What is a Cargo Van?

A cargo van is typically used for commercial vehicle fleets – service vehicles, especially. These vans are one-piece vehicles commonly with windowless panels on the sides, meant for hauling goods and tools. These vans have changed over the years, and are often offered with various roof heights, wheelbases, lengths, and load carrying capacities. Due to these variations in size and capacity, these cargo vans have a great deal of flexibility in function. The tire specifications for these vans have also changed over the years.

Cargo vans commonly found today in the American market include the Chevrolet Express, Ford E-Series, Ford Transit, GMC Savana, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Nissan NV, and Ram ProMaster. Each van has a different tire requirement – some need an LT tire, while others require a C-Type tire. Always consult the tire placard fitted to the van by the vehicle manufacturer for your tire specifics – this placard is typically affixed to the door jamb of the driver’s door.

What’s the Difference Between C-Type and LT Tires?

Both C-Type tires and LT (Light Truck) tires are generally rated for a higher weight capacity than standard passenger tires. However, they are meant for two different specific vehicle applications. LT tires have a load range rating typically of C, D, or E. Though some LT tires have a C in their description denoting load range C, this is not the same as a C-Type tire and cannot be used interchangeably.

Both of LT and C-Type tire types are reinforced to carry a heavier load than a typical passenger car tire. However, the C-Type tire is meant to handle a heavier load than an LT tire in equivalent size, though generally rated for a lower speed.

LT tires specify a letter code to denote the load carrying capacity of the tire based on load and inflation tables from one of the standards organizations (Tire & Rim Association, ETRTO, JATMA, etc). Common LT load ranges include C, D, and E – as the load range increases, the load rating increases commensurately.

The C-Type tire, on the other hand, is specifically meant as a commercial-rated tire, with a higher load rating for a given size than many LT tires. These C-Type tires will show the letter “C” immediately after the wheel diameter in the tire code. Example: 225/75R16C

Why is Using the Proper Tire Important?

The tire size and service description contains important information:

LT Tire
(Size: LT225/75R16 115R)
LT   115 R
C-Type Tire
(Size: 225/75R16C 121R) 
  C 121 R
Standard Passenger Car Tire
(Size: 225/75R16 104T)
    104 T

Note: This table shows only size characteristics that vary between these tires. Section Width (225), Aspect Ratio (75), Radial Construction (R), and Wheel Diameter (16) are all common across these 3 tires.


Technically, all of these tires might “fit” on the same vehicle. However, they are all designed for different loads. The 104T load index on the passenger car tire corresponds to 1984 pounds per tire load rating. The 121R load index on the C-Type tire? 3195 pounds. Over 1,000lbs per tire more load carrying capacity than the passenger tire, and 696 more per tire than the LT tire (2680 pounds).

Clearly, choosing the wrong tire for your vehicle application can lead to unsafe driving conditions due to the tire being overloaded. An overloaded tire can cause heat buildup which may result in tire damage and/or tire failure.

Always refer to the vehicle placard to ensure you select the proper style, size, and load rating of tire for your vehicle. Always consult the vehicle owner’s manual and follow the vehicle manufacturer’s replacement tire recommendations, and never fit tires to a vehicle that have less load carrying capacity than was required by the vehicle manufacturer.

Remember, the tire inflation pressure enables a tire to support the load and to control the vehicle, therefore proper inflation is critical. With the right amount of inflation pressure, the vehicle and the tires will achieve their optimum performance. In addition to tire safety, this means your tires will wear longer and improve vehicle fuel consumption. Note that some vehicles may have different cold inflation pressures for tires on the front and rear axles.

Goodyear’s Best C-Type Cargo Van Tire: The Goodyear Wrangler Fortitude HT® C-Type

Most Ford Transit and Ram ProMaster vans sold in North America require a C-Type cargo van tire. For these vans, and others requiring a C-Type tire, the Goodyear Wrangler Fortitude HT® C-Type tire is the optimum choice. The Wrangler Fortitude HT C-Type is reinforced to manage heavy loads and is molded with a durable tread compound which is built to extend tread life. The tread is optimized to minimize road noise and improve ride quality, with four deep grooves to help channel water away from the contact patch – protecting against hydroplaning. Importantly for drivers in northern climates, the Goodyear Wrangler Fortitude HT C-Type has full-depth sipes and biting edges to give enhanced snow traction.