14-ply-vs.-16-ply-tires-Difference-Between-14 -ly-and-16-Ply

14 Ply vs. 16 Ply Tires: Difference Between 14 Ply and 16 Ply

Tires are not the same. As you already know, there are tires made specifically for sports cars and tires made for off-road vehicles and on it goes. You can get a tire made for your specific driving experience, including towing and trailers. You just have to find the right load ratings to meet your driving needs.

The biggest difference today between these two tires is the ply rating. Once, this rating referred to the layers of cotton in the tire. A 14-ply tire in the old days would have 14 layers. But tires are made with nylon now and the ply rating indicates strength and not actual layers.

To learn more about this topic just continue to read our article. It has the information you need to know about so you can buy the right tire for your driving or towing needs. The rating today means the strength of 14 or 16 layers but there are not 14 or 16 layers in the tire anymore.

What is The Difference Between 14-Ply And 16-Ply Tires?

What is The Difference Between 14-Ply And 16-Ply Tires

Aside from the previously stated strength fact, the 14-ply tire will not hold as much air pressure as the 16-ply tire. You can get approx. 110 PSI in the 14-ply rated tire and up to 120 PSI in the 16-ply rated option.

Then, the tires will be labeled with a letter. The 14-ply tire usually has a G rating which means that it can hold between 6175 to 7160 pounds of weight depending on the tire style.

The 16-ply tire is usually given an H rating which means it can hold between 6610 and 7830 pounds. Both of these load ratings are for single loads. Then you can forget about counting layers.

The 14 or 16-ply rating is merely telling you that the tire has the same amount of strength as a 14 or 16 cotton layer tire. It is not telling you how many layers are in the tire.

Generally, most truck radial tires today only have 5 layers in them. One steel, and 4 belts. Since tire companies use nylon today, they do not need as many layers as they once did to make a good tire.

As you know, nylon is said to be stronger than cotton which has led to this change in layers and materials used to make a tire.

14 Ply vs 16 Ply Steer Tires

This will depend on your driving situation. If you are going to be towing or hauling really heavy loads, then you would want the 16-ply tire. It handles heavier loads than the 14-ply tire, although that tire is no slouch either.

You may find that the 16-ply tire may give you a little rougher ride because of the extra air pressure. The key to this though is that if you only fill your 16-ply tire to the same air pressure as the maximum 14-ply tire, then you may not feel any difference between the two tires.

However, with all of that said, buying the tougher and stronger tire may not prolong your tire life. There are just too many other factors involved that could shorten the lifespan of any tire.

Doesn’t matter if they are new or old, or if they are 14-ply or 16-ply. If one of those factors, like a sharp bump, a nail, or even an accident, hits your tire, then you have to buy a new one.

That is the way it is with tires. You never know what will happen when you are towing or hauling a heavy load. As the tires age, they do lose a little strength and may not be able to handle the weight you need them to carry or tow.

Are 14-Ply Tires Better Than 16-Ply?


According to many owners, the answer would be no. These owners feel that these two tire models are fairly equal and they only run the 16-ply due to the higher weight load capacity.

In a tire by tire comparison, you may not see much difference between these two tires. The 16s can hold a bit more air and carry a little more weight but longevity will be under the same conditions.

If you want to see a difference in quality, then you would have to look at the company that made the tires. There are some 14-ply and 16-ply that are not made to the same standards as say a Good Year or Michelin tire is made.

The tire is only as good as the company that made them and the production standards that the company uses. The cost of the tire will give you a small clue as to the quality of the tire although there are exceptions to this rule.

Then, if you lower the air pressure inside the 16-ply tire to the 14-ply level, then you should not see any difference between the two tires. Handling is about the same.

If you need to have one tire that is better than the other, it would be the 16-ply as it holds more weight and air. But do not expect one to last longer than the other as your driving habits, road condition, and so on lower tire life quite a bit.

Is a Higher Ply Tire Better?

To answer the question, it is stronger. Since all tires are made with nylon now, it would be hard to say which one is better. The ply rating is just a strength rating and does not indicate the number of layers inside the tire.

When the change over came, this is the time that the tire companies went from cotton to nylon for their plies, and the tire companies put out a new rating. It looked like this 2 ply/4 ply rating.

