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How to Read Truck Tire Sizes

July 18, 2020

When it comes to your build, tires play a very important part not only in the performance aspect but looks as well. Take a look at the sidewall of a tire or see them in our store and all of the numbers can sometimes be a bit intimidating. Today, we'll cover what these numbers mean and how to read them. If you need additional help after reading this blog, head over to our gallery. There you can see exactly what type of tire and what size other people are running with their ARKON OFF-ROAD wheels. 




First, we need to look at the different types of sizing for tires. Floatation sizing and metric sizing.

Toyota Tacoma with ARKON OFFROAD Wheels

1. Metric Sizes

Metric sizes start with a number in millimeters and there are four different designation categories for metric sizes. There's P for passenger, LT for light truck, then ST for special trailer, then T for temporary tire. Typically the designation is imprinted before the number, and if it's not, then most likely it's a passenger tire. The first number on a metric size is what's known as the section width of the tire, or basically the width of the tire, and is measured from the sidewall to the other sidewall in millimeters.

Ford F150 with ARKON OFFROAD Caesar

The next number is a percentage of the first number and is used to determine the height of the sidewall. Following the height number is the size of the wheel. Typically you will see an R that separates the sidewall height number and the size of the wheel number, and that'll tell you that is a radial ply constructed tire, as opposed to its counterpart the bias ply.

Ford Bronco with ARKON OFFROAD Wheels

Radial tires are the most common tires on the market for passenger vehicles, as their construction allows for a much better ride compared to the bias ply. Light truck tires will have additional what are called plies, or layers, of woven nylon or steel to construct what is known as the carcass of the tire. They'll also have a thicker rubber, deeper tread, and stronger bead bundle. The more plies or layers there are, the stronger the tire is, plus, are capable of holding a higher pressure of air.

Silverado with ARKON OFFROAD Crown Series Victory

2. Flotation Sizes

Now that we have that covered in metric sizes, flotation sizes are much easier to understand as their number directly relates to the tire's measurement in inches. The first number is the height of the tire in inches, the second number is the width of the tire in inches, and the third number the wheel size.

2011 GMC Sierra with ARKON OFFROAD Wheels

For example, we have a 35 inch by 12.50, 17, which means the tire is 35 inches tall, 12 and a half inches wide, and fits a 17-inch wheel. We also have a calculator on our website to help you convert the metric sizes into floatation sizes and vice versa. The calculator will give you a good idea of how your new tires fit your build.