Everything You Need To Know About Speed Rating: V Vs. H

Did you know that apart from handling various types of terrains and weather, tires are also judged on their abilities to withstand varying speeds? Tires are usually graded according to an alphabetical system for their speed endurance. Two of the most common and popular types of tire speeds are known as V and H speeds. Both are high performing and commonly available, which is why many people get confused when they have to buy one.

Choosing one out of the V and H speed ratings comes down to a number of factors. It depends upon the type of tire, speed, endurance, performance, affordability, comfort level, and durability you require. In this article, let us compare these speed ratings so that you can become well-informed about their differences and conclude which one’s better.

What Does It Mean By Speed Rating?

First and foremost, it is important to understand a tire’s speed rating. The vehicle manufacturer determines its speed rating at the time of its manufacture. It is a measure of the speed at which you can safely drive your vehicle under specific load conditions. 

Moreover, keep in mind that these various speed ratings are determined under ideal situations, so you must not push your tires to their speed rating limits. This might result in wear and tear or, worst case, accidents. 

How Do You Determine A Tire’s Speed Ratings?

Tire manufacturers utilize a testing device to assess a tire’s heat and speed tolerance. Testing is performed using a scale based on kilometers per hour (km/h) to ensure compliance with ECE (Economic Commission for Europe) regulations. In order to fulfill SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) requirements, a more demanding test may occasionally be conducted. If tested according to the SAE specifications, the tire must run for an hour at target speed in a room heated to 100 degrees.

For the ECE test,

  1. The tire is installed on a wheel attached to a testing apparatus with the necessary air pressure within a chamber that is heated to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. After this, a certain pressure amount is exerted on a metal drum so that it behaves like an actual load.
  3. The tire is then spun in increments of 10 minutes at speeds that increase until it achieves the desired speed, starting at a speed 40 km/h slower than the recommended speed rating level. 
  4. The tire starts rotating at the desired speed for approximately ten minutes.
  5. Next, it is taken out of the machinery and examined for any wear and tear or faults, such as the separation of tread components. 

Moreover, the tire will occasionally undergo a SUS (step-up speed) test after performing well at the ECE speed rating test. 

The Alphabetical System

The alphabetical system of a tire begins from the lowest speed of 3 miles per hour, denoted by A1. The highest speed rating is 186 miles per hour with an alphabetical ZR(Y) rating. Almost all letters denote a specific speed rating, and the speed ratings increase accordingly in alphabetical order, with the exception of “H”. H is usually referred to as the highway speed rating and comes between the ratings U and V. 

What Does The Letter H Indicate On A Tire?

As we discussed earlier, every letter denotes the highest speed a tire can take. Similarly, H indicates a standardized speed of 130 miles per hour which the tire can handle under specific load requirements. Generally, tires denoted by the letter H are seen on SUVs, Sedans, expensive automobiles, and crossovers. 

H tires are comparatively high performing, which means they can go at high speeds and possess sufficient horsepower. However, the H tires have lesser speeds than other alphabets; hence they are usually used for household cars or rookie car racing.

What Does The Letter V Indicate On A Tire?

In similar terms, as H is discussed above, V indicates a standard speed rating of 149 miles per hour under required load conditions. V-speed rating tires can go at a higher speed than H rating, which means that when it comes down to higher speed and more performance, V-speed rating tires are preferred more than H. 

How To Differentiate Between These Two

The main difference between V and H speed ratings is discussed below, based on two factors. 


The maximum speed H-rated tires are manufactured to work at is 130 miles per hour. In contrast, a V-rated tire functions at a max speed rating of 149 miles per hour, more than 20 miles per hour faster than a tire with a speed rating of “H”.


The other main difference between these two types of tire speed ratings is their manufacturing. To make the V-speed rated tires faster, they are made with lighter and softer materials. These lightweight materials help them to achieve a high speed of 149 miles per hour, which is why V-graded tires are commonly used in racing cars. 

Furthermore, V-graded tires are very good at gliding smoothly at corners. Although the materials are light, they are still very sturdy and strong, which contributes to their great stopping ability and control. In comparison, H-graded tires are made of harder materials, making them stronger and sturdier; however, they are not smooth like V-rated tires.

Which One Of Them Has Better Endurance?

In many tests and research conducted previously, V-rated tires have performed worse than H-rated tires, with a service life of only 48260 miles. Comparing the tread life, the H-rated tire will triumph, regardless of how the vehicle is driven.

H-graded tires are made of harder materials, which makes them quite tougher and sturdier than V-rated tires. This is the main reason behind vehicles losing mileage up to 10000 miles when their H-rated tires are replaced with V-graded ones. Although V-speed-rated tires have higher speed, they are not made up of tough materials; hence they lose traction quickly.

