H vs T Speed Rating: The Differences

Last Updated September 30, 2022

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Modern-day tires come with lots of symbols, codes, and stampings, all of which mean something. Most of us are already aware of what the essential tire size codes mean, but many other codes and symbols require more clarification. A tire speed rating can also be found stamped directly onto the tire and is part of the essential tire code.

H vs T Speed Rating

Tire speed ratings showcase how fast a tire can go, which means that all tires are certified to perform up to a certain speed. In this article, we are going to compare the H and the T speed rating and tell you the difference between the two. So, H vs T speed rating, which one of these two is better, and why?

H vs T Speed Rating

An H-rated tire can withstand speeds up to 130mph without hampering its performance. This means that you can expect the tire to perform in a safe and controllable manner up to 130mph. If you go over 130mph with an H-rated tire, you are not going to get the most out of the tire and the tire might not be able to last a long time if you drive it over 130mph regularly.

On the other hand, a T-rated tire is only good for up to 118mph which means that if you go over 118mph, you are not in the safe zone. Understanding these ratings is essential if you want to be safe on the road and if you want your tires to last as long as they can.

What Are The Differences Between H and T Tires?

A specific speed rating is not the only difference between these two tires as they come with many other differences as well. For starters, an H-rated tire can go 12mph faster than a T-rated tire. Even though these differences don’t seem like much, they also mean that an H-rated tire performs better at virtually all speeds as opposed to a T-rated tire.

A T-rated tire is suitable for those who don’t drive their cars fast and can commonly be seen on trucks all around the country. H-rated tires are typically used for SUVs, crossovers, and sedans. H-rated tires are usually better when it comes to handling as well which means that they corner better, brake better, and accelerate better.

Friction is what makes the biggest difference here and an H-rated tire can endure higher levels of friction at all speeds. Another thing to keep in mind is heat resistance where an H-rated tire also beats a T-rated tire by quite some margin. Pretty much all performance metrics are better with an H-rated tire, but all of these differences don’t mean much in the real world because hardly anyone would ever go higher than 118mph on a public road.

What Do All The Codes On A Tire Mean?

  • Tire type
  • Tire width
  • Aspect Ratio
  • Construction
  • Wheel Diameter
  • Load Index
  • Speed Rating
  • DOT Symbol
  • Tire Identification Number
  • UTQG

What Do The Letters P And LT Mean On A Tire?

If you take a look at the tire size marking, you are likely going to see either a letter “P” or a letter “LT” at the very beginning. These symbols indicate what type of tire it is and what type of car it should be mounted on. A “P” tire is rated for passenger vehicles such as sedans, hatchbacks, estate cars, and similar.

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The letter “LT” indicates that the tire is designed for light trucks. The difference between “P” and “LT” tires is primarily that they require different air pressure levels. Light truck tires are a bit sturdier and more durable in order to cope with the added weight you get with a light truck.

How To Read Tire Width?

Tire width is measured in millimeters from one sidewall to the other. Tire width can be read by simply looking at the first three numbers in a tire size code. For example, if the tire code reads P265/55R19 95H, the tire width here is 265 millimeters. No matter the tire code, tire width is always displayed with the first three numbers in the code.

What Is Tire Aspect Ratio?

A tire aspect ratio measures the ratio between tire height and tire width. If we take the previous P265/55R19 95H tire code, the aspect ratio here is the two-digit number right after the slash mark. A “55” aspect ratio means that the tire’s height is 55% of the tire’s width. As such, the bigger your sidewall, the bigger your tire aspect ratio.

Which Tire Symbol Represents Tire Construction?

The letter “R” in a tire size code refers to the tire construction. In our P265/55R19 95H code, the letter “R” refers to a radial construction. Radial tires are usually the preferred choice for 99% of people, but there are some benefits to buying non-radial tires as well. If you want to know more about radial and non-radial tires, be sure to click here.

What Does Wheel Diameter Mean?

A wheel diameter refers to the size of the wheel measured through the wheel’s centerline from one side to the other. In our P265/55R19 95H code, the number “19” means that this tire is made for a 19-inch wheel. There are ways how one can change the wheel diameter, but you need to do it right, otherwise, it is not going to work at all.

What Is Tire Load Index?

A tire load index indicates how much weight a properly inflated tire can carry. If the tire code reads P 265/55R19 95H, it means that your tire can support up to 1521 lbs. If you want to know more about the load index, be sure to click here. If you want to see a whole chart of what each individual load index rating means, then click here.

What Is Tire Speed Rating?

We have already talked about what a tire speed rating means, but we will also show it to you on our 265/551R9 95H code. The speed rating here is showcased by the very last letter, the letter H. As we talked about at the beginning of this article, an H-rated tire indicates that it can endure speeds up to 118mph. If you go over this speed, your tire is not going to be able to perform as well as you want it to.

Also Read:   Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar 3 Tire Review and Rating

What Does The DOT Symbol Mean On A Tire?

The “DOT” symbol refers to a US Department of Transportation certificate. This certificate is given to tires that have passed all the standards set up by the Department of Transportation in regards to safety and all other performance credentials which made them worthy of the US market. Therefore, if you come across a tire with a DOT symbol, it means that the tire you are looking it fully legalized in the US and you should have no worries when buying it.

What Does Tire Identification Number Mean?

The tire identification number can also be found on a tire sidewall, usually printed right next to the DOT symbol. A tire identification number (TIN) is a code usually comprised of 12 letters and numbers. These letters and numbers are there to communicate to the driver where the tire was manufactured. It also tells you in which week of the year the tire was made and the manufacturing year itself.

What Does UTQG Mean On A Tire?

UTQG or Uniform Tire Quality Grading stands for a specific grading system developed by the Department of Transportation. This system is intended to provide consumers with a better insight into how tires perform in regard to traction, treadwear, and temperature.

Can You Drive Faster Than The Tire Speed Rating?

First of all, a specific tire rating isn’t all that relevant for 99% of people because a tire speed rating is usually much higher than the speed limit in most countries. Therefore, you shouldn’t even pay attention to the tire speed rating if you are always driving within the limits of the law.

If you live in Germany, or you like to take your car to a track or a drag strip, you should pay more attention to the speed rating. A speed rating is there to tell you that you shouldn’t exceed those speeds if you want to maintain your levels of tire safety. If you go over the recommended threshold, chances are that nothing will happen.

However, this does not mean that exceeding a tire speed rating does not come with consequences, because it does. Exceeding the tire speed rating is likely going to affect how long and how well the tire is going to perform in the long run.


At the end of our “H vs T Speed Rating” article, we can say that H-rated tires are better because they are rated for speeds 12mph faster than T-rated tires. However, in the real world, this really does not make any mentionable difference because you shouldn’t exceed the speed limit anyway.

As such, H-rated tires are better for those who want tires that perform better overall as these tires resist heat better, they corner better, and they resist friction better. Either way, it’s important for you to know exactly what all the codes on a tire mean in order to have a broader understanding of why some tires perform better than others.

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