Alternative Tire Sizes for Your MR2 Spyder

With approximately 500 tire models and 17 different manufacturers to choose from, you would think that every driver would have many choices when selecting their next set of tires from us; however that's not always the case. 

The Toyota MR2 Spyder is one of those hard-to-fit vehicles. 2000-2002 MR2 Spyders (we'll call these early Spyders) ran O.E. 185/55-15 tires on the front and 205/50-15 tires on the rear, while the 2003-2005 MR2 Spyder (the later Spyder) ran the same front size but had 215/45-16 rear tires.

When searching for alternative sizes, we need to consider the following before coming to a final decision: overall tire diameter, oversteer vs. understeer balance, rim width, potential effect on anti-lock brakes, tire clearance and availability.

Overall Tire Diameter

To ensure that the vehicle's center of gravity remains the same while maintaining Original Equipment gearing and an accurate speedometer, we need to stay close to the O.E. tire diameters: 185/55-15 at 23.0 inches, 205/50-15 at 23.1 inches and 215/45-16 at 23.6 inches.

Oversteer vs. Understeer Balance

Every car has a tendency to understeer or oversteer at its limit (or in an emergency evasive maneuver). When the front tires lose grip the car understeers or "pushes" through a turn instead of following the line of the turn. Or the rear tires may lose grip, causing the vehicle to oversteer or "fishtail." To learn more about understeer and oversteer, read "Winter Driving Tips."

When changing the size of tires, it's important to maintain the O.E. balance or only slightly tweak to fit preferences. If you change to a wider size in the rear without a corresponding change in the front, the vehicle will have more understeering bias relative to the Original Equipment set-up. Doing the opposite will move the vehicle towards an oversteer bias.

Rim Width

Both early and later Spyders ran 6" wide wheels in the front (referred to as 15x6) and 15x6.5 in the rear. Later MR2 Spyders used the same front size and 16x6.5 on the rear. 

Tires have enough bead and sidewall flexibility to allow the same rim width to accommodate a variety of tire widths. All other things being equal, wider tires on the same rim width diminish steering response but help protect the rim from curb scratches.


Vehicles equipped with ABS work by looking at the differences in rotational speed. Therefore, avoid a major change in the difference between the front tire diameter and the rear tire diameter compared to O.E. set-up. The car may think the taller tire (which is rotating slower) is slipping and therefore the ABS brakes may not work properly. There's no exact percentage difference to stay within, but our experience suggests that you want to be within three percent of the Original Equipment. 

Tire Clearance

We need to make sure the tire clears the fender, the wheel well and the suspension. We're very conservative when we look at the risk of rubbing. 

Tire Availability

When looking for tires that fit a staggered (wider in the back) set-up, shop for tires by size.

Early (2000-2002) MR2 Spyder Tire Sizes

Some Spyders came with Yokohamas as Original Equipment while others were equipped with Bridgestones. The Yokohamas have been discontinued and are unavailable but you can still purchase the O.E. Bridgestones.

195/50-15 (22.7" diameter) front and 205/50-15 rears maintain the overall diameter, fit the O.E. rims, preserve the vehicle's handling balance, don't rub and offer more choices.  

Later (2003-2005) MR2 Spyder Ti
re Sizes

You can still purchase the O.E. Bridgestone Pontenza RE-040 in 185/55-15 fronts (23.0") and 215/45-16 rears (23.6"). The rears are W-speed rated and the fronts are V-speed rated, so these tires won't appear in a matching pair search even though they're the Original Equipment tires.

Alternative tandem sizes include 195/50-15 fronts (22.7") and 205/45-16  rears (23.3") and 195/55-15 fronts (23.4" ) and 205/45-6 rears (23.3").

Which Tire Do I Recommend?

The optimum choice depends on what's best to balance steering response, ride, wear, oversteer/understeer bias and budget. However, if I had a late model MR2 Spyder as my fast summer car, I'd select the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 with 195/50-15 on the fronts and 205/45-16 on the rear.


