Whether you drive a sedan, SUV, trailer, or light pick-up truck, selecting the right tires is very important and necessary if you want to be safe on the road.
LT tires are the types of tires you should go for if you drive a vehicle that hauls a heavier load. But, how exactly do these tires do, and how long do they last? Here’s all you need to know.
What Are LT Tires?
LT or light truck tires are designed specifically to be used on SUVs, larger pickup trucks, and work vans that regularly pull heavy trailers or carry heavy loads. These tires are engineered differently than passenger tires with sturdier sidewalls and more material and handle the vehicle’s weight and rough driving conditions. The rating is placed next to the tire size.
For more information about LT tires, what they are used for, how long they last, and how do you know when you need them, keep on reading!
What Are LT Tires Good For?
Light truck (LT) tires are a category of tires designed for trucks and SUVs.
Since they are engineered with more rigid sidewalls and deeper treads than passenger tires, they are more suitable for carrying heavy loads and driving through rough terrain.
As more car owners explore different tires options available, drivers seek opinions about how LT tires perform.
LT tires are usually 10-ply (load range E) or 8-ply (load range D). However, if you’ll be carrying heavy loads or mainly driving off-road, it is better to go with an E-rated LT tire.
When towing heavy equipment or materials, LT tires provide better handling; therefore, they are a top choice if you have an SUV or working truck.
How Long Do LT Tires Last?
According to some drivers who have used LT tires before, these tires can last from 80,000 – 110,000 miles on average.
However, this might vary depending on individual use, especially since these tires are mostly used to carry heavy loads and on rough terrain.
Like other tires, LT tires will wear out depending on the conditions they are exposed to, how many times you drive on off-road conditions and how much weight your vehicle carries. Additionally, the wear-out rate depends on how you drive.
However, tire manufacturers recommend that tires should be replaced every ten years even if they look okay.
Passenger Tires (P) vs. Light Truck Tires (LT)
Most SUVs, lightweight pickups, and vans come from the manufacturer with P tires, which means they are designed for highway use and standard load sizes.
Therefore, in this case, you shouldn’t use your car for heavy-duty work; otherwise, the tires can’t handle it.
So when should you get passenger or LT tires? This is a common question among drivers. Although the two look interchangeable, they are different.
Passenger tires are meant for smaller cars such as sedans, coupes, or minivans; however, they can also be used on light pick-up trucks and SUVs that don’t carry extra heavy loads or drive on rugged terrains.
If your car is under ¾ ton, it’s okay to use passenger tires. However, if it goes above that weight, you should opt for LT tires.
While LT tires are more expensive than passenger tires, they are more durable because they have extra material under the tread and in the sidewall that protects the tire from damages.
Additionally, manufacturers often add extra steel belts, thicker rubber, and a deeper tread on LT tires.
With these added materials classified under 8-ply or 10-ply, LT tires can handle more weight and harsher rides.
If you drive on gravel roads, LT tires are better than P-metric ones because they are designed to withstand chippings from the stones.
However, if you are driving more on dry pavements, P-metric tires have better traction on such road conditions.
Additionally, if your car came from the factory with P-tires and you want to use them to carry heavyweight, consider replacing them with LT tires which can handle the weight much better.
Keep in mind that passenger tires are not engineered to handle the extra weight; therefore, using them could be dangerous.
On the other hand, it’s not advisable to use LT tires on passenger vehicles such as a sedan or small SUVs. These tires are built for heavier vehicles; therefore, their stiffness will make your ride harsher than usual.
Additionally, since they require high tire pressure, they can interfere with your Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), which alerts you when the tire pressure has an issue. Therefore, use LT tires for the right cars only.
How Can You Know Your Tires Are LT?
As a first-time car owner, you might not know how to read your tire in the initial stages. So how do you know your tires are LT?
If you look at your tire sidewall, you’ll see a DOT serial number and some numbers that represent details of your tire size from the aspect ratio, diameter, and load capacity.
If your tire size starts with an LT such as LT235/75R15, the tire is meant for light trucks. On the other hand, if it starts with P, it’s meant for a passenger tire.
Therefore, to avoid confusion or using the wrong tire for the wrong car, always check these codes embedded on your sidewall, or you can consult your tire expert for better guidance.
As earlier mentioned, this detail is crucial because the tires are engineered differently and might not work well on the wrong car.
Are LT Tires Expensive?
Compared to passenger tires, LT alternatives are more costly because they are designed with stronger and thicker materials; therefore, the manufacturers have to factor in the extra cost.
A Consumer Reports survey showed tires for a sedan, minivan, or coupe were going for an average of $137, whereas the price for an SUV tire was $162 and a pickup truck at $175. All these prices were exclusive of the installation fee.
Therefore, if you have to replace your tire with LT tires, you are more likely to spend more than if you are buying a set for a sedan.
To know more about tires, you can also see our posts on how long do winter tires last, what is hydroplaning, and why are tires so expensive.
Light truck or LT tires are designed specifically for SUVs, larger pickup trucks, and work vans that regularly haul heavy loads or pull heavy trailers.
Compared to passenger tires, these tires are engineered differently with sturdier sidewalls and more material that enables them to handle the vehicle’s weight and rough driving conditions.
Although they are more expensive, you should not use other tires on vehicles that need LT tires. In addition, they are not designed for use on sedans, minivans, or small SUVs because they have higher tire pressure and deeper treads.