Saturn Tire Width – Installing 205’s

by James Walker, Jr. of scR motorsports (2000)

For almost all street driving, 205/50’s or 205/55’s should fit just fine on factory wheels without any concerns for rubbing, touching, etc. We only say ‘should’ because manufacturer A’s 205 will NOT be the same width as manufacturer B’s 205.  Take, for example, the following 205/50ZR15 data collected directly from each tire manufacturer’s website (sorted from ‘skinny’ to ‘fat’):


Tire (all 205/50R15) Tread Width Section Width Wheel
Yokohama AVS int. 6.7” 7.9” (201 mm) 15×5.5”
BFG Comp TA R1 7.3″ 8.0″ (203 mm) 15×6.5″
Yokohama A032R 8.0” 8.1” (206 mm) 15×6.5”
BFG g-force R1 7.7″ 8.1″ (206 mm) 15×6.5″
BFG Street ZR 6.2″ 8.4″ (213 mm) 15×6.5″
BFG Euro TA 7.0″ 8.4″ (213 mm) 15×6.5″
BFG Drag TA 7.0″ 8.5″ (216 mm) 15×6.5″
Hoosier R3S03 8.0″ 8.6″ (218 mm) 15×6.5″


Apparently, the number on the sidewall doesn’t tell the whole story – some ‘205’s’ are really ‘220’s’ while others are ‘200’s.’  We learned this firsthand in SSC when switching from BFG to Hoosier tires. Although both read ‘205/50ZR15’ on the sidewall, the Hoosier hit the strut and required 5 mm wheel spacers to make things happy in the wheel well, while the BFG had room to spare. From our experience, most street tires that claim to be a 205 should fit, and these exceptions are for ‘semi-race’ tires only, but be forewarned – some 205’s might be close and may require 5mm wheel spacers when used with stock wheels.