Monday, November 11, 2013 by Tommy Mabry

I used the above information to purchase tires for my '05 Spyder. I opted for the Goodrich Sport Comp II. With a few hundred miles on them I'm impressed with the ride comfort, noise level and handling. Needless to say, I got 4 tires for less money than 2 Potenzas for just the rear. Running 32psi in front and 35psi in the rear?? Thanks so much for the information.
Tommy Mabry
Wednesday, November 13, 2013 by cy

Mr. Mabry, thanks for your feedback. Since overall carrying capacity of alternative sizes is similar to that of the OE sizes we recommend using the OE factory air pressure recommendations of 26 front & 32 rear as a starting point. Usually OE plus 2-5 pounds more pressure provides the best balance of ride compliance, steering response, efficiency, grip and tire wear. So your 32 psi front & 35 psi rear air pressure is consistent with the "normal" range. Thanks. Cy.
Thursday, December 5, 2013 by jeff

Mr Mabry could you please tell me the exact sizes of your tires,so I could also purchase them for my 2004 Mr2. Thanks Jeff.
Friday, December 27, 2013 by Tommy Mabry

Jeff, sorry but I just saw your comment today. Front:195/55 R15 and Rear:205/45 R16. I'm an old guy but I love the handling and improved ride with this tire versus the Potenza. Late reply but I hope this helps, Tommy Mabry
Friday, January 31, 2014 by Chris

I own an early model MR2 Spyder. I'm guessing that the ABS system on a later model accounts for the difference in rotational speed between front and rear. So my question, based on that assumption is: Is it okay to get 16" wheels on the back and retain 15" wheels on the front in an early model Spyder?
Tuesday, February 4, 2014 by cy

Chris, as long as you stay with overall tire diameters that are close to OE diameters of 23” (185/55-15 front) & 23.1” (205/50-15 rear), there’s no significant issue going with 15” front wheels & 16” rear wheels. For example, Yokohama makes the S Drive in 185/55-15 (23”), see:

and 205/45-16 (23.3”), see:

In addition to our website, I’d recommend getting anecdotal feedback from other Spyder drivers at Spyderchat, see:

Thanks Cy.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014 by Tommy Mabry

Cy, just an update on the Goodrich Sport Comp II. With about 7K miles on the tires, I'm very impressed with them. Quiet for that type tire, good handling and superior in the rain. Thanks again for your article on alternatives for the MR2 Spyder. Without your help, who knows what I may have purchased! Also, with our extreme summer heat in souteast Georgia I have dropped the tire pressures to close to OEM specs with 28psi in front and the OEM 32psi rear. Tommy
Sunday, June 15, 2014 by D.B.

i have a 2000 mr2 spyder
i was offered 4 195/60 15 tires not sure if itll fit good or run right if they are all the same size
is it alright for my spyder to have this size?
Tuesday, June 17, 2014 by cy

These sizes aren't ideal because at 24" in overall diameter compared to the original equipment 23" overall diameter, they’ll raise your center gravity making your Spyder less stable & sporty. Also running the same size front and rear can change the car's handling bias so it's easier to over steer (fishtail).
As far as physically fitting, they're a little bigger than what we've test fit but I suspect if you check: you'll find anecdotal feedback from other Spyder driver's that squeezed them in.
Thanks. Cy.
Thursday, August 7, 2014 by Shannon

Tommy Mabry
Just wondering if you were still happy with your tires. I have a 2003 MR2 and I cannot seem to find the back tires anywhere and now I'm thinking about putting on the same tires that you used. Please let me know. Or if anyone else has any comments.. I'd be happy to hear.
Thursday, August 7, 2014 by cy

Shannon, the 205/45-16 BF Goodrich G-Force Sport Comp-2’s that Mr. Mabry is running on the back are readily available, see them here:

Since this isn’t a common size, most shops won’t stock them but we can ship them directly to you, your shop or a local installer for arrival in a few business days.

