Tire Size 205/55r16 vs 205/50r16

The aspect ratio is the main difference between the tire sizes 205/55r16 and 205/50r16. The 205/55r16 has a taller sidewall with a 55 aspect ratio, while the 205/50r16 has a lower 50 aspect ratio sidewall.

Tire 1 Front View
Tire 2 Front View
Tire 1 Side View
Tire 1 Wheel
circumference 1
Tire 2 Side View
Tire 2 Wheel
/ R
/ R
Parameter235/35 R18205/40 R18Differ.
Tire Height
Section Width
Sidewall Height
Rim Size


Fitment Guide

Replacement tires should be within a 3% difference in overall diameter. The 205/55r16 is 3.2% larger in diameter than the 205/50r16, so fitting the 50 aspect ratio tire requires staying within the 3% limit.

Larger variations may cause clearance issues or speedometer inaccuracies.

Ground Clearance

The taller 205/55r16 sidewall provides 0.4 inches more ground clearance than the 205/50r16. This added clearance aids in off-road driving, navigating obstacles, and preventing underbody scrapes.

However, the larger diameter lowers the speedometer reading slightly. The 205/50r16 reduces clearance, increasing risks of lower body scrapes, but gives a higher speedometer reading.

Gas Mileage

The 205/50r16’s smaller contact patch and lower rolling resistance improve gas mileage compared to the 205/55r16.

Reduced friction and rotational weight provide better fuel efficiency, an important factor for daily driving. Larger, heavier tires decrease the economy through increased resistance.

Ride Comfort

The shorter sidewall 205/50r16 offers a more responsive, firmer ride than the cushioned 205/55r16 on smooth roads.

Over rough terrain, the 55 aspect ratio absorbs impacts better, aided by the extra sidewall height. Overall, both provide sufficient comfort.


Visually, the 55 aspect ratio appears slightly “stretched” versus the 50 sidewalls, a difference most noticeable on trucks and SUVs.

Subjectively, the moderately taller 205/55r16 better suits these vehicles aesthetically over the 205/50r16’s low-profile look.

Handling & Stability

The 205/50r16 provides sharper handling and quicker response on pavement, benefiting from the shorter, stiffer sidewall.

While minimal, the extra flex in the 205/55r16 sidewall reduces handling precision slightly. However, both remain stable and responsive during handling maneuvers.

Noise & Vibration

The shorter 205/50r16 sidewall transmits more road noise and vibration to the cabin. The additional flexion of the 205/55r16 absorbs noise and vibration better. However, both tires keep noise and vibrations low for a comfortable ride.

Durability & Wear

The 205/50r16’s smaller contact patch and stiffer sidewall often lead to even treadwear and long life.

The larger 205/55r16 sees more stress and imperfect wear and can decrease suspension component life from greater weight. However, with proper maintenance, both last long.

Adverse Conditions

The narrower 205/50r16 sometimes provides better grip by cutting through to the pavement in snow and ice.

The wider 205/55r16 gives more traction in specific off-road conditions, aided by the added sidewall height. Both perform well overall in adverse conditions.

Speedometer Reading

At an actual speed of 20 mph, the 205/55r16 equipped vehicle’s speedometer will read 20 mph.

But the 205/50r16’s smaller diameter will read 19.35 mph at that actual 20 mph speed, a difference of 0.65 mph between the tire sizes.

Can I use 205/55r16 instead of 205/50r16?

When comparing the two tire sizes, the overall diameter of a 205/55r16 tire is 24.88 inches, while the overall diameter of a 205/50r16 tire is 24.07 inches.

This means a difference of roughly 0.81 inches or about 3.4%. Since this percentage exceeds the typically recommended maximum difference of 3%.

It’s generally only advisable to use a 205/55r16 tire instead of a 205/50r16 by consulting a tire or vehicle professional. The larger tire could negatively affect the performance and safety of the vehicle.

Can I put a 205/55r16 on a 205/50r16?

As for installing a 205/55r16 tire on a rim designed for a 205/50r16, the width range is 16″ x 5.5-7.5″. This indicates that the 205/55r16 tire could fit on the same rim as the 205/50r16.

However, even though the rim width range is compatible, other factors like overall diameter and tire height could influence the safety and performance of the vehicle. Therefore, consulting with a professional before making any changes is always recommended.

205/55r16 vs 205/50r16

205/55r16 vs 205/50r16

The table compares the features of tire sizes 205/50r16 and 205/55r16, along with the percentage difference between them

Our Observation
The 205/55r16 offers a good balance of off-road clearance, comfort, and improved fuel economy versus the 205/50r16. Its moderately stretched sidewall suits trucks aesthetically.

The 205/50r16 provides sharper handling and a firmer ride on pavement but loses some capability off-road.

The 205/55r16 is the best all-around choice for typical driving conditions because of its responsive handling, good traction, ride quality, and capability for varying needs. We recommend the 205/55r16 for its versatility.

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