Car owners often wish to switch to a different tire size for a change in the vehicle’s performance or appearance. However, changing to a tire with a different rim size isn’t as common.
Most of the time, car owners simply choose a tire with a different width or aspect ratio while keeping the rim diameter unchanged. This is because the tire’s rim diameter must be a perfect fit with the diameter of the wheel’s rim. So, let’s see if you can replace a set of 195 65r15 tires with a set of 205 55r16.
Can I replace 195 65r15 with 205 55r16?
You can replace 195 65r15 with 205 55r16, but you’ll have to change the rim size too. As you can see from the index numbers, the two tires have different rim diameters.
195 65r15 has a rim diameter of 15 inches, while 205 55r16 comes with a 16-inch rim diameter. If you are currently using a set of 195 65r15 wheels, it means your car’s wheel rims have a diameter of 15 inches too. Unless a tire’s rim diameter matches that of the car, it simply won’t fit.
If the rim diameter of a tire is smaller than that of the car’s wheel, you won’t even be able to pull the tire over the wheel. Similarly, an oversized tire will be a loose fit and you won’t be able to drive properly.
This is what will happen if you replace a 195 65r15 with a 205 55r16. The rim diameter of a 205 55r16 is one inch bigger than your rims, so it would be far from a snug fit.
However, it’s still possible to switch from 195 65r15 to 205 55r16, by adjusting your rim size accordingly. You can simply buy a set of 16-inch rims from a tire store and replace your existing wheels. This will make your car compatible with 205 55r16 tires and other tires with a 16-inch rim diameter.
195 65r15 vs 205 55r16 differences
Switching to 205 55r16 not only involves the cost of the new tires, but also the 16-inch rims. Hence, before you go for it, you should carefully compare the two tire sizes and decide if you still want to go for 205 55r16. Let’s have a look at the differences between the two tire sizes.
As you might notice from the respective tire index numbers, 195 65r15 and 205 55r16 have widths of 195 mm and 205 mm respectively. This means 205 55r16 is wider by 10 mm and thus has a larger surface area.
Now, the surface area of a tire that touches the road is directly proportional to the traction offered by the tire. Using a set of 205 55r16 will thus help your car have a better grip on the road.
On the other hand, one should bear in mind that narrower tires are better for driving in the snow. This is why people often consider downsizing their tires to get narrower ones in winter.
As 195 65r15 has a smaller surface area, it can concentrate more load per unit area and thus dig into the snow. This allows the tire to gain more traction when driving on a snowy road.
Coming to the aspect ratio of the tires, we find a 10% difference between the two. While the aspect ratio of 195 65r15 is 65%, 205 55r16 has a 55% aspect ratio.
This too is a factor to take into consideration as the aspect ratio of the tire directly affects your driving experience. Tires with higher aspect ratios can ensure greater ride comfort, by absorbing shocks and providing extra suspension.
At the same time, a high aspect ratio can make the vehicle feel a little unstable. Tires with low aspect ratios offer more lateral stability. Based on this, we can see that 195 65r15 offers the advantage of a more comfortable ride while 205 55r16 boasts better stability.
When it comes to the construction type, there’s no difference between the two tires. They both feature radial-ply construction, which means the wires run parallel to the circumference of the tire.
Radial tires are more sophisticated and popular compared to the other construction type – cross-ply construction. You’ll enjoy a much more comfortable ride on a set of radial tires as they are better at absorbing shocks.
As we discussed earlier, 195 65r15 and 205 55r16 are two tires with varying rim diameters. Let’s now see whether switching to a different wheel size has any perks.
A bigger wheel is usually more aesthetically pleasing, which is why luxury cars tend to have big wheels and rims. It also improves a car’s handling and cornering performance. On the other hand, a smaller wheel delivers better braking performance, fuel economy, and suspension.
If you decide to stick to 195 65r15 or choose another tire size with 15-inch rim diameter, you don’t have to worry about additional rim costs. However, replacing your tires with 205 55r16 will require you to invest in new rims.
Hence, it’s quite evident that the two tires are very different from each other. They differ in every parameter besides construction type, including width, sidewall height, aspect ratio, and rim diameter. Here’s a table comparing the specs of 195 65r15 and 205 55r16:
|Parameter||195 65r15||205 55r16||Difference|
|Width||195 mm||205 mm||10 mm (5.1%)|
|Sidewall height||126.75 mm||112.75 mm||-14 mm (-11%)|
|Circumference||1993.34 mm||1985.17 mm||-8.17 mm (-0.4%)|
|Rim diameter||15 inches||16 inches||1 inch|
Conclusion: Should you replace a 195 65r15 and 205 55r16?
Although the two tires are very different, their circumferences are very similar (only a 0.4% difference). This also results in similar revolutions per mile and, consequently, a similar effect on fuel consumption.
That leaves stability, traction, and ride comfort among the other factors to consider. While 205 55r16 delivers greater traction in regular conditions, 195 65r15 is better for driving on snow. 195 65r15 is a better choice in terms of ride comfort, while 205 55r16 is good for those who prefer more stability.