Westy OE & OEM tires (only)


New member
RTish, Is your Westy a Syncro? If it is not, it is perfectly acceptable to have two different sizes on the van, if each axle has the same size tire. Put the 205/70R14's on the front and the 195/75R14's on the back, and you will only have to purchase two tires. You would need to purchase two tires regardless as you will never match the tread pattern of the discontinued tire.

'85 VanagonGL Westy
1.9L Wasserboxer
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Mike Robinson

New member
Hi Brent

The Y356 are discontinued, replaced by the Y370. Talk to your local Kaltire people they should know what the Y370 is, but if they don't have experience and recommend it, be assured the Y370 8 ply 195/75/14 works just fine. I talked to yokahama about the Y370 and tire presures are 50 front/ 60 rear, and basically they keep making this tire just for westys. It may take a while to order the tire as is not usually stocked at retail locations.

It is not an 'off road' tire. Somewhat aggressive tread pattern, but not a true chunky off road tire.

It strikes me as an all year tire - grips reasonably well in the winter, but if you are serious about driving in the winter and expect to be on snow and ice a lot then get some tires designed for winter like the Nokian Hakapelitta , and use the Yokahama for summer use.

'82 Diesel

[Moderator note: The Y370 & Y356 have similar specs. I've been told by Yokohama that one is marketed in Canada and the other in the US. The Y370 is more of a M&S pattern; the Y356 an all season highway pattern.]

Capt. Mike

Well, Capt. Mike took the plunge and bought new tires for the Westy Syncro. The tire chosen -- Vredestein Snow in 185R14C8PR, but this is the European C. The Load rating is 102N which translates into 1875 lb. @ 65 psi. Well over Westy specs.

For those interested, we got 56,551 miles out of the 5-tire set of Michelin LTX M&S's. I was lucky. Never had a problem, but I would also never recommend them again -- not enough safety margin.

It's still way too early to assess the Vredestein's overall performance. I've started running them at 50 psi F/R. They appear to be about as stiff as the old LTX M&S's and stiffer than the OE reinforced MXL's were at their 40 psi. I have enough load capacity to drop down into the 44 psi area loaded and 40 psi light if desired. In fact, I can probably drop the fronts down to 36 from a load point of view empty.

But . . .! VW's OE sticker in my vehicle calls for pressures of this 185R14C8PR to be 43F/48R; 205/70R14C8PR -- 40F/43R; and 205/70R14r -- 36F/40R. Like I said, we'll play based on performance and tire wear.

In use -- they are an aggressive M&S pattern that is studable. A true winter tire, though Vredestein says suitable for year-around paved use. In deep mud and into rough, leaf-covered woods during hunting, they performed well -- once in sloppy muck up to the rim. But part has to be attributed to the Syncro's 4WD.

In our recent snow & ice storms, I pulled them in favor of my studded set, but they did well in the residual ice on my drives & back roads after the main roads were clear and I had switched back.

I've made one 880 mile highway trip to Philly. No problems and acceptable comfort. They are noisier, giving more of a 'rumble' than the highway tread tires. But not an objectionable 'whine' and still an acceptable level.

Wear is still an unknown -- will come back and update when I get a handle on it.

9/1/09 Update: ;) This is a preliminary wear report. We have now had the Vredesteins on for 21K miles with 5-tire rotation. I settled on 50F/50R psi as the most even wear. From a performance point-of-view, they have been very good including plenty of off-road conditions during hunting and icey snow. Average wear is 7½ thirty-seconds, which is 54%. With replacement required (by law in NC) at 2/32", that would equate to 63% of life used. In reality, we know the first few 32nds wear quite quickly as a tire beds in and individual tire measurements are bearing this out -- wear has markedly slowed. Therefore, I realistically expect in excess of 40K miles out of this set. We knew going in this was a compromise. It's a snow tire and agressive treads typically wear faster; it's probably a softer compound; it's studable and I see greater wear in the empty stud blocks than the others.

Vredestein no longer makes this tire and the replacement is unidirectional so unsuitable for Westy use as the ability to cross-rotate is essential. I would expect their standard Transporter model, which meets all Westy spcs with an all-season tread, to significantly exceed my mileage.
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185R14C the C actually means Commercial rated. you have to read the fine print along the bead to see that it says D rated on most of the Vredesteins. I use the Vredesteins commercial steels myself for two years now. i was expecting heavy road noise out of a commercial tire but was very pleasantly surprised with their quiet ride. i have had good results in snow with my two wheel drive vanagon here in Colorado.

