Can I use Honda Fit tires and/or rims on Nissan Versa?
July 1, 2020 1:24 PM   Subscribe

We have nice winter tires from our Honda Fit that we just sold. They are 175/65R14 and they are on rims with four holes. The Versa summer tires are 185/65R15 on rims with similar looking 4 holes. Is it possible to install these Honda tires on the Versa? Would it be safe (for very infrequent use).

Can I use Honda Fit tires and/or rims on Nissan Versa?

In my province, we are required winter tires starting December 1. I normally travel out of province (Asia) for the winter and other family members might take the car out once or twice. I'm trying to find a winter tire solution.

We have nice winter tires from our Honda Fit that we just sold. They are 175/65R14 and they are on rims with four holes. The Versa summer tires are 185/65R15 on rims with similar looking 4 holes.

Is it possible to install these Honda tires on the Versa? Would it be safe (for very infrequent use).
posted by kirsti to Travel & Transportation (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Short answer is no. There is a lot more to it than just the number of holes. However the major non starter is that the tyres are different rolling radius (stand them next to each other and the Honda ones are shorter) so your speedometer would be incorrect, and you may potentially have some brake clearance issues from the smaller wheels. Basically, they're a non starter, even if the wheels look like they would fit. Also, Nissan uses a different offset to Honda so they'd either be stuck in or out of the wheel arch and possibly hit bodywork or suspension in normal use. So.... no. It's not safe.

Safest bet is to buy 4 suitable steel wheels for the winter, which seems to be around $70 each? Your other best bet is to try and find a car in a scrap yard and take the wheels from that... Probably $20 each at most? Then fit the right winter tyres to them.
posted by Brockles at 1:56 PM on July 1, 2020 [9 favorites]


I don't think you can merely swap the tires because the rim diameters are different (R14 tires won't fit 15 inch rims). You'd have to swap rims as well, which this page has information on, but I'd ask a mechanic.
posted by axiom at 1:58 PM on July 1, 2020


Best answer: They are 175/65R14 and they are on rims with four holes. The Versa summer tires are 185/65R15 on rims with similar looking 4 holes.

Tyre sizes are specified in a weird mix of metric and imperial. The three numbers in 175/65R14 are:

175: the width of the tread, in millimetres
65: the height of the profile, as a percentage of the tread width
14: the diameter of the rim, in inches

So straight away you can see that the Fit tyres won't go on the Versa rims, which are an inch too big for them.

To get the overall diameter of the wheel plus the tyre, you need to multiply the tread width by the profile height percentage, double the result, then either convert that to inches or the rim diameter to metric depending what you're used to, and add those together.

So the overall diameter of your 175/65R14 winter tyres is (175mm × 65% × 2 = 227mm) + (14" × 25.4mm/" = 356mm) = 583mm.

The overall diameter of your 185/65R15 summer tyres is (185mm × 65% × 2 = 241mm) + (15" × 25.4mm/" = 381mm) = 622mm.

The winter tyres being only 94% of the diameter of the summer tyres means that if you put them on a vehicle designed for those summer tyres, the car would travel at only 94% of the speed that the speedometer says it's going.

And that might be acceptable for infrequent use, given that it's not going to make accidental speeding more likely. But as Brockles points out, you might have trouble physically fitting the smaller rims around your brakes.

Filling in this rim and tyre size calculator with numbers that come from the wheel size information from the same site for Versa and Fit gives you a nice visualization of where the brake components go, and why the smaller wheels might not clear them safely.

And although the 5mm difference in offset between Fit and Versa rims isn't huge, and the bolt circle for both is the same 100mm diameter, the hub bores are different (60mm for the Versa, 56mm for the Fit). So you might even find that the Fit wheels just... don't.

But even if you do manage to get them on the car and they don't foul the brakes, what you're proposing to do is run winter tyres that are both narrower and smaller than your summer tyres, giving you less contact with the road. That strikes me as counterproductive.

I'm about as cheap and cheerful as you'll find when it comes to cars, but if your car were my car, I'd be selling off the Fit winter wheels and buying a set the right size for the Versa.
posted by flabdablet at 3:11 PM on July 1, 2020 [4 favorites]


Agreeing that it's a non-starter. Sell the old tires/wheels on Craigslist or whatever. They'll fit just about any Honda. Use the proceeds for a set of cheapo wheels/tires for the Versa.

One thing I wanted to disagree on with Flabdablet...if everything else is constant, a narrower tire will tend to do better in winter because it cuts into the fallen precip like a pizza cutter instead of just smearing it around. When I went from 185-ish tires to 255s on my Impala, the difference was noticeable.
posted by notsnot at 3:40 PM on July 1, 2020 [1 favorite]


+1 to notsnot, "minus sizing" winter tires is a thing (you go down one inch in tire diameter, to a higher aspect ratio and a narrower tire) but everything is calculated so the total circumference of the tire is the same. (Smaller dia tire, but more sidewall due to higher aspect ratio= same circumference as the summer tire) Better traction in the winter with the narrower footprint, better resistance to potholes and the tires are less expensive too. I went from 17" summer tires/rims on my Subaru to 16" for winter tires. You can use the tirerack.com website to find out what the proper minus size winter fitment is for the Versa. Sounds like the Fit tires/rims will be very wrong if the offset doesn't match.
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 4:13 PM on July 1, 2020


