Changing your zip code will clear your Pre-Approval.

Zip / postal code is required.

Get pre-approved for low payment options. No Credit Needed* - Super Easy. Click HERE!

Tire Aspect Ratio: What is it? And What Does it Mean?

Tire Aspect Ratio: What is it? And What Does it Mean?

When you start looking at new tires, you realize that there are many different factors and sizes to keep in mind. And we mean a lot:

  • How wide is the tire?

  • How tall is the tire? 

  • How fast can the tire go? 

  • How much weight can the tire hold? 

  • How much wood could a wood-tire chuck…

Wait, that last one is for something else. But you get our point. Many variables differ from tire to tire, and it’s important to know what they are and how they affect your ride. 

Luckily, every tire on the market has this information stamped on its rubber sidewall. It’s pretty easy to spot and read—if you know what you’re looking for. 

Today, we will talk about tire aspect ratio, where to find it on your tire, and what it means.

What Is a Tire Aspect Ratio?

Tire aspect Ratio is the percentage ratio of the tire’s sidewall height compared to its rubber width. 

Don’t worry; we’ll break it down for you. Tire Aspect Ratio is a percentage that reflects how much of a tire you see outside of the rim flange compared to its actual width. 

The Aspect Ratio is pretty important and can determine how a tire looks and performs. As we mentioned, it’s conveniently available on the side of any tire. 

Where Do You Find the Tire Aspect Ratio?

The Aspect Ratio is stamped onto the exposed sidewall of any tire alongside a bunch of numbers and letters that tell you everything you need to know about your tire. It looks like this:

265/60R18 110H

This example is the numbers you would find if you just bought a set of reliable Nexen Roadian HP tires online at RentAWheel.com for only $62 a month. 

Granted, if you bought them through Rent A Wheel, you could have our professional tire technicians install them on your vehicle for free. Not to mention, with our state-of-the-art visualizer and our happy-to-help service, you always know your new tires will fit.

Still, you’re reading this because you want to know everything about your tires, which is fantastic. So, let’s carry on. 

This string of numbers and letters might look confusing, but we’ll explain each piece step-by-step. From right to left, here’s how to read this handy little number. 


The first number we see is “265.” This is the width of the tire from sidewall to sidewall in millimeters. It’s important to note that some of these numbers are in inches and some in millimeters, so keep an eye out! This is the first important number we’re looking for when shopping for rims. It’s also one of the important elements of finding the aspect ratio.

Aspect Ratio

As we’ve mentioned, the aspect ratio is the sidewall height compared to its width. In this case, the tire height is 60% of its width. 

Some quick math tells us that 60% of 265 millimeters is 159 millimeters. That’s the height of this tire’s sidewall. 

So, that’s the aspect ratio. Because we know our readers are eager to learn everything they can, we’ll explain the rest of these numbers and letters for you, too. 


This is the same on most tires you’ll encounter. The “R” means that the interior construction of the tire is radial. 


This might sound familiar from geometry class. Diameter is the measurement of the hole in the tire from one inner sidewall to the other. 

Don’t get this confused with the height of the tire, which would be the diameter from where it touches the ground to its tallest point. This is the size we look for when fitting rims. 

The diameter of our Nexens is 18 inches. Yes, we switched back to American measurements for this one. 

Load Index

The load index is at the end of this sequence. Well, almost the end. The load index number dictates the amount of weight this tire is rated to carry. In this case, the Nexen tires have a Load Index Number of 110, meaning they can support 2,337 pounds per tire. Multiply that by four, and you’ve got a set of wheels that can hold 9,348 pounds in total. Not too bad!

Speed Index

Finally, we get to the last letter! This is the speed rating identifier. This letter relates to the Tire Speed Rating Chart. Each letter on the chart tells you the tire’s maximum speed. So, our shiny new Nexen Roadian HP tires have a Speed Rating number of H. This chart tells us we can safely go 130 miles per hour. According to the tires, not speed laws, which Rent A Wheel always obeys and expects smart drivers to do the same!

What Does It Mean?

So, what does your tire's aspect ratio mean for you? And why is it important when shopping for a new set?

Well, the higher the aspect ratio, the more sidewall you will see from your tire’s side profile. This has aesthetic implications, and some people have a particular vision for their vehicle’s look. 

If you want a low-profile performance tire that almost blends with your sweet rims, keep an eye out for a lower aspect ratio. 

If you’re looking to set up your Jeep or truck with a set of tires that you can take off-roading, a higher aspect ratio will help out because of its sidewall height. That extra rubber on the tire sides is going to add traction when you’re in the mud. 


All in all, the tire aspect ratio is just one piece of information to keep in mind when shopping for new tires. What you’re planning on doing with your vehicle, where you drive, and what you want everything to look like is all affected by one number.

It’s also important to remember all the other bits of information we’ve covered. You can’t look at just one component when shopping for new tires. You have to pay attention to make sure you’re getting exactly what you need and want. 

At Rent A Wheel, we have a team of professional tire experts ready to chat with you online about what tires will suit your needs best. We’ll get you fitted with the perfect tires and wheels for your vehicle. 

Still a little confused on how the tires are going to look on your sick ride? Don’t worry; our state-of-the-art visualizer is here to help. Just input your car’s make, model, and color, and we’ll show you exactly how those brand-new tires and rims are going to look on the road. 

If you’re thinking, “Gee-whiz, I wish I could buy new tires today, but the ones I want are just too expensive,” have no fear—Rent A Wheel is here. 

Our flexible payment plan options mean that you can make low monthly payments on your tires over time instead of dropping a big wad of cash all at once.

We want to make sure every driver who chooses Rent A Wheel drives away with exactly what they want and need at a reasonable price. Did we mention that we’ll even install your newly purchased tires for free? That’s a pretty solid deal. 


How to Read Tire Size and Sidewall Markings | Live About

Tire Load Index Chart | Tyre Size Calculator

Tire Speed Rating Chart | Tyre Size Calculator