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What is the Make and Model of a Car?

The brand of the vehicle you drive is considered the “Make”, and the vehicle’s “Model” will be the product name the manufacturer users for a specific vehicle or a range of similar cars/trucks.

Cars are frequently identified by their "make" and "model," which are two of the most commonly used terms to describe any vehicle. Do you know what they mean and where you can find them?

Why is it important for a tire manufacturer to talk about this? Ensuring the right fit of a set of tires is complicated, and knowing the right make, model, and even version/trim level of a vehicle is one easy way to help select the right tire for you.

Mercedes Benz car driving on a road with Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 tires

What is the Make of a Car?

A simple way to remember the make of your car or truck is to name the business that manufactured your vehicle. An automotive manufacturer is a company or brand that has manufactured and assembled types of vehicles; examples are Toyota, Honda, Ford, BMW, Tesla, or Chevrolet and many others.

Many carmakers are international companies who build vehicles in many factories around the world. In the United States, you can purchase a wide range of vehicles manufactured by domestic, Japanese, Korean, European, and auto makers from other regions as well.

What is the Model of a Car?

A model of a car is the product name used by a manufacturer to market either a specific vehicle, or a range of similar cars/trucks.

For example, the 911 is made by Porsche. So, the make would be Porsche and 911 would be the model. In certain cases, the model does not have to be a complete name but may be an abbreviation or a combination of letters and numbers, such as the Mercedes-Benz GLA 250, where “GLA 250” would be the model and version.

 

Angled view of the Goodyear Assurance® WeatherReady® tire

 

Similar to cars, tires are commonly represented by the same type of make and model example. For example on the Goodyear Assurance® WeatherReady® tire, the make of the tires is Goodyear, and the model is the Assurance WeatherReady.

What are the Differences in a Car Model?

Just knowing the model of your car might still not tell you everything there is to know, like what tires might fit on it. One model of car may have a variety of features, equipment, shapes, sizes, options, and details. These variants might be known as the trim level, version, or even body styles.

Differences of trim levels might include two-door and four-door versions, multiple engine or powertrain options, wheel/rim size, or even body features like wings, ground effects, etc.

This may sound confusing but think of another simple type of product that we encounter every day that has similar attributes and variations of a model: A t-shirt. When purchasing, there are different sizes, and with each size there are different colors, neck styles, sleeve lengths, and even total shirt lengths.

Many factors may come into play when comparing tires to the make and model of vehicle you are driving, such as the vehicle's body style, total weight, and how much weight the vehicle should carry – all of which can help determine the tire that best fits that model car.

How to Find Your Car's Make and Model

There are a few methods for determining your car's make and model, some of which are very quick.

  1. Your Car’s Exterior: Commonly, you can tell by looking at the emblems, logos, and badging on the outside of your vehicle.
  2. Owners Manual: Look at the front cover of a vehicle's owner's manual or inside at the first few pages; the vehicle make and model (and sometimes version/trim level) is typically printed here.
  3. Title and Registration: Your vehicle's title and registration may differ depending on which state it is registered in but will commonly also include the make and model of your vehicle.
  4. The VIN (Vehicle Identification Number): As a last resort, the vehicle's VIN will generally tell the full details of your vehicle make, model, and trim level. The VIN also commonly includes specifics about manufacturing location and other attributes unique to your vehicle.

The process of locating the VIN is simple. On the driver’s side of the vehicle, look for where the dashboard meets the windshield. The VIN, which is 17 digits long, can be found there. After finding your VIN, use the decoder from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to look up information about your vehicle.

Goodyear.com also can use your VIN, by way of public license plate registration data, to help identify your vehicle and tires that will fit. Just enter your license plate number and state of registration into our tire finder and we’ll let you know if we’re able to find your vehicle.

As always, if you have any concerns about which tires fit your model vehicle, you can talk to one of our customer service representatives at 800-321-2136, or also consult a professional in a Goodyear tire shop near you.

If you’re ready to choose your next set of tires, check out our Tire Finder.

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