The definitive tyre / wheel size thread

bretti_kivi

Member
Wheels:
Sizes of wheels that will fit an A2 (non 3l! - the 3L was not sold in the UK and therefore not covered here)

Widths and diameters
5.5 - 7J, 15, 16, 17, 18". 7.5J works for some, not for others. Check for signs of argument on the wheelarch liners.
8J is really pushing it and frequently requires work on the arch liners.

14" was never supplied as standard on any A2 apart from the 1.2. They are reported to fit over the brake calipers at the front if the standard 256mm are used. You will end up with 165/70 or so tyres.

ET numbers
For most wheels, somewhere between 30 and 35 will work. ET37 is standard on the 5.5s, 35 on a 7.5 will be tight but should work. Significant discrepancies are bad and may need to be compensated with spacers.
The standard 7x17s are ET38, Parabols ("TT competition") are ET32. This is very close to the limit for 205s / 215s if the tread is to remain in the arch, which it must from a legal perspective.

PDC
There are 5 bolts on all A2s except the 3l ones.
PDC is 100, so 5x100. A3 8L, TT 8N, Golf IV (1J), Octy (NOT 1Z), Fabia, Roomster, Bora, will all fit.
A4, A6, Golf V, A3 8P, TT 8J WILL NOT FIT.

Center bore is 57.1.

155/65R15 are the only tyre size with an OK for snow chains.

Tyres:

OE tyre sizes are underlined. These, along with 155/65R15 and 165/65R15 are the only tyres that are truly 100% compatible and listed in the CoC document.

Before we start, some sizes that won't fit: 195/65R15, 205/55R16, 225/45R17. They are too big.
Recommendations:


14": extremely rare. Brings narrow tread width and high sidewalls, so lots of roll. Advantages over light 15" are questionable at best. Potentially poor braking performance.

15" for comfort. 185/60R15 work well, but may be "squidgy". Common, relatively cheap. Good for "pepperpots", as everything is light and the sizes work well. Strong recommendation for these in winter.
195/50R15: significantly smaller, cheap. Nice short sidewall, sportier feel.

16"
185/50R16: great compromise between looks and comfort. Hard to find, expensive.
195/45R16: smaller sidewall means less flex so less roll but also less comfort. Wide range, not too bad price-wise.
205/50R16: Absolute maximum versus rubbing.

17"
205/40R17 are standard. Quite wooden, may be your taste, may not.
215/40R17 are large and heavy. Work OK, but I saw issues with rubbing, others have gone even 215/45R17 without issue. Not all cars are the same!

Winter tyres:
Stick to 15". Either 175/60R15 (hard to find!) or 185/60R15. If using alloys, make sure they are good for winter use; the salts attack some coatings more than others.
If you're looking at CrossClimates or similar, then by all means go 16", but for pure winter tyres, the price increases significantly the larger you go, so smaller is probably better.

Summer tyres:
15"


155/70
165/65
175/55
175/60 (reference size)
185/55
185/60
195/50
195/55 - identical rolling circumference to 205/40R17
205/50
205/55
225/50

16"

175/50
175/55
185/50
195/45

195/50
205/45
205/50 more than 3% larger, will fit but not necessarily legal
215/40
215/45
225/40

17"

195/45
205/40
205/45 more than 3% larger, will fit but not necessarily legal
215/40 - this may work, it may catch. Check!
215/35
225/35
245/35

18"

205/35
215/35
225/35 more than 3% larger, will fit but not necessarily legal
225/30

If it's not on the list, it will not fit without work / rubbing.

Tyres that will not fit, so don't buy, unless they're on rims you really want and are prepared to sell the tyres on:
195/65R15
205/55R16
225/45R17.

You will find these from TTs, Golf IV, Octavias, A3s and others: the tyres are way too big, your speedo will be wrong and they will rub.

Rim sizes... for rim protection worth the name, stay away from the max. The real way to get these is to ask the manufacturer.

