Tire Markings

There are numerous other markings on a typical tire, these may include:

  • M+S, or M&S: Mud and Snow; A tire that meets the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) and Rubber Association of Canada (RAC) all-season tire definition. These are all-weather tires, with self-cleaning tread and above-average traction in muddy or very light snowy conditions, and for low ambient temperatures. Spike tires have an additional letter, "E" (M+SE).
  • Mountain Snowflake Pictograph: Winter passenger and light truck tires that meet the severe snow service requirements of Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) and Rubber Association of Canada (RAC).
  • BSW: Black Sidewall
  • WSW: White Sidewall
  • OWL: Outline White Lettering
  • ORWL: Outlined Raised White Lettering
  • RWL: Raised White Lettering
  • VSB: Vertical Serrated Band
  • BSL: Black Serrated Letters
  • E4: Tire approved according ECE-regulations, the number indicating the country of approval.
  • DOT Code: All tires for use in the USA have a Department Of Transportation (DOT) code. It specifies the company, factory, mold, batch, and date of production (two digits for week of the year plus two digits for year).
  • TL: Tubeless
  • TT: Tube-type, tire must be used with an inner-tube
  • Made in...: Country of production
  • SFI, or Inner: Side Facing Inwards; inside of asymmetric tires
  • SFO, or Outer: Side Facing Outwards; outside of asymmetric tires
  • SL: Standard Load; tire for normal usage and loads
  • XL: Extra Load; a tire that allows a higher inflation pressure than a Standard Load tire, which increases the tire's maximum load.
  • Arrows: Some tread designs are "directional", and designed to perform better when driven in a specific direction (clockwise or counter-clockwise). Such tires will have an arrow showing which way the tire should rotate when the vehicle is moving forwards. It is important not to put a "clockwise" tire on the left hand side of the car or a "counter-clockwise" tire on the right side.

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