UTQG Treadwear Numbers: What Do They Mean?

Often, I receive calls about a tire's life and the tire's relationship to its assigned UTQG treadwear indicator. UTQG numbers are assigned to indicate a tires overall level of performance and tread hardness. These numbers beginning at 0 for race products and traveling north of 800 for some of the longest lasting all-season tires, are nothing more than a general guideline to assist customers in making their correct tire purchase. 

While certain performance standards are held standard, such as Traction Grades and Temperature Resistance, UTQG treadwear numbers are published by the manufacturer based upon their test findings of a tire's life expectancy. It's important to note that not all manufacturer's standards are equal and similar ratings may lead to different real world results between similar product types.

On a large basis, however, most manufacturer's figures are surprisingly accurate. To gain a better understanding of the process, take a look at a few of our popular performance categories beginning with soft compounds and working our way up.

Track & Competition DOT

These tires offer maximum grip in race environments where performance is key and treadlife is sacrificed. In order to be competitive, these tires feature a soft tread compound that tends to be very adhesive. These soft tires wear much faster than a standard street tire and aren't recommend for street use. Take a look at the Hoosier A6, a popular autocross tire to see an example. Note this tire's low UTQG figure of 40.

Max Performance Summer

This category features high-performance tires designed for street use. Although not nearly as soft as the race products outlined above, they're at home in a performance environment. This is an optimal choice for a driver looking for acceptable levels of treadwear combined with a high-performing grip level. Even though these tires offer much more flexibility, I'm reminded of an economics lesson: There is no free lunch. The longest wearing Max Performance Summer tires will not outlast a good performing all-season option. Sometimes a driver must choose between smiles and miles. Take a look at our current top-rated summer tire, the Michelin Pilot Super Sport and its 300 indicated UTQG treadwear.

Ultra High Performance All-Season

Perhaps our most popular and best-selling category, the Ultra High Performance All-Season, promotes higher treadwear in exchange for some loss in ultimate dry grip. Although not as soft, and therefore not as sticky as the Max Performance Summer tires, these tires still place a good amount of focus on performance. This new breed of all-season tires typically lasts between 30,000-50,000 miles and allows the driver to experience practicality while also including good performance features such as a responsive sidewalls and higher speed ratings. The Bridgestone Potenza RE970AS Pole Position is currently the number one tire in this category and carries a UTQG number of 400.

Standard Touring All-Season

Tires in this category sacrifice performance in terms of ultimate dry grip to focus on maximum life and mileage. These tires are designed for conservative drivers that are looking for the best in ride, treadlife and practicality. These tires aren't meant for track use or for aggressive street driving, but often work well as purposeful all-season tires. The popular Hankook Optimo H727 is a great example of such a tire. Notice that its 700 treadwear fits this category to a tee.


Friday, June 29, 2012 by Jim Anastos

Although you give 'hints' of how to interpret the treadware #, it would be really helpful to see a scale..
For instance:
100=10,000 - 20,000 miles of wear
200=20,000 - 30,000 miles of wear
and.. as you said in the 'ultra high performance category'
300-400= 30,000 - 50,000 miles...
Thursday, September 20, 2012 by Sean Smith

Tires I am looking from the same manufacturer have the same expected warranty life but the tread wear numbers differ by 18%. (The temperature rating of the higher tread wear tire is a grade lower than the other.) This seems to be a contradiction since I assume the warranty is based on expected life. Given this should one just buy the cheapest of the two and expect they will "live" to warranty?
Saturday, March 16, 2013 by Allan

the tire I am looking at buying has a UTQG of 520 A B. what does that mean?
Monday, March 18, 2013 by Marshall @ Tire Rack

These numbers relate to tire wear, traction levels, and temperature resistance. For a full read, click the UTQG link above.
Friday, March 22, 2013 by Kevin

it says at the top that race products have a '0' UTQG grading but i'm look for an all terrain and all i see is a UTQG rating as 'NONE' however the same tire at my local dealer will have a rating from 400-500?
Friday, November 29, 2013 by Mike Campbell

