Choosing van tyres
Tires for vans and buses are subject to greater loads and more intensive use than passenger cars. Therefore, they should be matched with reinforced tires, i.e. tires with a higher load index.
Reinforced van tires are identified by one of three symbols: XL, C and LT.
Indicates that it is adapted to higher loads
Indicates load index higher than XL
This symbol is used mainly in the USA, indicating its intended use for delivery and 4x4 passenger vehicles
Cargo tyres are dedicated to small vans, with a load capacity of up to 3.5T. These tyres are marked with a ‘C’ and have two load indexes, the first rating for a twin-wheel axle, the second for a single axle.
Despite having similar sizing to some passenger cars, you should never be tempted to swap from one type to another - cargo tyres are more durable and have stronger sidewalls, which gives them excellent loading capacity at the cost of performance (speed and grip) – these tyres are designed to be hard wearing. Perhaps a little-known fact about these tyres is that road noise has been greatly reduced over standard car tyres, all in a bid to make the life of a commercial driver just that little better.
Despite having a stiffer carcass, cargo tyres are designed to allow some flexibility over bumpy roads; this results in a smoother ride for the driver (and any goods being transported) and hence contributes to road safety. Manufacturers have been able to do this thanks to tyre technology and modern compounds to ensure a good driving experience.