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Changing tires

 
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Old 15 Nov 2010, 04:36 pm
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Question Changing tires

Hi all,

I bought my pt cruiser 2nd hand, from a guy who just put new rims and tires on them. He did a pretty good job on keeping the right tire size,
If I'm correct the stocks are 205/55R16 tires.
He equipped them with Nankang 215/40R17 tires, which essentially have the same tire diameter as the stocks.

So according to a tire calculator also the speed should be the same, but when I compare the speedometer to my GPS, I see I still drive between 6 and 12% slower than what my speedometer tells me! (speedometer shows 45mph, GPS shows between 40 and 43).

Okay, so the previous owner used drop springs on the car, and I find the car is too low above the ground (drove in a pothole, and damaged the chassis). On top of that, the tires are pretty hard; so I want to get tires with a bigger profile to replace current ones.


Which tires should I use?
I want cheap tires, that are well suited for comfortable summer driving conditions (I live in S florida), and last a long time.

Not interested in racing tires, snow tires, or low profile tires.

The Nankang 215/40R17 tires seem to be a perfect fit to the rims, but I've been looking into a tire program, and it's very hard to find tires with exactly the same tread width (tire width to fit the rim shape).

I also know if I'd order a too iffy (strange in size) tire, they might become too expensive,
so I would like to find a very common profile tire that would fit my rims (I want to keep my rims), that would be both cheap and reliable enough.

There seem to be minor differences between tread width, (which I believe is the most important factor, to at least FIT the rim, so if some variation is allowed, I find following profiles close to the original:

215/40R17 = ORIGINAL

195/50R17 (-0,64" tread width, tire section width may be too small)
195/55R17 (-0,64" tread width, tire section width may be too small, but speed reads good for these tires!)
205/45R17 (-0,45" tread width, tire section width may be too small)
205/50R17 (-0,15" tread width, good speed readings)
205/55R17 (-0,15" tread width, best speed readings)
215/45R17 (-0,19" tread width)
215/50R17 (+0,30" tread width, best speed readings)
215/55R17 (+0,30" tread width, best speed readings)
225/45R17 (+0,26" tread width, good speed readings)
225/50R17 (+0,56" tread width, tire section width may be too wide, but best speed readings)
225/55R17 (+0,56" tread width, tire section width may be too wide, but good speed readings)
235/45R17 (+0,67" tread width, tire section width may be too wide, but very good speed readings)
245/45R17 (+0,94" tread width, tire section width probably is too wide, but best speed readings)

The tire calculator shows the speed of the tires, and what I am aiming for is getting the same speed on my speedometer as on my GPS, so an increase of between 6 and 12% is desirable.


Would a 205/55R17 fit?
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Last edited by ProDigit; 15 Nov 2010 at 04:46 pm.
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Old 16 Nov 2010, 02:40 am
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Default Re: Changing tires

Comparing the stock 205/55R16s to the aftermarket 215/40R17s, yes the aftermarket ones are smaller in overall diameter! Perhaps the previous owner was trying to make the 17s look big by putting on really low-pro tires?

Check the width of the rims. If they're 7" then 205/50R17s will be fine. 7.5-8" then 225/45R17s will also be fine.

As for particular tires, check reviews on Tire Rack - Your performance experts for tires and wheels. Use the filter on left side of the screen to narrow down your searches ie. All-Season.

I hope this helps, and good luck!
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Old 16 Nov 2010, 01:10 pm
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Default Re: Changing tires

Actually the 205/50R17's are not that much of an improvement over the current ones.
The 205/55R17 seem to have identical specs but a little wider outer diameter.

Are you suggesting the 205/50R17's because they generally are cheaper? (yes I know they have less rubber, but found most online prices indicating the 205/50R17 being more expensive).



Is there some way way on the rim you can get info for what tires fit best?
I only see the info of the tires, but don't know for sure if they fit perfectly on the rims or not (they seem to be a perfect fit).
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Last edited by ProDigit; 16 Nov 2010 at 01:29 pm.
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Old 16 Nov 2010, 03:58 pm
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Default Re: Changing tires

205 = Tire width in millimeters
40 = Percentage of the tire width which determines sidewall height
17 = Rim size

Your current setup is 205/40R17 when the recommended size is 205/50R17. That's a noticeable difference in sidewall height, and from what I understand, you're looking for a bigger profile to replace current ones.

Look at your current setup. (Providing your tire pressures are correct)
A)Does it look like the tires are being stretched to meet the lips of the rims?
-Or-
B) does the tires bulge out on the sidewall and then bend inward onto the rims?

If A, then you'll be able to use 225/45R17s.
-With that stretch, that means your tires are too narrow for that rim width.
-The extra width of the 225s help protect the rim from curb damage while preventing tire stretch.
-And with the sidewall height being 45%, it accomadates for the extra tire width; thus keeping the overall tire diameter to be as identical to stock as possible.

If B, then you'll be able to use 205/50R17s.
-The rim width appears to be quite narrow, so you won't need tires that are too wide that it might fall off the rims.
-The 205s will suffice, and the sidewall height of 50% will still give you the same sidewall height as the one in Option A (~4").
-Also, 205/50R17s are the stock tire size on some of our models.
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Old 16 Nov 2010, 10:10 pm
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Default Re: Changing tires

Check the sticker on the driver's door, next to the latch for OEM wheel and tire size combinations. What year is your PT? The 17 inch wheels were a latter year feature. Do you have stock wheels?
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Last edited by Matt42; 18 Nov 2010 at 10:54 pm.
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Old 18 Nov 2010, 05:27 pm
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Default Re: Changing tires

the app I used is this one:CAT Freeware -- Tire Size Comparator

It tells me that if I increase the height, the width goes down of the tire, even if both tires use 40R17 measurments.

current tire looks like it barely gets on the rim, rims are out more than the tire,so situation A.
I'm sure if I hit a curb parallel with the wheel, the rim would get damaged.
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Old 20 Nov 2010, 10:13 am
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Default Re: Changing tires

After some looking around, and studying many angles I think I'll be going for the 215/50R17 tires.

Since I won't be racing (max 90mph), and generally only drive with them in summer conditions (South Florida Weather) I'll need to find which tires are best suited for me!
The front tires are probably going to be heavier than the back tires (since they support both the engine, and the driver/passenger. The back tires generally only lift a few hundred pounds total (2 strong people probably will be able to lift up the back of my car without problems,as the only heavy thing is the gas tank).
Now and then I probably will travel, and put some luggage in it, but apart from that, most of the time the back tires won't need to carry anything heavy.
What would be the right load index (or front weight of the PT) for the front tires?

Would you recommend 4 identical tires (in case the front ones wear out I could do a swap)?
Or should I buy 2 by 2 (perhaps save some $$ there?)
I see some companies give them cheaper when you buy 4 of them though...

I'm also looking into brands, and current brand I have (Nankang), made in Taiwan, are not bad tires. They are new, and pretty rough, but they have a good grip.
Can't say anything about how long they will last, but so far (after a good 350 miles the newness has gone off, but no sign of thread wear). I can comment on that later.
I hope to stay below $100 per tire ($400 per set or lower).
Any brand recommendations?

I see nexen's tires of the N5000 are rated 60k for thread wear, seems on the high side, while their tires are priced lower than other brands. Why are they cheaper?

I'm also looking into tire speed ratings. The way I see it, S and T are good enough. I generally won't be going faster than 90mph, most of the time staying below 70mph. U, H, V, W, and Y ratings are probably going to cost me for something I don't really need!
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Last edited by ProDigit; 20 Nov 2010 at 10:56 am.
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