Speed Rating H vs V – What Is Your Best Choice?

By David Barlow
Last Updated: June 21, 2022
Tire-Speed-Ratings

All car tires have information on them, and they are not the same. Alphabet letters are used for different ratings on tires. The most common ones are V and H. Tire speed rating H vs V: which one is for you? 

Choosing the correct tires is important as this critical component can affect the handling and safety of your car. There are many factors to consider before deciding, such as car model, tire size, handling, terrain, season, load rating, and speed. Let’s find out how H and V load tires distinguish from each other to support your choice.

About Speed Rating

What Is It?

The term implies how much is the fastest you can safely drive while the car is at its maximum load. The alphabet letters represent speed symbols, starting from A1, which means three mph, to ZR(Y), which means 186mph. The letters come in the order of the alphabet except for the letter H between the letter U and V since it refers to the “highway” pace. 

This usage originated in Germany in 1989s to inform the drivers of the highest pace within safety they could drive as cars accelerated faster and faster. However, all tires are tested under ideal conditions, you can go beyond the speed limitation, but for safety reasons, you’d better not do so.

Where Can I Find It On My Tires?

speed rating

You can find the indicator on the tire sidewall. It’s a series of numbers and characters where you can see your speed code at the end of that string. Besides, the string also includes other descriptions you might want to know, such as severe conditions, section width, aspect ratio, tire construction, and load range. Sometimes, the tire wear makes it hard to recognize the tire rack letter on the sidewall. You can look for that information in your car’s manual, gas tank hatch, glove box door, and driver’s side door jamb.

Speed Rating H vs V 

History

As mentioned above, people started using the letter system for speed-rated tires in Germany, where the car industry was in its full swing in the early 1980s. The higher the pace is, the more letters are applied. It’s necessary to know how fast the tire can handle so the drivers can choose the proper one for their vehicles.

There are two ways how the information is printed on the sidewall. The older way is placing the letter next to the “R” of radial construction. For example, 225/50HR16 and 225/50VR16 mean H and V-rated tires, respectively. The current method is putting the detail next to the tire load capacity. It may look like this M+S 235/45 R18 94V, and the letter V is what you look for to know the speed limit. 

What Is The Difference Between H and V Tires? 

The obvious difference between these two types is how fast they can go. An “H” tire rating is designed to travel at the maximum speed of 130mph, whereas the “V” speed-rated tire can operate at the fastest speed of 149mph. 

So, the V is nearly 20 mph faster than the H. However, how fast they can go is not the only element you should consider when selecting a tire. There are more differences to compare before making a decision.

The softer rubber compound is applied to it to let you have better corner handling and stop experience while driving a “V” tire. Furthermore, it’s designed with stiffer construction for more stability during cornering. This softer compound with its tread pattern guarantees better fast performance but at the same time affects other aspects.

Comfortability 

If you prefer ride comfort to a high-speed tire, you may go for the H rating as the stiffer sidewall of the “V” sometimes causes stiffer riding. You may feel more bumps on rough terrain. However, should you find the comfort in turning is more important for you, there’s nothing wrong with going for the “V” type of tire. 

Treadlife

When you compare the longevity of speed rating H vs V, H-rated one has a longer tread life than its counterpart. You can expect to drive around 10000 miles more, according to consumer reports. 

The reason for it lies in the rubber compound’s hardness. The soft one tends to experience faster degradation and shorter tread life since it sticks to the road better and leaves more rubber on the road surface. 

Safety Issue

The safety of both high-performance tires is equal under normal driving conditions. The only case you should be concerned about is when your car operates at a fast pace; you can see the “V” rated tire is safer than the “H” one. 

However, you should remember that those tires are tested in favorable conditions in the lab, which is not the same as the road conditions. So, you’d better not push it over the limit and follow the instructions on loading capacity and other safety rules. Plus, be aware of any damage to the tire, such as a patch or plug, to maintain its safe driving conditions.

Your Best Choice 

The V type is likely your choice if you are more forward to the fast driving performance of your sports car. Provided that you think you need to drive more than 130mph per hour, the “V” one is a better option.

Meanwhile, the H type can offer you a more affordable price and a more durable and comfortable driving experience. So, go for that when you don’t really need fast performance. 

Conclusion 

So the conclusion for the winner of the speed rating H vs V battle is it depends on the requirements you have for your tire. Both have pros and cons, but in general, they can satisfy the major needs of the drivers. 

If you don’t go on a racetrack, you may not need a “V” tire but an “H” one, as you can benefit more from it.

David Barlow

Automotive Experts at World Tire Review

Hi everyone, I’m David (Tireguy). I believe that finding tires can lead to a lot of confusion and frustration for almost every driver. That’s why I would like to bring my experiences and knowledges to develop World Tire Review blog, it will give people a deeper understanding of what choosing the right tire is really like!