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There are many diverse companies around the world specializing in tire production. Many you can find in car magazine adds or television commercials. Companies design and test tires of all different sizes, tread designs, rubber and structural compositions. The problem is that when it comes time to buy a new set of tires you do not know what to get.

The basic categories of tires are off-road, street,and racing tires. There are also tires that can act as two of the types such as street racing or semi racing tires. There are off-road tires that have a flat tread so you can drive through streets and on highways with them. Though, in the end choosing a tire is your opinion and choice I will assist you with additional information.

First, you must decide on what you want to do with your vehicle.

If your getting more into racing/street racing tires you have to decide on the type of composition you want. There are soft sticky tires, medium, and hard tires, all with advantages and disadvantages. The hard tires last longer but do not have the traction that soft tires do. Medium tires are stickier and softer then hard tires. The medium soft tires will get pretty good milage and still give you moderate traction. They can be used as semi-racing tires. Soft tires have great traction but do not last very long. Another problem with soft tires is that they are a lot more expensive then hard tires. This is because they have more advance tread compositions that are harder to develope.

Slicks are also another type of racing tire. Slicks have no treads and that is why they are not street legal. Treads are needed to shed water. If it rains and you are using slicks you will easily hydroplane. The benefit of slicks is the increased traction because of the extra surface area and softness.

Size is another thing to decide on. Picking a size for the tire is not that hard of a decision. It depends on how big your rims are. It can also be limited by wheel well size and width. If you have a large truck then bigger tires give you not only more ground clearance, but more traction because of the larger amount of rubber on the ground.

Tread designs vary a lot. There are non-aggressive, very aggressive, and everything between. You want to pick a tire that allows for a high amount of water flow. Many of the stickier tires are not meant for heavy rain because of the small spacing so be aware of that. If your going mud bogging or taking an offroad excursion then you want aggressive tires. The aggressive tires will get mud and dirt out from under your tires.

How to Read Tire Sizes:

Example 1:

Size: P205/60R-15OWL

P - Passenger

Tire sizes can also start with the following:

BP - Cosmetic Blemish Passenger

LT - Light Truck

205 - Width in millimeters of tire’s tread.


60 - Aspect Ratio - Percentage of tread width that equals the sidewall height.

R - Radial
The letter “R” can also include the following:

HR - H=Speed Rating

VR - V=Speed Rating

ZR - Z=Speed Rating
15 - Rim diameter in inches.


OWL - Outlined White Lettering

Other letter combinations include:

RWL - Raised White Letters

W - Whitewall

B - Blackwall

ORWL - Outlined Raised White Letters

WW - White Wall

Example 2:

Tires can also be listed as:

205/60R-15 93H

93H - 93 Load Index, H Speed Rating


Light Truck (LT) sizes can include a letter at the end of the size.
C - Load Range

If You Are Wondering What The Speed Ranges Are:

Speed Rating         Test Speed  
Q                     Up to 100 mph
S                     Up to 112 mph
T                     Up to 118 mph
U                     Up to 124 mph
H                     Up to 130 mph
V                     Up to 149 mph
W                     Up to 168 mph
Y                     Up to 186 mph
Z                     Up to 149 mph and over

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