What this meant was that there were 2 layers of nylon inside the tire with the strength of 4 cotton plies or layers. Since nylon is stronger than cotton, the tire companies found that they could use fewer plies and get the same strength rating.

This change does not make one tire better than another. It just makes them stronger and able to do heavier work. The nylon used in a lower ply is the same nylon used in the higher ply tires. That means that the tires are made from the same material and have about the same quality construction.

One is not better than the other and the higher ply tire may hit a nail a lot sooner than a lower ply tire will and not last as long.

Are 14-Ply Tires Worth It?


Yes, they are worth the money as they can last a long time depending on if you do not have bad driving habits, etc. These tires are still strong as they can handle a lot of weight.

Most people simply move up to the 16-ply due to the extra weight that the latter tire can carry. It is not because it is a better tire. You would get your money’s worth out of the 14-ply tires.

They will certainly hold up better than a lower ply tire driven under the same conditions. Not because they are better but because they are stronger. The 10-ply tire usually comes with an E rating which means it will hold less air and carry less weight than the 14-ply tire.

The same goes for the 12 ply tire. You will use a 14 over a 12-ply simply because the former tire carries more weight than the latter model. How long each one will last will depend on the road conditions and other factors.

What Load Range is a 16 Ply Tire?

The 16-ply tire is given a load rating of H. That letter tells you that you can haul or tow between 6610 to 7830 pounds with little to no trouble. Of course, those tires will handle the lighter weights as well but your ride may not be as smooth.

When you are towing or hauling heavy loads, you want a tire with a high load range or ply rating. Do not be confused when someone talks about the load range and uses it interchangeably with the ply rating.

The two ratings are the same with the load rating coming from the modern era. The ply rating comes from the days when tire companies made their tires with cotton. It is more of an antiquated system that is not used much except to help older folks understand the strength of the tire.

While there are a few layers involved in making a tire, the load rating is not about the layers used but how much weight your tire can hold up. When a tire is sold as a 16-ply, it simply means that that tire can hold a large amount of weight. There are not 16 layers inside the tire anymore.

Does The Sidewall Or The Air Hold The Weight?


This is an interesting question as many people debate which facet of a tire is doing the actual weight holding. Some people think it is the sidewall and the stronger the sidewall the better the weight capacity.

This is not so. While it is important to have a strong sidewall, that part of the tire does not hold the weight. The air is what holds the weight and the more air pressure your tire can hold, the more weight it can handle.

This does not mean you do not need a strong sidewall. You do because a weak one will blow out and leave you in the most regrettable of situations. This means you still need to check the sidewall quality before buying.

But no matter how strong the sidewall is, it is the amount of air pressure that lets you tow or hold heavy weights. Then there may be some confusion about load index and load range.

The load index is merely the maximum amount of weight one tire can carry. The load range is merely telling you how durable the tire will be when operated at maximum air pressure and weight limits.

There are codes on the side of the tires to tell you everything you need to know before you buy. It is a good thing that there are tire companies with websites explaining those codes so you know what to look for when you are ready to buy new tires.

How To Use These Letters And Numbers

When you go shopping for new tires, you need to know what you will use the vehicle for that you are putting the new tires on. It is not enough to get a tire that simply holds the weight of the vehicle. Those tires will not be strong enough if you carry a lot of passengers inside your car.

The same goes for trucks. The tires may not be expensive but if they only hold the weight of the truck, they won’t be able to handle any cargo you want to place in the bed.

You have to buy a tire that will carry not only the weight of the truck but also the weight of the cargo, passengers, and any hitches, etc., that you will add during your ownership of the vehicle. Make sure to give yourself enough leeway when buying tires so you do not have a blow out or accident.

Some Final Words

Buying tires has become a complicated process in this modern age. Not only do you need to fit the rims on your vehicle but you have to watch for load ratings, speed ratings, and a lot more ratings.

Then the ply only refers to the strength of the tire not how many layers of material you have inside the tire. Tire buying can get confusing but you should do okay once you know what those tires will be used for once they are on your vehicle.

Just make sure to get a higher load rating than the weight of your vehicle and drive safely.

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