I have an admission. I have been in the Tire business for 35 years. I can still recall in my early years of the business that we kept our entire inventory on roughly 12 legal size pages comprising about 60 sizes or so. Nowadays, some power lines (industry jargon) have even more than that. The Cooper Discoverer AT3 (4S, LT, and XLT) currently sits at a combined 91 unique part numbers. That’s a lot for a professional, but for the lay person, it can be daunting to buy the right tire. Ultimately, we want you to buy the correct product and have a happy experience.
Let’s take a 265/70R17 . This size is made in multiple load ranges. This is a four-ply tire used on 1/2 ton applications, such as Expeditions, Tahoe’s, F150, Silverado 1500’s, etc. This tire is also made in an LT265/70R17 that fits on ¾ and 1 ton applications, for example: F250, Ram 3500, or Silverado 3500. There is a huge difference between the weight the two types of tires can carry.
Before you purchase your tires, please check the vehicle’s placard and verify the size, service description and load range to ensure you are buying the right product. The service description will follow the tire size:
265/70R17 115T – it is the 115T on this 4 ply, Standard Load example.
LT265/70R17 121R – it is the 121R on this 10 ply, E Load Range example.
265/75R16 116T – it is the 116T on this 4 ply, Standard Load example.
LT265/75R16 123R – it is the 123R on this 10 ply, E Load Range example.
These are examples, your vehicle may vary. The tire sizes and descriptions are very similar, but they are very different tires.
One of the other concerns occurs during upsizing/changing the original size is how much air pressure (PSI, pounds per square inch) the tire can take. Vehicles nowadays come with Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) that require your tires to be set within a specified PSI range for your vehicle. There are many lift up sizes that are 10ply load range E, but no longer meet the air pressure requirement of the vehicle and go only to 65 psi. Manufacturers such as Toyo and Nitto have created load range F tires in their lift up sizes to accommodate the higher pressure and load requirements.
The key takeaway from this is to check the vehicle placard to ensure you purchase the proper tire for your vehicle. Not only purchasing the size correctly, but the purchasing the correct size that has the correct ply rating and air pressure range. Remember, you can always call us M-F 8-5 at 888-396-5261 if you are unsure you are selecting the correct tire.