It is actually very easy to determine what type of tires your car needs. If you look inside of your driver door panel, you will see a sticker that says something like P185/60R14. That looks a bit confusing, right? This guideline will help you understand what those numbers mean so that you can purchase the right kind of tire for your car. To browse a wide selection of tires for your car, check out stores like Walmart and Tire Rack.

Types of Tires

When you take a look at the sticker that is on the door panel on your vehicle, do you see a P or an LT? If you see a P, you need to purchase passenger tires. Passenger tires are designed for a smooth ride and longer wear. If you see an LT, then you need to purchase light truck tires for your car. Light truck tires are more expensive than passenger tires because they are designed to carry the load that trucks carry. Most cars these days use radial tires, which is what the R means in P185/60R14. Whether you are purchasing passenger tires or light truck tires for your car, you want to stick to well known brands, such as Bridgestone, Goodyear, Kumho, Cooper and Hankook.

Tire Width

You will see a 3 digit number next to the P or LT when you are looking at the sticker that is on the panel of your driver door. The 3 digit number is the width of your tire. It is an absolute must that you purchase a tire that has a width that is the same as the number that you are looking at. If you purchase a tire with a different width, your car will be off balance. In the example given above, the section width of the tire is 185 millimeters. Generally speaking, passenger tires will have a lower width than light truck tires will.

Load Index and Diameter

Now that you have established the type of tire that you need and the width of the tire that you need, you need to determine what load index tire you need and what diameter tire you need. In the example given above, which is P185/60R14, the load index is 60 and the wheel rim diameter is 14. The load index is a number that correlates to a load capacity on the industry standard Maximum Load Carrying Capacity chart. For example, a load index of 82 means that the tires have a load capacity of 1,047 pounds. Wheel rims are designed to fit only a specific tire diameter, which generally ranges anywhere from 14 inches to 18 inches for most passenger and light truck tires. When you start shopping around for tires, you will always be asked to input the width, load index, and diameter of your tire.