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Passenger vs. Light Truck Tyres and a Tyre Diameter Chart

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Passenger vs. Light Truck Tyres and a Tyre Diameter Chart

If you drive an SUV or a pickup truck, it’s important to know that you have options when selecting replacement tyres.

Understanding the differences between Passenger and Light Truck tyres will be critical if you are considering a switch from the original tyre type for your vehicle. It’s not necessarily a simple matter of choosing between good and bad. How you use your vehicle will help determine the best choice for you, because each type is constructed for different driving needs.

If you are interested in replacing your Passenger with Light Truck tyres or vice versa, read on to get a better idea of the benefits and potential trade-offs for each type.

We’ve also included a tyre diameter chart to reference for size comparison and matching between Passenger and Light Truck tyres.

Passenger vs. Light Truck tyres: What’s the difference?

Passenger tyre sizes were originally designed for cars and station wagons, but as the automobile market has grown to include more passenger carrying — instead of cargo carrying — vans, pickup trucks and SUVs, Passenger tyres have become more commonplace. Most light trucks being produced today are equipped with Passenger tyres because they rarely go off road, carry heavy loads or tow a trailer. Passenger tyres are lighter weight, with lower rolling resistance and a less aggressive tread design. Those features add up to improved ride comfort, less road noise and better fuel economy than a typical Light Truck tyre — although they shouldn’t be considered adequate for off-road driving. Additionally, Passenger tyres typically have better traction on wet and dry pavement.

Light Truck tyres are built specifically for light trucks and can handle heavier loads under more adverse conditions. They usually have a deeper tread and thicker rubber in the sidewall and under the tread, offering more protection than their Passenger counterparts. Plus, they are constructed with heavier plies and often have an extra steel belt. Along with heavy load uses, some Light Truck tyres are built for off-roading to handle gravel, dirt or other debris that can more easily damage Passenger tyres.

Generally, if your truck or SUV’s original tyres were Light Truck tyres, you should replace them with Light Truck tyres following the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations. If you’re going to drive only on paved roads and not haul any heavy loads, you might be able to opt for a Passenger tyre instead but should make sure to get a Passenger tyre that has a 10% increase in load-carrying capacity in order to provide an acceptable margin of safety. You must also adjust your air pressure accordingly.

If your SUV, van or truck came with Passenger tyres but you frequently haul heavy loads or pull heavy trailers, you should consider replacing your Passenger tyres with Light Truck tyres. The trade-off is that Light Truck tyres offer a rough ride; their thicker, stiffer sidewalls aren’t very flexible and create a bumpier, noisier, less comfortable drive than Passenger tyres. This stiffer tyre, however, results in less sway and more predictable handling, which provides more confidence in how the vehicle drives when hauling or carrying heavy loads.

Ultimately, your tyre’s construction must be able to handle the vehicle’s weight and intended use. It can create a dangerous situation if the tyre you choose isn’t designed to handle the dynamics of your vehicle.

So, whether you’re taxing your family around town or hauling heavy cargo, it’s important to equip your vehicle with the appropriate set of tyres. It is always best to stay with the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended load range, even if you don’t plan to carry a lot of weight.

If you are in the market and looking to replace your Passenger with Light Truck tyres or vice versa, the chart below will give you an idea of the available tyre sizes with the same approximate overall diameter.