Posted by: Mark Polk | 2014

RV DIY Article – Tow Vehicle Tire Load Range Tips

tow vehicle tiresDuring a routine inspection of my truck I noticed the sidewalls of the tires had some cracking caused by too much exposure to the sun, and that the tread was almost down to the tread wear indicators. These were the original Michelin tires that came on the truck when it was new, and with almost 70,000 miles on them I really can’t complain about replacing the tires.

When you are replacing the tires on a truck used for towing or hauling heavy loads an important consideration is the load range or load rating of the tires. For light truck tires the load range lets you know the strength of the tire and the tires ability to hold air pressure. When I was growing up tire manufacturers referred to how many plies the tire had (the number of layers) to determine the load rating of the tire. The higher the ply rating the stronger the tire was and the more air pressure it could hold to support a heavier load. Nowadays they use an alphabetical rating system to specify the load range of a light truck tire. The tire load ranges today don’t actually count the number of plies or layers in the tire, but the strength of the tire is comparable to the older ply ratings used years ago.

An easy way to compare today’s tire load ranges to the old ply rating system is to take the alphabetical load range designation of the tire and determine what number it is in the alphabet. For example if it is a D load range tire D is the fourth letter in the alphabet. Now multiply that by 2, so a D load range tire is equivalent in strength to an 8 ply tire. I have E load range tires, equivalent to a 10 ply tire, on my truck. Another important consideration is that the tires are inflated properly for the load they are carrying.

The bottom line is when you purchase tires for a truck that will be towing or hauling heavy loads you need to get tires that are rated for the load you will be hauling and properly inflate the tires for the load. It’s a good idea to check the tire manufacturer load & inflation tables prior to purchasing the tires.

Happy RV Learning,

Mark Polk

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