Sidewall Markings

The word "inside" on the tire sidewall

by Blackjack
(Scottsdale, AZ)

Continental CrossContact LX tire

Continental CrossContact LX tire

Continental CrossContact LX 225/70R-16. In shopping around I noticed these tires are available as Blackwalls or with Outlined White Letters. The price difference between the two has been just a few dollars at each shop I checked. I ordered and paid for Blackwalls, but I recently noticed the outlined white lettering on the inward side of the tires, and the word INSIDE marked on the outward sidewall.


Apparently the tire dealer just mounted O.W.L. tires backward. Will this make any difference in the performance of the tire?

In some of the literature about the CrossContact LX it says "Its notched outboard shoulder is supported by a circumferential rib to provide enhanced ride comfort, steering response and stability on the road."

EDITORIAL COMMENT:

Editorial Comment:  Your tire is an asymmetric design, meaning that one side is different from the other.

The design of the tire, is made to give you specific benefits from the asymmetric design and if you do not have it mounted correctly you will not get the benefits promised and, in addition, could experience some performance or wear issues that are not anticipate.

For a short distance, you likely will not likely suffer any great difficulties, but you have been done a dis-service if you purchased blackwalls and have had these white lettered tires installed backwards.

If you chose the blackwalls solely because they were cheaper, you would do best getting the dealer to flip the tires over and mount them correctly. Since they did not supply the blackwalls you thought you were buying, I would insist that that service be done without any cost.


TG

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Reading Tire Sidewall Markings

by Charles
(USA)

Typical Tire Markings

Typical Tire Markings

Some tires have sidewall markings which are different from the rest.

For example, the sidewall of one tire reads: P225/60R17 98S S1 INTEGRITY B03RPTL.

I know the standard markings but what does the S1 and the 98S mean?


Editorial Comment:  It's too bad we don't have a photo of the tire in question which shows the markings clearly ... it could help in interpreting the marks.

The 98S poses no problem, it is a standard marking in which the 98 is a maximum weight code, and the "S" is the Speed Rating which the tire is designed for.

The other markings do not seem to be standard markings and depending on where they are placed on the tire and the way they appear, they may be unique to the manufacturer of that particular tire.

There's more detail on our page about Tire Sidewall Markings.

TG




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Light colored ring on tire sidewall

by phillip
(st. augustine, fl)

Light colored ring on tire sidewall

Light colored ring on tire sidewall

I now have just shy of one thousand miles on 4 new BF Goodrich Comercial T/A tires on my fiver rv. I have not done anything to these tires other than keeping them inflated to a cold pressure of 80psi and covering them when not in use. I have not washed them, driven in rain, applied any dressings, or otherwise.

Today, after returning home from the 3rd trip with these new tires, I was putting on the tire covers and noticed a discoloration ring in the sidewall close to the rim on only on one tire (right side of rv, front axle) and I have not curbed or scuffed them on anything. Plus, it is between the widest part of the tire and the rim so I'm sure it's not a scuff. I know this occured on the 120 mile return trip as I always keep a close watch on my tires - especailly since these are new.

I'm concerned about this since it is only on one tire and the tires are so new. I tow the rv at 70mph on interstate highways, FL heat, and it is not overloaded at all.

Of course, I will contact a local dealer but in the meantime does anyone have any ideas on what this could be.


Editorial Comment:  You're wise to have this inspected by a dealer you know and trust. From a photo only it's difficult to make an accurate diagnosis.

In spite of what you've said, I'm inclined to suspect that this ring may have been produced by something rubbing against the tire. I've seen a car where a plastic guard piece on the wheel well was damaged and rubbed against the sidewall until it was worn down too but leaving a distinct impression on the tire sidewall.

In your case, it might have been a branch or some other object that somehow became lodged in a position that caused it to rub against the sidewall and later fell or was broken off.

When you have your dealer look at it, you may want to see if there is a similar marking on the interior side wall in about the same position. If you see this, it would be vital to unmount the tire and see if there is any evidence of internal tire damage.

Let us know what the dealer concludes.

