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Author Topic: WHEEL & TYRE FITMENT GUIDE  (Read 200947 times)

Offline xjay1337

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« on: September 18, 2013, 01:10:44 pm »

So I thought I would write a bit of a guide as there are lots of threads where people have questions about what will fit, what won't fit..
I'm not going to get into the whole thing of "if you pull your front arches and put camber adjustable top mounts on you can fit 11" on the front" - I'm going to be working on the assumption that the arches are standard, assuming you have done the arch screw mod as that is something that anyone can do.

Obviously rolling your arches or pulling them will only give you more clearance.

Let's quickly recap..


Incase you don't know, or have forgotten, the ET (or offset as it's sometimes referred to) is how far in, or out, the wheel "sits". Basically a higher ET sits further in the arch (tucks) and the lower the ET the further out of the arch the wheel sticks (pokes).

The width of the wheel is given as a width, in inches, for example 7.5j.

The PCD or the stud pattern is given as yXy - for example 5x112.

The Diameter of the wheel is given in inches as well, and is the size of the wheel - for example 18 inches
All wheels have a CENTER BORE. This is normally given in mm. This is the size of the bore in the center of the wheel on the back. This is what sits on the hub and helps to locate the wheel.
The centerbore of the wheel should be the same or bigger than the hub otherwise you're gonna get problems..

Add all of this together and, when describing a standard Monza 2, you could say that the wheel is 18x7.5 et51. with a cb of 57.1


Tyres come in all different kinds of sizes dependent on application.

The best way to explain this is to look at the below picture

Generally when we are fitting summer tyres you do not need to worry about load or speed ratings. Of course buy the ones suitable for your application.

What is the standard fitment on a Golf Mk5 then

Standard fitment alloy wheels for the Golf Mk5 fitment are generally no more "aggressive" than 18x7.5j with an ET of 51. All are 5x112 with a center bore of 57.1

On a Mk5 Golf GTI the tyres come in either 225/45/17 or 225/40/18
Other tyre sizes on the Mk5 Platform are also 195/65/15 and 205/55/16.

You will notice that these all keep more or less the same rolling diameter (that is, the diameter of the wheel (with tyre mounted) is near as makes no difference the same between all of the tyre sizes.

Another thing to be aware of is the tolerance in tyre size - For example Falken tyres run narrow and Vredestein run wide.
A 215/35 Falken tyre on a 8.5 rim will give more clearance than a 215/35 Vredestein tyre on the same rim width.

So the take away from this is that you will generally have a 17x7.5 et 51 with 225/45/17 tyres fitted, or 18x7.5 et51 with 225/40/18 tyres fitted.

Lowering - things to be aware of

Everyone likes their wheel and tyres to look good in their arch, so people often lower the car, not just for looks but also for the performance benefits.
There are a couple of ways to lower your cars, you either have

  • Lowering springs
  • Coilovers
  • Air ride

There are a few considerations to think about when you are thinking of lowering your car in conjunction with aftermarket wheels.
First of all (and perhaps most importantly from a safety point of view) is the inner clearance

This is the clearance between the wheel and tyre, and your suspension strut.

As a rule of thumb, and as a base for calculations, anything wider than a 9 inch rim with an offset of higher than 46 will hit the suspension strut (again this is very particular on what kind of suspension set up you have and should only be taken as a rule of thumb)

With a 7.5inch rim you can have around ET65.

Generally stock (or aftermarket dampers) give the best clearance as they maintain a spring perch above the wheel itself.
With aftermarket coilovers, you need to be very careful of the clearance between the coilover adjustment ring and the wheel and tyre.

Failure to do so will cause rubbing between the adjuster ring and the tyre, which is annoying at best and downright dangerous at worst when it gashes through your sidewall and you have a blow out.
For those with air ride you have to pay attention as well to ensure your wheel or tyre doesn't touch the bag, having a bag blow out is arguably more dangerous than having a tyre blow out.

Now we can move to the outer clearance, that is the clearance between the tyre and the bodywork (the wheel arch).
This is almost always dictated by the offset and width of the wheel
GENERALLY assuming you put the necessary tyres onto your car, the diameter of the wheel does not come into whether it will fit or not, it's mostly down to the width and offset

If you fit wheels which are wide and/or have a low offset you risk catching the tyre on the arch.
If you are really unlucky this will happen!

That is where my E-level had a spazzy moment and dumped one corner while maneuvering in a car park.

Now damage like that is rare, normally you would just rub off a bit of paint which would in turn, eventually, lead to rusting. To me this is not a major issue with the cost of replacement wings but if you are not quite so carefree then you would need to bear this in mind.

**You can roll the front arches on a Mk5, they are quite easy to do, any decent bodyshop can do this or there are specialists who do it. Be aware that sometimes you will need to have the arch repainted where it was rolled as the paint may flake off**

To avoid rubbing this is where you carefully consider the tyre size for your particular offset and width, along with your ride height.

