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Tyre Speed Ratings

When replacing tyres on our vehicle we may know that it is critical to get the right size, but what about their speed rating and does it really matter? The RAC wrote an article on this topic.

Most tyre speed rating will be in excess of what most of us will drive why should we care?

tyre with speed rating H

Lets look at the Speed ratings first

They are indicated by a letter at the end of the tyres size, imprinted on its side wall.

  • I 150 km/h 94mph
  • Q 160 km/h 100mph
  • R 170 km/h 106mph
  • S 180 km/h 112mph
  • W 190 km/h 118mph
  • U 200 km/h 124mph
  • H 210 km/h 130mph
  • V 240 km/h 149mph
  • W 270 km/h 168mph
  • Y 300 km/h 186mph

There are other speeds much lower than this, but they are unlikely to be found on a car tyre.

As you can see, these are based on European laws and so mainly in KM/H, than converted into MPH. Each letter upgrade goes up around 6mph, ie from U to H. (124mph, to 130mph).

More Than National Speed Limits

The highest national speed limit in the UK is on our motorways at 70mph, but let’s be honest most drivers have exceeded this at some point of their driving history. With European driving being so easy now, we also have to prepare for higher speeds on European roads, take the AutoBahn on Germany for example, it has no speed limit at all.

So having some foresight, relating the power and capability on the vehicle we own with a suitable speed tyre should be a common sense approach.

Make Sure You Are Legal

There is another argument and that is that of insurance. Many insurance policies insist that tyre should match the manufacturer’s recommendation or how they came out of the factory and could be a condition of being insured. Having too much of a variation may invalid your car insurance, even if the incident was not related to them. Of course the small print of your policy should show those conditions, to ensure you are legal and safe.

More on buying part work tyres