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Tire Speed Rating: Our Guide

U.S. News & World Report Logo By James MacPherson of U.S. News & World Report | Slide 1 of 14: When it is time for new tires, there are many factors to consider, such as the size, cost, the season in which the tire will be used, tread life, and fuel economy. Then, there is the speed rating.Currently, there are more than a dozen speed ratings for tires offered in the United States. They range from “L,” which dictates a maximum speed of 75 mph, to “(Y),” which is for speeds in excess of 186 mph. These speed ratings are valid only when the tire is undamaged, properly inflated, and not overloaded. Failure to conform to these requirements, or subjecting a tire to speeds above its rating, could result in a catastrophic failure.When shopping for replacement tires, do not drop below the speed rating of the original equipment tires or choose a tire that does not, at the very least, match the top speed of the vehicle, even if you have no intention of driving that fast.The following slides address some of the more common speed ratings, cover speed ratings after a tire repair, and give a quick guide on how to read the size and speed rating on the sidewall of every tire.

Letter Speed Ratings Tell the Story

When it is time for new tires, there are many factors to consider, such as the size, cost, the season in which the tire will be used, tread life, and fuel economy. Then, there is the speed rating.

Currently, there are more than a dozen speed ratings for tires offered in the United States. They range from “L,” which dictates a maximum speed of 75 mph, to “(Y),” which is for speeds in excess of 186 mph. These speed ratings are valid only when the tire is undamaged, properly inflated, and not overloaded. Failure to conform to these requirements, or subjecting a tire to speeds above its rating, could result in a catastrophic failure.

When shopping for replacement tires, do not drop below the speed rating of the original equipment tires or choose a tire that does not, at the very least, match the top speed of the vehicle, even if you have no intention of driving that fast.

The following slides address some of the more common speed ratings, cover speed ratings after a tire repair, and give a quick guide on how to read the size and speed rating on the sidewall of every tire.

© Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

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