Tyre Speed Rating: What is it?

Tyre Speed Rating: What is it?

Blog / Tyre Speed Rating: What is it?


The term “tyre speed rating” can be found across many motoring sites and car analyses, but it is a phrase that is unfamiliar to many drivers, even though it is something that is very important for them to be aware of. In this article, we will be taking a closer look at everything that you would need to know about tyre speed ratings, and how it can help you when it comes to figuring out what wheels you would need to purchase in the future.

What Is Tyre Speed Rating?

The tyre speed rating stands for the highest possible speed level that a particular tyre is able to operate at without safety and performance being compromised. As you would imagine, every wheel for a vehicle should be of the same tyre speed rating to avoid problems if one or two tyres aren’t capable of matching others, especially in situations where the car is going to reach top speeds on the likes of a motorway. This is important because the assumption is wrongly made that any car which is capable of maintaining three-figure speed levels would do so no matter what, but if the four tyres or if even just one of the tyres is not up to that standard, then there could be serious implications from attempting to drive so fast.

The reason for this is that tyres generate more heat as the vehicle drives at higher speeds. Therefore, when the driver is planning to go to 70 miles per hour, 80 miles per hour or in excess of 100 miles per hour whatever the situation may be, this will make the wheels even hotter, and if the tyres are not capable of handling the extra heat, then this could lead to tyre failure, and considering how fast the car would be travelling, this could put the driver and any passengers in a position of great danger. Even if the motorist is safely coping behind the wheel, if the car breaks down or simply stops short while travelling so fast because the tyres can’t handle those speeds, it could have serious and maybe even tragic results.

Where Can They Be Found On The Tyres?

The wheel’s speed rating can be found by looking at the sidewalls of the tyres, and it can be identified based on the letter which appears at the end of an extended stretch of numbers. So, for example, the final figure at the end of the sequence might read “90N” or “100Q”, and this represents what the maximum speeds levels are that the tyres would be safely capable of handling. Therefore, driving above those barometers would place the car and those on board at real risk. It is wise to check the tyre speed rating before you attach the wheels to the vehicle in the first place, because they are easily forgotten once you have got the four tyres in place and are going about your driving on a daily basis, especially if you are a motorist who plans to be travelling at particularly high speeds. In theory, this may not seem like as vital a task to those who are used to driving at more moderate paces, but even in those cases, it is possible that the wheels could come with a more restricted tyre speed rating, and in that scenario, they would still carry an element of danger even if the vehicle merely reached maximum legal speeds for a motorway or an A-road. As we noted before, it is also wise to make sure that all four tyres, as well as any spare tyres that you will have stored in the boot of the car, are all matching when it comes to their speed ratings.

Rating Chart

That being said, there can be some confusion for drivers when identifying what their maximum tyre speed ratings are, and that is partly because there is a rating chart in place which allocates a particular letter to a particular figure; however, once you realise what threshold each letter represents, it becomes easier to understand how fast the tyres are capable of safely travelling. Beginning at the lowest level, N covers a maximum tyre speed rating of 87 miles per hour or 140 kilometres per hour. Ratings then progress as follows: P is 93 mph/150kph; Q stands for 99mph/160kph; R would be 106mph/170kph; S is 112mph/180kph; T would represent 118mph/190kph; U means 124mph/200kph; H equates to 130mph/210kph; V means 149mph/240kph; Z would be in excess of 150mph/in excess of 240kph; W is 168mph/270kph; and

Y means 186mph/300kph. The ratings are not in alphabetical order either, which makes it more important to actually take the time to check out what letter appears and what figure lies in front of it. As we have noted, though, the tyre speed ratings are generally quite high, and in reality, the odds of a driver actually travelling at such maximum paces on the road would be very low in almost every feasible and safe scenario. Nevertheless, it pays to be mindful of what the tyres are capable of maintaining, because in the event that for some reason you were driving at three-figure speeds on a particular road, disaster would strike if you found out the hard way that the tyres were in fact incapable of handling such speed levels without burning up, failing and causing the car to malfunction, potentially mid-journey.


Tyre speed ratings are too often overlooked by drivers, especially new drivers, who just assume that any wheels they attach to their car will be good enough. It is important to make a clear note of the tyre speed ratings as you are first connecting them to the vehicle, because it will keep both you and your vehicle safe at all times, even if you feel that you will not be travelling at the peak speed levels indicated by your wheels.

Further Information

Further information can be found about tyre speed ratings on previous articles within our blog section. To find out more about our cars on finance deals, contact our Cheshire based team who will happily assist you with our most attractive finance offers on some of the most sort after car brands, visit the links below:

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