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Tyre Information

Nankang Tyre Information Ireland

What does the writing on my tyre sidewall mean?

In short, the numbers and letters correspond to the exact size and specification of the tyre. This includes details of tyres construction, the speed rating and load index. The easiest way to explain the parts is by using a diagram.

  1. Brand of the tyre - e.g. Nankang

  2. Tyre pattern. e.g. MA-Z1

  3. Tyre size - The width of the tread expressed in millimetres, e.g. 205; the aspect ratio - height of the tyre's sidewall as a percentage of the width, e.g. 55%; and the diameter of the tyre's centre hole, (in inches) e.g. 16". The letter between the numbers is the type of construction i.e. ‘R' Radial. e.g. 205/55R16

  4. Service description - in this example the figure 91 denotes the maximum weight capacity of the tyre according to the official load index table, which translates to 615 Kg, The letter V indicates the speed rating of the tyre, in this case the tyre suitable for cars capable of reaching a maximum vehicle speed of 149.1 mph.

  5. ECE (Economic Commission for Europe) Regulation 30 Conformity Approval Number - which means that the tyre meets the standards of the European Regulatory Authorities.

  6. EEC Noise Approval Number, which means that the noise generated by the tyre is within approved European limits.

  7. USA Department of Transport manufacturer's code. This has no relevance to the Irish market

  8. Date of manufacture. This is important as the age of a tyre can affect its performance. The first 2 numbers refer to the week and the 3rd and 4th numbers refer to the year

  9. USA UTQG (Uniform Tire Quality Grade) ratings. This has no significance in the Irish market..

  10. USA maximum tyre loading. This has no significance in Ireland

  11. USA maximum tyre inflation pressure. This has no significance in the Ireland

  12. Denotes tubeless construction

  13. Safety warning refers to the dangers of under-inflation/overloading and the mounting of tyres together with the risk of severe over - inflation.

  14. Direction of rotation which relates to directional tyres only.

  15. Outer/inner sidewall refers to the mounting of asymmetric tyres only. These tyres have different tread patterns on their inner and outer sides, offering improved performance, and must be fitted correctly.

  16. Extra load version where applicable

  17. TWI indicates the location of the tread wear indicators, which are raised areas at the base of the tread to serve as a visual warning that the tyre is approaching or at the minimum legal tread depth

Understanding Load and Speed Indice

All tyres carry coded markings on them which correspond to their load carrying and speed capabilities. Decoding these markings is simple – when you know how.

The Load Index

The Load Index is a numerical code associated with the maximum load a tyre can carry (except for loads at speeds above 210 Km/h) at a speed indicated its Speed Symbol under service conditions specified by the tyre manufacturer.

The Speed Rating/Symbol

All tyres are marked with a speed rating letter that corresponds to the maximum speed a vehicle can travel under conditions specified by the tyre manufacturer. Manufacturers calculate the speed indexes when tyres are in good condition. So these ratings do not apply to tyres which are damaged, under or overinflated, overloaded, repaired or have cuts and bulges. And remember, just because you may have tyres which can perform at high speeds, no manufacturer would recommend driving above the legal speed limit.

Safety Tips


Tyres & The Law

The Tyre Label is a mark for motor vehicle tyres. Manufacturers of tyres for cars, light and heavy trucks must specify fuel consumption, wet grip and noise classification of every tyre sold in EU market starting in November 2012. For passenger car, light truck and truck tyres the information must be available in technical promotional literature (leaflets, brochures, etc.), including the manufacturer website For passenger and light truck tyres, the manufacturers or importers have the choice of either putting a sticker on the tyre tread or a label accompanying each delivery of batch of tyres to the dealer and to the end consumer The tyre label will use a classification from the best (green category “A”) to the worst performance (red category “G”).

This initiative results from a regulation by the EU Commission released in 2009. It is part of the Energy Efficiency Action Plan, designed to improve the energy performance of products, buildings and services to reduce energy consumption by 20% until 2020. The EU has already created a system for marking of electrical household appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines and televisions with the intent to inform the European population better about the level of their consumption.

Rolling Resistance/ Fuel Efficienc

Rolling Resistance is a force acting opposite to the travel direction when the tyre is rolling.

Considering that tyres contribute up to 20% of the overall fuel consumption for a car and up to 35% for a truck, it is important to reach low Rolling Resistance values.

Let’s understand how it works: due to the vehicle load, the tyre is deformed in the contact area with the road surface dissipating energy in form of heat. The higher deformations, the higher the rolling resistance and consequently more fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

In the EU tyre Regulation label, rolling resistance is expressed in grades, ranging from A (best grading) to F for industrial vehicles and G for cars (worst grading).

The difference between each grade means a reduction or increase in fuel consumption of between 2.5% – 4.5% for a car and 5%-8% for a Truck. For a car that could be also roughly expressed in terms of 0.1l/100km.

Wet Grip

Wet grip is one of the most important safety characteristic of a tyre. Excellent grip on wet means shorter braking distances when driving in rainy weather.
There are other important parameters which are relevant for safety but wet grip was chosen as the most representative situation in order to compare different tyres.

For a car the difference between each grade means an increase or decrease in stopping distance of roughly 3 and 6 meters when braking from 80km/h.


Traffic noise is a relevant environmental issue determined by several factors such as:

  1. Traffic intensity

  2. Vehicle type

  3. Driving style

  4. Tyre-Road interaction

The value indicated in the label is not the internal that the driver will perceive while driving, but the external one, that is contributing to acoustic pollution.

It is expressed in decibel (dB) and split in 3 cathegories:

  1. 1 black sound wave = 3dB less than the future tighter European limit.

  2. 2 black sound waves = already compliant with the future European limit.

  3. 3 black sound waves = compliant with the current European limit.

The more black bars shown on the label, the louder the tyre.

S-Marking / E-Marking / REACH Compliance E-marking on Tyres

An E-mark confirms that a tyre meets minimum EU or International (UNECE) standards in relation to its dimensions, load and speed rating. E-mark tyres have been tested to ensure adequate tread depth and performance ability.

All motor vehicles tyres in the EU must be E-marked, whether new or retreaded.

The check on E-marking of tyres is one of a number of new NCT test items introduced in 2009. Only tyres with the required E mark are sold by Ulster Tyres.

S-marking on Tyres

EU motor vehicle tyres must bear an S-mark “sound marking” that certifies that the amount of road noise produced by the tyre complies with EU or International (UNECE) standards.

Retailers can no longer sell tyres with a width of 215mm or lower unless they have an S-marking on the sidewall. From 1st October 2011, all tyres, regardless of width, will have to bear an S-mark to be sold.

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