I'm looking for the softest tire in a 195/70R 14 or 185/65R 14 for racing a 4 cylinder car on a 1/3 mile dirt/clay race track. Seems like every time I find a soft tire it's not available in my size, or in my size all I find are T rated tires with a 500 to 700 UTQG...Help!!!
Thursday, December 5, 2013 by Marshall @ Tire Rack

The softest tire available would be a Fuzion Touring with A UTQG of 480. -Marshall@tirerack.com
Monday, January 5, 2015 by skip

Isn't it possible to give a tread wear rating that isn't so "nebulous"? FOR example Tread wear 520 = "something specific" ??
Thursday, May 21, 2015 by Steve

I am looking for 4 tires two different sizes. Current tires 255/35R 18 90W, and 223/40R 18 88W Bridgestone. The tires have worn out fast. I want something that will go 40K. I don't need a W speed rating. They have to be run-flat tires. Any suggestions
Friday, May 6, 2016 by Mike B

Lowest UTOG rating I have experience with is 400 on OE Bridgestones on a 2005 Infiniti G35, and OE Goodyears on a 2015 Acadia. The Bridgetones started losing traction on wet roads at around 25K miles, especially noticeable with the Infiniti's rear wheel drive. The Acadia's AWD probably helped mask the Goodyear's declining traction, but I went ahead and replaced them at around 30K miles when tread depth was down to 3/32".

The Acadia now has Michelin Premier LTX tires with 620 UTOG, and my new Mustang GT has all-season Pirelli P Zero Nero tires with 400 UTOG. I'm expecting 40K-50K from the Michelins and 25K-30K from the Pirellis. But I tend to replace tires when they start losing wet grip. It's sort of like buying new shoes before the old ones get holes in them!
Tuesday, January 10, 2017 by William

Although I do appreciate the effort, this type of "kill them with information" article reminds me of an old army joke that ends with the officer saying to the nco..."because you've given me all the information without telling me where I'm at."
Tuesday, October 3, 2017 by Carlos

As I understand: low UTQG treadwear indicator means that tire is soft. But I do not understand why all-season tire has 600 UTQG and is good enough for winter time. Should not winter tire be soft?
Thursday, October 5, 2017 by Tire Rack Team


Thanks for your question. It is a common misconception that the lower a tire’s UTQG Treadwear rating, the “softer” it will be or the more grip it will have. Unfortunately that is not the case, as the tire’s treadwear rating is simply an indicator of the relative mileage that can be expected from a tire compared to a standard reference tire. The standard reference tire’s expected longevity establishes a baseline of 100, so a tire with a 600 treadwear rating, theoretically, should provide six times the mileage of that tire.

Now, to add further complication, tire manufacturers are allowed to understate a tire’s actual UTQG treadwear rating, but they cannot overstate it. So if a tire lasts 4 times longer than the standard reference tire, the tire manufacturer may brand that tire with any UTQG treadwear rating they desire, as long as it is 400 or less. Because of this and the variations in conditions when manufacturers perform their tests, one cannot compare UTQG treadwear ratings between manufacturers, either. One brand’s 600 treadwear tire is not likely to provide the same mileage as another brand’s 600 treadwear tire, and similarly, one brand’s 400 treadwear tire is not necessarily “harder” than another brand’s 300 treadwear tire.

You are correct that the rubber compound used in winter tires is softer than that used in all-season tires, and this is one of the many reasons winter tires provide additional grip in freezing conditions. Unfortunately, a tire’s UTQG treadwear rating realistically has no indication of its wintertime performance. To get more insight into how a tire performs in the winter, your best bet would be to check our tire tests and consumer rankings.
Thursday, February 15, 2018 by Steve morrocco

I'm looking at the Michelin Defender LTX in a 265 50 R20. The high 800 number is a good indication of longevity,but does it affect ride comfort, handling and cold weather traction as a trade off?
Tuesday, February 20, 2018 by Tire Rack Team

Steve, the higher the UTQG number will mean the tire will generally last longer but it is not related directly to ride comfort or handling.

The Defender LTX is overall rated number one by customer reviews. Follow the link below to see the survey results in your size:


Leave a comment