What Is The Most Popular Tyre Size In The UK?

Tyre safety is an important discussion regardless of season, where you drive or how often. Fitting the right type of tyre and the correct tyre size can make all the difference. In this article, we take a closer look at the most popular tyre sizes in the UK along with many FAQs and answers.

The Most Common Tyre Size In The UK

In the UK, the most popular tyre size is 205 55 16. That means the width is 205 with an aspect ratio of 55 and a rim diameter of 16. To understand tyre measurements a little better, here is a simple breakdown:

  • Width: The tyre width in millimetres (mm)
  • Aspect ratio: A percentage indicating the height of the tyre which is measured from bead to tread and in relation to the tyre width
  • Rim diameter: This is the diameter of your rim, excluding the tyre, which is measured in inches

tyre size

Other Popular Tyre Sizes In The UK

At Elite Garages, we sell a wide range of tyres for all types of vehicles. With fitment centres around the country, you can quickly find your nearest branch and pop in for a free tyre check and discuss your specific requirements. In terms of tyre size, here are the top 20 we provide customers at Elite Garages:

  • 205 55 16V
  • 185 60 15H
  • 185 65 15H
  • 225 45 17W
  • 215 55 16W
  • 195 60 15V
  • 195 65 15V
  • 225 40 18Y
  • 205 55 16W
  • 225 45 17Y
  • 165 70 14T
  • 175 65 15H
  • 195 55 16V
  • 185 55 15V
  • 195 55 15V
  • 195 50 15V
  • 205 45 17W
  • 195 65 15H
  • 225 50 17W
  • 155 65 14T

For more tyre sizes, please contact your local Elite Garages tyre fitment centre. Our friendly, expert technicians are here to answer any questions you may have. Looking to buy new tyres? Reserve yours online today!

How Do I Read Tyre Labels?

Understanding tyre size is one thing but what about all the other letters and numbers? What is the purpose of tyre labels and how do you read them?

With some background information and a little bit of guidance from the tyre experts, it’s easier than you may think. Those numbers and letters you see on your tyre’s sidewall indicate tyre size, type and performance levels. Here is a summary of what tyre labels mean.

How Do You Identify Tyre Type?

A tyre with a letter at the beginning of the tyre size indicates that it was made in a certain country and according to specific standards.

  • A “P” means a P-Metric tyre made to certain standards within the United States, intended for Passenger vehicles.
  • If there is no letter before the tyre size, it indicates a Euro metric tyre. Remember, P-Metric and Euro-Metric tyres may often have different load capacities
  • Tyres with the letters “LT,” either at the beginning or at the end of the tyre size show that it was designed for light lorries. Many car manufacturers fit light trucks with “LT” type tyres which generally need higher pressure

We highly recommend that you consult your vehicle owner’s manual or the label inside your door to find the recommended tyre size and tyre pressure for your car. If you still can’t find it, try out online tools such as tyrepressures.com.

What Is The Tyre Width?

As mentioned earlier, the first three numbers on the sidewall after the letter, where applicable, indicates the width of the tyre. It is measured in millimetres from sidewall to sidewall. In the case of a 205 55 16V tyre, the width is 205 millimetres.

What Is The Aspect Ratio In Terms Of Tyre Size?

The two-digit number after the slash sign in tyre size indicates the aspect ratio. This refers to the ratio of the height of your tyre’s cross-section to its width. For example, in a size 205 55 16V, the 55 means that the height is equal to 55% of the tyre’s width. The higher the aspect ratio, the bigger your tyre’s sidewall will be.

How Do I Find The Type Of Tyre Construction?

When a tyre has the letter “R” in the tyre size, it refers to “Radial” which means the layers run radially across the tyre. Other types of tyre construction codes or letters include “B” (bias belt) and “D” (diagonal).

Where Can I Find My Wheel Diameter?

We touched on wheel diameter earlier which refers to the size of the wheel measured from one end to the other. It indicated the size of the wheel that your car tyre is intended to fit. For example, the tyre size 205 55 16V is made for a wheel with a 16-inch diameter. Other tyre symbols and labels to know include the following:

  • Load index: Indicates the maximum load that a tyre can support when properly inflated.
  • Speed rating: This shows the maximum speed capability of a tyre which often matches the top speed capability.
  • DOT code of a tyre indicates the date on which the tyre was manufactured. It has four numbers but some will have three if they were made between 1980 and 1999.

What Happens If You Put The Wrong Tyre Size On A Car?

Mismatched tyres can be very dangerous, especially at the rear which can lead to a loss of control when braking hard. You should fit the right size tyres as soon as possible and place them at the rear. Fitting the wrong tyre size can sometimes result in them making contact with the fender liner but the bigger issues are increased fuel consumption and less stability.

Can You Mix Tyres With Different Tread Pattern?

Mixing tyres with different tread patterns across the same axle is also not allowed. For best results in terms of grip, handling and overall tyre safety, you need to fit the identical tyre model and tread pattern on a single axle. While you may use different tyres on a separate axle, they too need to match each other.

Get The Right Tyre Size At Elite Garages

All the Elite Garages fitment centres stock a wide range of premium tyres, budget tyres, run-flats, 4×4 tyres and performance tyres. We have over 1 million tyres in stock across the entire group with excellent availability. Find out more about our Same Day / Next Day Fitting.

Our expert technicians are among the best and will fit your tyres while you wait. To ensure a safe journey for you and your family, we offer a range of FREE tyre safety checks. It includes a visual inspection of the overall condition and whether you have the right tyre size.

If you are unsure about tyre size and what is best for your car, just give us a call. Our friendly staff are ready to help. When you’re ready, simply reserve your tyres online and here are some more FAQs about tyre size, types and tyre safety.