What lowering does to clearance?


Generally, outside of the adjuster ring, lowering a car does not effect inner clearance at all.
What it does is reduce the distance between the tyre and the arch. HOWEVER there is some good news amongst all of this.
The lower you go, naturally due to the suspension design, the wheels and tyres naturally "tuck" in (front and rear) and the rear wheels naturally add camber (which is factory adjustable if you didn't already know!)
So if you are 26inches FTG (fender to ground, American term  :confused:) your wheel may appear to stick out past the arch, but when you lower the vehicle you may notice that your wheel actually sits further IN the arch.


This is for several reasons
First and foremost it looks naff.

Wheels are not half bad but it looks like a Saxo with the arch gap. No offense haha  :P

Secondly, you can never really and truly tell what your fitment is going to be like until you have the car at the correct ride height. Then you can test fit your wheels and decide where to go from there..

That's all well and good but what tyre size should I buy?

As mentioned hundreds of times this all depends on i) how low you are and ii) what your wheel width and offset are.

So for example on  standard Monza 2 - 18x7.5 et51 - you can use a 225/40 and you can go pretty low indeed before you would rub on the outer arch. Inner arch clearance is generally fine.

However if you wanted to put, let's say.. 18x8.5 et 45, not only is the wheel itself one inch wider, but it sits 6mm further out. So the outer lip of the wheel will sit approx 31mm further out from where a standard Monza 2. If you put the "normal" tyre size on this wheel, probably a 235/40/18 or a 245/40/18 - You then also have another 10-20mm of tyre

What does this mean? MAJOR RUBBING.

I'm rubbing on my wheel arches in fast corners or at full lock, what can I do?

This is where what's known as "tyre stretching" comes into play.
Stretching is the term where you fit a tyre that seems to be too narrow for the general width of rim.

For example on a 8.5 rim, as mentioned, the natural tyre size may be a 245 section.
Stretching would be putting, say, a 215 section tyre on.

This means that the tyre sidewall curves inwards as opposed to sticking out, meaning you have more clearance and will not rub/rub much less.

Spacers, adaptors, and spigots

Just a quick recap incase we don't already know..

  • Spacers
Either bolt through or bolt on, come in a variety of sizes, from 3mm to 50+mm, these in effect sit between your wheel and hub and "push" the wheel out. The practical effect is that they reduce the offset of the wheels. EG, A wheel with an ET51 fitted with a 10mm spacer, in effect, makes that a ET41 wheel. Please note that with bolt through spacers you will need to get longer wheel bolts. The stock wheel bolt length is approx 28mm so if you fitted 10mm bolt through spacers you will need to buy 38-40mm long bolts.
  • Adaptors - AKA PCD Adaptors
These are all bolt on, minimal width is around 15-18mm, this is due to safety reasons. They enable you to change the PCD of a wheel to something else. For example Porsche wheels are 5x130 so if you wanted to put Porsche wheels on your car you need to buy PCD Adaptors that are 5x112 (Hub) to 5x130 (Fitment).
  • Spigots - AKA Spigot Rings
 These allow for easier fitting of a wheel. Different manufactures use different sizes. EG Mercedes use 66.6. So if you fit Mercedes wheels to your VW (Which is 57.1) you are strongly recommended to buy spigot rings. These fit inside the wheel or onto the hub and locate the wheel centrally.

Special consideration needs to be taken into account when buying wheels from other OEM manufacturers. For example if you buy Porsche wheels which are 5x130, let's say you get some Cayenne alloys which are 18x8 et 50 (from memory, it's around that) , you can't go thinking "those will fit as they are 8 inch wide and have an offset of 50" - You will need to buy PCD adaptors to get them to fit, let's say you buy 20mm PCD adaptors - This makes them 18x8 et 30 - So you'd need to factor all of these calculations into whether your wheels will fit or not.

Bolts bolts and more bolts

Wheel bolts are equally as important when fitting your wheel, after all they are what secure the wheels to the car.
Some aftermarket wheels use different "seat types" for the bolts. This is the part of the bolt which sits in the lug holes and provide the pressure between the wheel and hub.

This guide is pretty handy and allows you to see easily which kind of bolts you have.

OEM VW cars use BALL SEAT. The bolt type is a M14x1.5 - Please ensure that any wheels you buy also take an M14 thread,  or you will need to have them drilled out which is not always possible.
Some early Mercedes are M12 and will not fit. Obviously larger than M14 thread would not work unless you fitted bolt-on spacers (such as in the case with Land Rover wheels).

 It is important when using PCD adaptors and spacers that you use the CORRECT BOLT TYPES. Most PCD adaptors and bolt-on spacers come with the relevant bolt to attach the adaptor or spacer to the bolt.
Please check with your aftermarket wheel provider or spend 2 minutes on Google finding out which kind of bolt or adaptor you need.

