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Did you know that tire manufacturers rate every tire type with a load index? Did you know they stamp the load index on the side of each tire? The load index (sometimes called the weight index) represents the maximum amount of weight each tire is rated to carry, and it is a critical aspect of your tires: If you are replacing your tires and buy ones with a lower load index, you risk a blowout. Knowing your tire load index is important for proper vehicle maintenance. Learn how to find your tire load index and decode it with our handy tire load index chart explained below.

What Is A Tire Load Index?

A man experiences irony as his car, laden with used tires, has a flat tire, Houston, Texas, March 1966. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images). Use our tire load index chart explained to find your max tire weight.
An overloaded truck may suffer a blowout | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

If you know how to read the letters and numbers on tires, you already know that the first number in your tire size is your tire width in millimeters. You already know the second number (after the first slash) is the aspect ratio between your tire’s width and sidewall height. And you know the third number (usually after the letter R) is your rim diameter in inches.

You may not have known that the number after the rim diameter (and the second slash) is not a measurement at all: it is a code. This two-digit or three-digit code represents your tire’s load index. The higher this number, the higher the weight each tire is rated to carry.

For example:

  • A tire with a size of “275/55R20/113T” has a load index of 113
  • A tire with a size of “225/65R17/102H” has a load index of 102
  •  A tire with a size of “205/65R15/94V” has a load index of 94

Most passenger cars and light trucks come from the factory on tires with load indexes between 70 and 126. These tires are rated to carry anywhere from 739 pounds to 3,748 pounds–each. These numbers do not represent weight or tons, they are a code and require a tire load index chart to decode.

Remember, the total load index of your set of tires is not necessarily the same as your vehicle’s maximum load. There are many aspects of your car that can fail before your tires. The load index on your tire is simply the max tire weight that one tire is rated for.

Tire Load Index Chart

Load IndexMaximum Weight (Pounds)
70739 lbs
71761 lbs
72783 lbs
73805 lbs
74827 lbs
75853 lbs
76882 lbs
77908 lbs
78937 lbs
79963 lbs
80992 lbs
811019 lbs
821047 lbs
831074 lbs
841102 lbs
851135 lbs
861168 lbs
871201 lbs
881235 lbs
891279 lbs
901323 lbs
911356 lbs
921389 lbs
931433 lbs
941477 lbs
951521 lbs
961565 lbs
971609 lbs
981653 lbs
991709 lbs
1001764 lbs
1011819 lbs
1021874 lbs
1031929 lbs
1041984 lbs
1052039 lbs
1062094 lbs
1072149 lbs
1082205 lbs
1092271 lbs
1102337 lbs
1112403 lbs
1122469 lbs
1132535 lbs
1142601 lbs
1152679 lbs
1162756 lbs
1172833 lbs
1182910 lbs
1192998 lbs
1203086 lbs
1213197 lbs
1223307 lbs
1233417 lbs
1243527 lbs
1253638 lbs
1263748 lbs
1273858 lbs
1283968 lbs
1294079 lbs
1304189 lbs
1314289 lbs
1324409 lbs
1334541 lbs
1344674 lbs
1354806 lbs
1364938 lbs
1375071 lbs
1385203 lbs
1395357 lbs
1405512 lbs
1415677 lbs
1425842 lbs
1436008 lbs
1446173 lbs
1456393 lbs
1466614 lbs
1476779 lbs
1486844 lbs
1497165 lbs
1507385 lbs
Tire Load Index Chart

Changing Your Tire Load Index

February 1942:  A tire standing 9 1/2 ft high and weighing 3,646 pounds constructed for a giant earth mover to be used in the construction of airports and army camps. The factory is in Ohio, the USA's leading rubber producer.  (Photo by Alfred T. Palmer/MPI/Getty Images) Use our tire load index chart explained to find your max tire weight
A 9 1/2 foot diameter tire | Alfred T. Palmer/MPI/Getty Images

It is not a great idea to replace your tires with aftermarket tires that have a lower load index. If the total weight of your vehicle and load exceeds the max tire weight for your set of tires, you risk a blowout. Likewise, if you put more weight on the front or rear tires and exceed their individual weight ratings, you also risk a blowout. And note that if you exceed your tires’ speed rating, you may suffer a blowout without even exceeding your max tire weight.

You can always upgrade your tires to aftermarket tires with a higher load index. Your new tires will be suited to carry more weight. But certain tires with a high load index are louder than stock tires or make for a stiffer ride than stock tires. Be sure to do your research before upgrading your load index.

Is Your Max Tire Weight Approaching Your Load Index?

Roger Frampton mends a punctured tire on his car inside the lion enclosure at Windsor Safari Park, Berkshire, 1972. (Photo by Harry Dempster/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) | Use our tire load index chart explained to find your max tire weight
Repairing an overloaded car’s blowout | Harry Dempster/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Do you often carry heavy loads or trailer heavy loads with your vehicle? Do you worry you are approaching your tire load index? You can add together the weight each of your tires is rated for to calculate your overall max tire weight. Subtract your vehicle weight and you will have some idea how much load your tires can carry. Remember, unless the load is balanced between all your tires equally, this weight may be much lower.

Make certain to care for your tires: First, correctly rotate your tires, regularly. Second, store your seasonal tires properly. Don’t push the limit on used tires with worn rubber. And double-check that your tires are not involved in the Continental tire recall, or the Bridgestone and Firestone tire recalls.

Sources: Tire Rack and Driving Line


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