Choosing Tires for your Tacoma – Sizes, Letters, Numbers & Designations

How to Choose the Right Tire for Your Toyota Tacoma

A Guide to Understanding Tire Markings and Tire Size Indicators & How to Choose the Right Tire for Your Needs + Most Popular Tires in Various Categories

We all know one of the first modifications that get done to our Tacomas are wheels and/or tires. This is arguably one of the most important mods you can do to your Tacoma. Before you look at rooftop top tents, drawer systems, aftermarket front bumpers, and other offroad mods you should first choose a great set of tires.

But how do you know which tires really meet your true wants and needs?

Not all tires are built the same, whether it’s tread design, rubber compound, load capacity, or size, they all have a purpose, and we’re here to help you narrow down your selection.

How to Read Tire Sizes

Cement 3rd Gen Tacoma with Morimoto Headlights & Aluminum Extrusion Bar Roof Rack

There are two ways manufacturers designate tire size.

Metric Sizing (265/70R16) and High Flotation sizing (33×12.50R17).

  • Metric Size: P225/70R16 translates to P (width in mm) / (percentage of width in mm) R (wheel size). In other words, the tire would be 225mm wide, 70% of 225mm is the sidewall height (157.5mm) with a wheel diameter of 16 inches
  • High Flotation Size: 35×12.50R17/E translate to 35” (height) x 12.50″ (width) R 17 (wheel size)

Reading Metric Tire Sizing

How to Read Metric Tire Sizing

Reading High Flotation Tire Sizing

How to Read High Flotation Tire Sizing

How to Read Load Capacity

Cement 3rd Gen Toyota Tacoma with Black Rhino Wheels & Morimoto Headlights

Lucky for Tacoma owners, Toyota manufactures these vehicles to perform on a P-metric tire, also known as a “Standard Load” tire, with a 109 load index or greater.

The benefit to this is we have access to all the tires in the industry that have a 109 load index or greater without having to worry if the tire will hold the load capacity of the truck. This includes all “LT” tires which range from a load range “B” to “F” in most cases. Keep in mind that “LT” tires are constructed with multiple plies of rubber, so they can affect fuel economy due to weight.

Want to know what sizes will fit your Tacoma? Visit our Largest Tire Size Guide for 3rd Gen Toyota Tacoma here.

Load Ranges for Euro-Metric Passenger Tires

Load RangesAbbreviationMaximum Load Pressure
Light Load(LL)35 psi
Standard Load(SL)35 psi
Extra Load(RF) or (XL)41 psi

Load Range, Ply Rating & Max Load Pressure

Load RangePly RatingMax. Load Pressure
B435 psi
C650 psi
D865 psi
E1080 psi
F1295 psi

Load Index & Max Load Capacity

Load Index(LI)Max. Load Capacity(Lbs.)Load Index(LI)Max. Load Capacity(Lbs.)Load Index(LI)Max. Load Capacity (Lbs.)
70739891,2791082,205
71761901,3231092,271
72783911,3561102,337
73805921,3891112,403
74827931,4331122,469
75853941,4771132,535
76882951,5211142,601
77908961,5651152,679
78937971,6091162,756
79963981,6531172,833
80992991,7091182,910
811,0191001,7641192,998
821,0471011,8191203,086
831,0741021,8741213,197
841,1021031,9291223,307
851,1351041,9841233,417
861,1681052,0391243,527
871,2011062,0941253,638
881,2351072,1491263,748

How to Read Speed Rating

Speed SymbolSpeed
L75 mph
M81 mph
N87 mph
P93 mph
Q99 mph
R106 mph
S112 mph
T118 mph
U124 mph
H130 mph
V149 mph
W169 mph
Y186 mph
(Y)186 mph+

The speed rating is determined by the rubber compound and the overall construction of the tire.

Every manufacturer recommends a specific speed rating for each vehicle, the Tacoma being a speed rating of “S”.  You are able to run a tire that’s under the recommended speed rating, however, you’ll notice a lack in stability, handling and cornering, and will fall short of the tire manufacturer mileage guarantee. Installing a tire that’s over the recommended speed rating won’t necessarily improve performance, however is definitely a better route to go over a lower speed rating.

Highway Tread Tires

Highway Tread Tires for Toyota Tacoma

Highway tread designed tires are just for that, highway (pavement) use.

These tires are going to be the quietest, long-lasting options available. With plenty of siping (cuts in the tread) and parallel water evacuation channels from the manufacturer, they provide fantastic ride quality, fuel economy, water dispersion, and overall all-season traction.

If you’re using the Tacoma as a daily driver, with little to no dirt roads in your commute, and want comfort and the most out of your investment, this is the best option for you.

Here are the top three highway tread tires for the Tacoma.