TG


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Tire Concerns: non-standard DOT code

DOT Codes

DOT Codes

I just got 4 tires on some rims I bought, the DOT# are as follows
DOT UPHH HK9253 F01L
DOT UPHH HK9502 E6R
DOT UPHH HK9183 E4L
DOT UPHH HK9512 C11L

I don't think there are 95 weeks in a year so what gives? If I use just the last 3 numbers they are past year 2000, still doesn't fit, HELP!


Editorial Comment:

According to the codes you've provided for these tires:
UP = they were manufactured by Cooper Tire & Rubber Company at their Findlay, Ohio plant.
HH = tire size is P225/75R15
HK9 = Hercules DSR II Steel Belted Radial

253 = week 25, 1993
502 = week 50, 1992
183 = week 18, 1993
512 = week 51, 1992

The rest of the codes do not enter into the DOT code standards and are for internal use which is not required to be made public.

The DOT codes are either 10 or 11 characters long starting after the word DOT. If there are 11 characters the last four tell the week and year --WWYY-- (after 2000), in an 10 digit code the last 3 tell the week (WWY) and last digit of the year in the 1990's.

TG



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Tire Concerns: UTQG

by Mark
(NB)

UTQG

UTQG

What is OWRL as in P245/70 R16 OWRL and is there much of a difference in UTQG 720AB v 620AB?



Editorial Comment:
You've asked more than one question in one sentence, so we'll have to charge you double! (Just kidding)

To start with, I'm wondering if you may have mistaken the OWRL and really have OWL on the tire, because I've never run across that exact combination before.

OWL, is common and stands for Outline White Letters on tires.

In relation to cars, however there is an acronym OWRL, which stands for Open Wheel Racing League, and you might find more about it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-wheel.

The second question has to do with the UTQG, which stands for Uniform Tire Quality Grade Standards from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The codes cited --720AB and 620AB-- include Treadwear, Traction and Temperature. The essential difference is in the treadwear part 720 vs 620. Treadwear states the amount of wear that can be expected from a tire compared with a standard tire of 100. So a 720 tire would be expected to last somewhat more than a 620 tire ... based on my reckoning about 16% more life could be expected.

TG

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Tire codes

by Greg
(LA CA )

My hobby is C1 Corvettes. Can you tell me how to read bias ply tire codes. Usual MFg are Firestone and BF Goodrich. Also where to find the codes (must be the inside)



Editorial Comment:

You'll find complete information on how to read tire sidewalls in an article called tire markings.

No tire manufacturers place information about the tires inside the tire, unless you are referring to the inner sidewall, which then depends on how the tire is mounted. Most tires can be reversed so that the inner sidewall is facing the outside of the car. Some of the information is stamped on both sides of a tire, however, if you cannot find what you're looking for, check on the other sidewall. You may find what you're looking for on only one side.


TG


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Tire Concerns: Tire Markings used by Hankook

by Thorvaldur
(reykjavik, Iceland)

Hankook Ventus

Hankook Ventus

I have Ventus tires which read 225/45 zr16 89 w.
I know what everything stands for except for the z rating I have no idea what that stands for.



Editorial Comment: 
This is a coding used by Hankook for some of its Ventus line of tires.

We have contacted the Hankook office in Canada and they stated that the ZR means that the tire is rated for operation at speeds of over 149 mph.

Personally, I wasn't satisfied with that explanation because, the codes you provided (225/45 zr16 89 w) contain the speed rating "w" at the end, which seems to be redundant and even possibly confusing.

I inquired --again-- to see if Hankook was using their own coding for this line of tires, and discovered that several, if not all, major tire manufacturers use ZR in some of their tire codes for what are generally known as "High Performance" tires.

The question raised, is why do they still leave the W in the coding if they were replacing it? What they've done seems to be a departure from the existing industry standard in which the "R" preceding the rim size is used to designate Radial construction.

To me, this is confusing, to be mixing a code used for speed with another which designates the construction.

Hankook are not alone in this -- as I stated I've since seen this in the tire catalogs of other manufacturers, but I still find it objectionable because there is a mixing of two purposes into the same code.

