Tyre markings

The diagram below illustrates the most common tyre markings. The markings are used to identify various capabilities of a tyre plus constructions methods used amongst other things.

The various markings are explained below. Click on the image for an enlarged version.

Tyre Markings

Many of the terms above do not apply to the UK. However we have shown them as it is common to find them on your tyres. This is because manufacturers often produce one make of tyre for use in many international markets.

  • Branding – The brand name of the tyre, for example Pilot Sport, P6000, Eagle F1.
  • Tubeless – Means the tyre is of tubeless construction.
  • Country of manufacture – This shows where the tyre was produced.
  • Manufacturers name – This is the name of the company who produces the tyre.
  • DOT compliance symbol – This symbol shows that the tyre meets safety standards as laid down by the United States Department of Transportation.  This symbol has no relevance in the UK market.
  • DOT tyre identification number – These numbers have no significance in the UK market.  However for the US market they identify which plant they were manufactured in, tyre size and type and date of manufacture. The last four numbers identify when the tyre was made.  For example 4613 would mean the tyre was manufactured in the 46th week of 2013.
  • Type of construction – This illustrates the construction type of the tyre.  The most common type for cars these days is R meaning Radial construction.  Less common are B for Bias Belt and D for Diagonal.
  • ECE type approval mark and number – Identifies that the tyre has been approved for use in Europe.  The numbers identify which country approved the tyre and the approval certificate number.
  • Tyre construction details – Not required for the UK market.  Shows details of how the tyre is constructed.
  • Load and pressure marking – Not relevant to the UK.  This marking shows the maximum load capacity in pounds and kilos.  Also shows the maximum tyre pressure in kpa or psi.
  • Rim diameter – This number shows the size of wheel the tyre will fit in inches.  16 for example means the tyre will fit a 16 inch wheel.
  • Width – This number is the width of the tyre tread, expressed in millimeters, for example 205.
  • Aspect ratio – The aspect ratio is the sidewall height as a percentage of the tyre width.  For example the number 55 means the sidewall is 55% of the width of the tyre, in our case 205mm.  High performance tyres often have lower aspect ratios and are referred to as low profile tyres.
  • Load index – The load index refers to the maximum rated weight the tyre can handle.  The number represents a rating on the load index scale.  For example 78 equals 425kg.
  • Speed rating – The tyre speed rating refers to the maximum speed that the tyre can safely handle.  The letters refer to a rating on the speed rating table.  In this case T means the tyre is rated for a maximum of 118mph.
  • Mud & snow marking – Used to identify winter tyres.  These tyres are specially designed for use in cold weather conditions.  They contain a higher concentration of silica which helps the tyre to maintain grip in freezing conditions.
  • Uniform tyre quality grading – Not required for UK tyres.  These markings apply in the USA and show how well the tyre is rated for wear, traction and temperature.
  • Rotation – Some tyres known as directional tyres have these arrow markings.  They show which way the tyre should be mounted on the wheel.  They have a particular type of tread pattern which requires the tyre to move in a particular rotation.

Tyre E Mark

Introduced by the Economic Commission for Europe, the tyre E mark is now mandatory on all European tyres. It certifies that the tyre has been approved for use in Europe.  It also signals that the tyre has met certain sizing, performance and marking requirements.

How to identify the tyre E mark

The E mark will be in the form of a circle or rectangle containing the letter “E” or “e” followed by a number. A large letter “E” indicates ECE type approval.  A small letter “e” indicates compliance with EEC Directive 92/23/EEC.


The number following the “E” identifies the country in which the tyre was approved.

ECE Marks

E2FranceE22Russian Federation
E8Czech RepublicE28Belarus
E10YugoslaviaE31Bosnia and Herzegovina
E11United KingdomE32Latvia
E19RomaniaE47South Africa
E20PolandE48New Zealand

The next two digits indicate the Regulation Amendment Series under which the tyre was approved. “02” represents ECE Regulation 30 covering passenger tyres. “00” represents ECE Regulation 54 covering commercial tyres. The remaining digits identify tyre type and size. Some tyres may also have a letter “s” if it has passed certain noise tests. A letter “w” relates to wet traction tests.

The number following the circle/rectangle is the type approval certificate number.

History of the ECE

The ECE was founded in 1947 by the United Nations. It’s main aim is to encourage greater European economic integration. It has also established various standards including regulations relating to tyres. This has been especially useful for tyre manufacturers. The large number of EU countries means it would be difficult and costly to meet each countries tyre standards otherwise.

Do all tyres need a tyre E mark?

Tyres sold outside of Europe do not need ECE type approval. However due to globalisation, increasingly manufacturers are seeking ECE approval anyway.  This may be because their tyres are to be used in both Europe and other locations such as the USA.

More information

For more detail on the tyre E mark and the relevant regulations please see the following links:

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

ECE Vehicle Regulations

European Commission Directive 92/23/EEC