What does XL mean on a tire? (An Ultimate Guide)

XL (or Reinforced) tires are ‘extra load’ tires – they indicate that a tire is reinforced to be able to withstand a higher load than other tires of the same size.

This is done through a number of ways, but most usually by adding strengthening material to either the tire’s bead or face.

Heavy load vehicle manufacturer originally installed Extra Load (XL) or reinforced tires.

Why do you need XL tires?

Why do you need XL tires

Generally, the heavier the load you are carrying, the larger and stiffer you want your tires to be.

However, if you are carrying a lot of heavy objects and it is not possible to equip your vehicle with a set of Extra Load (XL) or reinforced tires, then you may be able to get away with a set of regular tires with stiffer sidewalls than most people use.

The most common reason you might want XL tires is for their better sidewall strength. “Extra load” refers to the ability of the tire to carry heavier loads than a standard tire.

For example, a P225/65R15 normally has a load range rating of 98 or 99 (most passenger car tires have this rating). If that same-sized tire were rated at 99XL, its load range would jump up to 103 or 104. 

It is important to note that if the load on your vehicle’s tires exceeds the load rating for those tires, then your vehicle’s suspension system will start to show signs of wear and tear.

When this happens, it is likely that sudden impacts against hard surfaces will result in an irregular ride and possible suspension damage.

In addition to general safety factors like these, there are other concerns as well when choosing whether to choose Extra Load (XL) or reinforced tires:

Extra Load (XL) or reinforced tires have a higher price tag than regular ones. If you have Extra Load (XL) or reinforced tires on your current set, they could be out of date.

Check tire pressure regularly. Extra Load (XL) or reinforced tires may show wear over time and require replacement sooner than regular ones. 

Do XL tires ride rough?

Do XL tires ride rough

It’s important to note that you will experience a harsher ride with XL tires. XL tires are wider, heavier, and sit taller than standard-size tires.

While this can certainly improve handling and safety, it also produces noise.

When people think of a tire, they usually think of a solid rubber tube filled with air. It’s not uncommon to see a car or truck with a set of tires that are the size of the wheels they serve. XL is one of these sizes, meaning that an XL-size tire is the same size as an XL-sized wheel.

That means that an XL-sized tire and an XL-size wheel are mounted on the same axle and have the same diameter.

Those extra inches in circumference translate into more surface area for a tire’s tread to contact, which means more rolling resistance.

This can make it feel less responsive than standard-sized tires, which may be particularly noticeable when driving at high speeds over rough pavement.

However, there is no evidence that XL tires produce more noise than standard-sized tires. In fact, most studies show just the opposite: XL tires make less noise than standard sizes.

What’s the difference between regular and XL tires?

difference between regular and XL tires

When people think of a tire, they usually think of a solid rubber tube filled with air. It’s not uncommon to see a car or truck with a set of tires that are the size of the wheels they serve. XL is one of these sizes, meaning that an XL-size tire is the same size as an XL-sized wheel.

That means that an XL-sized tire and an XL-size wheel are mounted on the same axle and have the same diameter.

Those extra inches in circumference translate into more surface area for a tire’s tread to contact, which means more rolling resistance.

This can make it feel less responsive than standard-sized tires, which may be particularly noticeable when driving at high speeds over rough pavement.

However, there is no evidence that XL tires produce more noise than standard-sized tires. In fact, most studies show just the opposite: XL tires make less noise than standard sizes.

While it might seem obvious, you should always buy tires that are the same size as your original equipment. You can save a little money by going with lower-priced options, but you’ll be sacrificing performance and safety.

That’s because when you purchase a tire, every brand is rated by load index. Tire manufacturers test their products to determine how much they can carry.

When they’re done testing, they rank them by load index, from lowest to highest, SL to XL.

The higher the number, the more weight it can carry. The lower the number, the less the tire can carry.

Now, standard load (SL) and extra load (XL) are different sizes for passenger tires. The SL is smaller than an XL and is designed for vehicles with smaller engines or lighter-weight vehicles.

An SL also comes with an additional letter in its designation — “S” for example — which means a tire that has been reinforced to handle the additional weight.

So an SL becomes an XL when it’s reinforced and rated for additional weight.

The main thing is that XL tires go farther on a gallon of gas than SL tires do; they typically have lower rolling resistance than SL tires.

Can you use XL tires on your car?

Can you use XL tires on your car

Naturally, most people think that these tires are designed for use on large vehicles like tractors, buses, or Lorries. However, it is not the case. Your everyday SUV, CUV, or light commercial vehicle can also be fitted with XL tires.

It is difficult to purchase the appropriate spare tire. The size of the tire is too much for a small car, and the necessary weight is simply too high.

Therefore, in most cases, it will be necessary to use XL, which is at least twice as large as the standard spare.

Many manufacturers offer an XL spare tire with a greater load-bearing capacity than that of a standard tire. This is especially true of mini-buses, off-road vehicles, and SUVs.

You can find these tires on the Internet at a reasonable price, while they are rarely available from tire retailers.

Over the past few years, many manufacturers have begun offering XL tires for even larger vehicles, such as RVs and large trucks.

These larger tires also have more load-bearing capacity than standard tires and are therefore also more suitable for heavy vehicles.

How do you know if a tire is an XL model?

How do you know if a tire is an XL model

Tires are one of the most important aspects of driving and choosing the right tire can be confusing. So many factors go into picking out a tire, such as safety, fuel economy, performance, quality, and style.

However, a tire’s size, or “size designation,” is usually the determining factor when it comes to safe handling and superior performance.