Thanks. Cy
Monday, September 15, 2014 by Kayeris B

I used the above information on my 2002 spyder, using 17x7 wheels with +40 offset fitted perfectly and looks awesome, tire selection was my main concern. I went with 205/40/17 all around which didn't throw the measurements off too much from 23.0in in the front to 23.5 and 23.1in to 23.5 in the rear. Handling has definitely improved as well as grip maybe due to the thinner sidewalls. If anyone can let me know if what i did was ok or not otherwise suggestions are welcome. Have a good day all!
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 by Tommy Mabry

Shannon, this is a late response. I'm very pleased with the tires and as Cy states, my tire dealer got them thru Tirerack. Tommy
Tuesday, November 11, 2014 by Ray Burton

I just wanted to publicly thank you Cy for taking the time to call me this evening and review my tire selection for my 2003 MR2.

Your care not only prevented me from mistakenly ordering a mismatched set, but your honesty and forthright recommendations ended up putting me in the right tires AND saving me more than $200.

In this day of anonymous online sales, it is a refreshing surprise to have received such a personalized service and i can wholeheartedly recommend your company to anyone.

Thank you

Ray Burton
Greensboro, NC
Wednesday, November 12, 2014 by cy

Ray, you're very welcome, thank you very much. Cy.
Thursday, February 12, 2015 by Larry

So it's safe to put Goodrich Sport Comp II tires 195/55 R15 front and 205/45 R16 rear on my 2004 Toyota MR2 Spyder? I can put these tires on the existing rims?
Thursday, February 12, 2015 by Cy

Hi Larry,
That is correct. 195/55-15 fronts (23.4" ) and 205/45-6 rears (23.3")will fit your current wheels.
Thanks, Cy
Sunday, March 1, 2015 by Larry

Cy, thanks so much for your help. I did notice that the rears are Goodrich 205/45/ZR16(23.2". Does that make a big difference? I live in MN so I won't get new tires for a couple of months yet. I don't mean to sound ignorant but this tire sizing had been driving me nuts. LOL
Monday, March 2, 2015 by cy

Larry, that 1/10" difference in exact diameter won't affect anything.

Please note that compared to exact Original Equipment sizing we're decreasing the back-to-front width difference from 20 mm (.8”) to 10 mm (.4”) so this will have some effect on the car’s overall understeer/oversteer balance.

See more understeer and oversteer here:

So once you’ve driven about 75-100 break-in miles on your new tires, please experiment with the car in a low-traffic time and/or area to get a feel for the subtle difference in handling.

Most experienced MR2 Spyder drivers have been happy with how the car handles with 195/55-15 fronts & 205/45-16 rears. Currently there is no major brand tire that’s made in the exact Original Equipment size combination of 185/55-15 front & 215/45-16 rear.

Thanks. Cy.
Thursday, March 5, 2015 by Larry

One last question. with 195/55-15 on the front and 205/45-16 on the rear, will the car look lower in the rear? I really don't mean to be ignorant but I'm just trying to figure out what it would look like from the original tire configuration. Will the car still look higher in the rear than the front? Sorry for all the questions and you have been of so much help. Thanks again.
Friday, March 6, 2015 by walt

I need some track tires. Will a 205/50-15 on an oem rim fit on the front of my 2005 mr2 spyder.
Friday, March 6, 2015 by cy

Larry, 195/55-15 & 205/45-16 won't change the overall stance of the car.
In addition to our website I'd also recommend visiting the Spyder owner's site we sponsor: as you'll probably be able to find another Spyder pictured with this exact size tandem. Thanks. Cy
Friday, March 6, 2015 by cy

Walt, yes 205/50-15 will fit on your 15x6 Original Equipment front rims. Thanks. Cy.
Monday, March 30, 2015 by Lynthia

I want to replace my rims on my 2001 MR2 spyder. What do you suggest for size for front and back for rims and new tires.
Friday, April 10, 2015 by cy

Lynthia, please see the MR2 Spyder wheel & tire blog here:

