UTQG Tire Rating Explained

UTQG Tire Rating Explained

There are plenty of definitions to know when it comes to choosing the right tires. One of these is the term "UTQG tire rating". This term is often found in tire descriptions and was coined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the United States. What is UTQG tire rating? What do you need it for and how does it help you understand the tire abilities? In this article, we will answer these and many other questions related to UTQG tire ratings.

What Does Tire UTQG Rating Mean?

First of all, this abbreviation refers to the Uniform Tire Quality Grade. In other words, this is an internationally recognized standard to help drivers choose the right tire and understand if the purchased tire fits their vehicle and their needs.

Basically, the UTQG rating is an indicator that talks about 3 essential things. These include the temperature up to which the tire can withstand, its traction potential, as well as the resistance of the tread in terms of wear. This rating is a mandatory requirement for tire makers that comes from special bodies like USDOT. In turn, tire makers conduct tests and establish the UTQG rating for each tire. Then, the NHTSA confirms whether or not these ratings correspond to reality. The tire is available for sale only if it passes NHTSA confirmation.

Every driver is recommended to know that the UTQG ratings might not always correspond to reality. The reason is that the rating is established in simulated conditions that might sometimes differ from real road conditions, so the test and real-world ratings might differ slightly. In this sense, drivers are encouraged to drive judiciously without fully relying on tire UTQG ratings. 

UTQG rating

Is UTQG Rating Applicable For Any Tire?

Actually, no. If we talk exclusively about the United States, this rating is requested mostly for passenger tires. In addition, only a certain category of passenger tires must meet the UTQG ratings. For example, the winter tire line is not subject to this requirement. The run flat or deep tread light truck tires are also sold without the need for UTQG certification.

Tires UTQG Rating: Treadwear

Now let's talk in more detail about the 3 basic aspects that the UTQG rating covers. First, let's see what this entails in terms of tire treadwear.
Basically, the tire with a high UTQG rating speaks of its increased resistance to wear. In other words, if we compare 2 tires with different treadwear ratings under the same driving conditions, the one with the higher rating will wear out harder than the one with the lower rating. To increase longevity, tire makers use specialized formulas and specific designs that influence the tire's resistance to wear.

In this sense, many drivers prioritize the higher rating of the UTQG to benefit from the great tire longevity. While this is a correct approach, we still recommend not to limit yourself only to the treadwear rating. This factor is really important, but it is not the only one you have to consider.

If you wonder why, it's because the treadwear rating is only an estimate. As we mentioned before, the conditions under which the treadwear is tested might differ dramatically from the real driving conditions. So, you have to consider other complementary factors to make sure that the tire you choose is really reliable from all points of view. 


How Are Tires Tested For UTQG Treadwear Rating?

The testing process involves 2 groups of tires. The first includes the control tire group which is designated with a grade of 100 each. The second group includes tires that require testing. They are compared with the control group after having traveled a mileage of 7,200 miles. if, for example, the tire accumulates a rating of 300 after testing, it will theoretically wear out 3 times longer than the control tire.

Everything seems quite clear and smooth. However, it turns out that each manufacturer chooses its own base tire. This means that the control tire of one tire maker is different from another tire maker. Each of them produces their tires differently, even if they are all part of the passenger class. One may have more advanced technologies while another might use the most basic raw materials for its passenger tire. So, the testing process has some gaps that leave room for interpretation.

To make ourselves clear: this does not mean that you should ignore this rating. You need it to get a general impression of the tire's longevity. However, our point is that you must also take into account other aspects to make sure of the good choice of tire.

Do You Need UTQG Treadwear Rating When Buying A Tire?

To answer this question, you need to understand well what information it provides you. First of all, this rating is not only an indicator of how many miles your tire will travel. Secondly, this is not a relevant indicator of the quality of the tire. If these criteria are important to you, it is better to consult the tire warranty and the opinions of other drivers about a specific tire. For example, a warranty of 75,000 miles sounds much more confident than a high UTQG rating but with a short warranty.

In this sense, the UTQG treadwear rating is useful information, but not less important than the tire warranty and the ratings of the experts in the field.

Which UTQG Treadwear Rating Is Considered Good?

