Tyre load index specifies the maximum load capacity of a tyre indicated in kilograms. It’s one of the values that must be looked at when buying new car tyres. Read on to find out more about the tyre load capacity and safety risks involved in fitting incorrectly rated tyres.

Tyre load index

Tyre load index

What is the tyre load index?

The tyre load index defines the maximum load a tyre can carry when moving at the maximum speed specified by the tyre speed index. The load index is expressed by a two or three-digit number (from 0 to 279) that corresponds with the maximum weight a tyre can carry. The tyre load index is located on the tyre sidewall. 

The manufacturer sets the maximum load capacity of the tyre, taking into account the most loaded axle of a vehicle. The load capacity is crucial for the safety of the car users and must be considered together with the tyre speed index.

Tyre load index vs. total weight of the vehicle

Knowing the maximum weight that each tyre can carry, we can easily calculate the maximum total weight of our vehicle.

If the tyre load index is 91T, it means that the load on the tyre shall not exceed 615 kg.

If you multiply the number of kilograms one tyre can carry by the number of tyres in your vehicle, you will get a value slightly higher than the total maximum weight of the vehicle.

If you plan to choose replacement tyres in a different size than the size recommended by the manufacturer, you should choose tyres with a load index specified in the manual of your car.  

Never install tyres with a lower load index than recommended by the manufacturer.

Example:

  • If your tyre size is 205/55 R16 91T and you plan to install narrower tyres (for winter, for example), the replacement tyres would be 16" tyres (195/60 89 H). However, as the load index of the selected tyres is lower than the one suitable for your vehicle, you can’t install them.

  • A good alternative is a 15-inch tyre (195/65 R15) with a load index of 91T. In this case you need 15-inch wheels.

When buying new tyres for your car, you want them to be safe, economic and comfortable. All these features are achievable provided that you know the parameters which are key to tyre selection. 

You should also refer to the manual of your car which provides a detailed description of tyres recommended by the manufacturer. Such information should also be given on the fuel filler flap, on the pillar behind the driver or on the inside of the driver door. 

Winter tyre tread

Winter tyre tread.

What may happen when you install tyres with an improper load index?

Using tyres with a load index lower than that specified by the manufacturer is always dangerous. Below we present a few reasons why you should observe the guidelines of the manual.

  • Faster tyre wear: tyres with the wrong load index may wear faster, increasing your car maintenance costs.

  • Risks when driving: too much load on a tyre may result in a tyre blowout, which is likely to cause an accident.

  • Loss of driving stability and reduced comfort.

  • After a collision or traffic incident, the insurer may refuse to pay the insurance if the car was fitted with tyres not recommended by the manufacturer.

  • When using tyres with parameters non-compliant with the manufacturer’s specifications, the tyre guarantee is void.

  • A police officer on a routine check may issue a fine if your tyres do not meet the manufacturer's requirements.

Modern safety systems installed in cars, i.e. traction control or ABS, are closely related to the type of tyres recommended by the manufacturer. Fitting tyres that do not meet these requirements causes many problems and safety risks.

Can you use higher indexes than approved?

It is possible to mount tyres with a higher load index and speed index than the ones provided by the manufacturer, but is it actually worth it?

Advantages of using tyres with a higher load index: Disadvantages of using tyres with a higher load index:
Increased stability of the car when driving against the wind Higher price
Driving is more precise and the car responds better to the movements of the steering wheel Car suspension stiffness - reduced comfort when experiencing road surface irregularities
Reliable control during a sporty drive Higher rolling resistance causing increased fuel consumption 
Better cornering Tyres with a load index other than recommended change the driving properties of the vehicle

Remember that using tyres with a lower index is risky and, as such, it is against the law. Make sure that you always prioritise road safety. Study the information below and select the correct tyres for your car.

Tyre Load Index (marked on the tyre) Load capacity in kilograms
60 250
61 257
62 265
63 272
64 280
65 290
66 300
67 307
68 315
69 320

 

Tyre Load Index (marked on the tyre) Load capacity in kilograms
70 335
71 345
72 355
73 365
74 375
75 385
76 400
77 412
78 425
79 437

 

Tyre Load Index (marked on the tyre) Load capacity in kilograms
80 450
81 462
82 475
83 487
84 500
85 515
86 530
87 545
88 560
89 580

 

Tyre Load Index (marked on the tyre) Load capacity in kilograms
90 600
91 615
92 630
93 650
94 670
95 690
96 710
97 730
98 750
99 775

 

Tyre Load Index (marked on the tyre) Load capacity in kilograms
100 800
101 825
102 850
103 875
104 900
105 925
106 950
107 975
108 1000
109 1030

 

Tyre Load Index (marked on the tyre) Load capacity in kilograms
110 1060
111 1090
112 1120
113 1150
114 1180
115 1215
116 1250
117 1285
118 1320
119 1360

 

Tyre Load Index (marked on the tyre) Load capacity in kilograms
120 1400
121 1450
122 1500
123 1550
124 1600
125 1650
126 1700
127 1750
128 1800
129 1850

 

Tyre Load Index (marked on the tyre) Load capacity in kilograms
130 1900
131 1950
132 2000
133 2060
134 2120
135 2180
136 2180
137 2240
138 2360
139 2430

 

Tyre Load Index (marked on the tyre) Load capacity in kilograms
140 2500
141 2575
142 2650
143 2725
144 2800
145 2900
146 3000
147 3075
148 3159
149 3250

 

Tyre Load Index (marked on the tyre) Load capacity in kilograms
150 3350
151 3450
152 3550
153 3650
154 3750
155 3875
156 4000
157 4125
158 4250
159 4375

 

Tyre Load Index (marked on the tyre) Load capacity in kilograms
160 4500
161 4625
162 4750
163 4857
164 5000
165 5150
166 5300
167 5450
168 5600
169 5800
170 6000