Tires are an important part of your vehicle. They control how comfortable the ride is. They affect your fuel mileage. They also affect the handling and therefore the safety of the vehicle you are driving. When purchasing new tires it is important to understand tire load range and how it affects these different elements of driving in order to make an educated decision about which tires to buy.
All too often, people simply look for the cheapest tires in the size they need and overlook the importance of load range, which is an indicator of the pressure a tire can withstand. This can lead to severe consequences as a load range that is too low being used can lead to accidents and may even result in death.
The Rating System
The tire load range is a figure that should be marked on the tire's sidewall. It is a rating that tells the strength of the tire as well as its ability to contain air pressure. Numerical ranges are usually used on passenger cars, but an alphabetical rating system is used for larger vehicles such as pick-up trucks, vans and SUV's. The further along in the alphabet a letter is, the higher its load rating will be. Trucks and vans that will carry a heavy load or multiple passengers will require stronger, more durable tires and so their tire load range rating should be higher.
There is a common trend among passenger vehicles to only list ratings that exceed the standard, rather than listing the numerical or alphabetical code. This is especially true in Europe where tires meeting the standard requirements have nothing marked on the sidewalls, those that are “reinforced" have an RF and those for heavy duty vehicles are marked as XL.
Small Cars Vs Large Trucks
The tire load range is an important factor to consider when purchasing new tires. If you are purchasing tires for a small car that will be used mainly on paved roads with only one or two people in the vehicle any set of cheap tires with a standard load range will probably be alright. If you are driving a heavier vehicle, will be transporting a lot of people or a heavy load or if you will be driving over a lot of bumpy dirt roads, you will want to choose a tire with an XL rating to handle the load. In fact, the tire salesperson is required to give you this information by law in order to prevent deadly accidents.
You will have a lot of factors to consider when purchasing new tires including the size, price, brand and tire load range. These considerations are as important, if not more important than where you purchase the tires. Any quality tire seller, whether at a physical store or online, should offer this information in order to help you make an educated buying decision. It's kind of like one tire manufacturer's slogan says: “There is a lot riding on your tires". So consider your options and choose wisely.
Ernest Jarquio is a successful Webmaster and publisher of Just-Tires-n-Rims.com. He provides more resources on topics such as dirt cheap rims , cheap mud tires and Goodyear tire price that you can research on his website even while lounging in your living room.