Tyre Sizes and Markings Explained

close up of car tyreThe tyre market is filled with size, style and brand options – and knowing which choices can work for your vehicle may be confusing. When it comes to choosing the right tyre sizes, there may be several options that fit within your vehicle’s parameters.

Each tyre sidewall is etched with a series of numbers and reading these tyre markings can tell you important information about a tyre’s size and construction. In this article, we’ll explain how to read your tyre size and other information with total clarity.

What do tyre size numbers mean?

These tyre size numbers tell you many important pieces of information: tyre width, aspect ratio, construction, inside diameter of the tyre, load capacity, and speed rating.

Tyre markings – Let’s take a look at an example

Imagine that your tyre’s sequence of numbers says: 220/53 R19 89 V

tyre markings showing tyre sizes and info


  • 220 corresponds to your tyre width in mm.
  • 53 is the aspect ratio of the tyre, and simply put, this is the height of the sidewall as a percentage of the tread width e.g. in this case, the sidewall is 53% of the tread width.
  • R tells you the tyre is of radial construction, which is the expected construction for all modern tyres.
  • 19 is the diameter of the wheel rim, in inches.
  • 89 is the load index, i.e it details the load-carrying capacity of a tyre. The higher the number, the greater its load-carrying capacity.
  • V is the speed rating, which describes the maximum speed the tyre can reach when at full load. They are described in letter form, and each letter’s corresponding speed in mph can be found below.

Tyre Speed Ratings

N: 87mph, P: 93mph, Q: 99mph, R: 106mph S: 112mph, T: 118mph, U: 124mph, H: 130mph, V: 149mph, Z: 150+mph, W: 168mph, Y: 186mph

Generally speaking, you should aim to find a tyre that either matches or exceeds your car’s top speed – failing to do so can invalidate your insurance.

Should you change tyre size?mechanic giving advice on tyres

Some motorists wish to change their tyre size because they believe it will enhance the performance, speed and fuel consumption of their car. Careful research should be carried out before making this decision, as it could affect your insurance payouts and the general safety of your vehicle. Always check your car manufacturer’s recommendations, and if you’re still in doubt, check with your local mechanic for some further advice on tyre sizes and other considerations.

Watling Tyres have been operating since 1962, establishing ourselves as a trusted tyre dealer across Kent, Surrey and Sussex. We have a vast range of brands and sizes available, suitable for a diversity of vehicle makes – simply ask our team for some expert advice.

Victory for Hankook: Manufacturer Excels in Independent Product Tests

It was cause for celebration this year when Hankook’s brand new Ventus Prime3 tyre won shortest braking distance in the 2018 summer tyre test, held by Auto Bild – one of Europe’s biggest automobile consumer magazines.

It is the second independent product test the Ventus Prime3 mastered, after being awarded top marks in the ADAC summer tyres test. These wins confirm Hankook’s place as a superior supplier of high performance tyres for every purpose.

Three Generations of Success

As a third generation product in the successful Ventus Prime series, this offering has repeated the success of previous designs in this accomplished line of products. A successor to the Ventus Prime2, the new model has been launched to contend with the driving challenges of the European summer.

Marketed as ‘premium comfort tyres’, the Ventus Prime3 meets high standards of performance, luxury, safety and environmental friendliness. Thanks to the 90 available sizes, any kind of car can benefit from enhanced summer driving.

The Ventus Prime3 possesses:

  • Outstanding driving ability on wet and dry roads
  • High-precision steering
  • Short wet and dry braking distance
  • Comfort making for a smooth ride

The Big Test

The first round of Auto Bild’s tests saw 51 products from an impressive array of market leaders go through rigorous testing – Hankook came out on top for braking, standing out amongst other global forerunners.

Remarkable Wet and Dry Handling

The superb grip is achieved by the cutting-edge silica compound, providing unbeatable grip on any type of surface and an 8% improvement on wet braking compared to its predecessor. The four grooves in the tread pattern also act to resist the effects of aquaplaning and enhance control in wet weather.

A key element of the tyre is a innovative new polymer that boasts a high molecular weight, thus boosting its wear-resistance. As an added innovation, asymmetry is incorporated into the tread, creating a more effective contact surface between tyre and ground.

With 55 years of successful trading under our belt, Watling Tyres has the skills and expertise to supply, fit and advise on a wide range of tyres. We stock and install the biggest brands, including Hankook, and also offer a mobile fitting service for ultimate convenience. Our team also stock a range of car accessories and supporting products – contact us today to chat to our friendly team.

Everything You Need to Know About Spare Tyres

If you’re unclear about whether you require a spare tyre, how they affect MOTs, what the benefits of spare tyres are, and how to fit one if you experience a puncture, you’re probably not the first person to be confused about this topic. To help you get up to speed, here’s everything you need to know about spare tyres.

Is Having a Spare Tyre a Legal Requirement?

the legality of spare tyres

No, keeping a spare tyre in your car is not a legal requirement according to UK law. However, it is still advisable to carry one in your vehicle, as well as a jack.

Why Should I Carry A Spare Tyre?

car with spare tyre in bootKitting your car out with a spare tyre and a jack could help you avoid a lot of hassle if you run into trouble on the roads. Getting your car back to road-ready standards after a puncture is especially vital if you’re travelling to remote areas, or abroad, where callouts may not be as responsive. Many people don’t carry spares because they take up room and are fairly weighty, however space-saving alternatives are available as a temporary measure until you can get yourself to a garage for a full-sized one to be fitted.

Is a Spare Tyre Checked as Part of an MOT?

spare tyre in MOT
No, spare tyres are not checked as part of an MOT. This is because the tyre is not physically fitted to the vehicle itself, and therefore is under no obligation to meet legal standards. The only time this will be an issue is if a temporary, space-saving tyre is fitted to the vehicle itself at the time of the MOT, in which case the MOT will be likely to fail.