Thanks. Cy.
Saturday, April 25, 2015 by Larry

Thanks for all the advise Cy. Now I have my new tires ready to install (195/55/15 front and 205/45/16 rear) I want to know what PSI I should use for the front and back. Should I stay with the suggested PSI or can I put 32 psi all around? Maybe 32 in front and 34 in rear. Again, thanks so much!
Monday, April 27, 2015 by cy

Larry, since these sizes have comparable carrying capacity to the Original Equipment tires, the Factory Air Pressure recommendations of 26 Front & 32 Rear will still be your starting point.
From there you have a 2-5 upward window where you can adjust based on you want to balance steering response, ride compliance, fuel economy, longitudinal grip lateral grip and tire wear.
Adjust comparable amounts to front & back so you don't change the oversteer/understeer balance of the car.
Thanks. Cy.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015 by Dave

Hi Cy,

Looking through the thread, it seems my choices for my 2003 MR2 Spyder are the Yokohama 185/55R15 and 205/45R16 or the BFGoodrich G-FORCE SPORT COMP-2 Front:195/55 R15 and Rear:205/45 R16 (and also some choices here: Most people seem to be going for the BFGoodrich even though the Yokohama is the exact size. Any reason to choose one or the other?
Wednesday, June 17, 2015 by cy


The Yokohama S.drives and the BF Goodrich g-Force Sport C2’s are very close. The biggest differences between the 2 are wet grip and the car’s overall handling bias. In our head-to-head comparison test, see:

the BF Goodrich had noticeably better wet grip.

As for handling bias, with the S.drives we have a 20 mm difference in width between the front and back tire compared to a 10 mm difference with the BF Goodrich g-Force Sport C2. The stock width difference is 30 mm. So both combinations will have more of tendency to oversteer compared to stock but the set-up will be more neutral.

So if you value wet grip highly and you’re ok with a less neutral car go with the BF Goodrich g-Force Sport C2’s. If you’d prefer more of a neutral handling bias go with the Yokohama S.drives.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015 by Bryant C

Has any one encounterd problem with rear wheels not mounting on front? Something about a pen in the rotor? Had new tires mounted on front wheels because previous owner had put 2 new 185's on rear and left 1/2 worn tires on front. Shop guys said rear wheels would not fit on front because a retainer type pen was on rear wheels. 2002 MR2 Spyder
Thursday, August 20, 2015 by cy

Bryant, we haven't see this issue and I haven't heard about this from other MR2 Spyder owners so I'm not sure why the shop is saying this.

The standard parts diagrams, see:

don't showing any unusual about the hubs.

Thanks. Cy.
Monday, September 28, 2015 by Jacob Bartle

If you turn to page 176 in your MR2 Spyder manual you will find a section describing how there is a pin preventing the rear wheels from being used on the front of the car.
Sunday, October 18, 2015 by david

just bought an 02 that has 17" rims with 205/40 all the way around. the ride is harsh. would like to go back to the original 15" wheels, but can i go to 17" 40s in the front and 45s in the rear? or just 205/45 all the way around? will 45s soften up the ride a little?
Tuesday, October 20, 2015 by cy

David, part of ride harshness you're experiencing is intrinsic to the car, it being a short-wheelbase sporty car so there's only some much improvement you can make in ride compliance.

205/45-17 is a little bigger than what we've test fit on the car so we would consider to be a "custom" size with a risk of rubbing in the front and it doesn't really add much cushion so I would recommend going back to all-season 15" tires to maximize ride comfort.
Thanks. Cy
Saturday, November 7, 2015 by Rick


Looking for your latest recommendation for my 2003 MR2 Spyder with O.E. of:
185/55R15 81V
215/45R16 86W

I am seeing these options on the site:
BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2 195/55R15 (front)
BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2 205/45ZR16 (rear)

Is that your current recommendation?
Monday, November 9, 2015 by cy


If you prefer a sportier set-up where car turns in better but is more apt to oversteer than the BF Goodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2 on the 195/55-15 fronts combined with 205/45-16 rears work well.

