Speed Rating V vs W: The Differences

Last Updated September 9, 2022

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When it comes to buying new tires, you need to decide what you value the most. The best thing would always be to go for a premium tire brand and a premium tire model. However, premium tires come at a price premium which means that sometimes you will have to sacrifice certain aspects of tire quality in order to save money.

Speed Rating V vs W

There are some tire specifics that can’t be altered such as tire diameter, others like tire speed rating, tire load index, and tire width can be altered and still fit on your car. A speed rating is an often-overlooked metric, but it is also a crucial one when it comes to high-performance tires. As such, in this “V vs W Speed Rating” article, we will compare these two ratings and tell you the ins and outs of both.

V vs W Speed Rating

A V-speed-rated tire is one that can comfortably endure speeds up to 149mph or 240kph. This means that this tire is one of the highest-rated tires when it comes to maximum speed. This comes with certain benefits and drawbacks which need to be considered before you decide to buy a V speed-rated tire.

On the other hand, W speed-rated tire is certified to perform up to 168mph or 270kph which means that it is able to withstand higher levels of heat and friction. A W-rated tire is therefore a more responsive tire with better overall performance credentials. However, this also means that a W-rated tire wears out faster, performs worse in winter driving conditions, and is likely less comfortable than a V-rated tire.

What Are The Benefits Of V Speed-Rated Tires?

  • They will last longer
  • They are more comfortable
  • They perform better in adverse weather conditions
  • Price

Do V Speed Rated Tires Last Longer Than W Speed Rated Tires?

A V-rated tire is likely made out of stiffer rubber compounds and softer construction which affects tire longevity in the long run. On the other hand, a W-rated tire is made out of softer rubber compounds because such compounds are better at withstanding friction and heat. Even though W-rated tires can go faster, they are also likely going to wear out faster.

As such, if you are paying a large sum of money on premium performance tires, compromising tire longevity isn’t something you should be doing. The speed difference between these two is relatively negligible as you can’t exceed these speeds anywhere in the US anyway, at least not legally on public roads.

Do V Speed Rated Tires Offer Better Ride Quality Than W Speed Rated Tires?

The usual rule of thumb is: the lower the speed rating, the more well-rounded the tire is when it comes to comfort and noise levels. Therefore, a V-rated tire is likely more comfortable than a W-rated tire, but this does not always have to be the case. As such, be sure to inquire about the details of each individual tire you are interested in buying as some higher-end high-speed-rated tires can be more comfortable than low-speed-rated tires.

Do V Speed Rated Tires Offer Better Performance In Winter Than W Speed Rated Tires?

High-performance tires are not the best option to go for during wintertime because the way they are constructed isn’t necessarily what is valued in a good winter tire. We have already mentioned that high-performance tires use a softer compound to resist higher temperatures, but winter driving is the exact opposite as you need a tire that can withstand colder temperatures.

Therefore, a V-rated tire should in theory be better than a W-rated tire, but the differences are likely marginal at best.

Are V Speed Rated Tires Cheaper Than W Speed Rated Tires?

Tires with a higher speed rating tend to be more expensive than those with a lower speed rating and this trend can be visible across the board. The most expensive tires are at the very top end such as W and Y tires which are certified for supercar and exotic car use. A V-rated tire is also a high-performance tire so the differences in price aren’t too big.

What Are The Benefits Of W Speed-Rated Tires?

  • Better heat and friction resistance
  • Better handling
  • More feedback through the steering wheel
  • Better stopping and acceleration

Do W Speed Rated Tires Resist Heat And Friction Better Than V Speed Rated Tires?

Tires with a higher speed rating are certified that way because they can endure all the stresses associated with continuous rolling at very high speeds. The most problematic effect of prolonged high-speed driving is the heat. As tires rotate, they come in contact with the road really fast and that builds up heat due to increased levels of friction.

The faster you go, the more friction and heat a tire needs to endure. As such, a W-rated tire is able to resist heat and friction a lot better because it can comfortably go 19mph faster than a V-rated tire.

Do W Speed Rated Tires Handle Better Than V Speed Rated Tires?

Yes, they do. While traveling at higher speeds, even the slightest changes in steering direction can affect the car’s course to a great degree. These changes of direction increase the levels of friction and heat as opposed to the levels a tire usually endures while going in a straight line. If you change direction more aggressively, friction and heat levels tend to spike.

We have already mentioned that W-rated tires can endure friction and heat a lot better, and because they are made out of softer compounds, they are able to stick to the road a lot better.

Do W Speed Rated Tires Offer More Feedback Than V Speed Rated Tires?

According to multiple sources online, high-speed-rated tires are better at communicating with the driver about what the front wheels are doing at any point. This is the exact opposite of why W-rated tires tend to be less comfortable. They offer more feedback through the steering wheel which makes the car feel more agile and better controlled.

Do W Speed Rates Tires Accelerate And Brake Better Than V Speed Rated Tires?

Yes, they do. Even though these differences aren’t noticeable on all tire brands and models, decent W speed-rated tires are surely better at stopping and accelerating than the vast majority of V speed-rated tires. Because higher speed-rated tires use softer compounds, when they reach optimum temperature, they are able to grip the road better. This means that they are able to put the power down better and that they can stop at a shorter distance.

Can I Drive Tires With Different Speed Ratings At The Same Time?

No matter the car, no matter the tire, you should always use four tires with the exact same speed rating. If you mix and match tires with different speed ratings, you are essentially affecting how well some corners of the car brake, accelerate, and manage heat and friction. This messes up your car’s balance which can easily result in understeer and oversteer.

Because tires with different speed ratings have their own sets of drawbacks and benefits, these can often be really substantial, but can also sometimes be negligible. For example, a D speed-rated tire is rated to go as fast as 40mph or 65kph while an E speed-rated tire is rated to go as fast as 43mph or 70kph. This is only a 3mph difference at speeds that aren’t really problematic at all.

However, a T speed-rated tire and a W speed-rated tire are extremely different. A T speed-rated tire can withstand speeds up to 118mph or 190kph. On the other hand, a W speed-rated tire can endure speeds up to 168mph or 170kph. Mixing and matching tires with this much difference is indeed not something you should ever do as it can impact your safety quite a bit.

Why Does Speed Rating Exist?

The tire speed rating measurement is there to tell you that you can’t drive over a specific speed limit if you want to be safe. Some say that speed rating is useless as you can’t drive more than the limit anyway. However, that is not exactly the case as many people like taking their cars to drag strips, track days, various drift circuits, or airstrips.

Therefore, this is an important aspect of on-road safety that can’t be ignored in any way. If you want to know the origins of the tire speed rating system, click here.

Conclusion

At the end of our “V vs W Speed Rating” article, we can confidently state that there are benefits and drawbacks to both V and W speed-rated tires. Most people tend to agree that the benefits you get with W speed-rated tires are better, but these are really closely matched so the differences are not otherworldly.

Many aspects go into how well a tire can perform and how well a tire suits a particular rim or car. If you want to know more about how you can get a perfect set of wheels and tires for your car, be sure to check out our Wheel and Tire Setup Guide: Everything You Should Know.

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