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Q: What do the various terms associated with tire pressure and tire loading mean?

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What do the various terms associated with tire pressure and tire loading mean?

A: There are quite a few different terms you’l...

There are quite a few different terms you’ll need to be familiar with when it comes to your car’s tires. Understanding these terms and how they apply to your tires will help you take better care of them, and can result in safer driving. Here’s a quick introduction to some of the most important:

  1. Tread Wear Indicators: Small rubber bars embedded in the tread of your tires. You may hear them called “wear bars”. When these show, it’s time to replace your tires.

  2. Load Rating: This is the maximum weight your tire can hold when set at a specific pressure.

  3. Cold Tire Pressure: The amount of air inside the tire when the tire is cold (before you get on the road, or after the car has sat long enough for the tires to cool down).

  • Maximum Load Rating: The weight a tire can carry at the maximum rated PSI.

  • Recommended Inflation Pressure: The amount of air the tire manufacturer recommends when the tire is cold.


When it comes to tire pressure, ignore the information on the sidewall and go by what’s listed on the driver side door placard.

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