What Are XL Tires? (+ Other Common FAQs)

Most people know that tires are made of rubber and that their vehicle rolls on them, but the rest is probably just a mystery, such as tires that are rated as being XL.

So, what does the XL mean on a tire, and do you need XL tires? If you’d like to know the answer, continue reading through this article to learn more on this topic!

What Are XL Tires?

XL tires stand for Extra Load, which are tires designed for large trucks, SUVs and trailers, and can handle much more weight than a Standard Load tire (or SL).  You can find the load rating of your tire on the sidewalls, which is the last set of letters in the tire size description. 

If you’d like to learn more about what an XL means on a truck tire, if an SL tire can be replaced with an XL tire and more, keep reading this article to learn more facts and tips!

What Does XL Mean On A Truck Tire?

When you see an XL on the sidewall of a tire, it stands for “Extra Load.” You will most likely find these tires on heavy-duty trucks, trailers, traveling RVs, or a similar vehicle that is able to haul or tow something heavy-weight.

The tire walls on XL tires are designed to be more heavy-duty than an SL tire or a Standard Load tire and can handle heavier load requirements.

Can A Standard Load Tire Be Replaced With An XL Tire?

Can A Standard Load Tire Be Replaced With An XL Tire?

There is nothing wrong with replacing a Standard Load tire with an XL tire, as using XL tires is more efficient. For example, if you ever run into a situation where you have to haul or tow a large or heavy object, your vehicle will be more well-equipped.

Read More:  Why Are My Wheels Squeaking When Driving? (Full Guide)

However, while you’re able to replace an SL tire with an XL, you should note that these tires are known to consume more fuel, and may therefore be more costly for your vehicle in the long run.

Therefore, you’re wise to first consider whether the vehicle you’re outfitting actually needs XL tires before deciding to replace your SL tires or not.

What Is The Difference Between Standard And Extra Load Tires?

Standard Load tires are what most average drivers use every day, as they are designed for normal city and highway driving conditions.

Extra Load tires, however,  are designed to carry large loads, and are able to take in more air pressure safely to help carry such loads.

XL tires are usually put on heavy-duty trucks, big SUVs, or trailers, and are designed to take on heavy loads when needed.

If you have a set of tires that are not labeled, then that means you most likely have a Standard Load tire, as XL tires will have their size indicated on the tire sidewalls.

Why Are Standard Tires Cheaper Than XL Tires?

Standard tires are made with less reinforcement than XL tires, meaning less material is needed to make the tire and thus they can be sold at a lower price.

However, this does not mean a standard tire doesn’t work well for what it’s designed to do, rather the XL tire is simply designed to be stronger, to take corners smoothly, to grip the road in a safer manner, and to better handle a weighted-down load.

Read More:  Do New Cars Come With Spare Tires? (Why Some Don't, Car Brands + More)

What Does Load Range For XL Mean?

What Does Load Range For XL Mean?

Load Range is the letter or letters that you find on the sidewall of your tires, which are stamped right after the tire size.

Each tire is stamped with a letter B, C, D, E, F, and so on down the alphabet. For example, if your tire has a B, then it’s a four-ply tire and holds 35 psi.

The further you go down through the alphabet, the better the ply-rating for each tire. Additionally, tires with a better ply rating hold more air pressure as well as more weight when carrying a load.

Why You May Need XL Tires?

In order to replace an XL tire, you need to have an XL tire on hand. However, if you have a lower-rated load tire and are wondering if you need an upgrade, you first need to determine exactly what you use your vehicle for.

For example, if you plan sticking to your regular driving route and car load, and your vehicle doesn’t require you to take any significant extra weight, then you don’t need to upgrade your tires.

However, if you have plans on towing or hauling something inordinately heavy compared to your vehicle size, then you might want to consider upgrading your tires, as taking a chance by not upgrading them can be dangerous to you and other people on the road.

Why Are XL Tires Better Than Standard Tires?

Why Are XL Tires Better Than Standard Tires?

While XL tires may be stronger and more expensive than standard tires, they are not necessarily the better choice for your vehicle.

Read More:  Can You Drive Without A Tire Valve Cap? (Your Full Guide)

Standard tires are placed on your vehicle because they are best-suited for the type of driving situation that your vehicle was designed for, meaning XL tires may be a downgrade.

For example, you might find that getting XL tires to replace your SL tires could cause your vehicle to ride less smoothly as well as give your vehicle an awkward appearance due to the size of XL tires.

On the other hand, you wouldn’t have to worry about XL tires giving you any driving problems as far as being able to drive safely, however, you should note that XL tires could change the way your vehicle feels while driving.

Do XL Tires Last Longer?

An XL tire will last longer under certain conditions, however, such conditions would usually have to cause above-average stress to your tires, as their reinforced design offers a lot of external and internal protection.

To know more about tires, you can also check our related posts on what are ZR-rated tires, what are whitewall tires, and what are low-profile tires.


Larger vehicles such as heavy-duty trucks, SUVs, semis, busses, and so on come with Extra Load (XL) tires, which are tires designed with thicker sidewalls to manage a heavier load.

Additionally, XL tires have a higher psi rating and have more ply layers than standard tires, and allow for safer cornering and grip on the road while carrying heavy loads.

Leave a Comment