The «Light Truck» term covers a great number of vehicle types, such as SUVs, vans, and light-duty pickup trucks, which is one of the reasons why the light truck tires are labeled in so many ways. Another thing that you should be aware of is what sizing system is applied in a tire designation.
There are several sizing systems for the light truck tire designations, which are commonly used nowadays:
- LT-High Flotation
- European Commercial Metric
- P-Metric and
- European Metric
Tires for light truck applications fall into two major categories:
- Tires specially designed for the light trucks
- Passenger tires that can be applied on the light trucks
Tires specially designed for the light trucks
- LT-Metric light truck tires
- LT-High flotation light truck tires
- LT-Numeric light truck tires
- Euro commercial metric («C» tires for vans)
- Euro commercial numeric («C» tires for vans)
LT-Metric Tire Designation
If the tire code starts with the «LT» letters, it means that this tire is LT-Metric (Light Truck-Metric), designed for light trucks with load carrying capabilities usually ranging from ¾ to 1-ton.
Light truck tires have the load range codes in a size designation (B, C, D and E), which indicate the tire load and inflation pressure limits.
LT-High Flotation Tire Designation
«LT» at the end of the code on the tire sidewall means that the tire is LT-High Flotation, Wide Base or LT-Numeric.
«Flotation» essentially means that the tire can pass over soft surfaces, such as loose sand, soft soil, or mud, without sinking in. Such tires «float» on top of soft surfaces.
Flotation tires are generally slightly larger than other light truck tires, and, hence, require a wider rim.
LT-Numeric Tire Designation
«LT» at the end of the tire code means that this tire is capable of tackling higher loads and towing heavier weight. Such tires are engineered for medium to heavy-duty light trucks, some SUVs and full-size vans.
Euro Metric Commercial Tire Designation («C» tires for vans)
Euro Numeric Commercial Tire Designation («C» tires for vans)
Passenger car tires on a light truck
- P-Metric passenger car tires fitted on the light trucks
- Euro-Metric passenger car tires fitted on the light trucks
Oftentimes, new light trucks and SUVs are originally equipped with the P-Metric or Euro-Metric tires. Although such tires are not specifically designed for light trucks, nearly 80% of all OE tires on light trucks, and virtually on all SUVs in the USA, are in fact the P-Metric.
Below are a few examples of the size designations for these two groups:
P-Metric Passenger Car Tire Designation
The letter «P» at the start of the code indicates that this tire has been engineered for passenger cars. A similar label without the «P» letter means that this tire is the European metric — but still designed for passenger cars.
Euro-Metric Passenger Car Tire Designation
Please be aware that the P-Metric and the Euro-Metric tires in the same dimension are not exactly alike, and they are not completely interchangeable. They may differ in terms of the load and inflation features, which is especially important if they are fitted on a light truck.