- A side note here: As a former Bridgestone engineer, I strongly recommend checking DiscountTire - Treadwell out. This is a tool that DiscountTire dealers use in the store. You can get recommendations based on value, performance, and local favorites.
TRIED & TESTED!
Load range states the tires carrying capability. Passenger tires are separated into two different load ranges. Regular passenger tires rated with SL(Standart Load) labeling. Although, XL(Extra Load) tires are strengthened versions of SL tires. These tires are capable to carry heavier loads. In return, they drop behind on a couple of characteristics.
XL tires can carry more load. They are stronger and have better handling. On the other hand, SL tires have a smoother and quieter ride. They are also more fuel-efficient.
I highly recommend checking the below pages out before making any purchase:
- DiscountTire Deals:
- TireRack Deals:
- SimpleTire Deals:
Table of Contents
What is an XL Load Range?
Passenger tires might have the same size, same pattern but different load range. At first, it seems complicated. No worries. I will bring it home.
If you see XL letters at the tail of tire size, that means this tire can carry more weight than the standard version(SL). These tires have reinforced internal structures. Additional rubber and stronger carcasses ensure that it doesn’t blow up under high inflation pressure. High inflation pressure means more load to carry.
Continue below for an explanation.
- XL –> Extra Load
- SL –> Standart Load
In that case, I would like to give niche information. The tire can’t carry to load by itself. It doesn’t have carrying ability. But the air inside the tire does.
Imagine you have 4 flat tires. When you put them under the vehicle and try to ride, the vehicle might move but your wheels will tear apart. Why? Cause it can’t carry the vehicle’s weight. The vertical pressure is too much to handle.
Right here, the air inside of the tire gets into the game. Air doesn’t mean anything by itself. Yet, when you put it into the closed area it starts to stand again external forces like weight. Imagine basketball, if you sit on it when it’s filled with air, it doesn’t stretch at all. In opposite, if the ball is deflated, it stretches easy as hell.
In summary, XL tires are capable to fill with more air. They can stand against more inflation pressure(41 psi on passenger tires). Though, that can carry more load. On the other hand, this number is 35 for SL tires. So, they are less capable to carry weight.
What does Load Range SL Mean?
As I’ve mentioned above, SL means ‘Standart Load’. These tires are built with standard materials. No additional rubber or beefed-up ply are used on these tires.
These are daily driving tires. They are not capable to carry extra loads.
What's the Difference Between SL and XL Tires?
The supreme difference between SL and XL tires is carrying capability. Inherently, most people think that XL tires use on bigger vehicles like trucks or busses. Well, that’s wrong. XL tires can be used for your SUV or light truck. The intention of the XL tire is to carry more weight than usual.
SL and XL tires have some advantages and disadvantages. Let me examine them in the below table.
|XL Tires||SL Tires|
|Better for commercial usage||Better for daily usage|
|Better handling and cornering||Fuel efficient|
|Better for SUV or light trucks||Smoother ride|
|Longer tread life under the same conditions||Quieter|
|Can carry more load|
|More capable of off-road driving yet it’s not recommended|
The above table will help you to decide between these two.
I recommend you to check this article also!
Can I Mix XL Tires with Normal Tires?
It is not recommended for the same axle. You can use XL tires only for the rear axle. Yet, that might cause vibration and comfort issues. Moreover, it will cause irregular wear if you don’t adjust inflation pressures properly.
While XL is a heavy-duty version of a passenger tire, E-rated tires are stand for light trucks.
XL tires promise a smoother ride. On the other hand, E-rated tires can carry heavier loads and are applicable for heavier vehicles.
These tires use on different types of vehicles. Though, making a comparison isn’t make sense at this time.
Deciding between SL and XL tires totally depends on your need. Before you decide,
- If your factory tire is SL, you can change it to XL
- If your factory tire is XL, you can’t change it to SL unless your vehicle load range is matched with it
To verify the second item, you can check to sticker on your door pillar. If your vehicle is new, the load index is stated on the sticker. If you have a veteran truck, you can see only the gross vehicle and axle weight. Though, you can use that guide and find a proper tire for yourself.
If you are stuck between performance and touring tires, check this one out!
I hope this article is helpful for you guys. If you will struggle to decide which tire to go with, leave your preferences in the comment section. I will help you out!
Guide Me Bruh!
This section contains my research and top picks. Depending on your need, you may choose a category and easily find the best fit for yourself. Remember, nobody knows your driving conditions and requirements better than yourself. You’re in the charge out here.
bought XL tires for my Nissan Rogue in 18 inch. The same tire was offered in SL and the price was the same. The XL handles like a dream and straight line performance is noticeably better. The disadvantate is the ride. Over larger bumps and patches they can be harsh and tend to hobby horse over big bumps. I went from 225 60 18 to 235 but i dont think that made much of a difference in the ride. The XL is noticeably harsher over bumps. If my wife doesnt like the ride i will take them back while they are still new and get the SL in the same size.
Thanks for your comment. What is your inflation pressure? XL tires can hold way much air inside. If your dealer overinflates your tire, that might cause a harsh ride. I guess for Nissan Rogue you’re free to go between 33-41psi. Try something around 33-36 before making a change.
On the other hand, this is expected. If you can’t fix it with inflation pressure, 235 tires can give you slightly better handling. Just letting you know 🙂
Dana Geary says
My 2011 Nissan Frontier SL Crew Cab 4WD needs tires, stock size is 265 60 18. I also have an RV trailer that weighs 4200 lbs dry. The camper will be used 2-3 times a year. Are SL tires safe or should I upgrade the Load Range and Load Index Rating. I’m also considering going to 275 60 18. Recommendations Please.
Emrecan Gurkan says
Since you’re using an RV trailer, increasing the tires’ width isn’t a good idea. So, going with 265 60 is better.
About the SL tire question, I don’t think it will be unsafe. Though, XL-rated will offer better handling in your case. Maybe, you may consider this as a term of safety.
If I were you, I’ll prefer XL rated for a new set of tires. But, don’t change your tires just for an SL-XL upgrade.