I would like to talk about the Uniform Tire Quality Grade Standards (UTQG) rating of a tire. When created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), UTQG ratings were meant to give tire buyers a tangible interpretation of a tire's tread life expectancy, overall traction performance and temperature capabilities. While not an exact science, these UTQG ratings can offer some insight into a tire.
Let’s look at the UTQG’s treadwear ratings (e.g. 700 AA A) since it is one that consumers focus on. In theory, the larger the number, the longer the tread life. In fact, this rating should be just one of the guides for tire selection.
The rating provides a mere glimpse of tread life, not a guarantee. It is an assigned number that a manufacturer stamps on a tire’s sidewall. It is not based on standardized testing by the Department of Transportation, but from independent testing by privately hired vendors. The rating does not indicate how the tires were tested and does not tell what kind of driver one has to be in order to achieve the tread life that the rating indicates. I would recommend that when you are looking for tires, treat the treadwear rating as one of the tools in your tire decision-making process. Making your research exclusive to the treadwear rating will lead to a disappointing experience.
Learn more about treadwear ratings!