There are quite a few numbers and letters on a tire’s sidewall. Do you know what they all mean? Let’s dig into one of the lesser talked-about sidewall markings in this Tire Review Continental Tire Garage Studio video.
Many tires are rated by the U.S. Government on treadwear, traction performance and temperature resistance. It’s called the Uniform Tire Quality Grading Standards, or UTQG standards. You’ll see these on the tire’s sidewall. But what exactly do they mean? And how do you describe them to a curious customer or new tech on your team?
Today, we’re going to talk about treadwear grades. These are an indication of a tire’s relative wear rate. The higher the treadwear number is, the longer it should take for the tread to wear down. When tire engineers conduct tire tests, a control tire is used and assigned a grade of 100. Other tires are compared to this control tire. For example, a tire grade of 200 should wear twice as long as the control tire.
Treadwear ratings are most informative and helpful when comparing tires from the same manufacturer. If you’re trying to help your customer choose between tires of the same type from the same manufacturer, the treadwear rating could be a deciding factor.
Of the current tires on the road, 15% are rated below 200, 25% are rated between 201 and 300 and 32% are rated between 301 and 400, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Typically, you’ll see lower treadwear ratings on tires meant for speed, like UHP summer tires. Tires with chunkier treads, like an all-terrain tire or mud-terrain tire, will have higher treadwear ratings. Of today’s vehicles, 20% are rated between 401 and 500 and just 8% are rated 600 or above.