If you would rather have a set-up that is less apt to oversteer, then go with Yokohama S Drives in the 185/55-15 front & 205/45-16 rear combination.


Thursday, March 10, 2016 by Brian

I just bought the BF Goodrich g force comps from you. I bought the sizes 195 55 r 15 for front and the 205 45 r 16 for rear. The installer said the recommended pressures for these tires from the tire manufacturer are 44 for front and 51 for rear. I know tire technology has changed since my 2003 MR 2 Spyder was made. Toyota says 26 front 32 rear. What is correct?
Friday, March 11, 2016 by cy

Brian, since 195/55-15 & 205/45-16 sizes have comparable carrying capacities to the Original Equipment tires, then the factory air pressures of 26 Front & 32 Rear will still apply as starting point.
The inflation pressures the shop is referring to are maximum air pressures for these tires. Running at those pressures will cause abnormal wear, harsh ride and more susceptibility to sidewall protrusions.
From that 26 Front & 32 Rear factory air pressure recommendation, you can adjust about 2-5 psi higher to balance fuel economy, steering response, ride compliance and tire wear. Higher pressure will improve steering response but running the upper end of that 2-5 adjustment will subtly decrease braking and acceleration grip because of the slight reduction in contact patch. Experiment within that 2-5 window to tune to your preferences.
Thanks. Cy
Tuesday, May 24, 2016 by Keith 2002 MR2 Spyder

Front: 17x7.0 PCD 4x100 ET40, 5.6"BS
Rear: 18x7.5 ET40, 5.8"BS
Front: 205/40R17 (596x205mm)
Rear: 245/35R18 (629x245mm)
Tuesday, May 24, 2016 by Cy


The wheel sizes and the front tire size you’re contemplating are consistent to what we would normally sell for the MR2 Spyder but we would consider to rear size to be a “custom” size. A custom size is bigger than what we’ve test fit so I would also recommend getting anecdotal feedback from other MR2 drivers who may have experimented with 245/35-18 rears. See:


Sunday, July 24, 2016 by claus hald

Hi Cy
Can i run this setup on my spyder
Front 7x16 ET 35. 205/40-16
Rear 8x17 ET 35. 225/35-17
Monday, July 25, 2016 by


Your front wheel specifications are consistent to what we normally sell for your Spyder but 205/40-16 is shorter than the 205/45-16 size we would normally use. Your rear wheel wheels are of a lower offset than what we normally sell. Your 225/35-17 is a size we would normally use for the rear. Before proceeding with these sizes I would recommending visiting the to get feedback and/or pictures from other Spyder drivers that have experimented with shorter front tires size and lower offset rear wheels.

Thanks. Cy.
Monday, August 1, 2016 by Louis Jiannine

My stock 2002 Spyder is a Florida fair weather weekend car so tread durability and wet weather performance are of little importance while handling capability on the street (for increased driver enjoyment) is very important. Would you recommend extreme performance tires over high performance summer tires or is there some other reason to avoid extreme performance tires?
Monday, August 1, 2016 by Cy

Louis. Will you be ok with higher tread noise of Extreme Performance tires? If yes, then they'll work for your priorities. Thanks. Cy.
Thursday, August 11, 2016 by Bill

Need help! Replacing tires on my 2003 MR2 which the setup was 205-40-17 front and had 215-40-17 rear. Want to purchase Michelin Polit A/S 3plus for the car. However , they have the front 205-40-17 but they do not make the rear tire of 215-40-17. Can I use a 205/45/17 for the rear. I know the rear tire will be a little narrow compared to the 215. Will this set up work. Im tired of the Yokohama not wear well and making noise.
Tire Size Comparison Calculator
Size 1
Size 2