82 westy


New member
Hi, "powderhippie" wrote in Sept 2002 about the Continental Vanco 8 tires. I'm sure I saw another post somewhere here from another member, saying that Continental no longer makes the Vancos. I was on the Continental website today, and the Vanco 8 is still listed - in 185, 195,& 205 sizes. Can anyone clarify? does anyone else have experience using these tires? My '87 Westfalia's OE tires were 185's (it still had the original spare, an unused continental "Transport" 185R14r). I am about to buy a new set of tires, and if I buy 195's or 205's - or even 185 LT tires - will I have to change modify my sparetire carrier (as Capt. Mike describes at the beginning of this Message Board topic)so that the new spare can be secured in place? Thanks.

Capt. Mike

Tire manufacturers change 'model' and specs faster than McD burger flippers. And then sell the same tire under several names or have 2 or more grades under the same name. Even the big dealer have a hard time keeping up as manufacturer's seem to have fallen victim to frequent changes of name amongst other marketing gimmicks.

If it's listed on their web site -- and the specs match -- that's a pretty good indication of its availability. However, almost all manufacturers have sizes and tires NOT listed on their sites, so the ability of a major dealer to dig past the books is invaluable. Some manufacturers, like Vredestein and Bridgestone have good customer service folks to help find Westy spec stuff; others like Michelin could give a D less.

I recently put new shoes on my pickemup. I had got 77,500 miles out of the last set -- great for a 4WD pick-up that tows -- and wanted an exact repeat. NLA said the current list. When I was able to come up with the original SKU numbers, they magically appeared in the distribution center warehouse. The tire was getting ready to be 'upgraded' with a new name and had dropped from the lists.

Spare tire carriers has it's own topic in this forum. Please don't mix topics in the same post.


New member
I did a little more research with Continental and seemed to have answered my previous question about the availability of their Vanco 8 tires. Here is what Continental says: "I apologize for the confusion at the local Discount Tire dealer, but the tires are available by special order through any Continental Tire Dealer by calling Consumer Relations at 800-847-3349. We have limited availability in the following size:

185R14C load range D 102/100Q (1764lbs)

These tire look like they fit the bill for the Westy! Does anybody have experience using these that they could share?


New member
Hi Everyone,

I recently bought a 1987 Westy and have a quick question on whether my current tires I have are safe. I have read all the comments on OE tires and am still a little confused.

The tires are: Continential Contrans 18514C 6PR Load range C 5 ply Tread 2 ply sidewall. 1710 lbs @ 55psi.

I do want to get new tires with better tread but would like to wear these out first but are they safe.

Thanks, David
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Capt. Mike

The tires meet VW's OE specs. 185R14C was a VW OE tire spec. These Continentals are a little confusing because the C (Commercial) designation in the size usually requires a Load range of D and 8PR. Most load range C and 6 PR tires don't meet VW's specs. However, if these are 1710 lb. at 55 psi, they appear to meet the Westy's VW's expected loads and the 55 psi allows the minimum pressures for safe handling.


New member
Hi All,

Thanks Capt. Mike for the past advice on my tires.

I found a supplier in Montreal (Qc) for Vredestein ComTrac which meets the westy specs.

I am wondering if anyone has experience on how the "Transport Snow" tires wear is when using on pavement for majority of the year. I am torn between the ComTrac Winter and the Transport Snow. The Transport Snow has nice looking tread but wondering about wear? I read elsewhere that the noise isn't to bad being more of a rumble than a irritating wine.

Thanks for the help,



New member
I've been using the Transport Snow for a couple of years now. Mine are studded so I only use them in the winter. I only have approximately 8,000 km on them: no noticeably wear so far.

As far as noise, they are slighly louder than the Michelin LTX M&S I was running (but the Vredestein are studded, the Michelins weren't).

I just put on new summer tires (Hankook RA08) and these are much quieter than either the Vredesteins or the Michelins, but also a much less aggressive tread.

I realy only notice the difference in tire noise around town: at 100 to 110 km/hour, I find the wind noise to be a bigger factor.

