Tire Speed Rating T Vs H – A Detailed Comparison

The speed rating of a tire is one of its most important characteristics. Tires with sufficient speed ratings for your vehicle might reduce risks of safety hazards, including tire breakdown and fuel economy loss.

T and H are two of sedan drivers’ most common ratings. What are the differences between speed rating T vs H? Which is better for your cars? 

If these questions boggle your mind, you have landed in the right place. This article will provide you with the answer with a detailed comparison.

Let’s keep reading until the end.

What Is Speed Rating?

What Is Speed Rating


The tire speed rating is the highest speed at which tires can safely carry a load (the initial weight of your vehicle plus whatever is inside) for an extended period under ideal conditions.

A higher rating typically indicates that you can have greater control at faster speeds, and the tire can withstand the extra heat. In general, tires with greater speed ratings perform better.

On the side of each tire, the speed rating is often located next to the load index rating.

The letter, often known as the performance rating, measures the tire’s performance in heat dissipation, braking, cornering, and steering.

A speed rating letter represents a maximum speed capability following a standard chart.

Where Is It Located?

From left to right on the tire sidewall, you will most likely discover: 

  • The tire class (marked by a letter)
  • Section width (number)
  • Tire construction (letter)
  • Aspect ratio (number)
  • Load index (a two to three-digit figure corresponding to the weight a tire can support)
  • Speed rating

You can also see the speed rating in your vehicle’s owner’s manual, on a sticker, or on the driver’s side door.

How Are Speed Ratings Determined?

Tire producers will use a testing device to calculate a tire’s capacity for speed and heat. Testing can be done when all the figures meet ECE standards (Economic Commission for Europe).

A more stringent test is occasionally performed to satisfy SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) requirements.

They will inflate the tire correctly and put it on a single wheel attached to the testing equipment in a room heated to 77 F for the ECE test. It is then compressed against a drum to imitate a realistic load.

Next is to spin the tire in increments for about 10 minutes at greater and higher speeds until it reaches the goal speed (start at a speed of 40 km/h lower than the recommended rating level).

The tire will then spin at the assigned speed for 10 minutes.

After that, people will remove it from the device and inspect for flaws, such as tread component separation. Completing the test without being damaged means that the tire overcomes the rating.

Speed Rating T And H

Tire Speed Rating T Vs H

Speed ratings range from A1 to Y, with the lowest rating (A1) and Y being the greatest. However, there are a few exceptions. There are eight distinct A ratings available and no X, O, or I ratings.

The H rating is positioned incorrectly compared to the alphabet. Also, the ZR rating isn’t truly unique, as it includes both W- and Y-rated tires.

  • H-Rated Tire: It is rated for up to 130 mph. This tire is ideal for most sports sedans and commuter vehicles.
  • T-Rated Tire: T-rated ones are frequently recommended for family sedans and vans. It has a top speed of 118 mph. That’s well below the speed limit of various places.

What Are The Differences In Speed Rating T Vs H?

H-Rated Tire

Many differences between H vs T speed rating include speed rating, load index, resistance capacity of friction and heat, and handling ability.

Let’s keep reading the tire speed rating H vs T matchup to know which option is the winner!

Speed Rating

The first and main difference between T and H tires is their maximum speed.

As mentioned, there are many speed classifications, beginning with A1, which is 3 miles per hour and is not utilized in any car tire.

According to the “T” speed rating, the tire has a 118mph upper limit. As you can see, people have been driving cars at this pace for years.

Regarding the “H” rating, the tire will offer a max pace of 130mph. Many people now drive their cars at this speed.

Although they are pretty common in tires, they are not the typical rating. The speed rating “V” (149 mph) is standard!

Load Index

Without the load index, the speed rating remains a hazy assessment. That number helps to clarify the speed rating, indicating how much load-carrying capacity each tire can withstand.

The index ranges from 1 to 150. The lowest (1) denotes a weight of 99 pounds, while the (150) is the maximum weight, corresponding to 7385 lbs.

99 is the appropriate load index for the majority of car owners with a weight capacity of 1477 pounds for each tire. So we will take 99T and 99H tires on the table to compare.

With the same capacity, the 99T seems to last longer, as H-rated tires tend to have softer rubber compounds and shorter tread life. Of course, many other elements have a say in their longevity.

Friction And Heat

Friction and heat in tires are two of the biggest differences between T vs H tire ratings.

All measurements are subjected to heat and friction testing. Each tire combination has different friction and heat tolerances.

A lower-rated tire is more prone to overheating. The higher the speed rating and load index, the stronger the tire.

So, even when you exceed the rating specified on your tire, the higher rating item may still keep you safe from a flying tire on the road.

An H-rated tire can withstand higher levels of friction at all speeds.

Another consideration is the capacity for heat resistance, where an H-rated tire also outperforms a T-rated tire by a wide margin.

Almost all performance metrics improve with an H-rated tire, but these differences don’t matter much in the real world because few people will ever exceed 118 mph on a city road.

Sudden Direction Change And Brakes

Every car driver might face unexpected action scenarios, regardless of how cautiously you drive.

In some situations, you must hit the brakes hard and expect the car to stop immediately. You’d end up hurting yourself and others if you didn’t.

Tires with low load indexes and speed ratings cannot make that sudden stop. In this case, if we compare “T” and “H,” we can conclude that “H” will provide more efficient control for sudden breaks.

The same is true for abrupt changes in direction. It is possible that a vehicle will unexpectedly stop in the middle of the road in front of your vehicle.

You must now change direction as soon as possible. In this case, “H” tires will also be better at changing direction (so-called handling) immediately and will not throw you off the road.


H Or T Rated Tires – Which One Is Better?

After the comparison, you can find that “H” is superior to “T.” However, the “T” rating is also required for some tires, especially on a car that is not designed to be operated at high speeds.

So, which of the aforementioned speed-rating tires you choose is entirely up to you.

Assume you still can’t decide which one to choose. When you have a high-maintenance vehicle and require additional speed, we recommend “H” speed-rating tires.

If you want a tire that can perform well at an average speed, between too sluggish and too fast, the “T” speed rating is your best chance.

Can You Mix T And H Rated Tires?

No, you shouldn’t mix and match tires with different ratings on your car. This will cause serious issues with your vehicle’s handling.

If a vehicle has tires with different speed ratings, the tires with lower speed-rated should be fitted on the vehicle’s front axle.

Otherwise, vehicle handling may suffer. The vehicle’s top speed is also limited to the lowest speed-rated tire. After a long time, your car might also create womp womp tire noise.

Thus, car owners should use the same tire size and type of tire on all four wheel positions for optimum performance.

Is It Ok To Have Tires With Different Load Ratings?

No, it is not.

As mentioned in the previous question, you shouldn’t mix tires with different speed ratings in a car.

Tire experts recommend fitting tires with the same load capacity to all wheel positions on the car. It can help your car maintain maximum performance and safety.

Thus, you need to use tires with the same brand, tread patterns, size, and load index and pay attention to speed ratings on both rear and front tires.


After comparing the speed rating T vs H, we can conclude that the H rating is better than the “T” one.

As a result, H-rated tires are more suitable for those looking for options that perform better overall because they are better at resisting heat, cornering, and friction.

In short, a T-rated tire is appropriate for those who dislike high speed and is commonly seen on light trucks. H-rated tires are most commonly found on crossovers, SUVs, and standard sedans.

Always remember to check and balance your car tires regularly to ensure a safe and comfortable ride.

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