Tire Speed Rating T vs. H: Detailed Comparison

Do you find shopping for the best tire complex? Well, it happens to almost all car owners. Because there are some different measures to consider while buying tires, the choosing process can be more overwhelming if you don’t understand the measures.

Among all the measures, the most common curiosity is about the speed rating. You may hear about debates like – Tire Speed Rating T vs. H as well. Well, a speed rating is not the only thing. It is also about performance rating. So, you should know what you are getting.

To know more, let’s get straight into details below.

Comparison Chart – Tire Speed Rating T vs. H

T Speed RatingH Speed Rating
Gives slower miles per hourGives faster miles per hour
It gives 118mphIt gives 130mph
Suitable for those who drive cars slowSuitable to those who drive the car in the mid-range speed
Not so good in cornering, sudden brake and handing Good enough in cornering, sudden brake and handling
Not suitable for higher friction Suitable for mid-range friction
Less heat resistant than the H speed ratingMore heat resistant than T speed rating
Not appropriate in direction changingMore appropriate in direction changing

In-depth discussion – Tire Speed Rating T vs. H

You can get a quick idea about the T speed rating and H speed rating from the comparison chart above. Now, let’s figure out more to get the detailed specifications.

Speed Rating

The speed rating is a measurement set by the tire manufacturer on the tire. It says about the thing it is named after, the speed. There are different speed ratings, starting from A1, 3 miles per hour and not used in any car tire. It is shown as a measurement. The highest speed rating of a tire is (Y), which gives more than 186mph. 

Now, let’s talk about the two selected speed ratings, “T” and “H.” The “T” speed rating says the tire would give a frequency of 118mph. You can see it has been years now people drove cars at this speed on average. The “H” speed rating says that the tire would give a frequency of 130mph. Now, many people drive their car at this speed. 

The speed rating “V” is sometimes considered the standard speed rating for any car, which means 149mph. You will see these speed rating letters at the side surface of the tire. Along with the letter, you will see a number. What does that mean? Let’s talk about it in our next point.

Load Index

The speed rating is still a foggy measurement without the load index. The load index number makes the speed rating clearer to understand. This measure tells the capability of each tire how much load it can take. 

The index number is from 1 to 150. The lowest number 1 refers to the weight of 99lbs. The highest weight, 99, refers to the weight of 7385 lbs. Among all, the 99 is the ideal weight for most car owners. It can carry a weight of 1477 lbs.

So, in a car, there are four tires of each 94 load index. That means the four tires altogether can carry 1477*4= 5908lbs. So, if the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is under 5908lbs, the tires will work fine. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating includes the car weight + 5 adult people’s weight and other heavy item weight that you may carry. 

Deal with Friction and Heat

You may have seen more different letters and a number other than speed rating and load index on the side of the tire. These are other measurements like Treadwear traction temperature number and Mud and Snow tolerance determining letters. 

So, you can see tires are made considering these factors as well. Another factor to consider is the tire plies. It simply means the plaster or layers on a tire. The number of the plies can be different in other tires. 

All the measurements are tested to deal with friction and heat. Each combination of tires has different tolerances on friction and heat. Less load index and less speed rating tires are more fragile to get heated up quickly. The more the speed rating and load index, the more robust the tire. 

So, if you exceed the speed rating determined on the tire, the higher rating tire may still manage to keep you away from the danger of flying away tire in the middle of the road.

Sudden Brakes and Sudden direction change

Every car owner faces some sudden action scenarios. No matter how safely you drive. It happens to all of us at least once. Suppose a person couldn’t cross the road fast and got in front of your car suddenly. In this situation, you brake hard and expect to stop the car right at the point immediately. Otherwise, you would end up hurting them. 

Low-profile tires(Lowe speed rating and load index) can not make that immediate stop. So, it would be best if you got higher profile tires. In this case, if we talk about “T” and “H,” we can say the “H” will give more efficient service in sudden breaks. 

It is also the same about sudden direction changes. It may happen, a vehicle might stop unexpectedly in the middle of the road in front of your car. Now, you need to change direction as early as possible. In this case, “H” tires will change the direction right then and won’t fall you from the road as well.

Tire Speed Rating T or H – Which one to choose?

In the discussion, we saw that “H” is better than the “T.” But the “T” rating is also necessary for tires. Especially on a vehicle which is not meant to be driven so fast. So, choosing one between the above speed rating tires is totally up to your choice.

Suppose you can’t still figure out which one to take. We can suggest if you are driving a high-maintenance car and need more speed, then go for the “H” speed rating tires.

If you are looking for a tire that can work well at an average speed, between too slow and too fast, the “T” speed rating is your ultimate choice. 


Which is the better T or H speed rating?

“H” is better than “T” as it gives better mph. But more speed rating tires give far better mph than the “H.” 

What do H and T mean on tires?

“H” and “T” mean the speed rating on a tire. “H” stands for 130mph, and “T” stands for 118mph.

Is H speed rating higher than T?

Yes. The H speed rating is higher than T. And gives more mph as well. That means safer driving, cornering, braking and handling.

Can I mix H and T-rated tires?

No. You can not mix H and T-rated tires. Choose either one to use in a particular vehicle.

Should all four tires have the same speed rating?

Yes, all four tires in a vehicle should have the same speed rating. Because each speed rating tires work differently. If you use different speed rating tires in one vehicle, you will get other performance. Mainly you will face massive problems in cornering and braking.

Final Words

We have come to the end of the discussion of Tire Speed Rating T vs. H discussion. Hope that you have gathered the knowledge about different speed ratings now. While buying the tire, make sure you specify the vehicle. It is best if you use the speed rating tire determined in the car owner’s manual.

Also, make sure you regularly clean your tires. It will increase the lifespan of the tire and will give you far better performance.

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