- 165 - 5J - 6J
- 185 - 5J - 6J
- 195 - 6J - 7J
- 205 - 6.5 - 7.5J
- 215 - 7J - 8J
- 225 - 7J - 8J

Reference tyre test web site - http://www.tyrereviews.co.uk/

General point:
All A2s have ESP. Running different tyre sizes across an axle or front to back will probably confuse the system. Running even different makes may produce enough of a difference in circumference to annoy the ESP or ASR systems and give you blinking lights in corners.
The tyres with more profile belong on the back of the car as that is the axle that delivers stability at speed.

Deeper dive about EDS, ASR and ESP and why different sizes matter:
Why might these uneven sizes cause issues? Both the ESP and ASR systems are looking at the difference in rotational speed between the wheels. ASR will attempt to get more traction if one side is spinning faster than the other, using EDS and interfering in engine management to get what it wants; ESP will assume you're sliding. Both will result in unclear car behaviour and flashing warning lights.
EDS will try to modulate engine power to suit the traction available in combination with ASR. So in extreme situations, turning ASR off is a good idea with that button next to the gearstick, as long as you remember to modulate the pedal instead to make the most of the available grip. I turn it off regularly in winter when I know I have an interesting turn to make or want as much control as possible or it's a steeper hill.
ASR will come back on automatically when you go over 60km/h (ca. 40mph), though you can still see it intervening up past 80km/h (not that I'd recommend testing this on a public road). EDS - the system that splits torque and works with the ASR - will *not* bring you any lights up but you might feel it anyway, mostly when accelerating hard with good tyres on dodgy surfaces at medium speeds, i.e. winter tyres on icy roads at 30-50km/h, or 20-30mph.

A note on ESP: if the car is not rotating around its axis, ESP will not do anything. If you are just sliding nicely evenly on a corner, ESP will do nothing. You need to act on the slide, apply power or steering, or the sensors will report "everything is fine" and nothing will be done.
If you're getting blinking ASR lights around corners or on straights while accelerating, you have a problem that needs tracking down. Might just be tyre pressures, might be a loose bolt somewhere - it needs looking at, sooner rather than later.

On extreme car behaviour: Yes, you can spin an A2, but ESP does need to be off and it's difficult and extremely obvious that it's going to happen. And yes, you can turn ESP off, but only if you're prepared to remove a fuse or disconnect the yaw sensor. IMO, It's not worth it, the back won't step out at will. I have spent much time trying to make this happen and I have a switch to turn it off. You will get error messages if you remove the fuse. On gravel, in the summer, you'll be about to put some opposite lock on and the ESP will go "Crrrrsh" and you'll have been corrected. It's not perfect, it's slower than it might be, but it's pretty nicely judged.
 
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R0B

Member
you need to add 175/55R16 to your list, they are a bridgestone only size. im thinking of trying them next summer.
 

humps

A2OC Donor
bret, you may want to add the OE sizes as some may prefer the factory standard.
 

Skipton01

Admin Team
Thread stuck!

It's a good list, if not quite 100% definitive (no mention of 205/45 R 17 for instance), but will be a good source of reference for many.

Cheers,

Mike
 
G

gtarantino

Guest
175/65 R 15 works well

I have Michelin Alpin snow tires in that dimension and they fit well, without any rubbing.
 
Hi Bret,

some additions to your list. According to German TÜV regulations also the following sizes provide legal A2 speedo readings:

155/70R15
175/55R15
195/55R15 very comfortable, identical rolling circumference to 205/40R17 (standard S-Line wheel)
205/55R15
215/45R15
225/50R15


175/50R16
215/40R16
215/45R16
225/40R16


225/35R17
245/35R17


205/35R18
 

widdy

Member
Can we add to this great listing on what spacesaver wheels and tyres wil fit the A2.

Cheers
 

Adrian888

Member
Would a wheel ET of 43 mm be too much for an A2? The wheels from a Mk3 golf VR6 have a 5x100 stud spacing but are 43mm offset.
 
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