What are Speed Ratings for Tires?


At the Pat Peck Honda tire center, we’re often asked, “what are speed ratings for tires?” Your tires have a code on their sidewall that gives you all kinds of information about its construction, size, and performance capabilities.

To help you understand what kind of speed your tires can handle, our team explored these rating systems and how they can apply to your drives around Gulfport, Long Beach, and Biloxi.

Despite your tires’ speed rating, always drive carefully and obey posted speed limits.

What are Tire Speed Ratings?

Speed ratings for tires indicate the top speed the tire can handle and still achieve maximum intended performance. They’re denoted as a letter between A and Z, with A being low-speed and Z being high-speed.

However, letters below M are incredibly rare—with the exception of H, which we’ll cover later.

Keep in mind that these letters refer to your tires’ maximum speed designation under controlled and optimal conditions. Actual ratings may fluctuate depending on tire inflation and wear, vehicle condition, and driving conditions, among other factors.

Common Tire Speed Ratings: What Do They Mean?

The most common speed ratings for tires fall between the letters M and Z, with the exception of H. This letter gets its own distinction because it stands for “high performance” and is often given to sport sedans and coupes. Because of this, it falls between a U rating and V rating.

Low-Speed Tire Ratings

If you see a tire rated M or N, these are most likely temporary or spare tires that are not intended for regular use.

  • M: 81 MPH
  • N: 87 MPH

Specialty-Use Tires

Tires with a speed rating of P, Q, or R often have a specialty use. For example, a Q rating is usually given to winter tires. R-rated tires, on the other hand, are often meant for heavy-duty trucks that do some off-roading.

  • P: 93 MPH
  • Q: 99 MPH
  • R: 106 MPH

Everyday Driving Tires

If you’re an everyday commuter who drives a sedan, van, or SUV, your tires will likely have a speed rating of S or T, and maybe U.

  • S: 112 MPH
  • T: 118 MPH
  • U: 124 MPH

High-Performance Driving

If you’re driving a sports car or a vehicle that’s designed to hit the track, you’ll probably see a speed rating of H, V, W, Y, or Z.

  • H: 130 MPH
  • V: 149 MPH
  • W: 168 MPH
  • Y: 186 MPH
  • Z: 149+

Where to Find Speed Ratings for Tires


There are several places to find the speed ratings for your tires, including your owner’s manual, driver’s-side door jamb, glove box door, or gas tank hatch. It’s included as the last item at the end of the tire’s size code, which is a long string of letters and numbers.

For example, for a 2018 Honda Accord, the recommended tire size is P225/50R17 94V. This tells you the vehicle type, tire width, aspect ratio, internal construction, rim diameter, load index, and speed rating—in that order.

In this string of numbers, the Accord has a V rating, meaning it’s suitable for speeds of up to 149 MPH. Again, be sure to obey posted speed limits.

What are the Speed Ratings for Your Tires?

If you want to know what the speed ratings are for your tires, check your owner’s manual or contact the team at Pat Peck Honda. We’ll go more in-depth in deciphering your tire size code and tell you more about their performance capabilities.

Drivers near Gulfport, Biloxi, and Long Beach can contact us today!