Vintage VW Tire Size Options

Some of us at Tire Rack have been inflicted with vintage car-itis and I have the rarest strain of this as an air-cooled VW enthusiast. So, it is reasonable to ask, "what tires do you have for my 30 plus-year old Beetle or Karmann Ghia that will fit without modification?"
  • There are a number of tire options that Tire Rack can provide that will maintain your vintage look, yet offer modern ride, control and traction.
My 1970 Karmann Ghia was originally fitted with 5.6x15 bias tires. I opted for a wider radial tire, roughly equal in height, size 195/60-15. 

The 195/60-15 offers many tire choices, including the following All-Season Touring and Summer Performance tires:

General Altimax HP

General Altimax HP

Kuhmo Ecsta LX Platinum

Kumho Ecsta LX Platinum

Pirelli P4 Four Seasons

Pirelli P4 Four Seasons

Sumitomo HTR 200

Sumitomo HTR 200

Naturally, 195/60-15 is not the only tire size option we have available to us. The following tire sizes should work for your air-cooled ride as well. Because of the age of these vehicles it is impossible to predict every application and so, it is imperative to confirm the following fitments to your car.

Tire Size               Tire Diameter          Required Wheel Width
205/50-15             23.1"                       5.5"
195/60-15             24.2"                       5.5"
185/65-15             24.7"                       5" and 5.5"
175/65-15             23.9"                       5" and 5.5"


Thursday, October 27, 2011 by joe wham

I have a 1969 VW Bus that is in need of new tires...the original size was 185/75/14...what do you offer that will fit?
Saturday, April 14, 2012 by Kevin Jenkins

I have a 1959 VW beetle and need new tires. It has 5.60-15 Metzeler tire now. What do you recommend?
Thursday, July 26, 2012 by Bill

My 64 Bug Conv has 6.00 - 15 wide whitewall tires. (REALLY wide). All I need for certain is a spare that is narrow enough to fit in the spare tire well. That would emphasize cheap. Once I pay the mountain of debt from restoring the bug, I wd like to find radial replacements for the wide whitewalls.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012 by porter

The tire sizes that I listed in my original blog all fit the Beatle, however they do not necessarily fit within the original spare tire carrier. The 175/65-15 is the narrowest of the bunch and has the best chance of fitting. The 175/65-15 Hankook Optimo H426 sells for 70.00 and is our least expensive tire in this size. The tire section width is 7.1" and you will want to check that it will fit your space. Check out the Hankook Optimo H426 by following this link to our website.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012 by Brian

So has anyone found a tire that will fit into the spare tire space in the '72 Bug ??
Friday, September 21, 2012 by porter

The '72 VW Beetle came from the factory fitted with 165-15 tires. Currently the closest to this size that our tire manufacturers produce is the 185/65-15 which has a tire section width that ranges from 7.4" to 7.6". You will have to measure your spare tire space to determine fit. The 185/65-15 tire size offers a variety of tires from which to choose.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013 by gonzalo

can I put tires 205/50r 15 my 1971 vw beetle,, i have the front lowered with only adjusters,,my main concern is that if they are going to rub on my fenders and will i be abe to turn
Wednesday, July 24, 2013 by porter

The 205/50-15 tire is much wider than the original tire fitment and will probably rub unless you are willing to further modify the vehicle. On a vehicle of that age that is lowered there are too many variables that can affect the fitment to determine fitment without actually testing it on a vehicle..
Saturday, June 27, 2015 by Andy buckle

Can I put 195/70R15 on my 1974 volkswagen super beetle
Saturday, August 8, 2015 by Ricky A. Singgih

Hi, I own 72' super beetle 1303 with standard wheel size 15-4.5. Presently I'm using "Kumho165/80/15 tires. Due to difficulty finding the same size of tires, can I use size 185/65/15 instead? Any other size or recommendation? Thank you
Tuesday, December 5, 2017 by Dave D

are any of the 175, 185 or 195 tires mentioned available with a narrow whitewall?
Wednesday, December 6, 2017 by Tire Rack Team

Dave: We're sorry. We don't carry those tires with a narrow whitewall.

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