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What Size Tire To Get For My Car? (upgrade)  
User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (3 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 5223 times:

So I've been thinking about getting wider tires on my stock wheels, which are 6" wide. Stock tires are some extremely crappy Bridgestones of 185/60/15 dimensions.

The tires seem needlessly narrow and I would like to improve handling (not that its bad by any means, but I know my car has way more potential). The widest tires I can get on my wheels are supposedly 205. However, for the upgrades I can't make my mind up on whether getting 205/55/15 or 205/50/15. The /55 result in a nearly identical overall diameter as stock. Im doing this for improved handling, and generally a shorter tire will handle better, but the 50 is on the borderline of being too short.

On my last car I had some ridiculously narrow 175 tires and upgraded to 195 width tires and noted a great improvement in handling and grip. And that was for my former crummy Dodge Neon, so that improvement is saying a lot.

My new car is a much much sportier (compared to the Neon at least) SEAT Ibiza 2010, but ever since it was new I felt the OEM tires were a terrible match for the car. I'm a driver's driver so I'm always more concerned with handling over road noise or comfort.

I'm leaning towards the 50, since in theory the shorter sidewall will be stiffer and should handle better. However, it's on the verge of being too small (nearly 3% smaller in overall diameter) compared to stock. The 55 is only 0.55% different (larger)

Also, the tires in 205 need at least 5.5" wide wheels. Mine are 6". Is that too close for comfort?

What say you fellow gearheads, do I get the 50 or 55?

18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineGuitrThree From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2031 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (3 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 5172 times:

Quoting Fly2HMO (Thread starter):
Also, the tires in 205 need at least 5.5" wide wheels. Mine are 6". Is that too close for comfort?



I'm at a loss here how your stock 185 tires fit on 6" wheel, when the wider 205's use 5.5" wheels. I guess anything can happen, but I do know this, if a tire has to go on a certain size wheel width, you have to use that size wheel. There are too many factors to consider when using too large or small tires when it comes to holding air pressure. Something you don't what to experience is a tire bead break. That is a total lose of air pressure in about a second, causing a deadly situation at most, destroyed wheel at least.

Your quest for the ultimate handling tires goes out the window when you're cruising through a corner or doing 70MPH down the interstate on 3 tires and one wheel.

Go with the more like stock 55's with your 6" wheels. You'll also enjoy the benefit of your speedometer at least being fairly close, also.

[Edited 2010-10-02 19:53:15]


As Seen On FlightRadar24! Radar ==> F-KBNA5
User currently offlineaerorobnz From Rwanda, joined Feb 2001, 6909 posts, RR: 13
Reply 2, posted (3 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 5159 times:

I have 195/50/15s on my car I'll upgrade to Bridgestone RE11s of the same size next time around though.

I have a Renaultsport Clio 172 2.0 for comparison, so very similar vehicles really.


User currently offlineDreadnought From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 8711 posts, RR: 24
Reply 3, posted (3 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 5158 times:

If you go to 50s, you are going to have a pretty rough ride. I knew a guy who bought himself a car and spent several thousand dollars going from 225/16/70s to 245/19/50, and now he's bitching that the ride has gone to hell. Well, no sh&t, Sherlock! The sidewalls are an integral part of a modern car's suspension setup, and if you take a few inches of rubber out and replace them with a solid wheel, you've basically cut out part of your suspension.

Any added inherent grip that the wider tire patch might have is probably going to be wasted because the car's suspension (on a decently designed car, anyway), is tuned for the OEM tire/wheel setup. To do a proper job, Camber, Caster and Toe-ins can change. Different height sidewalls mean different shock absorber rebound, damper settings, and so forth.

Car manufacturers will always have settings they have found through exhaustive testing. Well, maybe Lada never bothered. But the goals of the manufacturer were probably different from yours, and what works best for "general" use might not suit you - as you say you don't really care about the ride. But don't assume that just putting on wider rubber is going to improve your handling - it might even make it worse. If you are really serious, you'll put aside a budget for different shocks/springs/struts and expect a lot of experimentation and an education in physics.



