Tire Size 205/55r16 vs 205/65r16

One size does not fit all, to get the best performance out of your vehicle, you need to choose the right tire for your needs. The key difference between 205/55R16 and 205/65R16 tires lies in their sidewall height. For the 205/55R16 tire, the sidewall height is 4.44 inches (112.75mm), while for the 205/65R16 tire, it is 5.25 inches (133.25mm).

This 18.2% difference in sidewall height contributes to a larger overall diameter for the 205/65R16 tire, affecting the circumference, revolution per mile, and potentially the vehicle’s ride comfort and handling characteristics.

205/55r16 vs 205/65r16

The table compares the features of tire sizes 205/55r16 and 205/65r16, along with the percentage difference between them.

Feature 205/55r16 205/65r16 Difference
Diameter inches (mm) 24.88″ 26.49″ 1.61″
Width inches (mm) 8.07″ 8.07″ 0 (0) 0%
Circumference inches (mm) 78.16″ 83.23″ 5.07″
Sidewall Height inches (mm) 4.44″ 5.25″ 0.81″
Revolutions per mile (km) 810.68 761.29 49.4
Rim Size 16″ 16″ Same
Rim Width Range 5.5-7.5″ 5.5-7.5″ Same

Overall Diameter
The overall diameter of a tire refers to the distance from one end of the tire to the other, measured across the center. In our comparison, the 205/65r16 tire has a larger overall diameter (26.49 inches) than the 205/55r16 (24.88 inches).

This 6.5% difference translates into more ground clearance, making the 205/65r16 more suitable for off-road driving or navigating rough terrains. However, bear in mind that this increase in tire height also leads to a lower speedometer reading, which may require adjustments to ensure accurate speed tracking.

Section Width
Both tires in our comparison have the same section width of 8.07 inches, representing the distance between the two widest points of the tire’s outer edges.

A wider tire generally provides better traction due to a larger contact patch, leading to improved performance in acceleration, braking, and cornering. Since there’s no difference in this case, both tire sizes should provide a similar level of traction.

The circumference of a tire influences the vehicle’s speedometer reading. A larger circumference, as found in the 205/65r16 tire (83.23 inches), results in a lower speedometer reading.

Whereas a smaller circumference, like the 205/55r16 tire’s 78.16 inches, leads to a higher speedometer reading. This 6.5% difference should be considered when swapping tires to avoid speedometer discrepancies.

Sidewall Height
Sidewall height greatly affects a tire’s performance and ride comfort. The 205/65r16 has a taller sidewall height (5.25 inches) than the 205/55r16 (4.44 inches). A taller sidewall can act as a buffer, absorbing more bumps and road imperfections for a smoother ride while also improving traction on snowy or icy roads.

On the other hand, the shorter sidewall of the 205/55r16 may offer a harsher ride with less cushioning but lends the tire a sportier and more aggressive look.

Revolutions Per Mile

Revolutions per mile measure how often a tire rotates over a mile’s distance. The 205/65r16 tire spins fewer times (761.29 revolutions per mile) than the 205/55r16 tire (810.68 revolutions per mile), reducing friction with the road surface and potentially extending the tire’s lifespan. However, higher RPM, as found in the 205/55r16, might lead to increased wear and a shorter lifespan.

Rim Size & Width Range
Both tires are compatible with a 16″ rim size and a rim width range of 5.5-7.5″, so there is no difference in this aspect. Larger rims are typically associated with a sportier look, while smaller ones provide a classic or conservative appearance. Since both tire sizes fit the same rim size, aesthetic considerations will be identical for both.

How much taller is a 205/55r16 tire than a 205/60r16?

The height of a 205/55r16 tire is 24.88 inches (631.9 mm), while the height of a 205/60r16 tire is 26.49 inches (672.9 mm). Hence, the 205/60r16 tire is approximately 1.61 inches (or 41 mm) taller than the 205/55r16 tire. This difference represents a 6.5% increase in height.

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

Using tires with a diameter difference of more than 3% from the original is not recommended. The overall diameter of a 205/55r16 tire is 24.88 inches (631.9 mm), while the 205/60r16 tire has an overall diameter of 26.49 inches (672.9 mm).

These two tire sizes are roughly 1.61 inches, or approximately 41 mm, equating to a 6.5% variance. Given this difference is above the suggested 3% limit, it’s not usually recommended to use a 205/55r16 tire in place of a 205/60r16.

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

The 205/55r16 and 205/60r16 tires have the same suggested rim width range of 5.5-7.5 inches. This implies that both these tire sizes can be mounted on the same rims. However, as with any tire changes, consulting with a tire or vehicle professional is always recommended to ensure safety and performance standards.

Our Observation
While the 205/65r16 and 205/55r16 tires share some characteristics, the key differences in diameter, sidewall height, and revolutions per mile present diverging advantages. The 205/65r16, with its greater diameter and sidewall height, offers better off-road performance, superior ride comfort, and potentially a longer lifespan due to lower RPM.

Conversely, the 205/55r16, due to its smaller diameter and sidewall height, provides a sportier look and feel but may wear out faster. It’s essential to consider these factors and align them with your specific requirements and driving conditions when choosing between these two tire sizes.

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