Tire sizes on Prius

Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Kiril, Mar 1, 2017.

  1. Kiril

    Kiril Junior Member

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    Hello all,

    I am about to get my first Prius very soon or so I hope. It is the higher grade of the two offered where I live. It comes with 17" alloy wheels (the black and silver kind) and no spare tire (repair kit instead). I will need to buy winter tires. So I am wondering if I can fit 15" wheels - new rims and tires?

    Reading through the European manual I see that 195/65R15 should do the trick. The thing is that the salesman at Toyota is trying to persuade me that only 17" wheels work on this Prius as the breaks may be way to big for 15". I find it hard to believe that Toyota will fit different break systems on vehicles with identical engine and differing only in JBL audio, wiper sensor and parking assistant.

    Any ideas if the higher end Prius 4 runs happily on 15" wheels?
     
  2. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 'Orrible Oracle

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    Very, very likely the car is compatible with 15" rims. I believe our 3rd gen also is same rim configuration, ie: apart from cosmetics, the rims are the same, for bolt pattern offset, clearance and so on. Our came with 17" rims, and every winter I switch to 15" snow tires. I'm using these, which have the center bore that fits properly on the hub, no spacer ring needed:

    Corolla steel rim, part no: 42611-02471 (2003-2008 corolla or matrix, CE, LS, S)

    I'm also using these plain lug nuts, but there are several options:

    steel rim lug nuts, part no: 90942-01007 (plain, open-ended, galvanized)

    With those steel rims the open center is a bit of a problem, depending on how picky you are. The hub and nut does start to rust alarmingly fast when exposed. I ended up covering with:

    2" ABS pip end cap

    It has a slightly loose fit, so I pushed a rubber band cut off bicycle inner tube on first, then sort of screwed on the cap. Looks like this:

    IMG_6390.JPG

    I got this setup through a dealership. They were not completely sure it would work, so I let them do the complete install, check that everything cleared ok.

    (You maybe notice: plain black rubber valve stems. There are no tpms sensors on these; I just put up with the little warning light through winter, and keep an eye on tire pressures. Like the old days. :))
     
    #2 Mendel Leisk, Mar 1, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2017
  3. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    There have been some posts where people have done this - they must fit.

    BUT - whether the suspension is exactly the same, I'm not sure. I remember people coming unstuck with cars which they put wider tyres back a few decades ago - only to find that the factory version had different dampers and anti-roll bar to account for the different unsprung weight, and the steering angle was a little different, particularly at full lock. Whether TOYOTA dealers would really know, I'm not sure.

    That said - I think I'd prefer 17" wheels, even if it cost a little in l/100km. The 15" BRIDGESTONES aren't the best tyre I've ever driven on. Over the life of the car, I'd be surprised if the co$t of extra fuel would be very much - and at the co$t of $afety and better grip.

    Pity about the spare wheel, though.
     
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  4. kithmo

    kithmo Couch Potato

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    You could just fit winter tyres to your 17" rims, 215 45 R17 winter tyres are readily available.
     
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  5. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 'Orrible Oracle

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    The low profile 17" snows are a lot pricier, not as effective (due to more width), rough on the rims changing twice yearly, and if you're used to doing DIY tire swaps, this'd grate.
     
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  6. kithmo

    kithmo Couch Potato

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    Not a lot pricier over here unless you go for premium brands and I was assuming that the OP was going permanently to winter tyres.
     
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  7. Kiril

    Kiril Junior Member

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    I want the rims to be smaller and have more tire. I have had bad experience with potholes on my current vehicle fitted with 205 55 R 16 tires. I am a bit scared of slimmer winter tires like 215 45 R 17. Also the Prius will lack spare tire so even scarier

    It is only seasonal use of winter tires - November through March.

    As Mendel is saying above 15" winter tires would work better on snow etc. as they have smaller footprint hence better traction.

    One other advantage of getting two sets of rims and tires on them is that I can exchange them myself. Where I live it gets really crowded at tire shops in October-November and March-April - everybody wants their winter, summer tires swapped. That exchange of tires also costs something in the long run.

    Price wise I see about 2x difference from 195 65 R 15 to 215 45 R 17. The rims will cost something too. I am thinking of using steel rims - those come cheaper and will not be big loss if they get scratched or otherwise damaged in winter. Still the rims plus tires will be more expensive than just buying 17" tires for couple of years.

    It will be my first time having two sets of rims. I spoke to the dealer yesterday and it seems best that we see how big the brakes are on my exact vehicle before deciding on smaller rims and tires. They said sometimes Toyota will fit different brakes on exact same trim of the same model just built in different month/year. The guys also said 16" should be almost guaranteed to fit, 15" will likely not. Very strange given that other trim levels come with 15" tires.
     
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  8. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    I really wouldn't envisage any problem with the brakes. I read on PriusChat that some were using 15" Corolla rims for spare wheels or for snow tyres - they were saying that most of them have the same offset and bolt pattern, though you'd need to check that.
     
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