Veni Vidi Castratavi Illegitimos
User currently offlineaerorobnz From Rwanda, joined Feb 2001, 6909 posts, RR: 13
Reply 4, posted (3 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 5138 times:

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 3):
If you go to 50s, you are going to have a pretty rough ride

195/50/15s was the factory spec in my case. I have no problem with the ride at all.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 3):
But don't assume that just putting on wider rubber is going to improve your handling - it might even make it worse

That is true. I'd recommend sticking with the factory spec dimensions, but trying a different tread/compound - Michelin sidewalls have plenty of give for example, so ride is good, but so is grip but they're expensive


User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (3 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 5122 times:

Quoting GuitrThree (Reply 1):

I'm at a loss here how your stock 185 tires fit on 6" wheel, when the wider 205's use 5.5" wheels.

185s are rated for 5 to 6.5" wheels. They still have a good bit sticking over the rim, they're far from flush.

Quoting GuitrThree (Reply 1):
I guess anything can happen, but I do know this, if a tire has to go on a certain size wheel width, you have to use that size wheel.

Well of course, 205 tires are typically rated for 5.5 to 7.5 wheels so I'm good there.

Quoting GuitrThree (Reply 1):

Go with the more like stock 55's with your 6" wheels. You'll also enjoy the benefit of your speedometer at least being fairly close, also.

Yeah I think Im leaning more towards these. The overall diameter difference in that case would be less than 3mm. That's as close as I can get to the stock size.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 3):
If you go to 50s, you are going to have a pretty rough ride. I knew a guy who bought himself a car and spent several thousand dollars going from 225/16/70s to 245/19/50, and now he's bitching that the ride has gone to hell.

On any size above a 225 I could see that. But a /50 on anything narrower is still a pretty tall tire. I'm thinking the 50, IF it is better in handling, will only be a marginal difference. The tires I have picked out are General Exclaim UHPs, they have the best reviews/ratings by far in their class/size. However a lot of reviewers complain about very soft sidewalls. At any rate, I'm guessing even with the 55s there should be a massive improvement over the play-doh OEM tires I got now.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 3):
If you are really serious, you'll put aside a budget for different shocks/springs/struts and expect a lot of experimentation and an education in physics.

Oh I will, but that won't happen any time soon. I eventually would like to drop it about 5cms (cuz its high as a minivan), put 17" wheels on it, track suspension and some nice beefy sway bars. Though all that would probably be overkill in a car with only 115HP   

At any rate, I'm kinda wanting an excuse to get rid of the OEMs already. One of them developed a blister after I fell into a crater, err... pothole. So that one will have to go soon.

In my former Neon I upgraded to General Acclaim HP tires, and damn were they good, not to mention cheap. The General Exclaim UHPs I want to get for my new Ibiza are supposedly much better, and they're still pretty cheap at $72 each.


User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (3 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 5118 times:

By the way, for what its worth, here's a great tool I've been using for calculating correct tire sizes: http://www.1010tires.com/tiresizecalculator.asp

Extremely detailed. It even gives you a speedometer error percentage/quantity.

[Edited 2010-10-02 22:31:18]

User currently offlineTSS From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 3050 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (3 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 5116 times:

Quoting Fly2HMO (Thread starter):
So I've been thinking about getting wider tires on my stock wheels, which are 6" wide. Stock tires are some extremely crappy Bridgestones of 185/60/15 dimensions.

Since 185/60R15 is a relatively odd size (strangely enough, the only cars I can recall that use 185/60R15s are fancier versions of Ford Escort ZX2s and... you guessed it- Dodge Neons  ), you'd get a much wider array of choices by going up just one size to 195/60R15 which is WAY more common and should fit, no problem.
Going to a 205/55R15 will only make your tire wider; the actual height of the sidewall will remain the same. The big questions are: How much clearance do you have between the inner sidewall of the existing tire and the strut, and how much clearance do you have between the inner shoulder of the tire and the inner fender (or whatever is in the way) when your wheels are turned to full lock? These two dimensions will determine how much more tire you can fit on your existing wheels. Don't forget that the tire still moves up and down while at full lock, too.