Size 1 Size 2









Friday, August 12, 2016 by cy

205/45-17's are slightly taller than what we've test fit so also get anecdotal feedback from other Spyder drivers at I suspect you'll find other Spyder owners got them to fit.
The car will be more apt to oversteer (fishtail) compared to your current set-up so keep that in mind.
The bottom line is the 205/40-17 front & 205/45-17 rear combination isn't too much of a deviation as long you're ok with the oversteer bias.
Thursday, November 17, 2016 by Patrick

I just installed Dunlop Direzza SSII on my '05 MR2 with lowered Sportiva kit. 195/55/15 (F) and 225/45/16 on stock 15x6 (F) and 16x7 (R) rims. They fit perfect,no rubbing and fill out the wheel wells perfect. Very close to the factory diameter. Grip and wandering at highway speeds is way better that the oem Potenza's which are not available in the oem sizes any longer.
Saturday, November 19, 2016 by Cy

Patrick, thanks for your feedback. Cy.
Tuesday, November 22, 2016 by patrick stalionis

No problem. I also noted the speedo is spot on too.
Friday, November 25, 2016 by Fairouz

My 2003 mrs is currently using 215/40r17 front and 215/45r17 rear and planning to use 15" rims for both front n rear due to economical factor. There should be no problem with finding the front tire but size for rear tire is quite difficult. 205/50r15 is quite expensive and not common. Is it ok if I use 195/55r15 for rear (23.4" diameter)? Since it will be 20mm thinner than the 215/45r16 which is the OE setup. Wondering if using thinner width tire will seriously affect the safety/performance.

Saturday, November 26, 2016 by Cy

If your run a 195/55-15 rear and 185/55-15 front tandem you'll end up with the same width difference you're running now so the overall oversteer/understeer balance will remain the same.
Thursday, February 2, 2017 by ryan

my used 04 Spyder came with all-seasons in 195/50-15 front and 205/50-16 rear. i like the way it handles fine, but only need summer tires so i'm thinking to get BFG g force Sport comp 2 in 195/55-15 front and 205/50-16 rear.

according to my math, this combo will better maintain the front-to-rear ratio of the OEM sizes (both the front and rear tires will be 0.4" taller than stock sizes) and more or less maintain the stagger of the OEM sizes, as well.

your thoughts?
Monday, February 6, 2017 by Cy

Ryan, we've seen other MR2 Spyder drivers run that size tandem without issue so it's an alternative worth considering especially if you want to fill the wheel wells up a tad bit. If you're a faster driver than average, you may feel a subtle difference in handling since the taller sizes are raising the car's center of gravity a smidgen (.2”). Those are the subtle trade-offs to consider. Thanks. Cy.
Friday, February 10, 2017 by ryan

i plan to lower the car a little with new coilovers or perhaps new springs and dampers. this should give me the benefits of a slightly taller sidewall (absorb hits) while more than counteracting the slightly higher center of gravity they'd otherwise create.

so long as rubbing isn't an issue with lowering the car and running the 195/55-15 + 205/50-16 setup, this is what i'm hoping to do.

thanks for the info, Cy!
Monday, February 13, 2017 by Cy


Sometimes it’s difficult to maintain ride compliance with shorter springs since you have less suspension travel. I suspect your Spyder will ride a bit more harshly with the something like the Koni Sports/Eibach Springs combination. Ultimately you need to decide what traits you want to emphasize. I personally would go with tire sizing closer to OE diameters. As for risk of rubbing we’ll do all our testing on stock height ride height vehicles so the best resource for assessing the risk of rubbing is anecdotal feedback from other Spyder drivers at:


Sunday, March 19, 2017 by Andres

Hello cy, I need help with finding the right tires. I want to go with the Enkei rpf1 15x7. The offset is probably going to be 41+ front and 35+ rear. I need help with tires size and which one to use. My first option of with was 205 front and 225 rears, but I'm guessing 225 with 7in rim won't be ideal, so maybe 195 and 205 or if 225 can work then 195 225? I also would like to have tires that are really good in the rain. I wonder if Toyo r1r are good in the rain and the Hankook rs4? Please help me! I'm up for any recommendations and would prefer feedback instead of going to the forms because I have been reading for hours!
Friday, June 23, 2017 by Patrick