Each driver prioritizes certain aspects of his tire. For example, spirited drivers looking for ultra-high performance will look for superior tire dynamics. At the same time, they are not very concerned about treadwear as long as the tire provides the nervous agility they look for. On the other extreme, some drivers prioritize longevity, especially when it comes to endless roads associated with long journeys.

As for treadwear tire ratings, 5 thresholds are starting with 200 and ending with over 800 ratings. Most passenger tires come with a treadwear UTQG rating between 300 and 400, which is considered the most universal. These tires get about 32% of the entire range of passenger types on the market.

Tires with a treadwear rating below 200 get only around 15% of the market. This does not mean that they are of poor quality. Keep in mind that, as previously mentioned, each tire has a specific purpose. So, those with UTQG below 200 mostly refer to performance and racing tires. Their goal is dynamics and agility. To meet this goal, their rubber is very soft for superior handling and grip. So, the low UTQG treadwear rating is not much of a problem whenever the tire performs flawlessly in racing conditions.

So, there is no ultimate answer regarding the best treadwear tire rating. Rather, everything depends on the performance aspects that the driver needs and on the individual driving needs.

Tires UTQG Rating: Temperature

If we talk about the UTQG rating from a temperature perspective, then we are referring to the tire's resistance to heat build-up. More precisely, it is about the temperature at which it becomes susceptible. This aspect is essential, especially for those who love speed. A tire with a low-temperature rating will not cope with high speed. Too much friction with the road damages it, affecting performance and wear. Contrastingly, a tire with a high rating will withstand heat build-up well, allowing the driver to squeeze the tire's full speed potential.

There are 3 heat resistance thresholds. It is about A, B, and C temperature ratings. A is the most resistant while C is the most sensitive. According to official statistics, 62% of all US tires are A-rated. With such a tire, the vehicle is more agile, safer, and more resistant at high speeds. 


Tire UTQG Rating: Traction

The third aspect of the UTQG rating refers to the traction power of the tire. More than that, this mainly refers to the tire's abilities in wet conditions, especially its wet braking. So, here we talk more about tire safety in wet conditions.

Effective braking on wet roads is an extremely important aspect of any tire. The conditions of reduced visibility in the rain as well as the wet road increase the risk of control loss. So, the more capable the tire is of agile braking, the safer it is. In this sense, a tire with superb braking capabilities on the wet will have the highest UTQG rating, meaning AA. Then, the A, B, and C ratings follow.

In the US, the most popular tires are type A, which make up around 75% of the market. The best ones, that is the AA ones, occupy around 15% while 7% go for the B-rated ones.

Many consider that C-rated tires refer to low-quality tires with poor braking abilities. But in fact, this category of tires is more specialized and includes racing tires. As such, the C-traction rating is specially designated to meet certain sports requirements. For this reason, tires with a C-traction rating are not suggested for usual driving.


What Is A Good UTQG Tire Rating?

It would seem that it is a good idea to choose a tire with a rating as high as possible. After all, everything that is good today has high ratings. How true is this concept in terms of tires? Allow us to explain how to read the UTQG tire rating and what a good rating means.

As you already know, the tire UTQG is an indicator of resistance to temperature, wear, and traction. This indicator is established in comparison with another control tire, please do not forget this detail. This means that a tire with low UTQG is only lower compared to another control tire, not low in its overall quality.

In other words, you have to understand what exactly you are looking for in your tire. If it is about tires for occasional driving, a model with low UTQG is a fairly optimal option for your basic needs.

If, on the other hand, you are always in traffic and cover long distances, then you must prioritize the treadwear rating. In this case, the low-temperature rating might not worry you much because you prioritize comfort over speed and want a long-lasting tire.

In the scenario where you are a spirited driver, the low treadwear rating should not concern you too much. You will most likely want agility and firm dynamics in your races. Thus, you will prioritize temperature resistance with less focus on treadwear.

So, a "low rating" is not necessarily bad if we are talking about a rating that is not a priority for you. This means that you have to understand well what exactly you are looking for in your tires and get the ones that correspond to your priorities.

Tires With Highest UTQG Ratings

If you are curious to find out which tires promise the highest UTQG standards, we have prepared some models worth considering. Let's see what makes them stand out and what are their specifications.

