Another group of stamping on certain types of tires is the Uniform Tire Quality Grading or UTQG. This grading and stamping is required for passenger car tires (i.e. P-metric and Euro-metric) in the all season and summer categories. Dedicated winter tires, Light Truck (LT-Metric, Euro-Metric Commercial, Flotation) and Motorcycle tires are excluded from this requirement.
Quality grading is designed to make the tire purchase decision easier for you. Ideally, the system is intended to provide simple, comparative data so you can make an intelligent buying decision. However, the ratings are based upon test results achieved under special conditions. This means it’s possible to misinterpret the comparative data as it relates to your individual driving habits, conditions, etc. You should still rely on your service or tire professional for assistance.
Quality grading designates the comparative performance levels of a tire based on government-specified tests but commissioned by the individual tire manufacturers. All tire manufacturers are required to grade regular and all-season passenger tires in three categories:
The treadwear grade is a comparative rating based on the wear rate of the tire when tested under controlled conditions on a specified government test course for 6,000 miles (9,600 km). For example, a tire graded 150 would wear one and a half times as well on the government course as a tire graded 100. However actual tire performance depends on driving habits, road characteristics, service practices, and other factors that can influence the outcome.
Traction Grades AA, A, B and C
The traction grades from highest to lowest are AA (the highest), A, B and C. They represent how well tires stop on wet pavement as measured under controlled conditions on specified government test surfaces of asphalt and concrete. C-rated tires will have the lowest traction performance.
WARNING: THE TRACTION GRADE ASSIGNED IS BASED ON A WET BRAKING (STRAIGHT AHEAD) TRACTION TEST AND DOES NOT INCLUDE CORNERING (TURNING) TRACTION.
Temperature Grades A, B and C
The temperature grades A, B, and C represent the tire's resistance to the generation of heat and its ability to dissipate heat when tested under controlled conditions on a specified indoor laboratory test wheel. Sustained high temperature can cause the tire’s material to degenerate and reduce tire life, and excessive temperature can lead to sudden tire failure. The grade C corresponds to a performance level all passenger car tires must meet under the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 109. Grades A and B represent higher levels of performance on the laboratory test wheel than the minimum required by law.
WARNING: THE TEMPERATURE GRADE IS ESTABLISHED FOR A TIRE THAT IS PROPERLY INFLATED AND NOT OVERLOADED. EXCESSIVE SPEED, UNDER INFLATION, OR EXCESSIVE LOADING, EITHER SEPARATELY OR IN COMBINATION, CAN CAUSE HEAT BUILDUP AND POSSIBLE TIRE FAILURE.
DOT Quality Grades
All passenger car tires must conform to other federal requirements in addition to these grades.