Speed rating for tires

When I went to replace tires for my 2006 Hyundai Sonata, I learned that Hyundai recommends high speed (V rating tire) and at least some tire dealers will not put on tires with a lower speed rating. I am not an exceptionally fast driver. Is there any safety risk by putting on tires with a normal speed rating?

I went from V to H on my Acura CL and nobody questioned it. I will never drive anywhere near the capacity of the H-rated tires, and I don’t think there is any safety concern. A tire dealer who won’t sell you what you want is one to walk away from.

Check out the speed rating information at http://www.tirerack.com to help you decide what you want.

I can’t see any reason to spend the money for V-rated tires on a Sonata.

“H” rated tires (130 mph) should fill your needs…Even “S” rated should be fine. They last longer and are much cheaper. In these speed ranges, there are far more tires to choose from.

Likewise my wifes 02 Sonata came with ultra high performance Michelins. If thats not ridiculous on a family sedan, what is.

I replaced them with Yokohama Avid touring from Tirerack.com.

Got 60 K miles out of the 1st set & purchased a second set. Nice tires and 1/2 the price of the Michelins.

A lot of cars now come with high speed tires. Some shops will replace them with lower rated tires, some will not. Those that will not claim liability conserns, but in truth I think there are two reasons; (1) to use the OEM tire rating as an excuse to make a few extra bucks, and (2) to avoid having people return complaining about the new tires’ handling…lower rated tires tend to not handle as well.

My car came with Z rated tires. I’m currently running V rated tires. The car is incapable of going 150 mph anyway, unless I drive off a cliff.

No risk whatsoever going to H, assuming you keep it under 130! My guess is that car makers feel compelled to put tires that meet the absolute top speed capability of the car, regardless of actual driving requirements. I did like 87 Ranger, replaced my V rated Goodyears with Yokohama’s “Avid H4s” H-rated tires, and have been very happy.

Handling, and tire foot print are other factors to consider in choosing a tire.
Car manufactures have determined that many tire features are considered ,other than just speed ratings for the tires on your car.

All it takes is one lawyer to file death claim to get everyone’s attention. The smart ones stick with the OEM minimum.

I might well buy a lower speed rated tyre, if someone would sell them to me.

Some of this has to do with magazine “road tests” where they place great importance on skid-pad G-forces and “emergency maneuvering” through a bunch of traffic cones. Cars are grouped together and then are “rated” based on the results of these “tests”. By installing top of the line high-performance tires, manufactures hope to gain an edge on the competition who may have installed less expensive tires. But you can buy some pretty decent "H"rated tires that meet the needs of 99% of the driving population…

Any time you replace a car part with something less capable, there is a reduction in “Safety”. This applies to grades of bolts and speed ratings of tires.

However, going from a V speed rating to an H speed rating is a relatively small step - and there will be plenty of tires available in H speed rating to suit whatever needs you may have.

I do not recommend going lower than an H speed rating. I go into detail here:


I personally dropped two speed ratings down to a T rated Mechelin Radial X on my BMWs because they handle great and wear like iron. If anyone driving my car drives more than 118 mph for an extended period on a public highway, something else is going to kill them before tire failure will.

To use these tires, I have to buy the tires from Sam’s club and pull the rims off my car and carry them down to get them mounted. I like buying tires at Costco, but they are anal retentive about what kind of tires they mount on what car.

Lachman: If you’re still here. There is another point to consider.

The manufacturers design involves MANY things. How they designed your suspension takes many things into factor. ONE of these is the tire type which was designed for your vehicle. The different tire ratings not only have to do with speed, but side wall stability, flex of the whole tire (as a unit) and tire life.

Your car (being one of the more expensive, and better made) obviously ‘uses’ the higher capability tire, to make up for deficiencies in the overall engineering construction of the car. I am NOT saying your car is poorly made (or engineered) but in the effort to cut weight, and save $$ Hyundai has chosen to make up for it in other ways.
Like HIGH speed rated tires.

I would stick with the same speed rating that came with the car. The speed rating may not a be big deal by itself, but one must also consider that the ultra-high performance tires will usually provide a better level of grip than tires of a lesser speed rating. This can be life-saving in certian situations.