If you agree with my thinking, I'd encourage you to complain to your dealer and at any opportunity you have to have contact with any manufacturer.


TG

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Tire Concerns: colored dots on sidewall

by Mike
(Hudson , NH)

On the side wall of a tire, I noticed a red Dot and a yellow dot. What do these indicate?

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WHAT ARE THE COLORED MARKINGS ON THE SIDE OF SOME TIRES

by MIKE
(SANFORD FL)

THERE ARE 2 COLORED MARKINGS ON THE SIDE WALL OF SOME TIRES WE SOLD, ONE MARKING IS RED AND ANOTHER IS YELLOW.


Editorial Comment

This question has been dealt with before and would have showed up if you had done a search of this websiteusing such terms as "yellow dots."

To save you that trouble here's the link:
https://www.tire-information-world.com/tire-concerns-yellow-and-red-dots-on-sidewall.html

We have responded to literally hundreds of question about all aspects of tires and wheels on this website and it is likely that almost anything you might want to ask has already been answered.

When you do a search try to use one or two simple terms that will be the key to the information you are seeking. In this case it was "yellow" and "dots", although "red" and "marks" would have worked too.

If you try certain words and they don't bring back the information you need, try substituting other similar words, such as wheel instead of rim, or inflation instead of air pressure, just to give you an example.

TG

TG

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Tire Concerns: letters at the beginning of the tire code

by Darick Bradley
(Baghdad)

In a tire size of P275/60R18 what does the "P" stand for?

The "P" is short for Passenger.

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Tire Concerns: Load rating

by Josh
(WI)

I am looking to get new BF Goodrich TA KO all terrain tires, size 265/70r17 Some dealers say I need 6 ply and some say I need the 10 ply. I have a Ford F150 4x4.



Editorial Comment:

It could be that both dealers are right, depending on what information they are looking at.

Usually, most people simply are guided in replacing their tires by using the same rating as you've been using. So, look at the tires you are replacing and choose replacements which have the same ply-rating, or load range which you have previously used.

If, you have not been getting satisfactory results you might want to change your load range. In this case, begin by looking in your vehicle's manual or on the door post to see if you can learn what the manufacturer recommends and compare that to they kind of loads which you are likely to carry. Then choose a tire which will support the heaviest load which you expect to transport.

So if you want to get a valid comparison from different dealers, make certain you tell them what kind of loads you expect to carry and other details about the driving conditions you will be facing.

For your information, these days ply-ratings are not actual plies, but rather the equivalent to the number of plies which used to be actually made. Most tires only have between one and three plies which use cords or steel which is much stronger than the cotton cords to which the number used to apply.

Some dealers may use letter codes instead of ply ratings. B = 4 ply, C = 6 ply, D = 8 ply, E = 10 ply, etc.

Also, keep in mind that as you carry greater loads, you must increase your tire pressure, which is the reason for using tires with a greater ply-rating ... so that they can operate with higher air pressure to carry the greater weight.

TG


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Tire Concerns: What do all the numbers/letters mean?

by Toni
(PA)

P205/70R15 95S These are on a 97 Honda CRV - the car is in great shape 60,000 miles -looking to buy good tires for the next 60,000 miles any advice on best brand?



Editorial Comment:

We believe that most of the major tire brands can provide you with what you need.

In our opinion, selecting a reliable local dealer who you feel comfortable with is much more important than the specific brand you finally choose.

To find a dealer, you might want to check our Buyer's Guide for a location near you.

To learn about all those letters and numbers on your tires see tire markings.

TG

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Tire Concerns: Meaning of LT in Tire Size

by henry
(harrison,ar.)

What do the letters LT before the tire size mean as in LT265/70R16?



Editorial Comment:

Like many other questions, this has been asked and answered several times, for example in:Meaning of LT.

TIP: Use our Search function to find information about virtually any tire question. Simply enter the keywords of what you're looking for and select the best match from the choices which are returned.

TG

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Tire Concerns: Yellow and red dots on sidewall

by Dave Haslin
(Kingston new york)

colored dots

colored dots

Is it true the yellow dot should be placed above the valve and red dot on the inside rim?



