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Tire Speed Rating H Vs T - what does it mean? The various letters mentioned on a tire’s sidewall can make anyone question what the H or T represents on tires.

The H or T written on tires refers to the speed ratings. An H-rated tire can withstand up to 130 mph, whereas a T-rated tire can support up to 118 mph. Hence, it is crucial to understand these markings and stay within the defined speed limits.

Depending on whether you are a savvy or novice car owner, you can easily confuse these markings with secret codes or complex algebraic equations that need to be solved. This article aims to make this information more useful for you and bridge that knowledge gap to help you understand tire speed rating.

To help you get a better understanding of tire speed ratings and what H and T mean, we have put together this simple guide after speaking with experts who have been in the tire industry for several years. So, stick around and find out more about tire speed ratings - H vs. T.

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Tire Speed Rating – H vs. T

Tires are an important part of any vehicle. They have a significant impact on its safety and control. When purchasing a new tire, it is important to consider the brand, the model of your vehicle, the size of the tire, etc. However, in addition to these factors, you must also consider the speed ratings mentioned on the sidewall of the tire. This information will help you choose the finest tire for your vehicle.

In ideal conditions, the speed rating of tires is the highest speed at which they can safely transport a specific load (the initial weight of your vehicle plus whatever is in it) for an extended period of time. The rating is commonly shown by a letter or two on the tire sidewall, usually after the load index number. The service description is made up of the load index and speed rating together.

Based on a standard chart, each letter in the speed rating reflects a maximum speed.

A 'T' speed rating means that the tire can safely travel up to 118 mph. A tire with an 'H' rating has a higher speed restriction of 130 mph, indicating that it can be driven faster safely than a tire with a 94T designation. Identical tire models with varying speed ratings may be produced by various manufacturers. Sports cars, such as sport sedans, generally use an H-rated tire for optimum speed. On the other hand, family sedans and minivans are more likely to use the T-rated tire. H-rated tires may offer a stiffer, sportier ride and better handling than T-rated tires.

Replacement tires should have at least the same load capacity and speed rating as the original equipment tires. If a car's original tires are rated at 94H, replacing them with  94T tires would result in lower speed rating than the original tires. Although a 94T tire is normally less expensive than a 94H tire, using a lower-rated tire may compromise the vehicle's safety. In general, the higher a tire's rating, the better it will handle heat and higher speeds.


It's possible that your actual speed capacity is lower than the tire's rating. The rating reflects a tire's performance in a lab setting rather than on the open road. Tire condition, inflation level, additional cargo, road surfaces, and weather conditions are all factors that influence the maximum safe speed of a tire.

If your tires have different speed ratings, the lowest rated tire's limit is the quickest you can go while staying within your tire's capabilities.

A tire speed rating is a label on most modern passenger tires that indicates the tire's designed speed capabilities. In other words, it's the maximum speed at which a tire may operate before it fails to drive at its full capacity. Tire speed ratings do not mean that the vehicle can be driven safely at the maximum speed that the tire is capable of, especially in bad weather or on bad roads.

Is H-Rating Better than T-Rating?

With a speed limit of 130 mph, H ranks higher than T while staying within the speed limits. Ultimately, the vehicles with an H-rated tire have higher horsepower, which also leads to higher speed. You will usually notice H-rated tires on high-end vehicles. H-rated tires are usually on the lower end of sports cars, according to automobile experts. We will determine the tire speed rating - H vs. T by looking at both ratings individually.

Tire Speed Rating - T-Rating

T-rating is usually mentioned on light truck wheels or passenger vehicles. It conveys the message that the tires of these vehicles can go up to 118 mph, and no more. This is the standard rating suitable for most small vehicles, as mentioned on the ratings chart. Although they perform better on the highway, T-rated tires will always have your back on rough terrain as they are pretty hardy. T-rated tires rank better than other tires, such as S and R, because of their stability and overall performance.

Can a T-rated tire be used for racing? In order to race, the tires need to have a higher speed rating, and 118 mph is comparatively slower than what sports-oriented vehicles typically require. Z and Y-ranked tires, on the other hand, will perform much better in racing since they have a higher speed rating (up to186 mph). T-rated tires will cost you a lot in replacement as they will wear out quickly.

Tire Speed Rating - H-Rating

Rolling the ball over to the other side, we will now consider H-rated tires. In comparison, H ranks higher than T when driven within the stated limits (at 130 mph). You will usually notice H-rated tires on crossover SUVs or sedans. Just like T-rated tires, these vehicles also get higher speed due to greater horsepower.

When it comes to racing, H-tires lie at the bottom end of the spectrum, although you can use them for high-performance vehicles. These tires can be used for beginner racing or amateur stages of racing because of their low-speed support capacity. In addition, these tires are also excellent for taking a grand tour.

How Do You Check Tire Speed Rating?

Look in your owner's manual to find out what tire speed rating your car manufacturer recommends. It's also possible to take a look inside the glove box, the gas tank, and the door jamp by the driver’s side.

Tire Speed Rating - H and T

At greater speeds, the higher the speed rating, the more control and better handling you'll have. The speed rating system was created to aid in the regulation of tire performance at standardized speeds.

The current speed rating system was created in Europe in response to the necessity to regulate tire performance at uniform speeds. The "Unlimited V" category of over 210 km/h (130 mph) was the greatest speed rating available when the rating system was first devised. To maintain safety, tire producers had to regulate performance at regulated speeds while they produced bigger and better tires.

All classifications, except "Unlimited ZR," now include the speed symbol and load index as part of the tire's service description on the sidewall, thanks to recent standardization. If you’re reading the sidewall, the speed rating will be the last item in the character sequence in the tire's size code.The following is an example of a tire's sidewall description: 2015/60R15 91V. Engineers determine the speed ratings by running the tires in ten-minute increments until the desired speed is reached.

What is the Significance of Speed Ratings?

When you go at higher speeds, your wheels spin faster and generate more heat. Therefore, it's critical that the tires you choose are able to handle this.

Speed ratings take into account cornering ability, traction, tread wear, and ride comfort. A high speed rating tire will provide more stopping power and grip, but it will not last as long or function in cold weather.

Tire Speed Rating H Vs T

About The Author

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

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