Tire Buying Guides

What does P mean on a tire?

The P in a tire size indicates that the tire is for a Passenger Vehicle. When shopping for tires online, sizes that do not include any letters in the front are equivalent to Passenger tires and are commonly the same as P-metric tires.

Tire size on a tire sidewall with a highlighted P
Last updated 10/20/2022 - Originally published 10/20/2022
Written by SimpleTire

When it comes to buying tires, the tire’s sidewall becomes very important since that’s where a vehicle owner can spot important details such as the brand name, model name, construction type, DOT Tire Identification Number, tire size, load index, speed symbol, and so much more. But, out of all these, it is the ‘tire size’ that’s the most important since knowing that will allow you to confidently buy a new set of tires for your ride. Anyone who needs tires for their ride has to be aware of the correct tire size, which could be something like 225/65R17. Here, 225 is the section width or tread width measured in millimeters (225mm), 65 is the aspect ratio calculated in percentage and is the total percentage of the section width (65% of 225mm), R signifies Radial construction, and 17 is the rim diameter in inches (17”). Most vehicle owners are not aware of the fact that the entire concept of tire sizing is metric-based these days. Fortunately, this metric-based tire sizing is nothing like a hard-to-learn math theorem. It is as simple as categorizing metric tire sizes into four types on the basis of their vehicle types and utility, which are:

  1. P-Metric (E.g. P225/65R17)
  2. Euro-Metric (E.g. 225/65R17)
  3. LT-Metric (E.g. LT285/70R17)
  4. Euro-Metric Commercial (Cargo) (E.g. 235/65R16C)

While reading the tire size on the sidewall, you may often come across the Euro-Metric (225/65R17) kind of tire sizing, or the LT-Metric (LT285/70R17) one. While the Euro-Metric tire sizing is something very commonly found on the sidewalls of passenger cars and SUVs made these days, the LT-Metric tire sizes are typically seen on the sidewalls of modern-day light truck tires. That LT in the LT-Metric tire size stands for light trucks. The other metric tire size, which is the Euro-Metric Commercial (Cargo), is read as 235/65R16C, and that ‘C’ at the end stands for ‘Cargo’. These tires are found on commercial minivans and similar vehicles that are used in transit like the Ford Transit, Ram ProMaster, Nissan NV200, and so on.

Initially, tires used to be labeled under a numeric system but then the tire industry switched over to an alphanumeric system. In the 1970s, the metric system was introduced and the P-Metric tires were put in the limelight. You may see a P-Metric tire labeled as P205/75R17 and might have this question — “What does the P stand for in a tire size?”. The “P” mentioned in the P-Metric tire size stands for passenger car tires. Back in the 1970s, the cars that were made had metal bumpers and overall featured a heavy-duty metal construction, and these vehicles came equipped with these P-Metric tires that had high load-carrying capacity. Likewise, this was the case with the LT tires during those years. Nowadays, the vehicles that are made are way much lighter, made of plastics, aluminum framing, and other modern materials. Hence, the standard Euro-Metric tires are commonly used in passenger cars and SUVs. Difference-wise, the P-Metric tires and Euro-Metric tires don’t distinguish much and may look very similar and have almost similar characteristics.

Goodyear, the popular American tire brand, was amongst the first few tire manufacturers to offer metric tire sizes and its all-season tire ‘Tiempo’ was one of the fastest-selling metric tires in tire history. In addition, Oldsmobile Cutlass V8 cars were amongst the highly popular cars that had P-Metric tires installed (P195/75R14) back in the olden days.

How to shop for P Metric tires with SimpleTire

Finding a P-metric tire on SimpleTire is a very easy task. All you need to do is type the tire size in the search bar, e.g. P195/75R14, and check out from the list of tire models available with alphabet ‘P’ written in front of the tire size. Pick the P-metric tire that is best for your budget and vehicle, then choose which local tire installer you’d like them shipped to. From there, choose a convenient appointment time. You can also have your tires delivered to your home or any other preferred place to complete the tire installation at home or with another local tire installer.

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