Get to know your tire sidewall

The side of your tire, or the tire sidewall, has nearly everything you need to know about your tire. The information can be a little overwhelming at first, but it’s easy to understand if you break it into small pieces. Here’s a quick introduction to your tire sidewall.

Brand and model

Let’s start with an easy one. Looking at the diagram above, the first thing you’ll probably notice is your tire brand and model: Cooper® Cobra Radial G/T™.

Tire size and service description

Right underneath the brand and model names, you’ll see P225 60R 16 86T. This is a code that gives you a quick snapshot of your tire. It tells you:

  • Type of Tire/P = Passenger Tire (Euro-metric passenger tires do not include this identifier)
  • Tire width in mm = 225 mm
  • The sidewall ratio between height and width = 60% aspect ratio
  • The tire's construction/R = Radial ply tire
  • The rim diameter in inches/16 = 16-inch diameter
  • The tire’s speed rating/T = a speed rating of 118 mph

DOT tire identification number

To the left of the tire size code, you'll see DOT MA L9 ABCD 0309. It's your DOT Tire Identification Number, and it tells you essential safety and manufacturing information. DOT stands for the U.S. Department of Transportation, and these first three letters state that the tire meets their Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). The remaining combination of letters and numbers are your TIN. These are codes state where the tire was made, tire size, week and year it was made. For more info, check out our DOT Numbers article.

Maximum capacity and cold inflation pressure

To the left of the DOT Tire Identification Number, you'll see two more pieces of information. First, the tire's max carrying load capacity tells you the maximum weight your tire can handle. Second, the max cold inflation level indicates your tire's maximum inflation pressure in psi. However, we always advise that you follow the tire inflation pressure indicated in the vehicle owner’s manual or the placard on the driver’s side door jamb.


To the right of the tire size sequence, you’ll find information regarding the material used to build the interior of your tire. Essentially, the inside of a tire is made of different fabrics or plies, as well as steel belts. The number of plies in the tread and sidewall areas are an indication of the tire’s strength.

Uniform Tire Quality Grading (UTQG) rating

To the right of the plies and fabric info, you’ll see the tire’s UTQG rating. Created by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the UTQG rating is made up of a three-digit number and two letter groups. The UTQG compares the tire against a government standard test tire to determine these grades.


Tucked underneath the 116Q in the tire size sequence is the word "Tubeless." The tire must be marked either “tubeless” (tire does not use an inner tube) or “tube type” (tire requires an inner tube).