Tyre Sidewall Markings

Tyre sidewall markings are used to indicate the size and specifications of the tyre, providing important information about the size, brand and range they come from. Also, they show the tyre has passed the necessary safety standards imposed by UK or European law.

Due to the available space on the tyre sidewall, these markings are displayed in shorthand digits and abbreviations so they can be difficult to read, if you’re not familiar with their meanings.

Type of Construction

This indicates how the tyre has been constructed. Most modern tyres are of radial construction, indicated by the letter ‘R’, whereas older tyres tend to be cross-ply.

Country of Manufacture

This indicates where the tyre has been made, in this is example, the tyre has been made in Great Britain.

Brand Name

The manufacturer of the tyre will be clearly printed on the sidewall of the tyre and will often be the largest marking.

Pattern Name

Tyre manufacturers design and sell a range of different tyre patterns unique to their brand. For example, in the example image, ‘Dexel’ would be the brand of tyre whilst ‘Sport’ would be the pattern name.

Tread Wear Indicators

Tread wear indicators are small blocks within the tyre tread that inform drivers when their tyres are approaching 1.6mm, the UK legal tyre tread minimum. Many tyre manufacturers denote where indicators are located with a mark on the sidewall; in our example it is the letters ‘TWI’, but Michelin tyres will display a small Michelin man and other manufacturers will use a triangle. Not all brands of tyre will carry this marking, so it is important that you check your tyre tread frequently to ensure that it does not fall below the legal minimum.

Tyre Size

The tyre size is indicated by three different numerical codes. It will be displayed like this: 205 / 55 / R16.

Load Index

This figure refers to the maximum load that a tyre can carry. Look for the load index on the sidewall of your tyres and from the below load index table, you will be able to find the maximum load that you can carry in kilograms.

Load Index Kilograms Load Index Kilograms Load Index Kilograms
65 290 80 450 95 690
66 300 81 462 96 710
67 307 82 475 97 730
68 315 83 487 98 750
69 325 84 500 99 775
70 335 85 515 100 800
71 345 86 530 101 825
72 355 87 545 102 850
73 365 88 560 103 875
74 375 89 580 104 900
75 387 90 600 105 925
76 400 91 615 106 950
77 412 92 630 107 975
78 425 93 650 108 1000
79 437 94 670    

Speed Rating

The speed rating of your tyre is similar to the load index, it is a key which relates to a corresponding table and tells you the maximum speed you can travel on your tyre, when inflated to the correct pressure and carrying maximum load.

When buying new tyres, make sure that the speed rating matches the speed capabilities of your vehicle. Dexel Tyre & Auto Centre recommend that you fit tyres with the speed rating that the vehicle manufacturer specified for the vehicle. It is important to note, however, that you can choose to fit tyres with a higher speed rating if you wish, but you must not fit tyres with a lower speed rating.

Speed Symbol Approx MPH
Q 99
R 106
S 112
T 118
H 131
V 149
VR 131
W 168
Y 186
ZR 149


If you require further guidance on reading your tyre sidewall markings, contact your local Dexel Tyre & Auto Centre where one of our tyre specialists will be able to offer more advice.

Select your tyre size

Front Tyre Size
Rear Tyre Size