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Tire Load Rating

Tire Load Rating Guide

There are plenty of attributes to be concerned with when purchasing your next set of tires. The tire load rating is one of the most important, since excessive loads can damage your tires, effectively shortening their lifespans. If you're wondering, "What is a tire load rating?" you're probably not alone. Even the most savvy shopper might not be fully aware of the importance of the car tire load rating. Understanding how to interpret this rating is important when shopping for new tires and for keeping yourself safe on the road.

What Is a Tire Load Rating?

Your car's tires serve a multitude of roles. Not only are they meant to provide superior traction in both dry and wet conditions, but they're also intended to shoulder the full weight of the vehicle. When you count the weight of the vehicle itself, the occupants inside, and the cargo loaded in the vehicle, it all begins to add up. The tire load rating tells car owners the amount of weight each tire can safely carry when properly inflated. Because the weight of the vehicle is distributed among all four wheels, each tire has a significant amount of weight to support. Automotive and tire manufacturers take into consideration the overall weight of the vehicle when loaded with both passengers and cargo. With these factors in mind, the tire should ideally be able to support the vehicle's weight when fully loaded.

How Are Load Ratings Determined?

Tire manufacturers extensively test their tires to insure they can meet or exceed their designated load capacity. After these tests are completed, the manufacturers assign a two- or three-digit load index number to denote the maximum load rating. Maximum load ratings denoted in pounds or kilograms are also included on the sidewall of the tires. Current load indexes used for cars and light-duty trucks range from "70" to "110", or 761 to 2337 pounds, respectively. The higher the load index number, the greater the tire's load carrying capacity:"71" = 761 pounds or 345 kilograms "
81" = 1019 pounds or 462 kilograms "
91" = 1356 pounds or 615 kilograms

Load Index Max Weight (lbs)
70 739
71 761
72 783
73 805
74 827
75 852
76 882
77 908
78 937
79 963
80 992
81 1019
82 1047
83 1074
84 1102
85 1135
86 1168
87 1201
88 1235
89 1279
90 1323
Load IndexMax Weight (lbs)
91 1356
92 1389
93 1433
94 1477
95 1521
96 1565
97 1609
98 1653
99 1709
100 1764
101 1819
102 1874
103 1929
104 1984
105 2039
106 2094
107 2149
108 2205
109 2271
110 2337

Do Car Tire Load Ratings Affect Performance?

Tire load ratings are important if you haul or tow lots of stuff. The added weight from a trailer and items loaded inside the cargo area or on the roof can quickly bring the tires to their maximum load limit, creating a dangerous situation where a blowout could occur. It's very important to check your tire's air pressure on a regular basis, as the car tire load rating is only accurate when the tire is properly inflated.

Where Can I Find the Tire Load Rating?

In most cases, the load index number is included near the end of an alphanumeric format on the tire's sidewall. This format also contains the tire's width, sidewall height, size in diameter and maximum speed rating:

  • 225/50SR16 89S
  • 225/50R16 89S

For more info on how to read these codes read our Tire Facts page.

The maximum load rating is located on the inner circumference of the sidewall. Both may be hard to find on some tires, so you may want to use a flashlight and a keen eye to find the index number.

Automotive manufacturers usually include the recommended tire size and load index rating on a metal placard on the driver's side door jamb, or on a sticker located on the rear left passenger side door jamb. Information is also included on the amount of weight distributed to each whee, which is useful information for purchasing a tire with an ample load capacity.

 

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