Just an update on my my'05 Mr2 w/Dunlop Direzza II 195/55/15 (F) and 225/45/16 on stock 15x6 (F) and 16x7 (R) rims. These are great in the wet,Florida downpours. Have about 10k miles on them now with very little wear and noise. IMO,best set I've had on the Mr2
Monday, June 26, 2017 by Cy

Patrick, thanks for the feedback and have a great day. Cy.
Friday, September 1, 2017 by Felix

Hello all!
I just bought a second-hand early MR2 (2000) with stock rims & tyres (front: 185/55R15_6Jx15 ET45 & rear: 205/50R15_6.5Jx15 ET45) . The tyres need to be changed so I was thinking on upgrading the rims as well (16" or even 17").
I was thinking about this combination: (F: 205/40/17 & R: 215/40/17).
I want to be close to the OEM specs and in any way to ruin the rolling & handling. Improve it and make it safer is my goal.
Can you please advise me which are the pros & cons?

Thank you in advance!
Wednesday, September 6, 2017 by Cy

Hi Felix,

Congratulations on your new Spyder! We don’t sell that particular wheel but its specifications and tire size combination is comparable to what we would recommend for the Spyder. Please note that all things be equal the car will be more oversteer biased.


Monday, October 9, 2017 by Richard Schwab

I just bought a set of tires for my 2001 MR2 Spyder. I wanted all similar tires, all 195/60R15 tires which they had in H speed rating, (130 mph). They told me I had to get V (149 mph), rated tires or they wouldn't put them on and my warrantee would be void. I know speed rating means more than just speed but how a seventeen year old 2100 lb car with 138 hp could require 150 mph tires seems odd. WalMart is the only place where they say this.
Tuesday, October 10, 2017 by Cy

Mr. Schwab, thanks for your input.
Most, if not all the tires, recommended in this blog will be higher speed rated as that's what the tire manufacturers make in those sizes.
Tuesday, December 5, 2017 by Victor

Hi Cy,
The comment made on 03/06/2015 somewhat answers my question but hopefully you can elaborate more on my issue.

I have a '04 Spyder with new 215/45 R16 Falken Azenis RT615K+ on the rear. So far they are awesome, however, just like the article and comments explain, the wider the rear tires are, the more understeer you are to get, which I noticed but not a big issue. I have been looking now to replace my front tires with similar Extreme Performance Summer tires, one issue now is that Falken Azenis tires are a possibility in the front OE rims using 205/50 R15, going up 20 mm from OE specs. I am worried that much wider tires up front will diminish the fantastic steering response the car has. Although it could add a bit of oversteer feedback again since the size difference front to rear is only 10 mm.

Should I go for the 205 Azenis? Or should I be looking in the 195/50 R15 for the fronts (like the Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R) to keep steering response relatively similar? Thanks in advance.
Wednesday, December 6, 2017 by Cy

Hello Victor,

I would go with the 205/50-15 Falken Azenis RT615K+ fronts. They have enough innate responsiveness to mitigate any effects of going 205/50-15 instead of 185/55-15.

The Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R have very good steering response but mixing tires can cause abnormal and/or unpredictable handling problems.

Thanks. Cy.
Sunday, December 17, 2017 by Deb

I need a rear tire for my 2002 MR2 Spyder. What is the cheapest way to go? I'm short cash, so would like to do this cheaply, but safe.I was told all the tires could be the same size, but I've not tried that.
Monday, December 18, 2017 by Cy


For the most predictable and safest handling, we're better staying with the wider rear tire sizes listed above. Try to stay with the same brand and model as you have on the front.

Thanks. Cy
Sunday, December 24, 2017 by Brad

I have a 2003 mr2 spyder that is in dire need of new tires. having trouble finding a set of 4 from the same brand/model, regardless of speed rating. What do you recommend?
Thursday, December 28, 2017 by Cy

HI Brad,

Try searching with alternate sizes 195/55-15 fronts (23.4" ) and 205/45-6 rears (23.3").


