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1993 VW Passat GLX - Hard to find correct size tires

I am driving a 1993 VW Passat GLX that I picked up at the factory in Wolfsburg, Germany. It has almost 84,000 miles on the odometer, but I like the velour seats better than the vinyl seats in the newer models.

The only problem comes when I need new tires. The vehicle calls for 215-50-R15. The last time I bought them, there was only one company that made them in that exact size: BF Goodrich G-Force Sport 88V. It was a summer tire. Now I cannot find any in that size. My question is, should I go with 195-60-R15 or 205-55-R15? I would like to get an all-season tire.

Thanks,
Hans

Hey Hans,

One website that I have found to be enormously helpful to myself in the past is Tirerack.com. You can do a search for the specific tire seize you want and what all is available from all the manufactures in all the performance categories. To answer your question, I believe (although I cannot be for certain) that the p205-55R-15 will be the tire closest to your original manufacturer specified tire. The 55r will be closer to the height you need under the fender the 60 might have you running into issues. But to make sure I reccomend calling your local tire store just to get a second opinion.

Hope you are able to find a new set of rubber for your VW,
Best wishes

I looked at the tire size calculator here: http://www.miata.net/garage/tirecalc.html
It indicates a 195-55/15 would be the closest size to your tires, and there are lots of them available on tirerack.

I have an older VW as well with a no longer common tire size. This far I have been able to find tires but the time may come when that is not possible or else might be forced to buy new tires that have become too old while in someone’s stockroom. For that and for you there is another possibility. Go to the VWVortex site, sign up and post your question in the Wheel and Tire forum under the Technical section. It might be possible that a wheel rim from another year or model VW might use a tire of the same diameter that is more commonly available. It may even be possible that a wheel from another brand auto will fit; ask at a scrapyard with a Hollander parts interchange book. A wheel store might be able to help too.

I used to sell Firestone tires. You might be able to do something like this: A 215-50-15 means that the tread is 215 mm wide, and the sidewall of the tire is 50% of the tread width. Therefor, a 215-50-15 is 215 mm wide, and each sidewall is 107.5mm, or about 4.4 inches tall, so take the 4.4 times 2 (both sidewalls) and add that to the 15 inch diameter wheel and you have 23.8 inch tall tire and wheel combo. If you went to a slightly narrower tire, say a 195mm tread, and you could use a 195-55, or maybe a 195-60, which would be just a touch taller. Best of luck