Explain Tire Sidewall Marks

Explain Tire Sidewall Marks

It's one things to know your tire's brand and model, but what do all of the other markings on the tire's sidewall actually mean? The dirt is in the details, let's jump into what makes each tire truly unique and why you need to brush up on your tire talk.
What is a tire bead gap Reading Explain Tire Sidewall Marks 5 minutes Next How to Install Beadlock Wheels

Your tires are the only thing touching the ground when you're topping out at 70MPH or clawing your way to the top of an obstacle. It's time you know what makes each tire different and why knowing the details can help you pick the perfect tire for your machine, your preferred trail system and/or even the climate you intend to ride in.

We're going to break down the mysterious tire sidewall and all of the markings that up until today may have befuddled you. The tire example we chose for this post is the Toyo Open Country SxS. The tire sidewall provides a significant amount of information about the tire's intended purpose, dimensions, load capacity and high temperature/high speed durability.

Understand tire markings and what they mean

Tire Size: 32X9.50R15 LT 

  • 32x - Tire height
  • 9.50 - Tire width
  • R - Radial construction
  • 15 - Wheel diameter
  • LT - Light Truck

Tire diameter refers to the overall diameter/height of the tire. For SxS specific tires, the tire diameter is always in inches and is typically the spec that people refer to when they talk about tires. 

Tire width refers to the width of the tire's contact patch or aspect ratio. This measurement is important for people who have vehicle width limitations (trailer or garage) as the wider the tire, the wider your vehicle will end up. 9-10" is a very common width range for SxS specific tires. 

Radial construction tires are built with cords, or plies, that run perpendicular to the direction of travel, and belts under the tread. This gives them a smoother ride and helps prevent heat build-up, which can make the tires last longer. If your tire is not Radial, you have bias-ply tires which are built with plies that are layered so they crisscross over each other. This creates a more rugged design, with greater puncture resistance in the sidewall.

Wheel diameter refers to the available wheel diameter. In this example, a 15" wheel was engineered to work with this tire size. SxS wheels are typically 7" wide so the preferred wheel for this tire would be a 15x7".

Light Truck (LT) tires are built with a rugged carcass, including more, thicker plies and sidewall reinforcements. Because LT tires come with higher load carrying capacities and a more robust construction, they’re far more rugged and durable than your average passenger tire, making them perfect for extra weight and tough road conditions.

load rating markings utv tires sidewall meaning

Max load 625kg (1820 lbs) at 250 kPa (35 psi) cold
The maximum load and maximum inflation pressure are required to be branded on all tire sidewalls sold in North America. Tire pressures are normally measured in "pounds per square inch" (psi), Kilopascals (kPa), or bars of pressure (bars). At sea level, Earth's atmosphere is pressing against the surface with a force of 1 kilogram per square centimeter. This pressure is identified as one "bar," and is equal to 100 Kilopascals or 14.7 pounds per square inch of pressure.

This branding identifies that tire example above must be capable of, and be rated to carry 825 kg (1820 pounds). Additionally it identifies that the maximum tire inflation pressure for this tire is 250 kPa (35 psi). 

tire sidewall codes and meaning

CXHW 7VF1020
This series of alphanumeric characters refers to the manufacturing date, batch, and exact plant (location). Each tire will have a unique code here so that in the event of an issue, the tires produced in this batch can be remolded or altered prior to release.

tread wear indicator tire sidewall meaning

Tread wear indicator
Every tire has a Tread Wear Indicator (TWI), which forms a triangle located on the sidewall of the tire. TWI is an indicator of tire wear and is also a benchmark for you to check if your tire is worn out. Another example of a TWI is a bar that bridges between two tire lugs.

Tread wear indicator bar tire meaning

Tires should be changed immediately when the tire tread has surpassed the indicators.

tubeless steel belted radial utv tire sidewall marking

Tubeless Steel Belted Radial
A tubeless tire does not use a tube. Instead, it maintains inflation pressure in the tire by the attachment of a special rubber liner called the “inner liner,” that features low air permeability on the internal surface of the tire.

Radial tires are constructed with steel belts running at 90 degree angle of the tread center line.  This gives the tire it's reinforcement to be able to withstand the internal air pressure and external weight of the vehicle. This results in a smoother ride that helps prevent heat build-up, which can make the tires last longer. Radial tires have more flex therefore allowing more ground contact. The end result is better traction and tread wear.

Alternatively, steel belted bias tires (not radial) uses two or more layers of nylon cord PLUS two steel belt layers beneath the tread. This construction creates a reinforced carcass (the network of chords that gives the tire is strength) that offers additional support and a more rigid inner material to bond with the tread.

Safety Warning
All tires will refer the consumer to perform routine maintenance and safety checks on tires to ensure proper inflation, wear and identify early failure patterns. The fine print on this Toyo Open Country SxS tire reads: 

Serious Injury may result from tire failure due to underinflation/overloading. Follow owners manual or tire placard in vehicle. Explosion of tire/rim assembly due to improper mounting. Only specially trained persons should mount tires. Never exceed 40psi to seat beads. Mount only on 15 inch rim approved for radial tires.

The Source is your destination for applicable and useful posts, how-tos and recommendations to keep you and your passengers safe and prepared. Have a topic you'd like to know more about? Search the site using top navigation. Have a topic we haven't covered yet? Shoot us an email using our contact form.

What happens when a tire is over inflated?
Learn

What happens when a tire is over inflated?

When you are mounting a tire to a wheel there are several warnings and risks that need to be considered, primarily overinflation. We break down the science of professional wheel and tire mounting s...
Polaris Xpedition Accessories
New

Polaris Xpedition Accessories

So, you're looking for new accessories for your Polaris Xpedition eh? We put together a collection of some of the best upgrades, accessories and parts we recommend adding to your Xpedition build li...
UTV Sand Kit Buyers Guide
Learn

UTV Sand Kit Buyers Guide

Do you need beadlock UTV wheels for riding in the dunes/sand? What PSI do I need to run? What are the best utv wheels for sand? Best utv tires for sand? We answer all of these questions and more in...
kawasaki krx utv tires utv wheels

VALOR OFFROAD

UTV Wheel and Tire kits for sale

Valor Offroad

Valor Offroad is a leading manufacturer of products developed exclusively for the powersports industry. Our wide collection of utv wheels, utv tires, and accessories are designed to enhance the performance and appearance of your offroad vehicle. Whether you're a seasoned offroader or just starting out, Valor Offroad has everything you need to take your powersports experience to the next level. Our utv wheels are crafted with precision and durability in mind, ensuring that they can handle even the toughest terrains. With a variety of styles and finishes to choose from, you can customize your offroad vehicle to reflect your personal style.

But it's not just about looks - our Valor utv tires are engineered to provide optimal traction and stability, giving you the confidence to conquer any trail. From trails to rock crawling, our tires are designed to withstand the harshest conditions, so you can push the limits of your offroad adventures.

At Valor Offroad, we understand that offroading is more than just a hobby - it's a lifestyle. That's why we are committed to providing top-quality products that not only perform well but also enhance the overall appearance of your offroad vehicle. With our extensive selection and dedication to customer satisfaction, you can trust us to be your go-to source for all your Polaris, Can-AM, Honda, and Kawasaki utv accessories.

So whether you're tackling the trails or hitting the dunes, choose Valor Offroad to equip your offroad vehicle with the best wheels, tires, and accessories on the market. Experience the difference that our products can make and elevate your offroading adventures to new heights.