What Does 116T Mean on a Tire? (Explained)

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What does 116T mean on a tire? Every letter or number on a car tire has a unique meaning. Understanding tire codes is crucial as it helps you choose the best-befitting tire for your vehicle. When you look at the side(s) of your car tires, you will find codes like 275/65 R18 116T.

The first code (275/65) represents the width and profile height of the tire; the R18 tells you that the rim’s diameter is 18-inch, and the last code (116T) refers to the load index and speed rating of the tire.

Well, not everyone understands what load index is all about, and interestingly, that’s what this article focuses on.

What is Tire Load Index?

In its simplest terms, tire load index refers to the maximum amount of load a vehicle tire can carry when properly inflated.

Of course, tires are not built the same, even though many of them may appear to be the same size and diameter. If you use the wrong tire for your vehicle, you will notice that your car won’t drive smoothly.

The higher the tire load index number, the more weight the tire can carry. So, a tire with a 116 load index rating would carry more weight than a tire with a 115 or 112 load index rating.

If your vehicle’s OEM tires are rated 116T, and you install 112 or lesser-weight tires, the pressure of the car may cause the tire to blow while driving.

Some truck tires have dual load indexes, especially trucks with dual rear tires. For such trucks, the load indexes may appear as 144T/116T; the first rating is for single tire installation, while the latter is for dual tire installation. Yes, some trucks with dual rear tires can drive with a single tire (but it has to be a heavy-duty tire).

To understand the amount of weight a tire can carry, you have to note down the load index code and look up the load index chat to see the weight capacity. The load index chart below shows all the codes from 0 to 150.

Tire Load Index Chart

Load IndexLoad (lbs)Load IndexLoad (lbs)Load IndexLoad (lbs)

From this table, you can clearly see the position of “116” and the load amount it can carry (2,756 lbs).

What Is Tire Speed Rating?

While load indexes are represented with numbers, Speed Rating is represented with a single letter and stands beside the load index number. Speed Rating is the maximum speed you can run with a particular tire.

For passenger cars, sports cars, and light trucks, the speed rating is represented with alphabets – from the letter “L” to “Z.” Usually, the speed rating of any tire is measured in Miles Per Hour (MPH).

So, in a tire code like 116T, the 116 is the load index, and the “T” is the speed rating. To further understand tire speed rating, hereunder is the chart.

Tire Speed Rating Chart

Speed RatingsMaximum Speed at MPH
L75 mph
M81 mph
N87 mph
P93 mph
Q99 mph
R106 mph
S112 mph
T118 mph
U124 mph
H130 mph
V149 mph
W168 mph
Y186 mph
Z149+ mph

What Does 116T Mean on a Tire?

The number 116 refers to the “Load Index,” which is the maximum amount of load the tire can carry; the letter “T” refers to the “Speed Rating.” In essence, a 116T tire can run efficiently at a maximum speed of 118mph carrying a 2,756lbs load.

If you exceed the load capacity, your 116T tire will struggle to rotate efficiently at top speed, making driving difficult and affecting your gas mileage. So, before changing the stock tires that came with your car, ensure to check the load and speed ratings, then always go for good tires with the same load/speed code.

Put simply, if your vehicle’s stock tire is 116T, when replacing it, regardless of the tire brand you choose to buy, go for a 116T tire. If you go for something higher or lower, your car would be imbalanced at top speeds, and the resulting scenarios could be fatal.

How To Use The Load Index Chart

It is one thing to know the load index chart, and it is another thing to understand how the chart should decide how you shop for new tires. We’re considering a 116T tire in this article, and here’s what you need to know.

A 116T tire can carry a 2,756-pound load, but your car’s weight is definitely over 2,756 pounds. Yes, because your car’s weight is around 2,756 weight doesn’t mean you should go for a higher tire (let’s say 120T or 120H).

Tire load index numbers are multiplied by four (4) to find the final load capacity because most passenger cars, pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs use four tires. So, it will be 116 x 4, which translates as 2756 x 4, which equals 11,024 pounds. Does your car’s maximum weight go above or below 11,024lbs?

Certainly, if your car weighs above or below 11,024lbs, the manufacturer would have added a heavier-duty or lighter-duty tire. If your car’s OEM tires are rated 116T, never go below or above that. Virtually all tire manufacturers produce tires that comply with all load/speed index ratings.

While also keeping note of load and speed indexes, don’t forget to pay attention to the maximum and minimum inflation pressure for your car tires. The pressure rating for most passenger cars and pickup trucks is between 44psi to 50psi; check your car’s owner’s manual for the exact rating.

Where To Find Tire Code Markings?

Everything you need to know about a tire is clearly marked somewhere on the sides. You just have to look closely at the tire to find the indications; the speed rating and load index code are usually printed on the tire’s outer side.

Also, information about a tire’s manufacturing/expiring date is printed on the body too.

What More?

So, what does 116T mean on a tire? This article has extensively explained tire load index and speed ratings; the charts are also provided for a clearer understanding. 116T is a code that denotes the selected tire’s load index and speed rating. The 116 is the load index, and the “T” is the speed rating.

It is important to pay attention to this coding shopping for a new tire; don’t buy a lower or higher tire for your car – except you’re running an upgrade that would also include working on the suspension system and other vital components of the drivetrain. A 116T tire can run efficiently at 118mph with a maximum load of 2,756lbs.

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