[Vwdiesel] Diesel rabbit wheels / tires

Shawn Wright swright at zuiko.sls.bc.ca
Sun Feb 20 22:22:43 EST 2005

On 18 Feb 2005 at 14:02, Gerry Wolfe <gjwolfe at telus.net> wrote:

> 1) Stick with the +1 sizes i.e. 185/60x14.  Ride quality is much higher than
> with the 195/50 or 205/50x15.  The lower sidewall ratio ends up transmitting
> a lot of the road shock, much more than you would expect (unless you're
> talking about a later generation vehicle which has suspension tuned to the
> lower sidewall ratios).  On the other side, responsiveness with a 50-series
> tire is instantaneous, almost dangerous -- very "darty" and ready to follow
> grooves in the road.
> 2) If you're looking for better handling, a hi-perf 185/60x14 setup will be
> better than a run-of-the-mill 195/50x50 setup.  All things equal, "wider" is
> better for performance.  But a cheap wider tire is no match for a hi-perf
> narrower tire.
> 3) Tire quality is prob'ly the one item which will have the greatest impact
> on performance.  You can lower the car, install stiffer springs & shocks &
> sways, but you gotta remember that the only parts touching the road are the
> soft black ones.  Crappy tires with "performance" suspension doesn't cut it
> and is probably unsafe.  Performance tires (same size as OEM) on the
> original suspension would prob'ly work much better.
> Just my $0.02Cdn (altho I've spent a pile more than that on rubber over the
> last few years...)

Sounds like it, from your list of tires... ;-)
All good advice - we've had a dozen A2 Jettas in our family since '85, and have 
covered nearly all of the combinations from stock to 205/45/R16. I agree that 60 
series is the best overall in most conditions, but it is getting harder to find the higher 
end tires in this size anymore I've noticed. 50 series and below tires are really only 
summer performance use, and can be matched in many cases with a good 60 series 
tire, as Gerry said. Besides, 50 series snow tires are an oxymoron in a car as light as 
the Jetta, so you'll need spare wheels if snow is an issue.
And I know firsthand how cheap tires perform in a light car with performance 
suspension - I lost my '82 Scirocco this way. My wife lost it in the rain nose first into a 
10ft deep ditch because I kept putting off replacing the tires & wheels. I had just put 
sport springs and shocks in it, and it was more than a little twitchy with cheap tires...

I currently run Michelin X-One in 195/60R14 on teardrop alloys. Not nearly as sticky 
as the  MXV4s I had before, but good in the rain, not bad in snow either. The best 
performance tires I've driven in a Jetta were BFG Comp T/A ZR rated on 15 wheels, 
on my Dad's 16V GTX. Those tires were amazing, but only good for about 60-80k 

Shawn Wright
'85 Jetta TD (retired)
'85 Jetta D 
'88 Westy 2.1L
'82 Diesel Westy

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