Tyre age and other tyre markings

  • Author: OPONEO.CO.UK

How to find the tyre size?

The tyre size is given on the side wall of your tyre

The 195/65R15 means that the tyre:

  • has a nominal width of 195 mm,
  • has a profile which is 65 per cent of its width,
  • has a diameter that fits a 15-inch rim.

Remember to make sure that the tyre size matches the size recommended by your car's manufacturer.Learn more about how to find the right size from the article.What is the right tyre size for my car?

How do I find the date of production?

The date of production is also known as DOT. The date of production is actually given after the DOT symbol and that’s where the name comes from.

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Tyre markings: tyre size

The date of production is given in a frame and consists of four digits.The “1109” given in the picture above mean:
  • the first two digits signify the week of the year, i.e. it's the 11th week of the year:mid-March
  • the last two digits is the short version of the year, i.e. 09 means 2009.

Remember not use tyres that are older than 5 years.Such tyres have lost most of their traction and using them may pose a hazard.

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Tyre markings:date of production

How do I find the speed index?

The speed index is a one letter symbol:from Q to Y. It is always given next to the tyre size.For example:195/65R15 91H.The most popular speed indexes are:

  • T – up to 190 km/h
  • H – up to 210 km/h
  • V – up to 240 km/h
  • W – up to 270 km/h

Speed index always has to match the manufacturer’s recommendation.For safety reasons, you should not use tyres with a speed index different than recommended by the manufacturer.

How do I find the load index?

The load index is a tyre parameter that states the maximum allowable load for a single tyre.The load index, much like the speed index, is given on the side wall, after the size.

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Tyre markings:speed index

What are the symbols on reinforced tyres?

Reinforced tyres have an increased load index.They are recommended for estate cars and more powerful vehicles.Reinforced tyres have different symbols, depending on their manufacturer.The marking can be found on the side wall.The most popular markings are:

  • XL – Extra Load
  • RF – Reinforced

Other markings include EXL, RFD, REF, REINF.

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Tyre markings:symbols on reinforced tyres

What are the markings on tyres with flange protectors?

The flange protector on the tyre is meant to protect the rim and, partially, the side wall against mechanical damage.The manufacturers use different markings, depending on the technology used for protecting the flange.The protective flange marking can be found on the side wall.Note!Not all tyres with protective flanges have a marking to inform about the flange.The most popular flange markings are:

  • MFS (Maximum Flange Shield)
  • RFP (Rim Fringe Protector)
  • FP (Fringe Protector)
  • FR (Felgen Ripen)
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Tyre markings:markings for tyres with a rim protection flange.

What are the markings on run-flat tyres?

Run-flat tyres have a special system that allows them to keep rolling even after they lose pressure.The marking informing about the system is given on the side wall.The markings differ depending on the manufacturer:

  • RunOnFlat or ROF - Goodyear
  • EMT (Extended Mobility Technology) - Goodyear
  • RFT (Run Flat Tire) – Bridgestone
  • ZP (Zero Pressure) – Michelin
  • DSST (Dunlop Self-Supporting Technology) – Dunlop
  • RFT (Run Flat Tire) – Firestone
  • Run Flat Technology, Self-Supporting Run Flat - Pirelli
  • SSR (Self Supporting Runflat) - Continental
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Tyre markings:run-flat tyre markings

What are the markings on an asymmetrical tyre?

Asymmetrical tyres can be easily recognized by their tread pattern.The asymmetrical tread pattern differs on each side.The marking on asymmetrical tyres is given on the side wall and informs about the installation method.The most popular markings are:

  • inside, interior or side facing inwards – means that this side of the tyre should face the vehicle
  • outside, exterior, side facing outwards, mount this out side – means that this side should face outwards, so it’s seen from the outside.

Remember that in case of asymmetrical tyres, except for a few models (asymmetrical directional tyres), there are no “left” and “right” tyres.Each tyre can be installed on either side, provided they are installed according to the markings on the side walls.

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Tyre markings:markings on asymmetrical tyres

What are the markings on directional tyres?

The directional tyres have a rolling direction specified by the manufacturer.They are marked with the word “rotation” on the side wall, followed by an arrow showing the correct rolling direction.

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Tyre markings:directional tyre markings

What are the markings on approved tyres?

Tyres approved for a given vehicle are the tyres developed in cooperation between the manufacturers of the car and the tyre.They were designed especially with the performance of this car in mind, so they cooperate in the best possible way.Approved tyres can, but don’t have to be the original equipment for a given car.They may have a different tread pattern, weight or compound from other tyres in their class, by this is not a set rule.They can usually be used on cars different than the ones they were approved for, unless the manufacturer says otherwise.However, the rule is that you shouldn’t use approved and unapproved tyres on the same axle.Example markings on approved tyres:

  • MO – Mercedes approval
  • N1...N3 – Porsche approval
  • * - BMW approval
  • AO – Audi approval
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Tyre markings:markings on approved tyres

Tyre labels will be introduced in 2012

Let us remind you, that according to the EU directive, tyre labels will become mandatory in 2012.They will inform you about several tyre parameters, such as:

  • rolling resistance – fuel economy
  • noise level
  • wet grip
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