Whether you’re looking for new tires, or are buying some aftermarket alloys and wondering which tire size will be best for them, this article will guide you through all the important differences between 215 mm and 225 mm wide tires, so you can choose the best option for your car.
The Quick Answer
Narrower 215 mm tires are cheaper, offer better fuel economy and are quieter than 225 mm tires. Wider 225 mm tires offer better grip and traction than 215 mm tires in dry conditions, however, 215 mm width tires are less prone to aquaplaning.
|215 mm Tires||225 mm Tires|
|Less prone to aquaplaning||Better grip in dry conditions|
|Slower acceleration and braking||Faster acceleration and braking|
|Better fuel economy||Worse fuel economy|
|Less road noise||More road noise|
|Most Suit 6.5-8.0” wide alloys||Most Suit 7.0-8.5” wide alloys|
Performance and Grip
Wider tires offer more traction and grip on dry roads due to the larger contact area. This helps with improving the accelerations and deacceleration of the car. However, once you are actually moving, wider tires will slow you down more than narrower tires due to the extra weight and rolling resistance.
Whilst 225 mm width tires will increase the level of grip in dry conditions, they are more prone to aquaplaning than narrower 215 mm tires. Wider tires have a tendency to float more on water surfaces because the tire has more distance to clear the water.
The susceptibility of the tires to aquaplaning depends massively on the tread design though, so make sure you look at the wet grip rating when buying new tires.
Narrower tires result in better fuel economy, so if you are doing a lot of miles and concerned with how much the fuel is costing, then the 215 mm tires are the better option compared to the 225 mm tires. This is because wider tires have more rolling resistance and weight which means it takes more fuel for the car to travel the same distance at the same speed compared to if the tires were narrower.
But how much of a difference does it actually make? In reality, it wont make a massive difference. Going up a tire size by 10 mm is likely only to cause a reduction of a couple MPG at most.
Another disadvantage of 225 mm tires compared to 215 mm tires, is that the wider tires are louder. Since the size increase is only 10 mm, the increase in road noise will not be massive but may be noticeable at first. It’s important to note that many other factors affect the amount of road noise too.
The sidewall height and the make and model of the tire affect the level of road noise. If you’re concerned with how noisy your tires are, then try and choose a tire with a lower noise rating.
Most tires have a rating of between 68-72 db, so if you can choose something closer to 68 db, then you might actually notice that your new 225 mm tires are actually quieter than your previous 215 mm tires.
Narrower tires are cheaper than wider tires. Since 225 mm tires are 10 mm wider than 215 mm tires, they are typically more expensive.
However, this is not always the case and you should check the price of the specific tires you’re looking at to check the difference. It also depends on how common the size you want is, and this includes the aspect ratio and rim size. If you are looking for a relatively rare tire size, you will end up paying more even if they are a bit thinner.
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Alloy Size Compatibility
The main thing you need to consider when deciding on the tire tread width you want, is how wide your alloys are.
Different tire widths have a range of rim widths that they are compatible with. Going with for a wide tire and small alloy width will cause the tire to extend past the edge of the alloy. Conversely, choosing a narrow tire for a wider alloy will cause it to be more flush with the alloy’s edge.
There is some flexibility with which tires suit which alloys (listed in the table below), where you want to sit in the range depends on what look you’re going for. You should always check with the manufacturer before fitting the tires to ensure they are the appropriate size as the limits are not the same for each tire.
|Rim Width||215 mm Tires||225 mm Tires|
|Minimum Rim Width||6.5”||7.0”|
|Maximum Rim Width||8.0”||8.5”|
|Ideal Rim Width||7.0-7.5″”||7.5-8.0”|
Whenever you change the width of your tires, you also need to consider the aspect ratio which dictates the sidewall (profile) height.
There are three numbers to consider when looking at the size of a tire:
- The first number is the width of the tire in millimetres e.g. 215 or 225
- The second number is the aspect ratio. This is a percentage of the tire width and dictates the profile height of the tire.
- The third number is the rim size they are suitable for, measured in inches.
Take the image below as an example. The tires are 195 mm wide, and the profile height is 50% of 195 mm, meaning it is 97.5 mm. The tires are made for a 16 inch alloy.
The sidewall height is always dependent on the width of the tire so whenever you alter the width, you are also altering the height.
For example, a 215/45/R17 tire has a profile width of 97 mm (45% of 215 mm). Whereas a 225/45/R17 tire has a larger profile width of 101 mm). This means that you will need to work out what aspect ratio will allow the wheel to fit in the arch comfortably if you are changing from the OEM width.
You can increase or decrease the overall wheel size to an extent, however this will have an effect on the vehicle’s speedometer. Let’s look at the example given above again. Here’s a table to show the impact of the tire size on different parameters.
|Measurement||215/45 R17 Tires||225/45 R17 Tires|
|Tire Width||215 mm||225 mm|
|Sidewall Height||97 mm||101 mm|
|Overall Wheel Circumference||1963 mm||1991 mm|
|Revolutions||822/mile or 509/km||810/mile or 502/km|
As you can see from the revolutions measurement, the wider tires have fewer revolutions per mile/ km, meaning the speedometer will read slightly slower than the actual speed.
In this example, the speedometer would read 1 km/ hour slower than the actual speed of the car. The effect that the tire size change has on the speedometer reading will depend on the tire sizes you’re looking at, so it’s important to check this before making any changes.
Want to learn more about the pros and cons of small and large wheels? Check out my complete guide to why wheel size matters to learn more.
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