Tire Load Index Chart: Here's How Much Your Tires Can Handle
Throughout the process of figuring out what tires your vehicle needs, you might come across what’s called “Load Index” or “Load Rating”. These numbers are indicated on the sidewall of the tire near the tire size and other numbers and letters that display the tire’s specifications.
What is a Tire Load?
First, it is important to understand that the actual load indexes of tires vary greatly amongst air pressure differences. If you are looking for more information regarding the load index of a particular tire, it is best to consult experts in the tire industry. Any Jack Williams Tire location can help answer any particular questions you may have.
Here is a basic overview of what is a tire load or tire index. A tire load is how much weight a tire can hold up when inflated to its specified air pressure. This was determined far before your vehicle was created. Engineers planned how much weight the vehicle would haul, factored in tire sizes, and chose the most suitable tires that could handle that load.
You can consider the tire load as how much weight the tires can hold up. Tires are much like balloons when filled with air. They can compress when pressure is applied to them, but there is a certain point where the tire material can’t hold the internal pressure any longer and it bursts. Tire load is how much weight the tire can hold while undergoing the stresses of the road and shift of the cargo within a margin of safety.
If you exceed the tire load, the greater the chance you have of the tire blowing out. Please also understand that old, cracked, or deteriorating tires have a higher chance of blowing. There are many factors that can result in a tire blowout, so it is important to understand it may not be related to your load rating.
Where to Find the Tire Load on a Tire
If you look at the sidewall of your tire, there’s a combination of digits and letters that can read like a puzzle. Don’t worry, it’s not that complicated. There’s often a single group of numbers and letters grouped together.
Example of what you may see
P 265/65 R16 86S
The first section often goes in this order: Tire type, width, aspect ratio, construction, and wheel diameter. You don’t need these letters and numbers for the load rating.
The section you’ll be looking for is near the end. For most 4 wheeled vehicles, you’ll see a number with a letter at the end. The number is the load rating. For example, 86S. The 86 is the load rating, and the letter S is the speed rating--how fast the tire can rotate safely.
The Tire Load Index
Once you’ve found your tire rating, you would consult the tire load index. The chart lists the individual tire ratings and their possible loads in pounds (lbs). Jack Williams references a book that is literally thousands of pages long to give our customers an accurate number.
We’ll borrow our previous example: Take the load rating of 86 which can typically support up to 1168lbs. If your vehicle has 4 tires, then you’d multiply the load pounds by the 4 tires: 1168lbs x 4 = 4,672lbs. This is the maximum load amount that the tires on the vehicle can support.
Before buying new tires, it’s important to reference your vehicle’s specified load-carrying amount. You’ll find this weight in the owner’s manual or by consulting the vehicle’s brand directly. Or, much easier is to match or exceed the original factory tires’ load capacity. It’s wise never to purchase a tire with a lower load rating than the factory amount.
Light Truck Tire Load Index
If you have a light truck or a truck with dual rear wheels, you might have seen that your tires have a set of numbers in the load rating area.
Example of what you may see:
LT 265/75R 16 123/120R
The “123/120R” is the tire load rating in this section. These tires were created so they could be driven both on their own or in a dual wheel capacity. This can be a little confusing as the ratings are the opposite of what people expect.
The first rating of 123 means that if the tire was the only tire on that side, it could haul up to 3417lbs. If one tire was to fail, the single tire would be able to support the load of the vehicle. If you don’t have a dual-wheel rear axle, that is also the main number you focus on.
The chart below shows how tire load indexes translate to Load or weight (lbs). Remember, this can vary greatly depending on tire pressures and other factors, so this is to be used only as a guide. Consult us if you have any questions before purchasing tires.
|Load Index||Load (lbs)||Load Index||Load (lbs)||Load Index||Load (lbs)|
Need Help Buying Tires?
You can always count on Jack Williams to help you choose the best tires for your vehicle. If you need to figure out what is the proper load for your tires, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We’ll help you choose the best tires to suit your vehicle and all your tire needs.