Tire Size 205/55r16 vs 205/65r16

205/55r16 vs 205/65r16

The key difference between 205/55r16 and 205/65r16 tires lies in their aspect ratio. The aspect ratio, which is the second number in the tire size code, indicates the height of the tire’s sidewall as a percentage of its width.

205/55r16 vs 205/65r16

Fitment Guide

The overall diameter of 205/65r16 tires is 6.5% larger than 205/55r16 tires. Replacement tires should be within 3% of the original size to prevent clearance issues.

So 205/65r16 tires may require slight modifications to fit correctly without rubbing.

Gas Mileage

With a smaller diameter and contact patch, 205/55r16 tires have lower rolling resistance, conferring better fuel efficiency than 205/65r16. This can translate into measurable gas savings over time.

Ground Clearance

The taller sidewall of 205/65r16 tires provides 1.81 inches (20.5mm) more ground clearance than 205/55r16. This added clearance aids off-road driving by preventing scrapes over rough terrain.

However, the larger 205/65r16 diameter causes a lower speedometer reading by 6.1% compared to 205/55r16 at the same actual speed.

205 65r16 in inches

Ride Comfort

The extra sidewall height of 205/65r16 tires allows more flex and bump absorption, providing a smoother ride over uneven pavement compared to 205/55r16. The difference is modest but noticeable over cracked or potholed roads.

Speedometer Difference

At an actual speed of 20 mph, the speedometer reads 21.3 mph with 205/65r16 tires versus 20 mph with 205/55r16 tires. Drivers should account for this 1.3 mph speedometer difference between the tire sizes.


Visually, the 205/65r16’s taller sidewall provides a subtly “stretched” look that suits some vehicles better than the low-profile appearance of 205/55r16 tires. This comes down to subjective preference in styling.

Handling & Stability

The shorter sidewall of 205/55r16 tires affords slightly quicker steering response and handling precision on pavement compared to 205/65r16. But both deliver responsive, stable handling for normal driving conditions.

205 65r16 in inches

Noise & Vibration

With a shorter, stiffer sidewall that transmits more road impacts, 205/55r16 tires tend to produce marginally more noise and vibration in the cabin versus 205/65r16 tires. But differences are minor, with both providing relatively quiet, comfortable rides.

Durability & Wear

The longer tread life of 205/55r16 tires can be offset by the superior impact absorption of 205/65r16 tires, reducing wear on vehicle components. Overall durability and wear characteristics are similar between correctly fitted sizes.

Adverse Conditions

Performance in rain, snow and off-road conditions is comparable between the two tire sizes. The extra ground clearance of 205/65r16 tires provides a slight advantage.

At the same time, the shorter sidewall and smaller contact patch of 205/55r16 promote responsiveness. Both handle adverse conditions relatively well.

Can I Use 205/65r16 Instead Of 205/55r16?

No, it is not recommended to use 205/65R16 tires instead of 205/55R16 tires on your vehicle.

The recommended maximum diameter difference between these two tire sizes is 3%, which is exceeded by the actual diameter difference of 6.5%. Using tires with a too large diameter can negatively impact various vehicle systems and functions.

What Does 205/65R16 Mean?

The tire size 205/65R16 is equivalent to 26.5×8.1R16 in inches. The code “205/65R16” on a tire signifies its specifications.

The numbers represent its width (205 mm) and aspect ratio (65% of width), while “R” indicates a radial construction. The last number, “16,” denotes the wheel diameter in inches.

What Does 205/55R16 Mean?

The tire size 205/55R16 is equivalent to 24.9×8.1R16 in inches. The code “205/55R16” on a tire provides key details about its specifications.

The “205/55R16” on a tire means it’s 205 mm wide with a 55% aspect ratio (sidewall height), a radial construction (indicated by ‘R’), and designed for a 16-inch wheel.

How Much Taller Is A 65 Tire Than A 55?

The 65 tire is 1.61 inches (41 mm) taller than the 55 tire. The diameter of the 205/65R16 tire is 26.49 inches (668.7 mm), while the diameter of the 205/55R16 tire is 24.88 inches (645.2 mm).

How Tall Is A 205/55r16 Tire?

The overall height of a 205/55r16 tire, mounted on a 16-inch wheel, would be approximately 24.88 inches. This measurement includes the diameter of the tire from one sidewall to the other, across the outer tread surface.

How Tall Is A 205/65r16 Tire?

The 205/65r16 tire has an overall height of 26.49 inches, which converts to 672.9 millimeters.

This diameter measurement from the wheel rim to the top of the tire determines the overall height. So, a tire of this size has a height of 26.49 inches when properly mounted and inflated.

Our Observation
Based on the comparison data, both 205/55R16 and 205/65R16 tires have merits depending on the intended application. The slightly smaller 205/55R16 size seems ideal for smooth highway driving and enhanced fuel efficiency.

Its modest advantages in handling, ride quality, and gas mileage suit daily commuting well. Meanwhile, the 205/65R16’s extra ground clearance and cushioning are better suited for carrying heavy loads or traversing uneven terrain despite requiring more consideration for proper fitment.

Overall, we’d recommend the 205/55R16 as the best tire size for most drivers and general on-road use, with the 205/65R16 as an alternative for off-road or rugged applications.

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