Editorial Comment:

The use of colored dots on tire sidewalls is a new practice which is still in the process of becoming wide spread and standardized.

Usually colored dots on a tire are found on OEM tires and not on after-market tires. What we've been able to learn so far seems to indicate that in some cases

Yellow=Light
Red=High

These are guides to technicians in mounting tires so that aligning the red mark with the low spot on the wheel(usually marked on wheel with white dot) is the best method for mounting tires.

The intent is to make the assembly more uniform and helps limit the RFV (Radial Force Variation).

Some of the newer, more sophisticated, tire balancing machines, will "OEM Match" tires for you, which basically means matching the uniformity of the wheel to the uniformity of the tire. This is considered important when mounting very stiff or high performance tires, as it limits tire vibrations which cause shimmy and shake.



TG

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Tire Concerns : Colored dots on tire sidewall

by Dean
(Pleasantville, IA)

I purchased a new set of tires and they have a red dot with a red circle around it. Also a white one.
I think they might have something to do with how you mount them but I don't know.




Editorial Comment:



Tire manufacturers are starting to put colored dots on tires when they are being made and these dots have been the subject of concern and speulation from more and more tire users.


The dots on the sidewall typically deal with unformity and weight. Because it isn't possible to make a perfect tire, they all will have some point on the tread which is lighter than the rest. It's not something that an average tire user would be able to detect without highly specialized equipment, but it is there. When the tire is made, this point is found and a colored dot (usually yellow) is put on the sidewall to mark its position. This is known as the weight mark.

The yellow dot should end up aligned to the valve stem to help minimize the amount of weight needed to balance the when it is installed.

Since every wheel has a valve stem which cannot be moved it is considered to be the heavy balance point for the wheel.

Apart from not being able to make a perfectly balanced tire, it's also nearly impossible to make one which is perfectly round. The actual deviation is a ridiculously small measurement, probably no more than a hair's thickness but with highly specialized equipment this can be detected.

So, each tire has a high and a low spot, and the difference between them is called radial run-out. Using computerized analysis equipment, the tire manufacturers can spin a tire and discover a certain 'wobble' at certain RPMs. At the point where the tire wobble hits its high point, is the high spot and this is typically marked with a red dot on the sidewall, although again, some manufactures may not place marks, and others use different colors. This is called the uniformity mark.

Because most wheel rims are also not 100% circular, and will have a notch or a dimple stamped into the wheel rim somewhere indicating their low point. In installing, the idea is to match the high point of the tire should be matched with the low point of the wheel to balance out the radial run-out.


TG

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Tire Concerns: difference between 95v and 95w

by tierra
(baton rouge, la)

all of my tires are 255/30 22 95v tires except the 1 i just bought. it is a 255/30 95w xl tire, and its rubbing.

Editorial Comment:

The difference between 95V and 95W is not likely to cause rubbing. Possibly there was a problem that was there before you changed the tire, or it happened after or almost at the same time.

The figures you've provided are a load index (95) and a speed rating. The load index of 95 means that the tire is capable of carrying up to 1521 pounds or 690 kilograms.

The speed rating of W is higher than the V so, if anything you're now with one tire that is designed to resist a higher speed than the other three.

The V rating is good up to speeds of 149 mph (240 kph) while the W rating isup to 168 mph or 270 kph.

I do suggest, however, that you drive all 4 wheels at the same speed!

Have your mechanic or tire technician inspect your vehicle for some mechanical condition that might be producing the rubbing sound. Sometimes it can be as simple as a branch that you've driven over getting lodged in an area where it rubs against the tire but does nothing more than produce noise. Other times, it can be much more serious.

I get used to how my car sounds under normal conditions and always start to inspect it whenever something sounds different. I urge you to do the same.

TG





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Tire Concerns: red and yellow marks on the side wall

by VIRRON BERNAL
(JEDDAH KSA)

I have Camry 2011 Fleet and bought alloy wheel rim then I discover that my tire has red & yellow mark then the new alloy wheel rim has also green sticker.

