"V" vs "H" rated tires? - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old Mar 3rd, 09, 5:04 PM Thread Starter
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"V" vs "H" rated tires?

I need tires for the family car that came with "V" rated ones. If I put "H" rated tires on will I notice any handling difference?

A salesman said my suspension was designed for "V" tires and I would be unhappy with the overall handling if I didn't match them. The "V" rated tires are about $200 more for all four..........Thanks

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old Mar 3rd, 09, 5:07 PM
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Re: "V" vs "H" rated tires?

What is a speed rating?

A speed rating is a letter which indicates the maximum speed capability of a tire. In Europe, speed ratings were originally developed to help owners of high performance sports cars choose replacement tires designed to match the speed capabilities of their vehicles. A wide range of speed ratings was made available, with manufacturers specifying a particular rating as the replacement for each model. As a result, the ratings have become, sometimes incorrectly, associated with the handling capabilities of a certain type of car. For the purposes of North American drivers, speed rating can be condensed into five major categories:
  • S - for speeds up to 112 MPH
  • T - for speeds up to 118 MPH
  • H - for speeds up to 129 MPH
  • V - for speeds up to 149 MPH
  • Z - for speeds above 149 MPH
How is the tire's speed capability achieved?
As the speed of a tire increases, it's components tend to grow or deform. This deformation leads to heat generation. This is a normal effect of the deformation of the tire's components due to centrifugal force. The faster the tire spins, the greater its tendency to deform. And the more it deforms, the more heat is generated.

But for tires driven at high speeds, controlling heat levels is critical. Engineers must find ways to control tire growth so that heat levels are confined to acceptable tolerances.
To overcome this problem, speed-rated tires are designed with advacned belt configurations engineered to resist and control deformation. This allows the tire to be driven at higher speeds without excessive heat buildup.
How does the speed rating relate to handling?
The fact that a tire is speed-rated indicates very little about its handling capabilities. The speed rating, as mentioned earlier, is almost entirely dependent on the tire's belt structure.
Think of the speed rating as being like a temperature grade. It tells nothing about the tire's construction, its handling or its wearability. It is merely a measure of the tire's integrity at high speeds.
Do speed-rated tires cost more than other radials?
It depends on what you want in a tire. If you're looking for an ultra-high performance, Z speed-rated tire which employs expensive KEVLAR belts and advanced performance compounding, then, of course, you can expect to pay more than you would for a standard passenger radial. But for an S speed-rated tire, the cost will generally be much closer to that of a passenger radial.
My car came equipped with V-rated tires. Can I switch to a lower rating?

Yes. There are several reasons you might want to switch speed ratings:
  • If you never drove to the limits of your original equipment tires
  • If you want a different type of performance from the tire itself
  • If high speed-rated radials are just too expensive for you.
But before you decide to buy the least expensive tire you can find, remember to consider the performance of the tire, not just its speed rating. You should still try to match the tire's handling personality to that of your car. And if you decide to move to a lower rated tire, you'll have to reduce your vehicle's maximum speed capability. If you're not going to drive beyond the tire's speed limits, then there is nothing wrong with moving to a lower speed-rated tire.
Can I get an all-weather speed-rated tire?
Recent developments in compounding and tread design hove enobled Michelin to build speed-rated tires capable of delivering outstanding traction in all weather conditions.

Pat, it sounds to me like the guy was trying to take you for a ride. Sounds like H rated tires will be fine.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old Mar 3rd, 09, 5:24 PM
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Re: "V" vs "H" rated tires?

That's a great post Jake.

Pat, ask that salesman exactly what the differences are between the H and V rated tires and I'll guess he can't even provide a decent answer.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old Mar 3rd, 09, 5:29 PM Thread Starter
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Re: "V" vs "H" rated tires?

Absolutely excellent.....that is exactly what I wanted to know. I don't think that salesman will be seeing me again, there are plenty of honest ones. Thanks again!
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old Mar 3rd, 09, 5:47 PM
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Re: "V" vs "H" rated tires?


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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old Mar 3rd, 09, 8:22 PM
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Re: "V" vs "H" rated tires?

The above post is great and very informative! A lot of tire salesman do not have a clue what they are talking about! Kinda like that high school kid they hire at the parts store that tries to tell you what you need when he does not have a clue either! You will be fine with the H rated tires and saving some money!

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old Mar 20th, 09, 8:59 AM
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Re: "V" vs "H" rated tires?

Tell him youre confused becasue you drive a constant 114.5 mph at all times.

This post is a duplicate of a post that you have posted in the last five minutes.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old Mar 20th, 09, 9:14 AM
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Re: "V" vs "H" rated tires?

Originally Posted by 67T56Elky View Post
Tell him youre confused becasue you drive a constant 114.5 mph at all times.

This post is a duplicate of a post that you have posted in the last five minutes.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old Mar 20th, 09, 5:00 PM Thread Starter
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Re: "V" vs "H" rated tires?

I bought a set of "H" rated tires at a different store (General Tire - Altimax RT 205/60R16).....I'm happy so far, I'll know more in 60,000 miles.....Thanks everyone.

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old Nov 16th, 09, 6:15 PM
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Re: "V" vs "H" rated tires?

I was just searching google for an answer to this question and came across your post. Thanks for a well written response.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old Nov 16th, 09, 6:33 PM
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Re: "V" vs "H" rated tires?

Ask the Corvette guys how many miles they get out of a set of the hipo tires. Perhaps half the mileage of a regular tire. To make these tires go fast, corner, and stop fast, the manufacturers have to use a sticky rubber compound that doesn't last long. Save your money. Sounds like the salesman is on commission.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old Nov 16th, 09, 11:07 PM
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Re: "V" vs "H" rated tires?

The November 2009 Consumer Reports goes into this.

The V speed rating tires have better handling.

H tires cost somewhat less, last more miles, & have less rolling resistance, thus better gas mileage.

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 09, 3:04 AM
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Re: "V" vs "H" rated tires?

There is a performance difference other than just top speed. Cornering and stopping distance are both also affected. Higher rating usually means a better sidewall that won't colapse or deform as much in hard cornering and in hard stops. You can go with a cheaper tire, but just keep in mind the likely changes.

This is why many shops will not put lesser tires on cars that came standard with Z rated tires. I have actually had to take tires off one of my cars and take them in just as rims to do so.

So if you drive it in a respected manor you will save money and never see a problem. Ride'em hard and you could be asking for issues. It is just like knowing there is traction problems in dragracing for low profile tires and cornering issues for tall tires.

Wheres that money tree hiding and who forgot to water it?
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 09, 9:47 AM
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Re: "V" vs "H" rated tires?

I just purchased some BFG Advantage TA's from tirerack.com for my 01 Firebird daily driver. The V and H rated tires were the same price in my size. Since the car is only a 6 cylinder I did not see any point in getting another set of ZR rated tires that were noisey, terrible in the rain and light snow and had a short tread life. I went from the 245=50-16 tires to 225-60-16 and the car rides much better and handles very well but does not corner as well as the 245 ZR rated tires but for a daily driver they are great tires. I have always had good luck with BFG tires. My tire installer said he hand not seen tires balance with so little weight in a very long time.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old Nov 18th, 09, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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Re: "V" vs "H" rated tires?

Up-date on "H" rated tires I bought for the family car.....I replaced the "V" rated tires on a 05 Accord with "H" rated. The new tires were quieter and rode better out of the box; probably partly because the old tires had 56K miles and a different tread pattern. I didn't noticed any traction issues what-so-ever because of a different rating.........I put about 9K miles on the new "H" rated tires before trading the car. I would change rating again........
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