Although tyre speed ratings are not the most important factor for many customers,due to most never travelling over the speed limit - tyre speed ratings are actually one of the most important pieces of information that tyre manufacturers give us as consumers. They indicate the maximum safe speed that a tyre can be driven at on the vehicle.

The tyre speed rating is the single letter at the end of the embossed information on the side of the tyre's sidewall. The speed rating can be found after the wheel diameter on the sidewall.

The speed rating letters run from "B" to "Y". "B" representing tyres that are safe to travel on, at speeds of up to 31mph. "Y" representing tyres that are safe to drive on, at speeds of up to 186mph. Specialist supercars and hypercars are sometimes fitted with "Z" speed rated tyres, although these are rare and not something the majority of us are lucky enough to have to worry about!

Most often, the speed rating of a tyre will far eclipse what speeds a car is even capable of driving at. A small city car or supermini is usually fitted with a T rated tyre, which is approved to drive up to speeds of 118mph. Family cars and larger cars are usually fitted with tyres that are either H-rated or V-rated which permit speeds of up to 130mph and 149mph respectively. In most cases, the cars fitted with these tyres are not even capable of reaching the speeds.

As well as being able to handle the number of revolutions that travelling at high speeds require and the associated temperature increases that this involves, to meet tyre speed requirements - tyres also need to handle braking and cornering pressures, up to the approved speed.

One of the reasons why tyre speed ratings outstrip car performance - is that modern cars are typically all fitted with lower profile alloy wheels - for both handling reasons, and aesthetics. This means that sportier tyres are fitted and subsequently have a higher speed rating.

There’s never an issue with fitting tyres to your vehicle with a higher speed rating than previously fitted - it’s just important that you do not fit a tyre to the vehicle which has a lower rating than your manufacturer recommends, as this can invalidate insurance or warranty.

Below, is a full table of Tyre Speed Ratings letters and the corresponding speed:

Speed Rating

Speed in MPH

B

31

C

37

D

40

E

43

F

50

H

130

J

62

K

68

L

75

M

81

N

87

P

93

Q

99

R

106

S

112

T

118

V

149

W

168

Y

186