Volkswagen Tire Sizes Conversion Chart

The standard tire size codes used on automobiles have changed over the years, making it tricky to be sure you're mounting the correct sized "modern" tire on your vintage vehicle. Prior to the 1960's, tire manufacturers sold mostly "bias-ply" or "cross-ply" tubeless tires. These tires rode hard, didn't handle well and developed a "flat spot" when the car sat for several days, resulting in a funky "thump thump thump" ride when you started out the next morning. But we didn't know any better - so we we were content. But then in the '60s tire makers started offering radial tires! Man what an improvement! On some cars, like vintage Volkswagens, radials completely transformed the ride and handling. These days we have a huge choice of quality radial tires from a multitude of tire manfacturers. But what size is best for your car? Usually it's best to go with a size that's close to what the car originally came with. But since the size designations have changed over the years, this can be tricky. So let's explain the "P-Metric" tire size codes you'll see on a modern tire. As an example, let's say that you have a tire with P215/70R15 embossed in the sidewall. This tire has a width of 215mm (measured from sidewall to sidewall, not across the tread). The 70 is the tire's "aspect ratio". Most everyone calls this the "profile" or "series" so in our example we have a "70 profile" or "70 series" tire. The aspect ratio indicates the height of the sidewall as a percentage of the width, so in our example the sidewall height is equal to 70% of the width of the tire. Profiles of 70 and above are generally considered to be a "normal" sidewall height. A profile less than this is often called a "low profile" tire. These low profile tires look cool and usually handle better in the turns, than a 70 or above profile. But be warned that as the profile gets lower (meaning a shorter sidewall height) the sidewalls have less "flex" so you're gonna have a stiffer ride. If you're using the original wheels it's best to stick with a 75 or 80 series tire. Ok, back to our example; the 'R' indicates that this is a radial tire, and the '15' means that this tire mounts on a rim with a 15" diameter. So using the table below, you should be able to figure out which modern "P-Metric" sized tire comes closest to your ancient original tires or to the tire size shown in that tattered glove box owner's manual!

Tire Size Cross-Reference Table
1949
to 1964
1965
to 1970

1970 to 1980
Alpha-Numeric
78-series
1980 on
P-Metric
75-series
or 80-series
1980 on
Euro-Metric
or P-Metric
70-series
1980 on
Euro-Metric
or P-Metric
65-series
1980 on
Euro-Metric
or P-Metric
60-series
1980 on
Euro-Metric
or P-Metric
50-series
5.20-10


165/70R10


5.20-12

P145/80R12
165/70R12


5.60-12 6.00-12
P155/80R12



5.60-13 6.00-13 A78-13 P165/80R13 185/70R13
205/60R13
6.40-13 6.50-13 B78-13 P175/80R13





C78-13 P185/80R13



5.60-14 6.00-14


175/65R14

6.00-14 6.45-14 A78-14
175/70R14 185/65R14

5.90-14 6.45-14 B78-14 P175/75R14 185/70R14 195/65R14 205/60R14
6.50-14 6.95-14 C78-14 P185/75R14 195/70R14
215/60R14
7.00-14 7.35-14 E78-14 P195/75R14 205/70R14
225/60R14 245/50R14
7.50-14 7.75-14 F78-14 P205/75R14 215/70R14
235/60R14
8.00-14 8.25-14 G78-14 P215/75R14 225/70R14
245/60R14 265/50R14
8.50-14 8.55-14 H78-14 P225/75R14




5.60-15 A78-15 P155/80R15
185/65R15 195/60R15
6.00-15
B78-15 P165/80R15 185/70R15 195/65R15 205/60R15 225/50R15
6.50-15 6.85-15 C78-15
195/70R15 205/65R15 215/60R15
6.60-15 7.35-15 E78-15 P195/75R15 205/70R15 215/65R15 225/60R15
6.70-15 7.75-15 F78-15 P205/75R15 215/70R15
235/60R15
7.10-15 8.25-15 G78-15 P215/75R15 225/70R15 235/65R15 245/60R15 265/50R15
7.60-15 8.55-15 H78-15 P225/75R15 235/70R15
255/60R15 275/50R15
8.00-15 8.85-15 J78-15 P225/75R15 235/70R15
265/60R15
8.20-15 9.15-15 L78-15 P235/75R15 255/70R15
275/60R15 295/50R15
Marketplace Ads
Quality oil and gas additives for autos, boats and motorcycles









See if there's an upcoming Classic VW Car Show near you.
Return to the main listing of Technical Tips.
Return to the BusTopia home page.
Copyright © 2006- BusTopia.com - All content contained within this site is the property of BusTopia.com, and may not be copied
or reproduced by anyone for any purpose, without explicit permission from BusTopia.com. This site is not affiliated with or endorsed by Volkswagen Werk AG
or Volkswagen of North America. VW, VOLKSWAGEN, GHIA and BEETLE are Registered Trademarks of Volkswagen Werk AG and Volkswagen of North America.