As previously indicated, the tires’ H speed rating allows for a 130 miles per hour maximum speed. The V speed rating, however, has a top speed of 149 miles per hour. It follows that the V speed rating is superior. The use of a thinner rubber composition, improved tread designs, and stronger structure all help tires attain a greater speed rating. Furthermore, there is less flex due to the stronger build, which makes them more steady at corners and turns.

All the information provided above means that V-graded tires have better high speed and turning efficiency, making them perfect for sports vehicles and racing enthusiasts. However, they have poorer riding comfort and are usually less strong. The ride may also feel rougher due to the stronger structure.



Which Tire Provides A More Comfortable Experience?

You’ll feel more comfortable driving casually at an adequate pace or cruising along the highway if the speed classification is “H”. 

On the other hand, V-rated tires are usually not considered the most comfortable due to the added rigidity. Normally, a car experiences more disturbances on even roadways if the tires are rigid and hard.

However, selecting the “V” graded tire is better if you want your car to glide smoothly along corners and turns. It is to be kept in mind that the state of the roads, the climate, and particularly the tire’s condition significantly impact its durability.

Moreover, if you ride a bike, you may notice decreased efficiency, comfort, and reduced tread life. Hence, it is always recommended to adhere to the manufacturer’s suggested speed rating for the optimum experience.

Furthermore, tire quality, inflation amount, additional load, road conditions, and weather also play a significant role in the comfort and efficiency of the vehicle. A higher-graded tire assures greater control and better handling.

H Or V: Which One Is Safer?

Both tires are made according to safety conditions; hence, none is unsafe or more dangerous than the other. Their speeds are not considered unsafe; it just depends upon other factors such as weather, terrain, tire inflation, and road surface.

V-speed-rated tires are considered safer than H-rated tires only when a vehicle is driven at higher speed levels. As discussed above, V-graded tires are lightweight yet sturdy, making them glide smoothly on roads and corners and turns when driving at high speeds, avoiding bumps. 

Both of these tires are checked and manufactured under ideal conditions; hence only real-time conditions, like deflated or deteriorated tires, can cause dangerous results such as accidents.

Can A H Speed Rating Tire Be Used In Place Of V?

Car manufacturers do not recommend lowering the speed rating to below what was standard when your vehicle rolled off the manufacturing line. Normally, one should avoid making a big jump, but if you must, a tire’s speed rating must move to either above or below it.

Since they are frequently supplied with reduced speed ratings than road tires, winter tires are the only exception to this rule. Furthermore, during the winter, automobiles’ top speeds are significantly reduced. In order to avoid any issues, ask your car’s manufacturer what size and speed rating they suggest. Typically, the owner’s handbook or the pressure sticker on the automobile will provide these details.

Can You Use A Combination Of V And H Tires?

You should avoid combining tires from different manufacturers or having different surface designs.

Usually, manufacturers do not want their customers to use combinations of different tires; however, there are a handful of exceptions, and they should be used under the authorized supervision of someone having good knowledge regarding various tire fits. It is a rule of thumb that H-rated tires should not be used in place of V-rated tires due to their slower speed rating. This restriction may only be disregarded during the winter, when H-rated tires can be utilized, as driving fast on snow-covered roads is unnecessary.

For optimum safety and performance, it is advised to use the same size, load index, tread pattern, brand, and speed rating on the front and rear wheels. At a minimum, tires must adhere to the vehicle’s manufacturer’s load index and size requirements. You and other drivers on the road may be in danger if you operate a vehicle with tires that are not according to its speed rating, shape, proper size, or load index. Hence, it’s always best to follow the instructions provided by the vehicle’s manufacturer or seek guidance from a knowledgeable individual.

How Can One Determine The Speed Rating Of Tires?

It is very easy to determine the speed grading of a tire. This indication is usually located on the side of the tire. The speed grade may be found at the end of the code consisting of various numbers and characters. In addition, the string contains other information that you might find useful, including descriptions of load range, section width, aspect ratio, and harsh circumstances. 

If you cannot see the sidewall tire rack letter due to tire degradation, you may check your car’s handbook, glove hand box, or the gas tank hatch for that information.



How Can One Make A Decision Between These Two?

The final decision relies entirely on the buyer’s personal preferences. V-graded tires are perfect for your vehicle if you want higher speed, smooth driving, and good control at corners and turns. However, if you want stronger tires, adequate speed, and comfortable driving, you should purchase H-graded tires. 

Moreover, it is also to be kept in mind that V-rated tires are always more expensive than H-graded ones because of their greater speed and better material. We recommend H-graded tires if you want cheaper and more durable tires.


In conclusion, the choice between H and V speed classifications will be based on your requirements and preferences. V-rated tires usually have better control and handling but deteriorate more quickly than H-rated tires. Moreover, you likely won’t need a tire with a “V” speed rating unless you’re traveling on the highway or a racetrack. The “H” rated tire will be more advantageous for you if you are not looking for high-speed but stronger and sturdier tires.

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