Tire Temperature Rating Guide (UTQG Rating)

Dec 4th 2020

Tire Temperature Rating Guide (UTQG Rating)

The sidewall of tires features a multitude of ratings. They ensure that the tires are marked with their performing capabilities and durability. This is to ensure that tires are not used in situations where they might cause harm to the vehicle and its passengers, while also allowing the driver to purchase tires which will accommodate their driving style.

In order to ensure that all tires are up to a specific standard required by the Department of Transportation, the Uniform Tire Quality Grading system or UTQG rating was established. But what does this mean? How should you look at the temperature rating of tires in order to find the perfect fit for your needs and your vehicle?

Let’s take a detailed look at what the treadwear grade of the tires entails.

What are the UTQG ratings?

Tires are manufactured with a Uniform Tire Quality Grading or UTQG rating. This rating represents the tire’s treadwear, traction and temperature performing capability. In order words, it provides a look into the performing capability and the tread life of these tires.

UTQG rating

Each tire manufacturer is required to stamp this rating on the sidewall of passenger car and SUV tires, which are typically used for everyday driving. They ensure that the aforementioned tires are only used in the weather and circumstances they were manufactured for. In simpler terms, the UTQG ratings represent a specific tire’s treadwear, traction and temperature durability, which gives a look into the tire’s lifespan and weather durability.

How to Read the Treadwear Grade?

The UTQG ratings consist of a 3-digit number and two letters. Their combination provides the treadwear grade of the tire, as they represent their treadwear, traction and temperature. These results are derived from comparing the tires’ performance results to the standard established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Treadwear grade

The treadwear rating is of the treadwear, or the expected tread life of the tire. This is designed to give a clear look into the lifespan of the tires under normal conditions. It is important to note that the tire’s resistance to treadwear is better if this number is higher.

For example: most touring, all season passenger tires are in the range of 600-800. This means that these tires have a 60,000 to 80,000 mile expected tread life if proper driving conditions are upheld. However, this also depends on the driver’s driving habits. In relation to this, a high performance tire will have a lower number as its treadwear grade, typically around 300, as its primary purpose (high speed driving) will cause accelerated treadwear, compared to a touring tire. Therefore, touring tires usually last twice as long as performance ones.

Traction Rating

The traction grade of the tires represents the grip the tire has on the road and driving surfaces. This is indicated with letters, ranging between AA, A, B, and C. AA is the best rating available on the tire market. This rating is measured by the tire’s ability to stop in wet weather situations. In other words, the AA rated tire will have a shorter braking distance on wet road surfaces than the C rated tire.

Traction Grades Asphalt g force Concrete g force
AA Above 0.54 0.41
A Above 0.47 0.35
B Above 0.38 0.26
C Less Than 0.38 0.26

Temperature Grade

The temperature rating shows the tire’s heat durability. While the tire is in motion, heat can easily build-up along the tread area, which places extra stress, pressure and strain on it, especially in summer and high-heat temperatures. If a tire is not able to withstand the stress it is placed under, it can easily lead to tire failure or dangerous blowouts.

Temperature Grades Speed in MPH
A Over 115
B Between 100 to 115
C Between 85 to 100

The temperature grade represents the tire’s resistance to heat build-up during its performance. This rating system also utilizes A, B, and C to portray the tire’s temperature durability. A-rated tires will be able to keep cool while they are in motion, ensuring their exceptional summer driving safety.

Who assigns the Tire Temperature Rating?

The UTQG rating is given to a tire by its manufacturer. While the  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is the one who established the standard tires need to live up to in the United States, they do not do the testing on their own.

Each tire manufacturer is required to test their new tire models before placing them for sale on the tire market. The tire brands must ensure that their products are correctly rated, as mislabeling them can lead to catastrophic failures. This testing is usually sourced out to independent companies specializing in testing and research of tire manufacturing technologies.

However, unfortunately, this also means that there is not a solidly established rating system as the tests are not conducted by objective testing organizations. As a result, it’s always best to compare the treadwear, traction, and temperature grades of tires manufactured by the same tire brand.

Still, the UTQG rating of the tires will give you a general understanding of their performing capabilities, treadwear rating, temperature durability, and overall surface traction and it will make your search for a new tire set easier.

You can browse for new tires here at Priority Tire.

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