What is a Tyre Speed Rating?

The speed rating of a car tyre indicates the top speed that a tyre is able to safely travel at. For both safety and legal reasons, it is crucial to ensure that your tyres are suitable for the speeds you will be travelling at.

Being aware of your tyre speed rating will help you to ensure that your vehicle is safe for use and road legal.

Where can I see my tyre speed rating?

With such a range of information displayed within your tyre markings, it can seem confusing. However, once you know where to look, it is easy to find out your speed rating for yourself.

The tyre speed rating will be the final letter, found after the wheel size details. For example, if your tyre reads 255/55 R 16 91V, then your tyre speed rating is ‘V’.

speed rating highlight on tyre sidewall

Tyre speed ratings are shown by a letter of the alphabet, with each letter representing a different top speed. The below table shows the max speed for each speed rating:

Speed Rating Max Speed (Mph)Max Speed (Kph)
Q 99 160
R 106170

If you are unsure of what speed rating your car requires, you should refer to the vehicle handbook. To find out more information on what the markings on your tyre mean, see our Tyre Markings Guide.

Why is tyre speed important?

At high speeds, car wheels will turn faster, generating more friction and therefore more heat. If a tyre’s speed rating is too low, then it will risk tyre failure and loss of control at fast speeds. So, for both your own safety and the safety of other motorists, it is vital to have suitable tyres fitted.

As well as safety reasons, having the correct speed rating is important from a legal perspective. Fitting tyres that have a lower speed rating than the manufacturer’s recommendation can invalidate your car insurance, so it’s worth brushing up on UK tyre law if you’re planning on making changes.

It is important to check your vehicle handbook and ensure that any new tyres match, or even exceed, your car's maximum speed. You should never fit a tyre with a lower speed rating than was originally fitted to your vehicle during production.

What does W or Y mean on tyres?

The letters W or Y on a tyre represents the speed rating, or the highest speed that the tyre was designed to withstand and maintain. The speed rating is typically denoted by a letter following the load index, which is a number that indicates how much weight the tyre can support.

What is speed rating H and T in tyres?

The letter "H" on a tyre indicates that it is rated for a maximum speed of 130mph. The letter "T" on a tyre indicates that it is rated for a maximum speed of 118mph.

Need some advice?

If you’re unsure whether your tyres are the right speed rating for your car, or if you have any other questions about car tyres, get in touch with your local Kwik Fit centre for tons of helpful advice. You can even book a free tyre check to make sure everything’s in tip top shape!

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