Some wheels have deep lugs and thus require longer wheel bolts. Mercedes do this a lot with  many of their wheels. For example my wheel  bolts are 45mm long and I do not have spacers. Some may require shorter bolts. Check how much bolt protrudes from the back of the wheel before fitting.

There are special kinds of bolts you can buy called WOBBLE BOLTS. These do not wobble rather the have a free-floating seat (whether ball, tapered, whatever) so it allows a tiny amount of movement when fitting.
This is normally used to fit 5x110 wheels to 5x112 or conversely, 5x114.3 wheels to 5x112, or any sort of combination where the PCD is 0-2.5mm different
These are JUST AS SAFE AS NORMAL BOLTS once torqued up. However it is VERY IMPORTANT to tighten the bolts a little bit at a time in a star-like pattern as they each have to move slightly to take up the slack. If you bolt one down the whole way you may find you can't do up another bolt as there's no movement.

They will NOT do conversions like 5x130 to 5x112.

This is how they work.

Another video is :

However as I mention, have wheels that suit the car, don't work the car around the wheels.....

Fitment is what we refer to when we talk about how a wheel sits in an arch, whether it tucks, sits flush, pokes, whatever. When I say aggressive fitment I mean a wide wheel with a low ET.

When you are considering your wheel and tyre options you do need to bear in mind everything I have mentioned .. your width, offset, and what tyre size.

A typical size of wheel is 18x8 et 45. You can fit a 225/40 quite happily on there.
If you were really low then you might want to consider putting a 215/40 or a 205/40 on for a bit of extra clearance at the front. At the rear you will be fine with 225/40 especially considering the camber.

A lot of people say that 8 inch wide and et45 is the furthest they would go and if you want to keep stock tyre sizes then this is completely correct.

I run 18x8.5 et44 front and rear, with 215/35 tyres all round. As I am on air ride I do sometimes drive stupidly low and at full lock I can catch an arch however I'm running about 22" FTG which is incredibly low. My normal height is more around 23ft and I do not get any rubbing at all with those wheels and tyres at that height. This is not considered an aggressive fitment.

You can use that to help your own calculations.. With a 18x8 et 44 you could use a 225/40 tyre!

Anyway, that's most of the information you need to get you going.


When I say aggressive fitments I'm generally talking more than a 9inch rim.

Feasibly you can get a 9j ET41 with a 215/35 tyre on the front and a 9.5 et 35 with 225/40 and maximum rear camber. You can also fit a 215/40 if you want but I wouldn't personally go more stretch than a 225/40 on a 9.5 (see the FAQ with regards to legality for my reason..)

I have been asked a few times about 10j or even higher.. the long and the short of it , is no they will not really work.

Here are some reference photos.

Here is a photo for reference.......

Standard arches

9.5 et35 on the front
10.5 et35 on the rear

Here's a 10j et 45 on the rear...

Nowhere near max camber either..

You can fit a 10j on the rear,  Et35 would be the sweet spot, you'll be able to max camber then. But then your problem is outer arch clearance. If you go for a higher offset you'll hit the damper even sooner.

Here are 10j et 44...this is what happens when you try to add the camber required to clear.

(that is apparently WITH a 3mm spacer)

Now with lots of arch work yes you could fit a 10J or even more on the rear - But this is not one of those threads as I said at the first.


Q: What's the most aggressive fitment I can put onto my Mk5 Golf?
A: Without rolling your front arches or having them pulled I would not recommend anything more aggressive than a 9 inch rim with ET 41 (Bentley wheels are usually this). This would require 215/35 tyres - Any more and you will rub a lot.
For daily driving I would go no wider than an 8.5 with ET44 based on my personal experiences

Q: Is stretch legal, can I be fined?
A: A bit of a grey area, but officially - NO - Stretch is legal. There is no law in the land prohibiting stretch. However the law simple states that the tyre should be of a suitable size for the time - So you do need to consider what the tyre companies permit as it is basically their law. Falken and Toyo are probably the most friendly in terms of fitment, Falken for example permit you to put a 225/40 on a 9.5 Rim - You should apply common sense and follow what the manufacturer says. However if Goodyear for example say the widest rim you can put a 225/40 on is an 8 inch, and you put it on a 8.5, that would be fine for handling and fine for safety. Make your own minds up ultimately!

Q: What are the standard specifications of a Mk5 wheel bolt?
A: M14x1.5 approximately 27mm in length with a BALL SEAT.

Q: Is Poke legal, will I get fined?
A: Again this is a slightly grey area however - the official rules are as follows - the tyre TREAD must be under the arch (not the sidewall) and the outer edge of the wheel can be no further than 30mm past the furthest out section of the arch - BASICALLY you can have 30mm of poke with stretched tyres.

