Accessories & Gear / Tires

Tire Load Ranges De-Coded

When it’s time to buy new tires for your Tacoma, you’ll probably focus on size, tread, and brand. However, it’s important to consider tire load range as well. Tires with the wrong load range will wear out prematurely, and may get stuck more frequently.

Tire Load Ranges De-Coded

Looking for new Tacoma tires? Don’t know what “P, C, D” mean? Let us explain.

Here’s what you need to know about tire load ratings

Load Ranges Explained

Load capacity is really about how much weight the tires can handle and how good they may be in differing environments. The majority of the time, you won’t need to know this information. However, when you do, it may be critical to your success.

For 99 percent of Tacoma owners, the “P” load range is the one they need to pay attention to. This load range is classified as a passenger tire. It is ideal for a variety of highway and street driving with very light off-roading. Typically, it has a maximum air pressure load of 35 psi.

For other common truck tires, they are listed in alphabetic fashion starting with “B.” These load ranges don’t necessarily correspond to how much load a tire can carry. Rather, the maximum load numbers are more important. They are expressed as pounds per square inch at a specific psi cold.

Alphanumeric load-range values are expressed on the sidewall as load range “C,” “D,” and “E,” but are not always reflective to the actual load the tire is capable of carrying. The more important numbers to consider are the maximum load numbers expressed as pounds per square inch at a specific psi cold.

Here are the load ranges and maximum psi of light truck tires.

LT-Metric, LT-Flotation and LT-Numeric Light Truck Tires   
*Selected large LT sizes
are designed with
reduced maximum
load pressures.
Chart credit:
TireRack.com
Load RangePly RatingAbbreviatedMaximum Load Pressure
B4B35 psi (240 kPa) *
C6C50 psi (350 kPa) *
D8D65 psi (450 kPa) *
E 10E80 psi (550 kPa) *
F12F95 psi (650 kPa) *

NOTE: light truck tires are often available in multiple load ranges.

Light truck tires are often branded with their load range or ply rating on the sidewalls. For example, LT245/75R-16 E, 7.50R-15 D or 31×10.50R-15 C.

Choosing Best Tire Based on Activity

If all you plan on doing is driving your truck on the streets/highways with the occasional hauling of a couch or a dirt bike, than the “P” tire load is the right one for you.

If you plan on pushing the maximum towing limits on the Tacoma, on the other hand, then you will need to consider buying a higher load range tire. This tire will be better suited to handle the extra weight and will not suffer blowouts common to overloaded “P” tires.

Also, if you plan on doing a lot of off-roading, you will want to consider the load range of the tire. Specifically, this helps in cold, snowy conditions. During these times, your tires will need to withstand “hysteresis.” This is “the rubber compound’s ability to remain flexible at sub-freezing temperatures,” according to a Fourwheeler.com article. “By remaining flexible, winter tires are able to grip the terrain surface better and return abundant traction.”

Questions?