What Do the Numbers on the Side of a Tire Mean?

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The numbers on the side of a tire refer to the tire size, the width of the tire, the height of the tire and the rim size. Find out what the Department of Transportation safety number on a tire refers to with help from a certified master mechanic in this free video on car maintenance and auto repair.

Part of the Video Series: Car Fluids & Tires
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Video Transcript

Hello, my name is Mark Blocker in this segment we're going to cover what do the numbers on a tire mean. OK, here I've got a tire and as you can see there's several sets of numbers on the tire and all three sets of them have different meanings. Here we have a RE950 number and that's the model number of this specific type of tire. Over here we have the actual tire size numbers and these are the ones that are important. It starts off P185 and that 185 is the overall width of the tire and they can range anywhere from a 165 up to 225, 35, 45. The higher the number the wider and larger tread width the tires going to have. The next number you shows on there is a slash 60 and that 60 is the series height of the tire. How much tread sidewall it's going to have. The lower the number the shorter the sidewall and the higher the number the higher the sidewall. So you might have somewhere between a 40 series on up to a 70, 75 or 80 series tire. The higher the number the taller the sidewall is. The next number is the R14 number and that's the actual opening of the tire it's self. The rim size that it's mounted to. So this would be a 185 60 series R14 tire. 14 being the rim height of the tire. The 60 series is the height of the side wall and the 185 being the overall width of the tire compound or the tread width. You'll also see one other number and it's stated DOT and then it's got a number on there and what that is a Department of Transportation safety number and that won't have any, it really doesn't pertain to anything that we need to know. So that's what the numbers on the side of a tire mean.

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