Do you feel confused walking into a tire shop because you do not know what you are buying? That's why it helps to know more about what your tire size is and what all those numbers actually mean. It will help to use an example tire size so that you can understand what part is being discussed, such as P195/55/R16 83H. Here is an overview so that you have a better understanding of what type of tire you are putting on your car.
The very first number (P185) is known as the tire width, which is the measurement of the width of the tire in millimeters. However, you may be wondering how exactly you measure a tire's width because the edges of a tire are curved. If you drew an invisible line upward from the widest part of the tire's sidewalls, and then measured the distance between these lines, this would be the tire's width.
The second number (55) is the tire's aspect ratio, with the number representing the height of the tire's sidewall based on the width of the tire itself. If the width of the tire is 195, the 55 means that it is 55% of the tire's 195mm. By doing some simple math, you can determine that the sidewall width is 52.25mm in the example tire size. As you can tell, this means that the aspect ratio being the same between tires does not mean that the tires have the same sidewall height.
The third number (R16) stands for the size of the hole in the tire, which is the wheel size. It represents the wheel size in inches, so an R16 tire will have a 16-inch wheel size. Wheel size is important because you need to match the same wheel size that you currently have if you want to use the same wheels. You can switch things up and get a tire with a different wheel size to change the aesthetics and performance of your car, but it will require new wheels.
The last number (82H) represents the load rating, which is how much weight the tires can support. A higher number is going to equal a higher load rating. You never want to get tires with a lower load rating than what came with your vehicle, since that load rating is designed to carry the proper amount of weight for the vehicle and its passengers. A higher load rating may be necessary if you plan on towing large items behind your vehicle, such as a trailer, camper, or boat.
Reach out to a tire shop near you for more information.