Thanks to jonnym for this link -

Q: I'm getting some slight rubbing on my rear arches with a car full of passengers, do I need to get smaller tyres?
A: Well, you could - However to save money you could take your car to an alignment centre and have them add additional rear camber, generally around 1 degree more than what you currently have would be sufficient.

Q: Is there some place I can go to calculate fitment for me?
A: Yes. You can GOOGLE IT. Or you can use a fitment calculator. This one is one of the best. -

Q: Will an 18x8 ET60 work.
A: No, you will need to space the wheel out otherwise your wheel/tyre will catch on your suspension strut.

Q: I want to know how <certain tyre size> would look on <certain rim width>, where can I go?

Q: Is there an at-a-glance chart somewhere of what tyre size I should buy for my wheels?
A: YES there is. Google.

Q: What is a good fitment that looks "good" (scene basically)
A: A decent fitment that's guaranteed to cause you no problems (so long as you do the arch screwmod) is 18x8.5 et 42 at the front with 205/40 tyres and 18x9.5 et 40 at the rear with 225/40 tyres and camber.

Q: What are the smallest wheels I can get on my GTI?
A: As a rule of thumb the minimum size wheel to fit over GTI brakes (312mm) are 16 inch. Any OEM VW 16 inch wheel for the Mk5, A3 or Leon/Altea platform will work. These are normally used by people as winter wheels

I will add to this guide as time goes on and update with any other questions people ask.

I have written this guide entirely myself. Feel free to share it on any owners sites freely but I would like to be credited if you do please.
However some images I have taken from various owners forum posted publically as well as other publically available sources such as Google Image Search. These images are used for information only and no copyright infringement is intended and I do not claim to have taken any pictures other than those of my car or ones which I explicitly state are mine.
Thank you.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2013, 06:24:55 pm by xjay1337 »

Offline Banham

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« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2013, 01:49:11 pm »
Epic! Well done  :congrats: Alot of useful information there

Offline MateyGuv

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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2013, 08:58:30 am »
Thank you for posting this - really useful  :congrats:

Offline berg

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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2013, 10:16:48 pm »
good work  :drinking:
Diamond Black Pearl Edition 30, still going strong but now back to Stg 1

Offline Tortaruga

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« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2013, 08:52:53 pm »
Great post and thanks for the effort and consideration to share your knowledge and experience. :congrats:
'07 Red manual

Offline jonnym

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« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2013, 09:41:36 pm »
Jay that's an excellent guide! Thank you for taking the time to do all that! A lot of questions answered there!!

This link may also help - I did some work on the legalities or wheel poke and stretch for those interested - used my golf as it was as the example:
@PSW - "Candy white ones are the nicest and fastest"

Offline jaffa

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« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2013, 09:52:03 pm »
Some helpful info there mate, hopefully people will search for this guide before posting!

Offline Wardy91-ed30

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« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2013, 09:54:38 pm »
Had a rough idea but this really cleared it up :happy2: thanks mate


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« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2013, 04:09:07 pm »
Not been on here long but just come across this guide.  Very very useful, I feel like my mind has been read as all the questions in my head re tyres & wheel have been answered!  Cheers!  :notworthy: :congrats:

Offline xjay1337

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« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2013, 12:51:24 am »
Thanks everyone. Glad it was helpful.
Can think of worse ways to spend an evening than writing up a guide haha.

If there any questions feel free to ask! And I will answer them. Any fitment questions, about offsets or whatever.. fire them over.
After all the more questions asked the more I can add to the OP  :happy2:

Jonny - Thanks for the link, I have updated this within the OP.

Offline jonnym

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« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2013, 09:07:36 pm »
Jay, might be worth mentiong what offset, without spacers, will clear suspension etc?? I'll have a look but then atleast people can use that as a starting point in working out spacer sizes.
@PSW - "Candy white ones are the nicest and fastest"

Offline xjay1337

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« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2013, 06:13:57 pm »
Yes good idea J I will do that. :)


Updated for inner clearance.

As a rule of thumb, and as a base for calculations, anything wider than a 9 inch rim with an offset of higher than 46 will hit the suspension strut (again this is very particular on what kind of suspension set up you have and should only be taken as a rule of thumb)

With a 7.5inch rim you can have around ET62.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2013, 10:20:28 pm by xjay1337 »

Offline Simon_2.0t

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« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2013, 12:28:01 pm »
Great guide Jay  :happy2:

I've always found this site useful for when dreaming of new rims:

Offline Joesoap

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« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2013, 02:19:47 pm »
Great guide Jay  :happy2:

I've always found this site useful for when dreaming of new rims:
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Offline xjay1337

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« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2013, 06:20:32 pm »
1010 is similar to
Depends on personal preference what tool you use  :happy2:

Added section on wobble bolts under the BOLTS subsection.