The constructive features of tires that bear an XL mark. Is there a difference?

We are often asked about the constructive features of tires that bear an XL mark. Is there a difference?

Yes, there is a difference but not the kind that most people think who try to make sense of the baffling variety of tires on the market.

Extra load is the same as XL
Extra load is the same as XL

The XL label means «EXTRA LOAD», and signifies the mere fact that the load index has been increased by 3 points.

Here is an example of an XL label: 205/55/16 91H (615 kg) and 205/55/16 94H XL (670 kg).

This example shows that the XL label in itself does not signify much. It simply draws your attention to the fact that the load index has been increased. However, many people are looking for the XL mark, mistaking it for a sign of quality, paying no attention to the load and speed indexes. This label also does not add any extra sturdiness or tread life. It does not reinforce the tire’s sidewall either.

The same function is performed by the «LT» and «P» signs, habitual for the USA market. They also signify alteration of the load index.

«LT» means increased load index («light trucks»), and «P» means decreased)«passenger cars»).

So there is no sense in attaching some «special meaning» to these labels. They simply warn us about some minor changes while the main information is indicated in the main indexes.

Contrary to the popular misconception that many motorists have, the XL sign does not mean some «poor cousin» of RunFlat — it is simply not the case.