Editorial Comment:

A picture might have been useful so that others could see what you're talking about, but in this case some of these colored marks are things which we have seen before on certain tires. Still if we had a picture of these red and yellow marks on the tire and the green mark on the wheel it might help us appreciate what marks are being used by which manufacturers.

There is no standardized or regulated uses or color codes but certain tire manufacturers use colored dots to show the lightest part of the tire which has been detected by very sensitive testing equipment. The difference is so small that you could never detect it without this equipment.

For more info see Colored Marks

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how can I find out the manufacturer country on tires

by David
(Miami, Fl, USA)

how can I find out the manufacturer country on tires? like in which country where they were made since the market is flooded with lots of brands and sometimes one brand manufactured in more than one country?


Editorial Comment:

Some tires will have the country of manufacture stamped right on the tire's sidewall, but you may have to hunt for it because it will be in small letters and possibly only on one side.

Apart from that you can check the DOT code which has a code for the country and company which made tires which are authorized for retail sale in the USA.

The first two letters of the Code following the letters "DOT" which will take the form of
DOT XXXX XXXX XXXX on the sidewall will be the code for the country and company. Then you need to look it up in a table.
Find that at DOT Code Chart.

TG

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Tire Concerns: Mismatch in tire size code?

by Marco
(Trinidad and Tobago)

I have a Michelin tire made in France that is marked 235/45R17 but at the same time has the following DOT markings: DOT F34C MDWX 1010 -- according to what I have read here the code 4C corresponds to a smaller tire size. How is this possible?



Editorial Comment:

This is not the first time that we've noted inconsistencies between tire sizes and the codes.

We've attempted to communicate with the DOT to determine how size codes are established and how they are regulated, but the DOT is not responsive to our inquiries.

Since the actual tire size is clearly marked on the tire sidewall, the value of this code is dubious and not one which needs to be given great attention.

TG



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95w tires

by Ed
(UK)

if my car is fitted with 95w tires do i need to replace with the same?

Editorial Comment

95W is two codes. The 95 is the load rating, while the W is the speed rating.

There is no problem if you change to tires which have a higher load or speed rating, but you don't want to install tires with a load rating which is less than what you now have because you may find that they are not suitable for the weight you normally run with.

The speed rating of W is a new high rating, only Y exceeds it. They refer to W - 168 mph, 270 km/h
Y - 186 mph, 300 km/h. If you don't ever believe you will travel these speeds, you may go for a lower rating.

TG


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Tire speed ratings: how important are they?

by Rick

Michelin Hydroedge

Michelin Hydroedge

I'm replacing the wife's tires on a 2003 Acura RSX. I would like to use Michelin Hydroedge, since I really like them on my caddy.

The local dealer says V or better tire speed rating would be better, since the hydroedge would not ride as comfortably and may affect handling characteristics. Then I talked to a guy at Michelin, and he said he could not "officially" recommend less than a V rated tire because of potential liability issues, but it was my choice and they would be OK.

The Hydroedge is a 90,000 mile tire and the others cost about $40 more each and were 60,000 mile tires.

The car has never been driven over 90 MPH and the T rated hydroedge are rated good to 130.

Please comment on how you think the ride would be affected (if at all), and how much importance the tire speed rating has.

TIRE GUY from Tire-Information-World.com


Hey Rick,
From what you've stated, I'm inclined to think that somebody is trying to put something over on you and are not telling you what you need to know.

From my experience, Tire Speed Rating, in itself has nothing to do with the comfort or ride you get from a tire. It is simply the maximum sustained speed at which a tire is designed to operate.

It is possible, that a specific tire might feel better or handle differently on one car than another, so just because you're happy with the way it felt on your Caddy, it might not be the same with the Acura.

Try a search on Acura + Hydroedge in forums or blogs to see if any comentaries come up from others who have actually experienced using these.

Were you really unhappy with the tires you're replacing? Remember the old saying "If it ain't broke ... don't fix it."

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Tire Concerns: how to tell how many plys a tires has

how can I tell how many plies a tire has.

Comment:

Today most tires don't really have plies the way they did when tires were first made, but the word is still used as a way of describing how "strong" the tires are.

