What are Speed Ratings for Tires?

Buying the Right Set of Tires
Having the right set of tires on your vehicle is one of the best ways to make sure you’re driving safely. It’s important to get your car fitted with tires that have the recommended speed rating. However, what are speed ratings for tires?

Pat Peck Kia explores this important rating to help drivers in D’Iberville, Gulfport, and Hattiesburg learn more about where the rubber meets the road.

What are Tire Speed Ratings?

Speed ratings are designed to tell you the maximum speed a tire is capable of safely traveling. They’re marked on the sidewall of your tire by a letter. The further down the alphabet the rating is, the higher the speed that tire is capable of.

For example, a spare tire is designed to be driven at moderate speeds and not put too many miles on it. Most spare tires will have a speed rating of N, meaning that they’re safe up to 87 MPH. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s Z-rated tires. These tires are designed for performance vehicles. Sport cars and vehicles built for the track often use these tires because they’re safe for speeds above 149 MPH.

From sporty coupes to family-friendly minivans, every manufacturer designs their vehicles with a specific tire speed rating in mind. If you check your owner’s manual or talk to a service technician, they’ll recommend a set of tires with a rating that’s ideal for your vehicle. Some of the more common speed ratings on the road today include:

Speed Rating
















This scale was set up by the U.S. Department of Transportation, so every car on the road would be able to follow the same standard. While your W tires can safely maintain a speed of up to 168 MPH, it’s a good idea to follow the speed limit and save that for that kind of speed for racetrack.

Where to Find Your Tire Speed Rating

The speed rating is listed on the side of your tires. There’s lots of information here, so you’ll need to know what to look for. Usually, there’s a long line of letters and numbers. To find the speed rating, look to the right-hand side. The very last marking should be the letter assigned to your tire’s speed rating.

Our Tire Center

At Pat Peck Kia, we can take care of all your tire needs. Our service center has a team of highly trained technicians who will keep your tires in good shape with routine maintenance, such as tire rotations, checking your tire pressure, and inspecting them for wear and tear.

You can also count on our experienced staff to patch or replace any tires for you. Schedule service with us online if you need to have your tires looked at or replaced.

We even have our own online tire store, so you can order new tires or seasonal tires, such as stud-less winter tires. To learn more about speed ratings for tires, contact us or visit our service center. We’re proud to help drivers in D’Iberville, Gulfport, and Hattiesburg drive on the safest set of wheels for your vehicle.