What’s The Difference Between P-Metric and LT Tires?

Do you know the difference between P-Metric and LT tires? If not, you’re certainly not alone because many truck and SUV owners don’t either. Understanding these differences is important because it can have an impact on your vehicles safety, handling, performance and durability.

Pickup Truck Tires

When you buy a tire, a number of different details are branded on the sidewall of the tire. This includes things such as size, speed rating, load capacity, date of manufacture and much more. These tire details usually begin with letters or a letter that describes the kind of vehicle or usage they are designed for. This includes the tire sizing system which can be either P-Metric or LT.


P-Metric Tires

A tire size that starts with a ‘P’ means it’s a P-Metric tire. The ‘P’ stands for ‘Passenger’ and this type of tire is designed for passenger vehicles such as light trucks, cars and sport utility vehicles. P-Metric tires were first introduced in the 1970’s and are currently the most popular types of tires available. They also cost less than their LT counterparts.

LT Tires

When you see ‘LT’ at the start of a tire size, the tire is a ‘Light Truck’ tire. These tires are constructed for vehicles that tow or carry heavy loads. LT tires are typically used on larger vehicles such as large sports vehicles, commercial vans, trucks and pickup trucks.

Durability and Usage

Durability is a key concern for many vehicle owners, so it’s vital to understand which tire to choose if you intend to drive in different types of conditions. LT tires are built to cope with a wide range of difficult terrains, making them a more suitable option for off-road use. Their durable design ensures that their sidewalls don’t get damaged easily.

P-Metric tires, on the other hand, are more suitable for on-road use. This is why they are more popular and are fitted to a wide range of cars, light trucks and smaller vehicles that only travel on smoother driving surfaces.

LT tires are built with strength in mind and their tread depths are normally deeper than they are on P-Metric wheels. The sidewall of LT tires is stronger than P-Metric tires because they have added plies that help in preventing sidewall punctures or bruises. This makes LT tires stronger but they are a little less flexible than their P-Metric counterparts, which affects ride comfort to a degree.

Air Pressure and Tire Load Rating

In certain situations, the amount of air pressure a tire is able to hold can prevent future problems such as overheating. An LT tire is usually designed to hold more air pressure than P-Metric tires, so that it can comfortably tow or transport heavy loads all of the time.

Choosing the correct Tire Load Rating is something you need to get right. If it’s too low, it can affect the performance of your tires. Standard and XL (extra load) are the two tire load ratings of P-Metric tires. P-Metric Extra Load tires include an ‘XL’ marking on their wheel size, while Standard rated tires do not have this marking.

LT tires hold higher air pressure, with C, D, E and F tires available that can hold up to 80psi.

Bottom Line

So which type of tire do I need? If the overwhelming majority of your driving time is spent around town or on the highway, a P-metric tire is going to do just fine for your needs.

If you use your vehicle more frequently off-road, pull a trailer or haul heavy loads in the bed of your truck, an LT tire is going to be what you need.

It’s important to choose the proper tires for your vehicle. Appearance, strength, reliability and durability are the main factors you should consider and whether a tire is a P-Metric or LT is something you also need to be aware of.

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