Quoting Fly2HMO (Thread starter):
I'm leaning towards the 50, since in theory the shorter sidewall will be stiffer and should handle better. However, it's on the verge of being too small (nearly 3% smaller in overall diameter) compared to stock. The 55 is only 0.55% different (larger)

3% smaller in diameter is around 9% less circumference, so your speedometer will be off by an equivalent amount. Are you willing to take that hit?

Quoting Fly2HMO (Thread starter):
Also, the tires in 205 need at least 5.5" wide wheels. Mine are 6". Is that too close for comfort?

If it's within the tire manufacturer's recommended rim width range for that size tire then you're okay, but you certainly won't make any friends at the tire store when you ask them to squeeze stiff-a$$ small-diameter 50-series tires on to the next-to-smallest recommended rim size for the tire.   

Quoting Fly2HMO (Thread starter):
I'm a driver's driver so I'm always more concerned with handling over road noise or comfort.

Which specific aspect of the car's handling are you unhappy with? Does the car understeer too much? Does it lean too much in turns? Is the turn-in not as crisp as you'd like?



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User currently offlineTSS From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 3050 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (3 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 5109 times:

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 6):
By the way, for what its worth, here's a great tool I've been using for calculating correct tire sizes: http://www.1010tires.com/tiresizecal...r.asp

Or...
Width divided by 25.4 (millimeters to inches) times aspect ratio times two plus rim diameter.
A 185/60R15 would be: 185 / 25.4 = 7.24 x 60% = 4.344 x 2 = 8.69 +15 = 23.69 inches overall diameter. From there you can get circumference by using diameter times pi and figuring out how that relates to any prospective tire's circumference percentage-wise.
But then again I did this sort of thing for a living for years, so other folk might find it easier to just use the website you linked.  



Able to kill active threads stone dead with a single post!
User currently offlineKiwiRob From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 6685 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (3 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 5086 times:

Quoting aerorobnz (Reply 2):
I have a Renaultsport Clio 172 2.0 for comparison, so very similar vehicles really.

Not even close, the Clio 172 especially if you have one with the Cup chassis is an icon, the best hot hatch of it's generation, the current Renaultsport Clio is also the best hot hatch handling wise that money can buy, the Seat Ibiza is a turd in comparisson.

Now I wouldn't waste my dosh putting wider tyres on standard rims, I'd jump up to a set of 16 or 17 inch rims, something light and sexy like Oz Racing Superleggeras.

http://www.tuningblog.it/wp-content/gallery/je-design-seat-ibiza-sc/je-design-seat-ibiza-sc-hr-04.jpg


User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (3 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 5027 times:

Quoting TSS (Reply 7):
you'd get a much wider array of choices by going up just one size to 195/60R15 which is WAY more common and should fit, no problem.

The specific tires I want are available on both 205/55 and /50 so that's good enough for me.

If I really wanted to go overkill I could do 215/50/15 but there's only one tire avialable in that size and its friggin expensive. Also the min wheel size is 6", right on the limit.

Quoting TSS (Reply 7):

Going to a 205/55R15 will only make your tire wider; the actual height of the sidewall will remain the same.

That's what I want. Or to remain within the 3% margin rather.

Quoting TSS (Reply 8):
But then again I did this sort of thing for a living for years, so other folk might find it easier to just use the website you linked.

Yeah I'll stick to that  


User currently offlineaerorobnz From Rwanda, joined Feb 2001, 6909 posts, RR: 13
Reply 11, posted (3 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 4998 times:

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 9):
Not even close, the Clio 172 especially if you have one with the Cup chassis is an icon

I was going around an S bend at a ridiculous speed on the way to work this morning on 3 wheels....hahaha So much fun, but it loves decent tyres to feel it at it's best...


User currently offlineTSS From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 3050 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (3 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 4998 times:

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 9):
Now I wouldn't waste my dosh putting wider tyres on standard rims, I'd jump up to a set of 16 or 17 inch rims, something light and sexy like Oz Racing Superleggeras.

KiwiRob makes a very good point, but you might want to file it under "long-term goals". I'll second his recommendation of OZ rims, too. There are a lot of very good looking but shoddily made aftermarket rims out there, but OZ make a distinctly better product than 90% of the rims I've seen.
Another more "budget friendly" possibility is getting a set of used factory 16" wheels from whatever VW/Skoda/Seat cars are built on the same chassis as your Ibiza. You might even be able to get a set with decent tires already on them from someone who's moving up to 17's or 18's.



