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Light truck tires vs. passenger car tires

Which type is right for you?

A tire comparison between passenger car and light truck tires—looking at performance, tire size, speed rating and load capacity.

Light truck (LT) and passenger (P) tires are not interchangeable. Each type differs in its design, construction and intended applications. The automotive manufacturer took all of this into consideration when it specified the original equipment (OE) tires that came with your vehicle. That said, there might be applications for which a different type of tire would perform better. Or be less expensive. Here’s what you need to know.

Light truck tires are built to work hard

There are four basic differences between light truck and passenger tires:1

  1. LT tires are designed to carry greater loads than P tires.

  2. LT tires are constructed with stronger, more durable materials, so they tend to be heavier and stiffer than P tires.

  3. LT tires are designed to operate at higher inflation pressures than P tires.

  4. LT tires are generally more expensive than P tires.

These differences make LT tires a good choice for more demanding applications (think pickup trucks, commercial vehicles, towing, and off-road).

Tip: Due to their heavy construction, LT tires produce a ride that’s rougher and noisier than P tires.

Passenger tires are built for comfort and speed

Passenger tires or touring tires are the right choice if your vehicle is not going to be carrying or towing heavy loads. The rubber components in these tires are more flexible than those used in LT tires. This results in a smoother, quieter ride with good year-round steering and handling properties. They are original equipment tires on most sedans, hatchbacks, minivans and wagons.2

For a sportier driving experience, consider high-performance tires. Optimized for speed and handling, they provide enhanced control and a stiffer, more precise ride.  If you have a passion for the road, high-performance tires won’t disappoint. 3

Passenger or light truck tires—when you’re ready to buy, the financing experts at Synchrony Car CareTM can help.* 

Tip: Because high-performance tires are made with softer rubber compounds, their tread wears down faster than regular all-season passenger tires.

How load fits in

The load you’ll be carrying often determines your tire choice, regardless of the vehicle type. The numbers on the load index on the tire’s sidewall correspond to the amount of weight a tire can safely support at maximum air pressure. Multiply that weight by four to determine the maximum weight your wheels and tires can support safely.4   

Load Index

Load (lbs)

70

739

80

992

90

1323

100

1764

110

2337

Tip: Replacing all four tires with tires that have a higher load index will increase the load capacity of your vehicle.

Do’s and don’ts for replacing tires 5,6

Do

Don’t

  • Follow your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation for tire size and speed rating

  • Go below the tire speed rating specified in your vehicle’s owner’s manual
  • Match the tire’s performance rating to your driving style

  • Automatically use the same original equipment tires that came with the vehicle

  • Match the tire’s load rating with your intended load

  • Install tires with a load capacity lower than that of the original tires

Tip: Replacing a set of four tires can be expensive, so check into special financing* through Synchrony Car CareTM

Final thought:

Bad things may happen when you ask perfectly good tires to do a job they weren’t designed for. This is true whether you’re asking passenger tires to do the job of an LT tire, or whether you ask an LT tire to ride as comfortably as a passenger tire.7

 *Subject to credit approval. Minimum monthly payments required. Click here for more information.

Learn More:

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tire

www.octopup.org/img/car/tires/Rubber-Manufacturers-Association--2005--Replacement-Guidelines-Passenger-and-Light-Truck-Tires.pdf

Sources:

1www.autos.ca/auto-consumer-info/advice-light-truck-vs-passenger-car-tires-what-you-should-know/

2 www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tire

3 www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tire

4www.tiresplus.com/shop-for-tires/tire-buying-guide/tire-load-index-chart/

5www.octopup.org/img/car/tires/Rubber-Manufacturers-Association--2005--Replacement-Guidelines-Passenger-and-Light-Truck-Tires.pdf

6www.tiresplus.com/shop-for-tires/tire-buying-guide/tire-load-index-chart/#sthash.h6WVtpVQ.dpuf

7www.autosphere.ca/tirenews/2013/09/27/light-truck-tires-vs-passenger/

Additional Sources:

www.discounttire.com/dtcs/infoLoadIndex.do

www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/tiretech.jsp

www.blog.openbay.com/post/34164349309/the-difference-between-a-passenger-tire-and-a-high

www.octopup.org/img/car/tires/Rubber-Manufacturers-Association--2005--Replacement-Guidelines-Passenger-and-Light-Truck-Tires.pdf

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