What Is Load Index and Load Range?
June 1, 2021
If you’ve ever shopped for a set of tires before, you’ve probably seen the product description tell you about the tire’s load index and load range. But, what does that even mean? And is it important for the build you’re trying to achieve? This blog will cover everything you need to know about tire load index, load range and why it’s important to know for your truck! Also, see our gallery to see what kind of tires people with your truck are running!
Table of Contents:
What is the Tire Load Index?
A tire’s load index refers to the tires carrying capacity. Basically, this number will tell you the maximum weight in pounds a tire can carry. This number is most likely displayed on the sidewall of your tire, and if you’re curious about the total carrying capacity of your truck, multiply that number by four. Factors that determine the tire load include tire size, construction, application, and inflation pressure. Remember that the given load index is assuming your tire has the maximum recommended pressure in the tire.
Tire load index numbers begin at 1 and go up to 150. A tire load index of 1 would mean a tire is able to carry up to 102 pounds, while a load index of 150 would mean a tire can carry up to 7,385 pounds. A higher index number is needed for heavier trucks including work trucks or hauling heavy machinery.
What is the Tire Load Range?
If you’ve ever heard of the term “ply rating,” a load range is based on this measurement. Ply rating refers to the number of layers of cotton that was used in the construction of that tire. The more layers used, the stronger and more durable the tire should be. Fast-forward to the present-day tire technology, it is no longer necessary to have as many layers in order to achieve that same strength, making the ply rating not as important when it comes to choosing tires. We now use tire load range to showcase a tire’s toughness and maximum load pressure, rather than specific layer numbers.
The range represents the same meaning of the ply-rating, or at least what the ply rating would’ve been before tire technology transformed the construction behind tires. Load ranges are shown with a letter, and you can find it on the tire sidewall next to the tire load index. For example, a tire with a “D” load range would be the same as a tire with an 8-ply rating.
Why Do Tire Load Indexes and Ranges Matter?
When you put new tires on your truck, you’re not going to want to put on ones that have a smaller load index or load range than the OEM tires. This is because your truck has specific minimum requirements for the index and range, and that going smaller might be able to accommodate your build and you’ll wear your tires down prematurely if they’re being overloaded. Worst case scenario, you’ll blow your tire out completely.
So when shopping for new tires, make sure you’re aware of your truck’s size and weight so you’re not wasting money on a set of badass tires that won’t last you the year. The proper load index and range on your tires will provide the support needed to maximize tread life and never leave you without the strength you need for your setup.
How to Determine What Tires Work Best for Your Setup
To figure out the minimum load index you’ll need, determine the weight of your truck and other extra weight that might play a factor and divide it by four. With four tires on your build, each tires’ capacity will support the weight of your truck. However, it’s not a bad idea to search for tires with an increased index than that minimum number to give yourself some room for error, extra weight, or not always having your tire pressure where it should be. It is common for truck owners to look for a tire load index of at least 100.
When it comes to load range, many lighter pickups can get by with tires that have a load range of C, D, or E. However, bigger trucks should consider E, F, or G ratings in order to have some more security with extra strength and durability.
Picking Tires for Your Truck
When deciding which set of tires is the best option for your setup, it’s pretty common to only consider finding ones that fit and look badass. While both important, finding a set that will accommodate your truck and its function in terms of carrying capacity and strength is also crucial. Nobody wants to be shopping for new tires within the same year of buying some or the guy on the side of the road with a blown out tire.
Paying attention to what your tires need to be able to uphold will save you issues and probably some money down the road by being a knowledgeable shopper. Remember, when you’re searching for your next set of tires, you’ll get free shipping, mounting, and balancing when you bundle your favorite tires and wheels into a package! We also offer as low as 0% APR financing for those who qualify!