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Smaller tire size ok? 205 vs 215

J

Jmooser

Messages
21
Location
Norway
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T5 SE 174 4Motion
Hi,

I was able to get a set of studded winter tires, but size 205/65 R16 107R vs the 215/65R16C 106/104T summer tires that came with the van. I'm wondering, is there really any issue sizing down to 205? Should be ok given the load rating and all else is more or less that same?

The tires are Continental Vanco Ice Contact 205/65 R16 107R, in almost new shape. Apparently these should work quite well in the snow. I picked them up off someone with a T5, so I assume it's probably ok for the 2005 Cali... but I always see 215 or larger when I search the forums.

Anyone have actual knowledge of the matter?
 
T

TripleBee

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1,366
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melkwegstelsel
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You can look up your certificate of conformity (the yellow paper with all the data of the van, delivered by VW).
At the back there's section 50 with all the other tyre sizes allowed.

bandenmaten.jpg

My California was delivered on 215/65 R16C 102/100H, on steel rims.
In section 32 it states that the van was on 205/65 R16C 103T.

bandenmaat.jpg

The only "drawback" will be that your speedometer will be slightly different.
As the tyre is smaller in diameter, it will show 45mph when you are only going 43 or something like that.
So you will be driving just a tad slower in real.
 
J

Jmooser

Messages
21
Location
Norway
Vehicle
T5 SE 174 4Motion
You can look up your certificate of conformity (the yellow paper with all the data of the van, delivered by VW).
At the back there's section 50 with all the other tyre sizes allowed.

View attachment 51053

My California was delivered on 215/65 R16C 102/100H, on steel rims.
In section 32 it states that the van was on 205/65 R16C 103T.

View attachment 51054

The only "drawback" will be that your speedometer will be slightly different.
As the tyre is smaller in diameter, it will show 45mph when you are only going 43 or something like that.
So you will be driving just a tad slower in real.
That's ok. I live in Norway. Going a bit slower is no biggie when you're hardly going 70km/hr for any reasonable stretch.
 
T

TripleBee

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The upside will be, because the tyre is smaller, you will have more grip (apart from the winter tyre) because there will be more pressure on less tyre surface.

No problem if you stay with the official tyre sizes, declared by VW.
 
T

TripleBee

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That's ok. I live in Norway. Going a bit slower is no biggie when you're hardly going 70km/hr for any reasonable stretch.
Missed that part that you were in Norway.
So you are indeed going km/h instead of mph.
 
J

Jmooser

Messages
21
Location
Norway
Vehicle
T5 SE 174 4Motion
The upside will be, because the tyre is smaller, you will have more grip (apart from the winter tyre) because there will be more pressure on less tyre surface.

No problem if you stay with the official tyre sizes, declared by VW.
Hmm, ok. Now that I reread your post, I'm left wondering. I do not think I have that yellow paper... but I can check. I bought the van third hand... but if section 50 shows all the tire sizes that are allowed, how come your section 32 includes 205 size tires when section 50 does not?
 
T

TripleBee

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1,366
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Section 50 are remarks.

My van "should be" delivered on 205's, but the van can ride on 215's as well. And it was delivered on 215's. Don't know how this happened.
Maybe it's just a standard for the VW Transporter that they copied for the California, and forgot to mention it was delivered on 215's. Then there would be in section 50 that the van may drive on 205's.

You understand?
32 is how the van is, 50 what it also can be, or is allowed.

Just like all the ##.... are remarks on the ... (... = 32 for instance).
 
J

Jmooser

Messages
21
Location
Norway
Vehicle
T5 SE 174 4Motion
Makes sense. Thanks for the explanation.
 
Kmann

Kmann

Iben & Henrik
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Virum
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T6.1 Ocean 199 4Motion
The upside will be, because the tyre is smaller, you will have more grip (apart from the winter tyre) because there will be more pressure on less tyre surface.

No problem if you stay with the official tyre sizes, declared by VW.
The opposite is actually the case, that's why off-roaders seek lover tyre pressure – to get a bigger footprint = better grip. If driving in deep snow/mud a narrower tyre is a plus, but that is not an issue here. That said – I would not be nervous for the 205/65 setup.
 
T

TripleBee

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The opposite is actually the case, that's why off-roaders seek lover tyre pressure – to get a bigger footprint = better grip. If driving in deep snow/mud a narrower tyre is a plus, but that is not an issue here. That said – I would not be nervous for the 205/65 setup.
That is indeed the case when going off road, so you can drive up the snow.
For us in Belgium, the smaller tyre is ideal for on road driving through snow, so you can press through the snow, onto the tarmac, having more grip than sliding over the snowy roads.
 
Velma's Dad

Velma's Dad

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The only "drawback" will be that your speedometer will be slightly different.
As the tyre is smaller in diameter, it will show 45mph when you are only going 43 or something like that.
So you will be driving just a tad slower in real.
Not sure why that would be, a 205 and 215 are same diameter, just different widths. Or am I missing something??
 
Kmann

Kmann

Iben & Henrik
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Not sure why that would be, a 205 and 215 are same diameter, just different widths. Or am I missing something??
Yes :)

205/65 = 65 stands for 65% of the with. Meaning the 215/65 has a little taller sidewall (65% of 215, over 65% of 205). That makes the diameter of the tyre 6 mm smaller on the 205/65 (If I am correct).
 
Last edited:
Wesel

Wesel

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139
Location
Belgium
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T6 Coast 150 4Motion
Not sure why that would be, a 205 and 215 are same diameter, just different widths. Or am I missing something??
The height of the sidewall is a % of the section width.
205/65 has a sidewall height of 205 mm x 0.65
215/65 has a sidewall height of 215 mm x 0.65
 
Velma's Dad

Velma's Dad

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Yes :)

205/60 = 60 stands for 60% of the with. Meaning the 215/60 has a little taller sidewall (60% of 215, over 60% of 205). That makes the diameter of the tyre 6 mm smaller on the 205/60 (If I am correct).
Well yes but the tyres the OP was talking about were 205/65 R16 versus the 215/65 R16. Same diameter, just different widths. (Leaving aside small carcass differences, pressures etc).
 
Velma's Dad

Velma's Dad

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The height of the sidewall is a % of the section width.
205/65 has a sidewall height of 205 mm x 0.65
215/65 has a sidewall height of 215 mm x 0.65
I thought it was to do with the ratio of the wheel diameter. But if it's a ratio of the width, I stand corrected.
 
T

TripleBee

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:happy Just checked and you are right. Useful to know. I will get back in my box...
Be gone!!

JK.

Your question is answered.
My winter tyres are the 205's and there is about 1 or 2 km/h difference due to the smaller tyre diameter.
Nothing too bad. Makes me able to do 72 instead of 70!! Wow I am speeding!!
 

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