Tire Speed Rating – All You Need For Driving Better

By David Barlow
Last Updated: September 14, 2021
Tire Speed Rating

If you’re looking for information on tire speed rating, you’ve come to the right place.This article provides you with the best explanation about speed rating which helps to answer questions like “what is speed rating on tires?”, “Why do people develop it?” or “what are the differences among each type?”

What Is Tire Speed Rating?

The tire speed rating indicates the maximum speed your tire can take before it poses a danger to your driving.

It means that the design and structure of each tire allow it to manage different speeds. By keeping this indicator in mind, The driver will be able to avoid over-speeding scenarios that harm the tires. 

The manufacturer has assigned the tire speed rating with the letters from A to Z. The lowest speed would be “A,” while the highest speed category would be “Z.” Z means a speed range of 5 km/h to more than 300 km/h.

Why Were Tire Speed Ratings Developed? 

The system of speed rating satisfies safe operation under standard circumstances.

Initially, the top speed rating on tires stopped at 210 km/h called “Unlimited V.” After a process of research and improvement to increase safety when using, the maximum speed of the far-wheel tire has increased to 250km/h and is called V-limited. 

The current top speed rating for tires is the ZR. It is foreseeable that manufacturers will provide drivers with even better ratings in the near future by optimizing the tire design and material.

Where To Look For Tire Speed Rating?

You can find tire speed ratings in various places, including the vehicle owner’s manual, the jam on the driver’s door, the glove box opener, and the batch on your gas tank.

Finding the number on the tire you’re using, on the other hand, is the most precise and time-saving method because it is usually on the sidewall. If you buy your own tires instead of using the car’s preset, this is also the only place you can look for the speed rating indicator.

Take a look at the image below, which shows a line of 225/50 R17 98H.

Tire H Speed Rate
Tire’s H Speed Rate

You should pay close attention to the alphabet, especially the letter “H” at the tail of the line. All ratings are encoded as a letter from A to Z. As a result, all you need is to identify the indicator by checking a detailed chart. 

ZR Designation

ZR Designation
ZR Rating

ZR is one of the top speed indicators as of right now. Tire dealers will have these tire ratings explained by telling you that the tire is capable of handling speeds  greater than 240 km/h — 270, 300, and over 300 instead of saying the initials and numbers outright.

So, how do you distinguish between these three when they share a similar symbol ZR?

They usually go with letters from the last ones of the alphabet. 270 km/h corresponds to W, while 300 km/h is Y, and anything above that matches (Y).

Tire Speed Rating Chart

To be more specific about this topic, you can check the tire speed rating chart below. It has listed all rating levels from A to Z with the corresponding speed.

Speed IndicatorSpeed in km/hSpeed in mph
A153
A2106
A3159
A42012
A52516
A63019
A84025
B5031
C6037
D6540
E7043
F8050
G9056
J10062
K11068
L12075
M13081
N14087
P15094
Q160100
R170106
S180112
T190118
U200124
H210130
V240149
W270168
Y300186

What Are The Different Speed Ratings? 

L Speed Rating

A tire at L-level is ideal for off-road vehicles or light trucks.

These vehicles require lightweight tires with a moderate and handling speed rating with a maximum of 120km/h.

M & N Speed Rating

The M rating allows you to accelerate up to 130 km/h, while the N is up to 140 km/h. 

Tires with these speed ratings, however, are rarely used. People frequently use these types as spare ones.

P Speed Rating

P rating is not common these days, though it can help you accelerate to 150km/h.

Q Speed Rating

People will opt for Q tires instead of P-type. It aids in the optimization of up to 160 km/h. Besides, customers appreciate the Q rating primarily because of an accompanying outstanding feature, such as spiked or spikeless winter adaptations. That’s why you often see people using Q types for their winter 4×4 cars. 

R Speed Rating

Most heavy-duty light trucks use an R. It can reach up to 170 km/h and perform a specific function. Winter tires with and without studs are an example.

S & T Speed Rating

People often choose the tires with S or T speed rating for their family Sedans and Vans, or passenger vehicles. You can increase up to 180 km/h with an S and 190 km/h with a T speed rating.

H Speed Rating

Tires with an H speed rating are common in sports and luxury sedans or coupes. They are, however, not the best option.

V & Z Speed Rating

The V and Z are similar to an H rating. The only difference is that the V speed rating can reach up to 240, and the Z is between 240 and 270 km/h. V or Z speed rating, typically, is usable for pure sports cars.

W Speed Rating

Tires with a W speed rating (270km/h) are high-quality ones that provide excellent performance for sports coupes and sedans, particularly exotic sports cars. It meets many criteria, including speed, comfort, noise, and durability.

Y Speed Rating

The Y speed rating, like the W, can reach up to 300 km/h. However, some tires can reach over that speed, and their mark is with the letter Y and parentheses. At the moment, (Y) is the highest rating to evaluate performance.

To sum up, the difference between the ratings of tires depends largely on the type of vehicle the manufacturer designs. In some cases, you can also change to a higher rating to ensure safe driving at high speeds.

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!