The U.S. Department of Transportation requires most tires to have a Uniform Tire Quality Grading (or UTQG). The UTQG rates tires on treadwear, traction performance, and temperature resistance. The grade for each of these can be found on the sidewall of your tire.
Note: Not all tires are required to have a UTQG. Deep light truck tires (off-road tires), temporary spare tires, snow tires, trailer tires, tires under 12” in diameter and other select tires.
Researchers drive a group of vehicles on a test track for 7,200 miles, some with test tires and some with control tires. Researchers then assign a rating based on the tread wear of the test tires versus the control tires.
The rating pattern is:
- 100 = The test tire will last as long as the control tires
- 200 = The test tire will last twice as long as the control tires
- 300 = The test tire will last three times as long as the control tires
Some are critical on this system because it is open to interpretation. Comparing the treadwear grades of tire lines within a single brand can be helpful, however, comparing the grades between different brands is not recommended.
The UTQG traction grade rates the ability of your tire to stop on wet pavement. The lower the letter, the better the stopping ability. "AA" is the best, "C" is the worst.
||Asphalt g force
||Concrete g force
||Less Than 0.38
Temperature (Resistance) Grades
Is the ability of your tire to dissipate heat generated by driving. Over time, heat can cause damage to your tires. Temperature resistance is given a "A," "B," or "C," rating. All tires sold in the United States must have at least a C rating.
||Between 100 to 115
||Between 85 to 100