Load Range Vs. Load Index – What Do They Mean?
When looking for new tires, you may come across the terms load range and load index. What do they mean? What information do they tell you about the tire? Here’s what you should know about load range vs. load index.
Ply Rating and Load Range
Load range describes how much weight a tire can carry and is based on an older measurement called ply rating. Tires are made from rubber and cord layers called plies. In the past, more plies gave a tire a higher load-carrying capacity, so the number of plies was listed on the tire to show how much weight it could handle.
Now, tires are made from fewer, stronger plies, so the load range has replaced the ply rating. Load range defines a tire’s toughness and maximum allowable air pressure and is represented by a letter listed on the side of your tire. Tires with a higher load range can handle heavier loads.
As an example, a C load range indicates a tire that is made with one or two plies that have the equivalent strength of 6 plies. Many load ranges are separated into two categories to further explain their maximum load-carrying tire pressure. For example, C1 and C2 are both 6-ply rated. However, C1 has a maximum air pressure of 50 PSI, while C2 has a maximum air pressure of 35 PSI.
Tires on smaller vehicles like coupes, sedans, minivans, and crossovers usually aren’t marked with a load rating because they have a standard 4-ply rating and don’t need higher load-carrying capabilities. However, they may be marked as Extra Load (XL or Reinforced) or Standard Load (SL). While both have a 4-ply rating, the Extra Load can support an additional load at up to 42 PSI. The Standard Load is 36 PSI.
You should have one of the tire experts at Action Gator Tire ensure your tires are properly rated to support the weight of your vehicle.
This chart notes load ranges with their ply ratings and max load carrying air pressure.
|Load Range and Ply Rating|
|Load Range||Ply Rating||Max Load Carrying Air Pressure|
|Standard Load (SL)||4||36 PSI|
|Extra Load (XL)||4||42 PSI|
Load Carrying Capacity and Load Index
Load index is a number on the tire’s sidewall that explicitly indicates the maximum load a tire can carry. Since the load range focuses mostly on a tire’s construction, the load index is a more precise method of measurement.
The load index number represents a tire’s carrying capacity when inflated to its maximum load sustaining pressure and further explains the tire load range measurement by adding more specifics to the rating. Most cars and light trucks have load index values ranging from 70-124.
You can use this chart to find your tire’s load-bearing capacity.
|Load Index and Carrying Capacity|
|Load Index||Carrying Capacity (lbs)||Load Index||Carrying Capacity (lbs)||Load Index||Carrying Capacity (lbs)|
Get New Tires in Central Florida
Need new tires? Action Gator Tire has 25 locations around Central Florida to help you get the tires you need for your vehicle. From Oxford to Lakeland to Sanford and all around the Orlando area, you’ll find a convenient Action Gator Tire location with friendly experts to help you choose the right tires for your budget, vehicle, and driving style. Contact your nearest location to schedule an appointment today!