What Are the Different Types of Spare Tyres?types of spare tyre

  • Full-Size Matching Spare: Full-size tyres that match the ones already fitted to your vehicle.
  • Full-Size Non-Matching Spare: Full-size tyres that may be a different size to the ones you already have fitted to you car. Always check the legality of these tyres in relation to your particular car.
  • Full-Size Temporary Spare: Full-size tyres, but are more lightweight than ordinary tyres, and will also have a shallower tread depth. They should only be used as a spare.
  • Compact Temporary Spare: A lightweight tyre that is smaller than standard tyres, with a shallower tread depth. Their main advantage is their space-saving ability.
  • Folding Temporary Spare: A temporary spare tyre that is also collapsible/inflatable.

How Do I Change a Tyre?

If you’d like information on how to change a tyre, we recommend taking a look at our tyre changing process which shows how our engineers change a tyre safely.

Need a Tyre Supplier?

If you’re searching for a reliable tyre supplier, look no further than Watling Tyres. We serve a wide area, including fifteen branches across Kent, Surrey and Sussex, bringing our professionalism and knowledge to each and every job.

We have over 55 years’ experience trading, and can now supply and fit a huge range of branded tyres. To find out more about us, simply get in touch today.

Hankook Tyres Chosen as Original Fitment for Citroёn C3 Aircross

Fresh off the factory line, the new compact Citroёn SUV has been fully kitted out with Hankook tyres to complement its award-winning, innovative design.

The C3 Aircross is Citroёn’s latest contribution to the SUV market. With a compact design that’s full of personality, the Aircross is a highly customisable vehicle with a wide choice of driving modes for all weathers. Contributing to its superior standards of driveability is the original fitment of Hankook tyres.

CS Aircross’s Fitted Tyres

Depending on the customer and size requirements, the C3 Aircross will come fitted with either:

Hankook’s Kinergy 4S: All-weather, multi-performance tyres that boast a 10% braking reduction in snowy conditions, and a measured improvement to both dry and wet handling.

Thanks to the addition of two different sipe types, the Kinergy 4S possesses both summer and winter capabilities, making for first-rate driving all year round.

Hankook’s Ventus Prime 3: Summer tyres that perfectly balance safety and performance, and with an improved water clearing system in place, and high grip silica compound to improve dry and wet traction.

A Strengthened Relationship Between Citroёn & Hankook

The addition of these tyres into the Aircross C3 was welcome news to Hankook. Tony Lee, the Vice President of Marketing & Sales at Hankook Tyre Europe, was quoted as saying:

“We are looking forward to a strengthened relationship with the second largest car manufacturer in Europe, now adding the Citroën brand as well. Since we deliver original fitment tyres to the sister brands Opel/Vauxhall and Peugeot, we see great potential for more intensified cooperation, particularly on the European market, which is very important for us.”

As leading suppliers of Hankook Tyres and a range of other big brands, the team at Watling Tyres have been meeting our customers’ motor needs since 1962. We offer great service, great choices and great value, and now have 15 branches across Kent, Surrey and Sussex. Get in touch today to chat to our friendly team.

Change a Tyre Safely – Our Tyre Changing Process

A lot of consideration goes into choosing the right tyres and maintaining them, but what many people don’t realise is that the way a tyre is fitted can have a huge impact on the safety of the vehicle, as well as the performance on the road. Changing a tyre safely, put simply, can save lives and save you money.

Do you know how to change a tyre?

According to research carried out by Leasing Options, 55% of drivers in the UK don’t know how to change a tyre. This is a shocking figure, meaning less than half the drivers out on the roads would know how to change a tyre themselves.

Do you fall into this statistic? Not to worry, because at Watling Tyres, we’ve decided to share with you how we safely change your tyres, taking the burden off your shoulders.

changing a tyre infographic


How we safely change a tyre at Watling Tyres

1. Raise the vehicle

The first thing we do is raise the vehicle using a jack, giving access to the tyre off the ground.

2. Remove the wheel cover

Different vehicles have different wheel covers, but in order to move on to the next step, we’ll need to take off any wheel covers.

3. Take out the wheel nuts

Using a wrench, we can then loosen the wheel nuts individually, parting the tyre from the fixed wheel hub. We keep hold of the wheel nuts for later.

4. Remove the tyre from the car

For normal tyres, we remove them by hand, simply bringing the tyre away from the hub and putting it in your boot well later.

5. Fit the new tyre

We roll the new tyre to your vehicle, lift and then place it onto the bolts of the hub.

6. Secure the tyre

Using the wheel nuts from the old tyre, we secure the new tyre by loosely applying them – starting with the top nut.

7. Lower the vehicle partially

Once the tyre is loosely secured, we lower the vehicle slowly until it touches the floor.

8. Tighten the wheel nuts

We now tighten the wheel nuts by hand, as much as physically possible.

9. Lower the vehicle all the way

Now the vehicle can be lowered to the ground fully, we can then use a wrench to tighten the nuts fully.

10. Replace the wheel cover

The wheel cover taken off the old tyre can now be fitted to the new tyre, ready to drive away.

Mobile Tyre Fitting at Watling Tyres

At Watling Tyres, we provide mobile tyre fitting across Kent, Surrey, Sussex and the surrounding areas. So if you’ve got a flat, or the tread is worn on your current tyres, why not seek professional assistance from experienced team?

If you’d like replacement tyres or need to fit your spare out on the road, don’t put your safety at risk. Contact your local branch today to learn more about our services and we’ll be happy to help.