When buying new tyres, you'll need to find the right size of tyre for your car. However, tyres are also rated by the amount of weight they can manage, the maximum speed at which you should drive with those tyres, and many other specifications. You can find these specifications on your car's tyres; look for the symbols across the front or outside of the tyre. Before you shop, note the meaning of some common symbols, so you know you find the best tyres for your car.
Type of vehicle
When out shopping for tyres, look for the symbols P, LT, T or ST. P stands for passenger metric, meaning a tyre for a passenger vehicle, which is probably what you want for the family sedan. LT stands for light truck, T for temporary spare, and ST for special trailer.
It's important to note these symbols; you don't want a tyre meant for a trailer on your passenger vehicle, as it might not be strong enough to support the weight of the car. A tyre meant for a light truck might also put a sedan off balance, and this can cause damage to your steering systems.
Construction of the tyre
Tyre construction is usually indicated by symbols; B is for belted, R for radial and D for diagonal construction. You need to determine the right type of tyre construction for your everyday driving habits and the weight of your vehicle, and then shop accordingly.
The load index of tyres refers to how much weight they are meant to manage. This symbol can be confusing, as the load index number itself doesn't refer to the actual number of pounds or kilograms the tyres can manage. Check your vehicle's weight, add in the weight of any trailer and heavy gear or equipment you might be hauling, and look for the corresponding tyre rating on a load index chart.
If you see the symbol OE, this refers to original equipment, or a tyre that was made by the car manufacturer. You may need to buy OE tyres to ensure you don't void a warranty on your car. Even without a warranty, note that OE tyres are often considered better quality than any other choice, as they are made to exacting standards for your car in particular. They may ensure an exact fit for brake pads and other parts, making them a better investment even if they're more expensive.