Michelin LTX M/S

  • Find Them Online: Michelin LTX M/S
  • Available in P-metric and LT sizes
  • Available only in Metric sizing
  • 70k Mileage Warranty (P-metric) / 50k Mileage Warranty (LT)
  • Premium Category Tire
    • Reinforced Steel Beads
    • Sunflower Oil Rubber Compound for better mileage and ride comfort
    • Low Rolling Resistance, maximizing fuel economy per mile
    • 3D Sipe Technology
    • Michelin Promise Plan
      • 30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee
        • If you’re not 100% satisfied, bring the tires and original sales receipt back to the place of purchase within 30 days for a new set of tires
      • 3-Year Flat Tire Changing Assistance
        • A qualified service professional will change your flat or provide towing at no charge, available 24/7

    Yokohama Geolandar H/T G056

    • Find Them Online: Yokohama Geolander H/T G056
    • Available in P-metric and LT sizes
    • Available only in Metric sizing
    • 70k Mileage Warranty (P-metric) / 50k Mileage Warranty (LT)
    • Intermediate Grade Tire
      • Endurocore construction, featuring dual body plies, an advanced, rugged compound and a full nylon cap ply for heavy-duty strength
      • Orange oil compound improving traction on wet and light snow conditions

      General Grabber HTS60

      • Find Them Online: General Grabber HTS60
      • Available in P-metric and LT sizes
      • Available only in Metric sizing
      • 65k Mileage Warranty (P-Metric) / 50K Mileage Warranty (LT)
      • Intermediate Grade Tire
        • Duragen Technology for enhanced offroad durability
        • Sound Barrier Ribs for reduced road noise

      All-Terrain Tread Tires

      All-Terrain Tread Tires for Toyota Tacoma

      All-terrain tires are the best selling tire category not only for the Tacoma, but for all vehicles looking for that aggressive styling, offroad capability and great all-weather traction.

      If you like to hit the trails on the weekend, hunt, fish, or live in a mountainous region, look no further! All-terrain tires will get the job done.

      Here are the top three all-terrain tread tires for the Tacoma.

      BF Goodrich (BFG) All Terrain K/O2

      • Find Them Online: BFG All-Terrain K02
      • Available only in LT sizes
      • Available both in Metric and High Flotation sizes
      • 50K Mileage Warranty
      • Premium All Terrain
        • CoreGuard Technology
          • Increased rubber thickness and sidewall composition to resist bruising and splitting of the tire in rocky conditions
      • 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake exceeding Rubber Manufacturer Association (RMA) requirements for severe snow and winter weather

      Falken Wildpeak AT3/W

      • Find Them Online: Falken Wildpeak AT3/W
      • Available in P-metric and LT sizes
      • Available in Metric and High Floatation sizes
      • 55k Mileage (P-metric and LT)
      • Intermediate All Terrain
        • 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake exceeding Rubber Manufacturer Association (RMA) requirements for severe snow and winter weather
        • A heat diffuser in its lower sidewall disperses heat, keeping internal construction in safe temperature ranges
        • Step down features and support ramps stabilize the tread pattern to provide stone drilling resistance

        Nitto Ridge Grappler

        • Find Them Online: Nitto Ridge Grappler
        • Available in P-Metric and LT sizes
        • Available in Metric and High Floatation sizes
        • NO MILEAGE WARRANTY
        • Intermediate All Terrain
          • Zig Zag lateral grooves provide biting edge for more aggressive grip.
          • Alternating Shoulder Grooves that rapidly clear mud from tread pattern
          • Stone Ejectors which work to remove debris

          Mud-Terrain Tread Tires

          Mud-Terrain Tread Tires for Toyota Tacoma

          Mud terrain tires will give you not only the most aggressive-looking tire on the market, but the maximum amount of grip when it comes to offroad performance!

          Mud terrains have a harder rubber compound, allowing the tire to take a beating from the harsh terrain without causing excessive damage to the tire.  Keep in mind! Mud terrains DO NOT come with a mileage warranty due to the expected abuse of the tires.  If you’re all about styling, maximum offroad performance and spending the majority of your time on the trails, this is the way to go!

          Here are the top three mud-terrain tread tires for the Tacoma.

          BF Goodrich (BFG) Mud Terrain T/A KM3

          • Find Them Online: BFG Mud Terrain T/A KM3
          • Available only in LT sizes
          • Available in Metric and High Flotation sizes
          • NO MILEAGE WARRANTY
          • Premium Mud Terrain
            • Notched shoulder design and mud-phobic bars in its shoulder grooves work in tandem to self-clean for peak traction in mud, soil and sand
            • Krawl-Tek Compound lays down powerful traction on slick surfaces
            • Terrain Attack tread design features massive tread blocks for incredible grip from any angle

            Toyo Open Country M/T

            • Find Them Online: Toyo Open Country M/T
            • Available only in LT sizes
            • Available in Metric and High Floatation sizes
            • NO MILEAGE WARRANTY
            • Intermediate Mud Terrain
              • Hook shaped tread design delivers extra biting edges for relentless offroad performance
              • Alternating scalloped and open shoulder blocks provide traction in soft surfaces such as mud, sand and snow, while self-cleaning through its open grooves
              • Rugged shoulder lugs aid in aired-down driving situations in deep mud and snow

              Yokohama Geolandar M/T G003

              • Find Them Online: Yokohama Geolandar M/T G003
              • Available only in LT sizes
              • Available in Metric and High Flotation sizes
              • NO MILEAGE WARRANTY
              • Intermediate Mud Terrain
                • Quieter than most mud terrains due to the advanced pitch variation tread design
                • Withstand wear and tear from rough terrain with Yokohama’s GEO-SHEILD construction
                • Superior offroad traction with innovative tread patterns and triple polymer compound

                Final Thoughts

                3rd Gen Toyota Tacoma with BFG Tires on Black Rhino Wheels

                There are hundreds of tires to choose from, and working in the tire industry for eleven years, these options have been the best sellers for the Tacoma.

                I hope this gives you a better understanding about tires and an easier buying experience overall!

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