Able to kill active threads stone dead with a single post!
User currently offlineLorM From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 409 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (3 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 4992 times:

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 9):
I'd jump up to a set of 16 or 17 inch rims, something light and sexy like Oz Racing Superleggeras


If you know a source for some new OZ Superleggeras I'd to love know where, I'd buy some, as the hot Superleggera line from OZ has been long been out of production. OZ followed them up with slightly heavier Ultraleggeras but they have since released lighter Alleggeritas.

Quoting TSS (Reply 12):
Another more "budget friendly" possibility is getting a set of used factory 16" wheels from whatever VW/Skoda/Seat cars are built on the same chassis as your Ibiza.


VW/Skoda uses a different bolt pattern, 5x112 vs the Ibiza's 5x100, OEM wheels between the two will likely not be compatible unless you use some sort of adapter and that may introduce a whole new can of worms (different offsets/possible brake caliper clearance issues), which I dont think the OP is interested in. You might as well just buy specific 5x100 aftermarket wheels.



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User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (3 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 4969 times:

Quoting TSS (Reply 12):

KiwiRob makes a very good point, but you might want to file it under "long-term goals".

The tires are mid term at most. Larger wheels are loooong term, if at all. Thing is I have basically the base model, and I feel that it isn't worth modding too much because of that.

But I have my eyes set on these:



Or for the non-stock look these:



User currently offlineTSS From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 3050 posts, RR: 5
Reply 15, posted (3 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 4950 times:

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 14):
Thing is I have basically the base model, and I feel that it isn't worth modding too much because of that.

Are you kidding?!? The base models are always the best ones to mod because you can add the stuff you want without having to scrape off/remove/disable a bunch of worthless geegaws you don't want.



Able to kill active threads stone dead with a single post!
User currently offlineKiwiRob From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 6685 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (3 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 4939 times:

Quoting LorM (Reply 13):
If you know a source for some new OZ Superleggeras I'd to love know where, I'd buy some, as the hot Superleggera line from OZ has been long been out of production.

OZ still make the Superlaggera III, they are an awesome looking wheel.

The Chrono HT or the Superturismo would also look good on an Ibiza. I was looking at some Ultraleggera's for my Clubman but now that I have had to replace the clutch new wheels are not allowed.


User currently offlineLorM From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 409 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (3 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 4922 times:

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 16):
OZ still make the Superlaggera III, they are an awesome looking wheel.

Yeah, I wasn't quite clear enough. The I/IIs Superleggeras were a one piece cast wheel that rivaled more expensive one piece forged wheels in weight and in price. They were around $250+/-US, very strong and durable. I remember that the 17x7s in 4x114 were around 15.4lbs. These were released a few years before the hugely popular and similar weighing Enkei RPF1s

The Superleggera IIIs however are about 6-8 lbs heavier than the one piece versions depending on the size and width as they are 3 piece affairs - forged inners with 2 piece spun/cast outers. Weight however shouldn't be much concern if you don't track your car. The IIIs should be comparable with your OEMs provided you dont upsize too far. As with any upsize in rim sizes - tire weight will cancel out any weight savings if you go too far. The IIIs do however have the advantage of coming in a lot more sizes and bolt patterns. Retailers like Tirerack stock common outer rim halves sizes and assemble them to the custom sized inners. Tirerack was doing this and charging $900USd+! At that price if you have a common bolt pattern/offset chances are you could find a lightweight one piece forged set of Volk's and still have some money in change...



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User currently offlinedallasnewark From Estonia, joined Nov 2005, 494 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (3 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 4812 times:

KiwiRob has a good point, you will see greater handling and acceleration improvements if you go for lighter rims, as far as the tire width, it's not that drastic of a change to see any improvements in it.

Going to lighter wheels will make a world of a difference. I have gone to 275 tire width from 245 and there was not that much of an improvement in handling and you do sacrifice the acceleration due to the weight of the tire, but once I changed to lighter wheels, wow what a differnce that was.



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