Tire Size 215/60r16 vs 205/65r16

The main difference between tire sizes 215/60R16 and 205/65R16 lies in the section width. The tire size 215/60R16 is 10 mm wider than the 205/65R16, measuring 215 mm versus 205 mm across the tread. This impacts various performance factors.

Fitment Guide

The 205/65R16 is around 1.3% smaller in overall diameter than the 215/60R16. This minor difference means both sizes can serve as direct replacements for each other without fitment issues. They are within the 3% diameter tolerance for compatibility.

Ground Clearance

With a diameter of 26.16 inches, the 215/60R16 provides 0.33 inches more ground clearance than the 205/65R16 at 26.49 inches.

This modest increase can help with off-road driving by preventing scrapes over rocks or obstacles.

However, the larger 215/60R16 diameter also causes a 1.3% lower speedometer reading than the 205/65R16.

205 65r16 in inches

Gas Mileage

The 205/65R16 slightly narrower tread width reduces contact patch size, decreasing rolling resistance.

Combined with marginally less rotational mass, this confers a minor fuel efficiency advantage over the 215/60R16.

For daily drivers seeking maximum mpg, the 205/65R16 is preferable.

Ride Comfort

The taller 60 aspect ratio sidewall of the 215/60R16 absorbs road impacts better than the 205/65R16.

Its extra cushioning provides a smoother ride over uneven pavement. However, the difference is subtle, and both deliver comfortable on-road performance.

215 60r16 in inches


The 215/60R16 taller sidewall visually gives a slightly “stretched” look compared to the 205/65R16 shorter sidewall.

Subjectively, the 205/65R16 appears sportier, while the 215/60R16 seems more rugged. Overall aesthetic preference varies.

Handling & Stability

With a shorter, stiffer sidewall, the 205/65R16 offers sharper turn-in and handling over the 215/60R16.

However, both remain stable at speed. The 205/65R16 has a slight edge for responsive pavement performance.

Noise & Vibration

The 215/60R16 flexible sidewall absorbs road noise and vibration better than the stiffer 205/65R16.

But the differences are minor, and both tires keep the cabin quiet and comfortable. Larger tread blocks on either could increase noise.

Durability & Wear

The 205/65R16 shorter sidewall experiences marginally less flexing stress during cornering, promoting even treadwear.

However, both sizes deliver long service life with proper maintenance. Rotation and alignment are key for longevity.

Adverse Conditions

Both sizes perform well on wet roads. The narrower 205/65R16 may cut through to the pavement better in snow.

The 215/60R16 provides slightly more traction off-road. Ultimately, tread design is the most significant factor in adverse conditions.

Speedometer Difference

When a vehicle with 215/60r16 tires travels at an actual speed of 20 mph, the speedometer will read 20 mph.

However, if the exact vehicle has 205/65r16 tires installed, the speedometer will read 20.26 mph when traveling at the same actual speed of 20 mph.

This discrepancy is because the 215/60r16 tires have a slightly larger overall diameter, resulting in a lower speedometer reading than the smaller 205/65r16 tires at the same true vehicle speed.

Can I Use 205/65r16 Instead Of 215/60r16?

Yes, you can use 205/65r16 tires instead of 215/60r16 tires on your vehicle. The overall diameter difference between the two tire sizes is within 3% (1.3% to be exact).

This minor difference in overall diameter should not cause any issues with speedometer accuracy or gearing.

Additionally, as long as the load rating of the 205/65r16 tire meets or exceeds the load rating of your original 215/60r16 tire, it should have sufficient load carrying capacity for your vehicle.

Make sure to check the maximum load rating printed on the sidewall of the replacement 205/65r16 tire before purchase.

Can I put a 215/60r16 on a 205/65r16?

The 215/60r16 tire suggests a rim width range of 6.0-7.5 inches, while the 205/65r16 tire suggests a range of 5.5-7.5 inches.

Since there is overlap in these ranges, it’s possible to mount a 215/60r16 tire on a rim intended for a 205/65r16 tire.

Our Observation
After comparing the 215/60R16 and 205/65R16, I’m inclined to recommend the former if choosing between them. The slightly taller sidewall provides a more comfortable ride and better absorption of impacts, which most drivers would appreciate.

While the 205/65R16 is a bit sharper handling and perhaps more efficient, I don’t believe the difference is significant enough to sacrifice the 215/60R16 ride quality advantages.

I feel the 215/60R16 is a winning choice for a responsive yet compliant all-around tire. With its well-balanced qualities, it would be my personal pick for daily driving from this comparison.

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