"XL" vs. Standard load tires ... what should I do?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 by Mason Rush
Can I place an "extra load" tire on a vehicle that calls for a "standard" rating?

The "XL" (extra load) tire can be ordered for a vehicle that had a standard load tire as its Original Equipment. This is accomplished in the manufacturing process by adding additional material to the shoulder of a tire for extra strength. These reinforcements (usually accomplished with polyamide belting found where the sidewall and tread meet) are designed to minimize any tire deflection and reduce potential damage due to road impact. These strong tires will be branded with an "XL" or "RF" in their descriptions.

Will the XL tire have an effect on my comfort?

The "XL" tire will change the perception and feel of the vehicle. Tires that are engineered with reinforced sidewalls typically fall into the performance tire category. These tires have a rubber compound formulated to accentuate performance but not necessarily detract from the ride quality.  

A driver should consider XL tire options when plus sizing any wheel packages or if more feedback from the tire is desired. Drivers seeking a firmer ride and enhanced car control would not need to be concerned with the XL warning when comparing different tires to match their driving expectations. As a matter of fact, this type tire will enhance the overall vehicle stability and handling. Also, the selection of a more aggressive tread compound will increase grip in the wet and dry.

For drivers desiring a softer feel and are willing to forgo the car’s stability in cornering, the standard load tire will be a more appropriate choice.

A perfect example of a tire featuring the XL rating and the standard load in the same size is the 235/70R15 Kumho Solus KR21.

Kumho Solus KR21
Kumho Solus KR21 XL and Standard load

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