The currently used, more precise term to use is ply-rating. This describes the degree of tire strength compared to the equivalent number of cords or plies which tires had when they were made using a layered system. Today even the most heavy-duty Light Truck Tires will not have any more than three plies and most of them only one or two. The plies used today use synthetic fibbers or even steel belts which are much stronger than several layers of cotton cord which used to be used.

What you need to pay attention to, if you are changing from one tire size or type to another is that the service description and load index of your new tire is at least as great as what you had before.

Tires today may be designated as Standard, Extra, or Light Load and could be stamped with the letters SL, XL or LL to indicate these levels of load carrying capacity. If there is nothing stamped, it is likely to be SL or Standard Load, especially for Passenger Tires.

If you are looking for the load stamp, you are most likely to see it at the end of the tire size series on the sidewall, for example as in : P285/35R-19 LL.

TG

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Tire Concerns the difference between 2 tires from their markings

by Kay bigner
(Centreville, ms.)

Tire #1 ST205/75R14.I know the R stands for radial, correct?

Tire# 2 ST205/75D14: What does the D stand for??

These are tires we have or had on our boat trailer.......it appears the Tire# 2 with a D on it, is very worn.

what is the difference in these 2 tires, just by the info i have given you.



Editorial Comment:

An article in Wikipedia makes the following claim about the letter preceding the rim diameter:

" {it is a}n optional letter indicating construction of the fabric carcass of the tire:

B: bias belt (where the sidewalls are the same material as the tread, leading to a rigid ride)
D: diagonal
R: radial"

In all cases the letter refers to the construction of the tire.

What else can I tell from what you've said? The second tire is likely much older than the one with an "R", since "D" is very rarely used these days.

It is generally not considered to be a good idea to mix tires of radial construction with those of non-radial, especially on the same axle, because of the differing stiffness of the sidewalls and the handling characteristics. I'd predict that, at the very least, the two tires would wear at considerably different rates even if they are only used on a trailer.

The "ST" at the beginning stands for "Special Trailer" and both these tires were designed for trailer use, but apart from that, they still should not be mixed. If you are going to replace one, look for another "R" or radial tire, since that is going to be easier to find.


TG





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Tire tread rating-speed rating-oem comparison chart

by Shaun
(Daytona Beach, FL)

Do you know of a chart that shows tire tread rating, speed rating, and oem rating comparisons?

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Tire Concerns: What does LT mean?

by Iggy
(Apple Valley,CA, USA)

I have one tire which reads LT245/75/R16.
There is also one that reads LT245/75/R16E.
What do the LT at the beginning and the E at the end mean?

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Who is the tire manufacturer?

by Mark Henry
(Starkville MS)

I just bought a set of P255/65R18 tires and was told that they were made by Cooper. This is a business that I've done business with many times and have had good experiences with. Upon getting home, I can't find a mfg name on it anywhere nor on the label.
The label says
Tour Plus LST Premium Touring
P255/65R18 109T
TRT32
TN225256658T
TR
XMTKA
W11-11H-SX84

TIRE DOT UPXM TKA


Editorial Comment:

You were told correctly.

The answer you're looking for is in the very last thing you listed above: The DOT code. UP is the code that tells us this tire was made in the USA by the Cooper Tire & Rubber Company.

The DOT code on the tire (look on both sides) will be 12 characters long on one side. The last 4 tells you the week and year of fabrication.

In case you want to look up some other tire you can find that infer in our DOT Code Chart.

TG

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Tire Rating:How can i tell what ply the tire is?

When reading the numbers on the tire how can i tell how many ply the tire is?



Editorial Comment:

The simple answer is: "You can't."

It has been years since the tire industry stopped counting plies in tires. The ply used to refer to the number of cotton cords which were used in the construction of tires.

Now synthetic cords are used along with steel bands and these are usually only one layer thick, which the difference in strength being expressed in a term which is "ply rating". The term tells you what the equivalent strength is IF they were cotton cords ... but unless you find some old or unusual tire with cotton cords you will never find this number of actual plies in the tire.

So, if you look for the words "Ply rating" which is only used on some tires, you can get this measurement.

TG

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