Light Trucks and Tires Used on Light Trucks

What is a light truck?

A light truck is a federal classification, adopted in the United States, which covers trucks or truck-based vehicles with a carrying capacity of under 4,000 pounds (1,815 kg). Light truck class includes:

  • Vans — most minivans and full sized vans
  • SUVs — Mini SUVs, Compact SUVs, Midsize SUVs, Full size SUVs, Extended length SUVs
  • Light duty pickup trucks

In other countries, the term usage and meanings may vary considerably.

Mini van

Mini van

Full-size van

Full-size van

Full-size SUV

Full-size SUV

Tires fitted on a light trucks

What makes these vehicles and tires different is that they are specially engineered to carry more passengers and cargo than regular passenger cars. Technical features of light trucks that set them apart from passenger cars are:

  • Offroad design
  • Increased ground clearance (higher center of gravity)
  • 4×4 or all-wheel drive capabilities

These features determine the light truck tire design. Such tires are engineered to meet certain service conditions, payload capacity, and other factors referred to this type of vehicle.

Tires for light truck applications fall into two major categories:

  • Tires specially designed for light trucks (with LT letters in the tire code) and
  • Passenger car tires that can also be fitted on light trucks (with P at the beginning of the tire code or without P if the tire is European metric).

Passenger tires are often used as Original Equipment on light trucks (up to 80% of OE tires in the USA).

Generally, light truck tires are exposed to more severe usage conditions, and they also get to tackle heavier loads. Hence, the carrying capacity of the passenger tires fitted on light trucks must be recalculated by a factor 1.10.