Tire Size 205/55r16 vs 205/60r16

The main difference between tire sizes 205/55R16 and 205/60R16 lies in the aspect ratio, which affects ride characteristics, aesthetics, ground clearance, and speedometer accuracy. Let’s compare how these subtle differences impact performance.

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

Both sizes fit the same 16-inch rim diameter, but the 205/60R16 is 3.2% larger in overall diameter. This minor increase stays within the 3% replacement tolerance for most vehicles, so usually, no modifications are needed.

Ground Clearance

With a diameter of 25.69 inches, the 205/60R16 provides 0.81 inches more ground clearance than the 205/55R16 at 24.88 inches. This modest increase improves clearance over obstacles or rough terrain.

However, it also causes a slightly lower speedometer reading on the 205/60R16.

Gas Mileage

The 205/55R16’s more minor contact patch and lower rotational mass improve efficiency and fuel economy compared to the 205/60R16. The larger tire’s increased rolling resistance and weight reduce mpg.

Ride Comfort

While the 205/55R16 may offer a smoother highway ride, the 205/60R16’s taller sidewall cushions bumps better, providing a more comfortable ride on uneven surfaces. The extra sidewall flex absorbs road impacts more effectively.


Visually, the difference is subtle. The 205/60R16 has a slightly taller sidewall, giving it a modestly “stretched” look compared to the 205/55R16.

This taller profile aesthetic suits some vehicles, like trucks and SUVs, better than an overly low-profile appearance.

Handling & Stability

The shorter sidewall on the 205/55R16 enhances responsiveness and handling precision on the pavement. The taller 205/60R16 sidewall exhibits more flex, reducing handling sharpness slightly. Both deliver responsive, stable handling overall.

Noise & Vibration

With its shorter, stiffer sidewall, the 205/55R16 transmits more road noise and vibration into the cabin. The extra sidewall flex on the 205/60R16 helps isolate noise and vibration. However, the differences are minor – both provide a quiet, smooth ride.

Durability & Wear

The 205/55R16’s shorter sidewall and smaller contact patch may promote more even treadwear and extended lifespan. The larger 205/60R16 sees more stress, which could accelerate wear on the tire and vehicle components.

Adverse Conditions

The narrower 205/55R16 may cut through better to find grip beneath in snow or ice. The wider 205/60R16 provides a traction advantage in specific off-road or muddy conditions. Both perform well overall in adverse weather.

Speedometer Difference

The speedometer reading for 205/55r16 tires at 20 mph is 20 mph. However, for 205/60r16 tires at the same vehicle speed, the speedometer reading is slightly higher at 20.65 mph.

This difference of 0.65 mph is because 205/60r16 tires have a larger diameter, so they cover more ground distance per revolution. Overall, speedometer readings will be slightly higher with 205/60r16 tires compared to 205/55r16 at the same actual vehicle speed.

Can I use 205/55r16 instead of 205/60r16?

The overall diameter of the 205/55r16 tire is 24.88 inches (631.9 mm), while the 205/60r16 tire has an overall diameter of 25.69 inches (652.4 mm).

The difference between these two tire sizes is 0.81 inches or 20.5 mm, representing about a 3.2% difference. This difference slightly exceeds the recommended 3% limit, so using a 205/55r16 tire instead of a 205/60r16 tire might not be advised.

However, it is always best to consult a tire specialist or vehicle professional before making such changes to guarantee safety and performance.

205/55r16 vs 205/60r16

Can I put a 205/55r16 on a 205/60r16?

In terms of fitting a 205/55r16 tire on a rim intended for a 205/60r16, we can look at the rim width ranges. The 205/55r16 tire can accommodate a rim width range of 5.5-7.5 inches.

While the 205/60r16 tire is suitable for a rim width range of 5.5-7.0 inches. Given these ranges, it is possible to mount a 205/55r16 tire on a rim designed for a 205/60r16 tire, as their rim width ranges overlap.

Our Observation
The 205/55R16 offers advantages like sharper handling, potential fuel economy benefits, and a more accurate speedometer. Its shorter sidewall and lighter weight suit performance needs.

Meanwhile, the 205/60R16 provides a smoother ride over imperfections, improved capability through snow or off-road, and a stretched aesthetic some prefer.

For most drivers seeking a comfortable daily tire, we recommend the 205/60R16 for its ride quality and light off-road ability. But opt for the 205/55R16 if handling and fuel efficiency are top priorities. Both remain great options.

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