A tire’s size designation is printed on its sidewall in black lettering to make it easy for you to identify. It also helps you determine which tires will work best for your vehicle.

Some tires are classified by their load rating, which tells you how much weight the tire can safely handle.

A load rating tells you how much weight must be supported by each wheel of your vehicle (each axle has its own separate load rating) so that your vehicle remains stable and does not overload the brakes.

Load ratings range from 135 lbs. per wheel up to 880 lbs. per wheel for Class C trucks and trailers.

Other tires are reinforced because they have been engineered to withstand high levels of stress. An example of these types of tires is an all-terrain vehicle tire that has extra tread basins designed to handle heavy loads over rugged terrain.

Are XL tires run flats?

Are XL tires run flats

Run flat tires are internally reinforced to cope with a blowout should one occur? They work by allowing your tire to maintain a certain shape, even with a hole in it.

This means you can continue to drive safely until you find a place to stop or a garage. However, they aren’t built to cope with certain loads like a reinforced tire is.

In contrast, reinforced tires could prevent this blowout from happening in the first place. These tires are built to specifically cope with higher weight loads, which means the chance of a blowout is significantly decreased.

Some tires are labeled as XL, but they can be run as flat tires. When you see the letters XL on a tire, you need to know that it normally refers to the tire being safer for driving on pavement.

This is because it will not be shredded like a normal tire when it gets punctured.

A “run flat” tire uses some sort of protective coating that keeps the air inside once it has been punctured. The advantage of this is that if you get a flat tire in the middle of nowhere and can’t get out of your car or truck, you still have some hope of getting home safely.

You’ll want to carry a spare tire (or two) just in case you do end up with a flat and need to switch back and forth between them.

Run flats get their name from the fact that they aren’t designed to last as long as normal tires. They tend to wear down faster and usually won’t last very long at all.

This can raise safety concerns because it increases the risks of being stranded and having to change your tires in bad weather conditions.

How many Plys is an XL tire?

How many Plys is an XL tire

The Ply Rating, or Load Range, of a tire refers to the number of layers of rubberized fabric in the tire’s tread area. The higher the number, the more rubber and fabric cords there are to hold air in the tire.

The ply rating or load range of a tire will also indicate its maximum air pressure rating.

Ply Rating and Load Range are important when you need to replace your tires, so it’s handy to know where to find this information on your tires.

The higher the ply rating, the greater the tire’s carrying capacity. For example, a 10-ply rated tire can typically carry more weight than an 8-ply rated tire, but both tires have the same load index.

If you don’t see a load range or ply rating, you might find the letters P (passenger rated, which is 4-ply rated or lower), LT (light truck, which is 6-ply rated or higher), or XL (extra load is typically 4-ply rated with a higher-than-standard Load Index) stamped on the tires.

What does XL BSW mean on tires?

What does XL BSW mean on tires

There are few standards for tire sizes and markings, so manufacturers use a variety of letters and numbers to denote the size, type, and performance of a tire. Here’s a quick explanation of what some common markings mean:

Tire widths the first three digits on a tire represent the width of the tire in millimeters. A 205 or 215 indicates a narrow tire, while a 235 or 255 indicates a wider one.

Aspect ratio the two-digit number following the slash indicates the aspect ratio — the height of the sidewall compared to the width. The higher the number, the taller the sidewall will be. For example, if you see P205/65R16 95H M+S, “65” is the aspect ratio.

Radius. The next letter-number combination (in this case, R16) represents the radius of the wheel in inches.

Load index and speed rating. Next is an alphanumeric code that represents both the load index (the amount of weight each tire can carry) and the speed rating (how fast it can go).

In our example, 95H means that each tire can carry up to 1,568 pounds at speeds of up to 130 mph. XL stands for Extra Load Capacity.

For example, A P225/70R16 97T BSW tire is a passenger tire with a black sidewall and a load range of T (6 ply rating).

A P225/70R16 97H XL SST tire has a raised white lettering on the sidewalls with a load range of H (10 ply rating).

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do XL tires need higher pressure?

The load capacity of a reinforced tire also decreases with decreasing air pressure, so XL tires need higher air pressure. This is the only way to ensure a higher load-bearing capacity.

2. Can you mix XL tires with normal tires?

Don’t mix different load-rated tires on the same axle. The size for them is 205/55 R16, which gives you a very wide choice, including all-weather tires that are more compliant than summer tires, whatever the load rating.

3. Do you need XL tires on a van?

Technically speaking, if you never load a small van with extra weight, then you might ask why you need it. Extra-load (XL) tires are suitable for smaller vans, but larger commercial vehicles may require C-type or LT tires.

4. Is it OK to fit tires with a higher load rating?

Yes, it is OK to fit tires with a higher load index and a lower speed rating. However, you will be compromising on safety.

The tires with a lower speed rating can be less stable at higher speeds than the ones with a higher speed rating. 

Conclusion on What does XL mean on a tire

Car tires need to be able to withstand different-sized loads. This means there needs to be different types of tires, as the tires used for a large vehicle, an SUV or a fully loaded transporter have to take more weight than those of a normal car. XL tires have been especially developed for use with heavy loads. 

Generally speaking, the tire name XL is used for heavy duty tires. However, the labelling varies between tire manufacturers. Sometimes you might have XL tires that are also labelled “reinforced” (RF or RFD), or models labelled EL (Extra Load).

When compared to a standard tire, an XL tire has a unique design. The design is referred to as ‘reinforced.’ It means that the carcass of the XL tire is more robust as compared to a non-XL tire.

Moreover, it also has a single layer of rubberized cord fabric and they have much higher air pressure than a standard tire.

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.