Hankook Kinergy PT H737

This tire is produced by Hankook tire maker which is a solid ally for BMW, Hyundai, or Audi OE tires. The Kinergy line stands out for its extremely environmentally friendly composition with eco "ingredients" and impressively low rolling resistance.
The Kinergy PT H737 model, particularly, comes with an impressive feature profile including a fabulous 90,000-mile warranty. As such, it has a treadwear UTQG rating higher than 860. 


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Goodyear Assurance MaxLife

Another impressive model from the UTQG rating perspective is the Assurance MaxLife model. Goodyear has invested everything it knows best about tire resistance in this model. As a result, the brand obtained a superb tire with a rating of 840 and a warranty of 85,000 miles. Needless to mention the Assurance MaxLife model is one of the longest-lasting tires on the market. 


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Michelin Defender2

Another long-lived member with a promising UTQG rating is the Defender2 model. Michelin took care to incorporate the most advanced formulas in its composition to make Defender2 ultra-resistant, high-performance, and comfortable. What's more, this tire is a reliable ally including in winter and rain conditions like a pro.
In terms of UTQG profile, the Defender2 has a rating of 840 and an 80,000-mile warranty. As usual, Michelin customers benefit from plenty of additional services like road assistance and a satisfaction guarantee. So, the Defender2 fully exceeds all expectations, even if it is a bit more expensive than the previous models. 


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Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza PLUS

The largest tire producer in the world cannot stay behind with market trends. In this sense, the Dueler H/L Alenza PLUS comes to satisfy the demand for tires with the highest UTQG ratings. This model impresses with its 800 UTQG rating while remaining fuel-efficient and highly performing. The Dueler H/L Alenza PLUS includes a wide line of applications, so it shouldn't be a problem to choose the right option for your vehicle. 


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Continental TrueContact Tour

Continental also stands out for its long-lasting and impressively balanced tires. The TrueContact Tour is a good proof of this. This model promises reliable wear resistance through its UTQG 800 rating. Its 80,000-mile warranty confirms this.



What Is a Good UTQG Rating In A Tire?

The UTQG rating refers to the Uniform Tire Quality Grading and includes the aspects of treadwear, temperature resistance, and traction. If we talk exclusively about the aspect of traction, then the highest index is the AA tire rating. These tires provide the best traction and braking capabilities. The AA-grade tires are followed by A, B, and C ones, whereas the C-grade tires provide a longer stopping distance and less traction than the AA tires.

Is a Higher UTQG Rating Considered Better?

Generally speaking, yes, the higher the UTQG rating, the better. If we talk about traction, the AA-grade tire delivers better traction and a shorter braking distance than the C-rated one. In terms of treadwear, a tire with a rating of 600 is expected to resist wear and tear better than one with a rating of 200. Therefore, drivers can rely on the high-rated tire for a longer period. In terms of temperature resistance, the A-rated tire will resist greatly at high speed without being compromised by friction heat compared to a C-rated one.

How To Read UTQG?

The UTQG rating is printed on the sidewall of the tire. This includes a sequence of letters and numbers. The numbers indicate the treadwear index. The higher the number the better resistance to wear. The temperature resistance as well as the traction rating are indicated by letters.

UTQG Chart

How Long Will 300 Treadwear UTQG Rating Last?

The treadwear rating of a tire starts from 100 and reaches 1000, whereas the 100 represents a very short longevity. In this sense, the 300-UTQG-rated tires are not the most optimal in terms of long service life. These usually end up serving on average 25k miles.

However, this does not necessarily mean that they are not of good quality. Depending on the driver's purpose, tires with a low treadwear rating provide great grip. Their purpose is agility and good adherence to the road, which is why these can mostly be used for high-performance vehicles. If the driver's purpose is tire longevity, he should seek tires with a rating closer to 1000.

What Does UTQG 800 AA Mean On a Tire?

The "800" in this marking means that the tire has a dependable resistance to wear and tear and that its formula lasts much better than that of a tire marked 400, for example. The "AA" denotes the best traction force of the tire. This means that of all the available options, the AA tire will perform best, especially on wet surfaces, and will deliver the shortest braking distance.

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Brian Darr is a passion-driven enthusiast who has become an expert in the tire industry. His passion for rubber started with his first driving experience. He firmly believes that the performance and safety of any vehicle are due, first of all, to the quality of the tires mounted on it.
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