Tuesday, January 16, 2018 by Vince

I have an early model spyder (2000) and wants to switch to 03+ oem wheels. I know we want to stay close to OEM diameter, but would running 195/50/15 (22.7 DM) and 205/45/16 (23.3DM) work for the earlier model? Both within 0.2 - 0.3" from factory spec but overall difference is 0.6 between front and rear. That's the piece I am not sure about.
Tuesday, January 16, 2018 by Cy

HI Vince,

I would change the front to 195/55R15 and you'll be fine.


Friday, February 9, 2018 by Larry

You helped me out a couple years ago and I appreciate it! On my 2004 MR2 Spyder I have 195/55R15 front and 205/50R16 rear. These are mounted on original stock rims. I was wondering if on the stock rims I could put 225/45R16’s rear?! I would keep the front the same and the rear wider. I have BF Goodrich Sport Copm 2’s all around now. Great tires but would like to go with Proxi’s. What do you think? Thanks again act.
Monday, February 12, 2018 by Cy

Hi Larry,

Thanks for visiting the blog again.

225/45-16 will fit your 16x7 rear Original Equipment wheels but they’ll be about 1” smaller in diameter than your 205/50-16’s. In our previous discussion you had emphasized how important aesthetics are to you. So please look at examples from Spyderchat to see if the 195/55-15 front & 225/45-16 rear tandem meets your preferences. See:


Monday, March 5, 2018 by Tyler

Hey Cy,

I am looking at getting new rims/tires and I have always been a fan of the small sidewell. Would Front: 195/40R17 and Rear: 205/40R17 be the best possible route to achieve this?
Monday, March 5, 2018 by Cy


195/40-17 front tires coupled with any of the following rears: 205/40-17, 215/35-17 or 225/35-17 gives you approximately a 23" overall diameter.

23 minus 17 means that you have 6" of total sidewall or 3" for each sidewall.

The optimal rear size depends your wheel widths, offsets and overall understeer/oversteer balance you prefer.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018 by Eddie L

I am contemplating on purchasing a 15x6.5 wheel all around for an 02 spyder. Will retaining the OE tire setup as 185/55/15, 205/55/15 change the handling or behavior of the tires. Tires I have now are the Yokohama S drive.
Wednesday, March 21, 2018 by Cy

Eddie L,

As long as the wheels you’re purchasing have an offset comparable to the 45 mm original offset there won’t be a substantive difference in handling. See additional information on MR2 Spyder wheels here:


Wednesday, April 4, 2018 by Richard Schruefer

Dear Cy, I recently purchased a 2002 MR2 Spyder. I am experiencing a severe steering problem. The car veers back and forth in the lane and is over sensitive to steering corrections. The car is equipped with OEM wheels and OEM size tires front and rear. The front tires are: Portenza 185x55x15 81V. The rear tires are Acceiera: 205x50xZR15 89WXL. The alignment has been checked and found to be within OEM specifications, as are tire inflations. The previous owner had the car equipped with TEIN coil over strut "Super Street" Performance suspension. This lowered the car all around by approximately 1.5". Could the mismatch between the types and ratings of the front and rear tires be creating an imbalance in the steering characteristics that is causing my steering problem?

Thanks, Richard
Wednesday, April 4, 2018 by Cy

Mr. Schruefer,

The way you describe things, it sounds as if the handling is extremely unstable. Please ask one of our local installers to test drive your Spyder so the issue(s) can be addressed immediately. I suspect that at least part of the issue is old front tires that lack grip because they’re 10+ years old(?). Mixing them with an unknown brand with even less grip is apt to cause oversteer.

We don’t carry Tein so we can’t comment on the suspension’s overall understeer/oversteer bias but it’s possible the suspension is designed with a significant oversteer bias.

It’s also possible the previous owner didn’t have the car aligned to factory specs. Deviations from factory alignment can cause tracking and understeer/oversteer issues as well.


Leave a comment