Not a definitive source, but just as documentation that minus sizing winter tires is a thing: https://www.goldwingautocare.com/ottawa-winter-tire-minus-sizing/
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 4:17 PM on July 1, 2020


you go down one inch in tire diameter

I think you mean, "you go down one inch in wheel diameter", not tire diameter.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:18 PM on July 1, 2020


Well, you go down one inch in both tire and wheel diameter, they have to match. :-)
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 5:15 PM on July 1, 2020


Response by poster: Thank you so much for a very comprehensive explanation. Unfortunately, you didn't give me the answer I was hoping for, but I rather hear the brutal truth early than discover it later the hard way. My Fit tires are nice, safe, studded ones, bought for my daughter to stay safe. Someone else gets to be safe. (Incidentally, I miss my Fit DESPERATELY. The best car ever. You really can fit almost anything in it.)
posted by kirsti at 5:19 PM on July 1, 2020 [1 favorite]


Well, you go down one inch in both tire and wheel diameter, they have to match. :-)

In case anyone reading this thinks this is a thing, the idea is to go down in wheel diameter for the same overall tyre diameter, which gives more flexible sidewall for the same outer size of tyre. Sidewall flex is a good thing for grip and especially ride comfort. I hate big wheels, because I like keeping my teeth.
posted by Brockles at 8:21 PM on July 1, 2020 [3 favorites]


That strikes me as counterproductive.

...probably because I live in Australia and consequently don't have huge amounts of experience with driving in snow. I stand corrected.
posted by flabdablet at 11:56 PM on July 1, 2020




As people have said wide tires tend to float on the snow, while narrow tires will cut through. The amount of sidewall isn't important what you're looking for is the contact patch that allows you to exert enough force to go through the snow. That is why you always see rear wheel drive BMW's stuck with their 220 width tires (great on asphalt, not so great on snow) but I can drive right past them in my FWD VW fox with 165 width tires. The VW beetle had 145 width and was actually a great car in the snow even though it was RWD because the engine was above the rear wheels. You might get hypothermia from driving without a decent heater, but provided you dressed up wamr, you would be able to drive in nearly any snow you would come across.

This ad wasnt kidding.

posted by koolkat at 12:20 AM on July 2, 2020


When I refer to the "diameter" of a tire, I'm referring to the nominal size of a tire in inches (the inside diameter of the tire at the bead and the final number in the tire's size i.e. 175/80/R14) which has to match the size of the rim. People seem to think I'm speaking of the outer circumference or rolling diameter of the tire for some reason? Maybe this is a regional difference? I mean, the final digits in a tire size are called the diameter, are they not?
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 5:25 AM on July 2, 2020


The thing everyone keeps dancing around is minus sizing.

My car takes 205/50R17 standard. Minus one means getting 16 inch wheels and 205/55R16 tires, for (very close to) the same rolling diameter but with less wheel and more sidewall. Or a skinnier 16 inch wheel and tire combo that fits in the wheel well and around all the brakes and whatnot that gives the same rolling diameter.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 5:44 AM on July 2, 2020


Yes, you can certainly go down a rim size or two (i.e. minus-size) if and only if the car was originally designed to cope with the smaller rims you're proposing to use.

But this question is not about minus-sizing away the low-profile tyres that Marketing seems to think we all want and returning the design to the 15 inch rims it probably had on the drafting table. This question is about fitting wheels designed for a Honda Fit onto a Nissan Versa.

There's no particular reason to expect this to work; if it does, it's pretty much pure luck. And based on the the Honda wheels having a smaller hub bore than the Nissan ones, I'd be surprised to learn that they could even be put on far enough to find out whether the brakes are going to be an issue.
posted by flabdablet at 7:42 AM on July 2, 2020


A lot of cars are built to take two different wheel sizes. Examples are Nissan Leaf, Subaru Outback and Tesla S. This gives the manufacturer the ability to charge a lot of extra money to upsize the wheels as an "upgrade" option. As Brockles pointed out, the larger wheel with shorter sidewall gives a rougher ride. But people love the appearance of big wheels with low profiles so there you are. To provide this option, you have to size the brake rotors and calipers to provide enough clearance for the smaller wheels.

The Nissan Versa provides the option of going from a 15 inch wheel to a 16 inch wheel, but not down to a 14 inch wheel.
posted by JackFlash at 7:50 AM on July 2, 2020


When I refer to the "diameter" of a tire, I'm referring to the nominal size of a tire in inches

No. that's the diameter of the wheel the tyre will fit on, not of the tyre. So, respectfully, it's not a regional difference, you're using that number/terminology wrong. If you said 'down a size in wheel' people would understand you - they'd infer the outer diameter of the tyre must be respected. The size of the tyre is the whole thing (175/80/14) because saying "I need a 14" tyre is nowhere near enough info. The overall diameter of the tyre is the most important dimension, in terms of application, and it needs to be included as this would be the constant dimension in most applications. When people say 'I want bigger tyres' they usually mean *width* rather than either rolling diameter or wheel size.
posted by Brockles at 8:24 AM on July 2, 2020


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