Passenger vs. Light Truck Tires and a Tire Diameter Chart

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If you drive an SUV or a pickup truck, it’s important to know that you have options when selecting replacement tires.

Understanding the differences between Passenger and Light Truck tires will be critical if you are considering a switch from the original tire type for your vehicle. It’s not necessarily a simple matter of choosing between good and bad. How you use your vehicle will help determine the best choice for you, because each type is constructed for different driving needs.

If you are interested in replacing your Passenger with Light Truck tires or vice versa, read on to get a better idea of the benefits and potential trade-offs for each type.

We’ve also included a tire diameter chart to reference for size comparison and matching between Passenger and Light Truck tires.


Passenger vs. Light Truck tires: What’s the difference? 

Passenger tire sizes were originally designed for cars and station wagons, but as the automobile market has grown to include more passenger carrying — instead of cargo carrying — vans, pickup trucks and SUVs, Passenger tires have become more commonplace. Most light trucks being produced today are equipped with Passenger tires because they rarely go off road, carry heavy loads or tow a trailer. Passenger tires are lighter weight, with lower rolling resistance and a less aggressive tread design. Those features add up to improved ride comfort, less road noise and better fuel economy  than a typical Light Truck tire — although they shouldn’t be considered adequate for off-road driving. Additionally, Passenger tires typically have better traction on wet and dry pavement.

Light Truck tires are built specifically for light trucks and can handle heavier loads under more adverse conditions. They usually have a deeper tread and thicker rubber in the sidewall and under the tread, offering more protection than their Passenger counterparts. Plus, they are constructed with heavier plies and often have an extra steel belt. Along with heavy load uses, some Light Truck tires are built for off-roading to handle gravel, dirt or other debris that can more easily damage Passenger tires.

Generally, if your truck or SUV’s original tires were Light Truck tires, you should replace them with Light Truck tires following the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations. If you’re going to drive only on paved roads and not haul any heavy loads, you might be able to opt for a Passenger tire instead but should make sure to get a Passenger tire that has a 10% increase in load-carrying capacity in order to provide an acceptable margin of safety. You must also adjust your air pressure accordingly.

For example, if your truck or SUV weighs 4,500 pounds, each tire should be capable of carrying a minimum of 1,125 pounds. If a Passenger size is chosen to replace a Light Truck tire, the tires should be able to carry at least 1,238 pounds.

If your SUV, van or truck came with Passenger tires but you frequently haul heavy loads or pull heavy trailers, you should consider replacing your Passenger tires with Light Truck tires. The trade-off is that Light Truck tires offer a rough ride; their thicker, stiffer sidewalls aren’t very flexible and create a bumpier, noisier, less comfortable drive than Passenger tires. This stiffer tire, however, results in less sway and more predictable handling, which provides more confidence in how the vehicle drives when hauling or carrying heavy loads.

Ultimately, your tire’s construction must be able to handle the vehicle’s weight and intended use. It can create a dangerous situation if the tire you choose isn’t designed to handle the dynamics of your vehicle.

So, whether you’re taxiing your family around town or hauling heavy cargo, it's important to equip your vehicle with the appropriate set of tires. It is always best to stay with the vehicle manufacturer's recommended load range, even if you don't plan to carry a lot of weight.

If you are in the market and looking to replace your Passenger with Light Truck tires or vice versa, the chart below will give you an idea of the available tire sizes with the same approximate overall diameter.


Tire Diameter Chart


P Metric LT
Approx.
Tire Diameter
(in inches)
82-series and 80-series 75-series and 70-series 65-series and 60-series 55-series and lower 85-series and 80-series 75-series and 70-series 65-series and 60-series 55-series and lower
38 LT395/70R16 LT395/65R18
37 LT325/80R16
36 LT375/60R18
35 LT305/70R18
LT285/75R18
LT285/65R20
LT325/65R18
34-1/2 LT315/70R17
LT315/75R16
LT275/65R20
34 LT305/70R17
33-1/2 LT255/85R16 LT275/70R18 LT285/60R20 LT305/55R20
33 LT285/70R17
LT305/70R16
LT285/75R16
LT325/60R18
LT305/65R17
LT295/65R18
LT325/50R20
LT375/50R18
LT375/55R16
32-1/2 LT275/70R17
LT255/75R17
LT315/70R15
LT305/60R18
LT275/65R18
LT375/55R16
32 LT265/70R17
LT245/75R17
LT265/75R16
LT345/55R17
31 P275/70R16 P285/55R18 LT215/85R16 LT245/70R17
LT245/75R16
LT345/55R16
30-1/2 P265/70R16
P265/75R15
P285/60R17
P265/65R17
LT285/70R15 LT325/60R15
30 P255/70R16 P275/60R17
P255/65R17
29-1/2 P245/70R16
P265/70R15
P265/60R17
P245/65R17
LT225/75R16 LT285/60R16 LT315/55R16
29 P205/80R16 P235/70R16
P255/70R15
P235/75R15
P255/60R17
P255/65R16
P255/55R18 LT235/75R15
28-1/2 P225/70R16
P225/75R15
P245/70R15 LT225/75R15
28 P215/70R16 P275/60R15 P255/55R17 LT245/65R15
27-1/2 P225/70R15
P215/75R15
LT215/75R15
27 P205/75R15 P255/60R15
P225/60R16
P215/65R16
P255/50R17
P305/50R15
LT205/75R15
26-1/2 P225/70R14
P195/75R15
P245/60R15 P295/50R15 LT195/75R15
26 P195/70R15
P215/70R14
P205/75R14
P235/60R15
P215/65R15
25-1/2 P205/70R14
P195/75R14
P225/60R15
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