fuel economy and at the same time provide him information on stopping distances. Choosing tires with lower rolling resistance can lead to lower consumption and lower emissions. Information on noise while driving is intended to help reduce noise levels caused by road traffic.