Looking for new tires with optimal traction? Or are long-lasting treads a
bigger priority? There’s a simple way to compare tire specs!
The Uniform Tire Quality Grading (UTQG) system was developed by the Department
of Transportation (DOT) to assist consumers in the purchase of their tires by
providing a standard grading system used by all tire manufacturers. Tire
manufacturers use the UTQG system to grade their tires in three important
areas: treadwear, traction and temperature. The UTQG grade for each tire
is shown on the paper label affixed to the tire and is also molded in the sidewall.
Treadwear Grade – A comparative grade based on the actual wear of the tire’s
tread when tested under specific controlled conditions. All tires are tested under
the same conditions to allow for comparison between manufacturers and between
different lines of tires from the same manufacturer. The system is fairly easy
to understand. A tire with a treadwear grade of 400 should have a useful tread
life approximately twice as long as a tire with a treadwear grade of 200. The
higher the grade, the better the expected treadwear.
Traction Grade – A comparative grade based on the tire’s ability to stop
on wet pavement, again as measured under controlled conditions on wet asphalt
and concrete surfaces. The grades, from highest to lowest, are designated
AA – A – B – C. A tire that is graded AA should
have better traction or stopping performance than a tire with a lower grade,
based on the specific straight-ahead braking tests.
Temperature Grade – A comparative grade based on the tire’s resistance
to heat and its ability to dissipate heat, again as measured under controlled
conditions. The grades, from highest to lowest, are designated A
– B – C. An A-rated tire is the coolest running, while a C-rating
meets the minimum federal performance standards. These temperature grades are
set based on a tire that is properly inflated and not overloaded.
UTQG is a great way to compare tires from various manufacturers and between specific
lines from the same manufacturer. Remember: The UTQG isn’t a safety rating and it
doesn’t guarantee a tire’s mileage performance - but you can use the UTQG in
conjunction with price, warranty, appearance and recommendations to make the
right tire choice for your needs. If you have any questions about UTQG or various
tire lines, the Big O Tires team is always ready to help!