sizes of tires

Tire Size Guide

For many people, picking out their tire is just something they leave to their dealers or local shops like ours since it always seems like such a hassle. While we at Salinas Tires always strive to pick out the tire that’s best for you and your car, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the tire selection process.

What these numbers mean

Tire Size Guide

The Tires above have the tire size 185/55R15, so they are 185mm in width, have a height ratio of 55, and rim size 15.

The first number represents the width of the tire in millimeters, it is the distance between the two sidewalls of the tire.

The second number is a ratio of the height to the width, not a direct measurement. It represents how tall the sidewall of the tire is. As an example, a 195/65R15 tire has a sidewall height that is 65% of 195mm, or about 126.75mm.

The last number, usually preceded by the letter “R” or “ZR”, represents the diameter of your wheel/rim. Unlike the first two numbers, which if needed can be substituted for other sizes, this number must match the size of your wheel or it will not fit!

What about the letters?

You may have noticed some letters along the tire size imprint. If you see an “LT”, then you must get another tire marked as LT. Briefly, LT is often for commercial vehicles designed to handle heavier loads, while P-metric tires are for passenger vehicles. (Note that most tires are P-metric and may omit the P in the size label).


You may also see a fourth number, such as 94V. For your usual driver, this isn’t too important. The letter represents the maximum speed rating of a tire, while the number represents the Load Index or maximum weight that a tire can support. Most tires come ready for speeds up to 110MPH and so the average driver is free to ignore these values.

How to Read the Size of your Tire

New Tires come with stickers to designate the tire size, for example the Michelin Tire above is a 215/60R16

If you’re looking to buy some tires, it helps to have the measurements of your tire in hand. You can see the tire size printed on the sidewall of the tire.

The Michelin tire size for the BMW rim in the picture below is: 235/65R17, as indicated by the red ellipses.


tire sizes

Mon-Fri: 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM

​Saturday: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

​Sunday: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

8813 Norwalk Blvd

Whittier, CA 90606