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Dunlop Tyres - Apex compound with Kevlar® fibre pulp
  • Dunlop Tyres - Apex compound with Kevlar® fibre pulp

How to read a Tyre?

The Meaning of Sidewall Markings

Tyre sidewall markings help vehicle users to identify, purchase and correctly maintain their tyres. Initially they were only used to help identify the tyre's maker. Over the years, Government legislation has demanded safety markings be posted in order to help buyers know they are getting a legal tyre.


Markings now fall into two main groups:

  1. Those essential markings which tyre manufacturers have long used to indicate make, size and type (including recommended inflation pressure and direction of rotation)

  2. Markings which have been added over the years in order to respect the requirements of legislation in the principal areas they are used.


Other markings of importance that may appear on the sidewall where applicable are:

a marking which is added adjacent to the tyre size marking to indicate that the tyre has a higher load carrying capacity than the standard tyre. The principal application of 'reinforced' type tyres is on vans and light trucks but they are also fitted to certain estate cars and caravans.

M and S:
mud and snow - a marking to identify tyres with a winter tread pattern. In the case of 'V' or 'Z' tyres with no service description, the maximum load permitted at the maximum speed of the vehicle must be shown on the sidewall.


Marking details and location:

03 - Schema Tyre Marking Details and Location LARGE


1. Tyre size and tyre description


Tyre width

Width of the tyre measured in millimeters from sidewall to sidewall. The tyre in the picture is above 235 millimeters wide.


Aspect ratio

Ratio of the height of the tyre's cross section to its width. 45 means that the height equals 45% of the tyre's width.



This tells you how the tyre was put together. The 'R' stands for radial which means that the body ply cords (layers of fabric that make up the body of the tyre) run radially across the tyre from bead to bead. If tyres are suitable for speeds higher than 300kph, the letter 'R' placed in front of the rim diameter shall be replaced by the inscription 'ZR'.


Wheel diameter

The diameter of the wheel in the picture is 17inches.


Speed rating

Shows the maximum service speed for a tyre. 'Y' for example means that the tyre has a maximum service speed of 300kph. Please note that this rating relates only to tyre speed capability, and is NOT a recommendation to exceed legally posted speed limits; always drive within the legal speed limit.


2. MFS logo: Rim Flange Protection


3. Tubeless tyre



4. Maximum tyre load and inflation pressure

The load index indicates the maximum load in pounds and kilograms that a tyre can support when properly inflated.

5. Tyre construction details

6. D.O.T. marking

Means the tyre is compliant with all applicable safety standards established by the U.S. Department of Transportation (D.O.T.). Adjacent to this is a tyre identification or serial number; a combination of numbers and letters with up to 12 digits.


7. D.O.T. manufacturer code

Identifies manufacturer and tyre production plant


8. Production date

2 first digits for week identification, 2 last digits for year identification


9. ECE Tyre approval mark and number


10. Information about tyre rotation

Example showing that tyre is directional.