Tire Size 205/55r16 vs 215/55r16
The main difference between the 205/55r16 and 215/55r16 tires is the width. The 215/55r16 tire is 0.39 inches (10mm) wider for a 4.7% width increase over the 205/55r16. This impacts various performance characteristics of the tires.
205/55r16 vs 215/55r16
The table below compares tire sizes 215/55r16 and 205/55r16, highlighting their features and percentage differences.
The overall diameter difference between the two tire sizes is small at 1.7%. This keeps the 215/55r16 replacement tire within the recommended 3% limit to avoid clearance issues or speedometer errors.
No adaptations like lift kits should be needed to accommodate the marginally larger 215 widths.
With a 4.7% smaller tread surface area, the 205/55r16 tire has a slight fuel efficiency advantage over the 215/55r16.
The narrower width and lower rolling resistance lead to better gas mileage, which can add up over time. This makes the 205/55r16 a smart choice for commuters focused on squeezing out every last mpg.
The 215/55r16 diameter is 0.43 inches (11mm) larger than the 205/55r16. This increased diameter provides 1.7% more ground clearance – helping prevent scrapes over rough terrain.
However, the larger diameter also causes a slightly lower speedometer reading on the 215/55r16 compared to the 205/55r16 at any given speed.
The 215/55r16 larger diameter and 0.22 inch (5.5mm) taller sidewall allow it to absorb bumps and cracks better.
This cushier ride comes from increased sidewall flex that dampens vibrations. The difference is minor but could improve comfort on uneven pavement.
Visually, the 4.7% wider 215/55r16 will fill out the wheel well more than the narrower 205/55r16.
This subtly stretched, lower-profile look matches some sporty vehicles. However, subjective preferences vary on ideal proportions.
Handling & Stability
The 205/55r16 shorter, more responsive sidewall offers crisper turn-in and handling over the 215/55r16.
But both remain stable, making either a responsive choice for performance driving. The 215/55r16 provides a bit more stability off-road.
Noise & Vibration
The 215/55r16 extra air volume and sidewall height help isolate noises from transmitting into the cabin.
But the stiffer 205/55r16 allows fewer vibrations through its shorter sidewall. Differences are minor – both absorb irregularities well.
Durability & Wear
The 205/55r16 smaller contact patch distributes wear evenly across the tread for potentially more extended life.
And its lighter weight reduces strain on components. The 215/55r16 sees more impacts but handles them with its added sidewall cushioning.
The narrower 205/55r16 makes cutting through snow and ice easier to find grip below. And the taller 215/55r16 provides a bit more ground clearance in those conditions.
Both perform well, with the 205 better on-road and the 215 better off-road.
Speedometer readings differ by around 1.7% at the same true speed between these sizes. At an actual 20 mph, the speedometer shows 20 mph for the 215/55R16 but 19.66 mph for the 205/55R16.
This variance falls within most vehicles’ calibration tolerances, so reprogramming may be unnecessary.
Can I use 215/55r16 instead of 205/55r16?
Yes, you can replace 205/55R16 tires with 215/55R16 tires on most vehicles. The overall diameter difference between these tire sizes is only 1.7%, which is under the 3% limit guideline for direct replacement without modifications.
However, you still need to choose a 215/55R16 replacement tire with an equivalent or more excellent load rating than your current 205/55R16 tire’s specifications.
As long as the new 215/55R16 tire has the proper weight rating for your vehicle, you can directly substitute this size without problems in most cases.
Will 215/55r16 Fit On 205/55r16?
Yes, it is possible to use a 215/55r16 tire instead of a 205/55r16 tire. The 215/55r16 tire is slightly wider and has a larger diameter than the 205/55r16 tire, resulting in a 1.7% difference in the speedometer reading.
While wider and slightly larger overall, the 215/55R16 only provides modest advantages over the 205/55R16 for most drivers.
Its extra width gives marginally more grip and cushioning but compromises minimal fuel economy. And the size difference could necessitate minor vehicle modifications.
For typical commuting and highway use, the negligible real-world differences make the 205/55R16 the smarter choice for many.
Its narrowly lower costs and easier fitment outweigh the 215’s minor performance perks. Thus, unless the slightly larger 215 width holds particular appeal, we recommend the 205/55R16 as the best pick for most drivers.
Meet Caitlin McCormack, a Tire Size Expert and Blogger Passionate About Everything Related to Tires. With Years of Experience in the Tire Industry, Caitlin Has Become an Expert in Tire Sizes and Their Impact on Vehicle Performance.