Calgary, AB


New member
After reading this long thread with some confusion, I am suprised no one has mentioned Hankook. Apparently, they were OEM at some point. I found these tires on The Bus Depot's website, and they certainly sound like what Westy owners need:

Hankook Tire
Anyone ever tried them? I will need new tires soon for my '87 2wd Westy, and although these look a little boring (not an aggressive tread pattern), I'd consider them if they're the right tire for my van.

Of course, I'd like something more "off-roady", but who am I kidding? I basically drive on pavement! Here in Oregon, I don't even deal with much snow.

So, any thoughts on the Hankook RA08 185R14?

Moby1: 87 westy

Capt. Mike

Hankook is a Korean tire manufacturer. I'm sure they were never an OE supplier for VW Vanagons or Eurovans. Manufacturer's use many tires, often of local production, when building cars in foreign countries, but the VW buses were never built in Korea. They may have supplied other model VWs in Asian markets, thus the claim, but not the Vanagon or Eurovan OE.

The model RA08 in 185R14 is listed as "8PR" and shows a loaded pressure of 65psi. That corresponds to most Load Range D tires, which would be suitable for the Westy.

Caution: A visit to their web site did not locate that tire, but that means little because web sites rarely carry the full line. However, when I did the tire selector, they recommended a number of tires, none of which met the Westy specs. Do NOT use a tire based on their recommendations.

California Imports (PARTS forum) offers another Korean tire in 205/70R14D.
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Capt. Mike

Recently I was browsing an old post link and ran across his description of a tire problem from A. Cooper. I just want to share it:
. . . the German frat boys from whom we bought the van had made the common mistake of installing everyday passenger-car tires on the Westy, when light-truck or Load Range C or D are required. With the heavy rear-engine configuration of the Vanagon, and the added weight of the Camper package, conventional car tires will squirm like cheap sneakers on an elephant, and dangerously begin unravelling within several thousand miles.



I made a bonehead move yesterday. I needed to put some summer tires on my Syncro so as not to run my Nokian Hakkapelitas all summer. I called my local Discount Tire Center, and asked if they had the Michelin "Westy" tire in stock. This store has always been the local supplier for Vanagons. They said come on in, they had pleanty. Without looking, I had them install 4 new tires on my spare rims, removing the old tires that had better than 60k on them. Driving home the car felt sort of funny, sort of soft.

I looked at the tires, and to my horror realized that they had installed a set of ltx195/7514c M+S tires. Reading the side walls, I realized that these tires are rated for only 1435# per tire. The gvw of the car is 5511#. So while these tires barely make it on the front axle (2866#) they are way under for the rear (3042#). So even thought this tire is a LT tire, it does not meet even the minimum requirement for a Westy.

I then spent some time on this site and on the Michelin site and found that the only correct Michelin tire is the Agilis 185r14/c rated at 1874#

I went back to the store this morning with the information, a bit miffed that they had sold me an inadequate tire for the car. They tried to give me a song and dance about how they had sold hundreds of these tires for "Vw vans" and had no complaints. They also tried to tell me how LT tires are really "down rated" because they know that people will over load them! I said I didn't really care how many they had sold, and that I was not comfortable driving across the country in hot (very hot) weather with an underrated tire.

Finally, they were able to locate 4 Agilis tires and agreed to change them out when they come in in a few days, charging me only the difference. (Note: the Agilis tires are hard to come by and they are quite expensive. If you need new tires plan long enough in advance to order some. They may have to come from Europe)

The bottom line is that just because people sell tires, doesn't mean they know squat about what they are selling. They want to sell you the tires, the extended warrentees, but don't seem to give a rip about selling the right tire. I would suggest that you make sure you get the right tire for your beast. The thought of a front tire unwrapping at road speed curls my hair.

A side note, I have had very good service with my Nokians. They are a great winter tire, but with thier aggressive lugs, they scrub down in the heat. The advantange of the Agilis is that it is a very non agressive tread so that it will make a good compliment to the Nokians. I just wish that Nokian made a summer tread and compound. I would buy a set in a heart beat.

Keep safe!


PS. I had to drive the car on the freeway yesterday, waiting for the right tires to come in. I have never driven a worse handling vehicle in my life. (And I've driven some strange ones!) With about 15mph of cross wind, the car wallowed all over the road. Passing a Transport truck on two lane road was almost as bad as it was with a 45mph cross wind in Nebraska several springs ago. Lane changes on the freeway were a challenge, and exit ramps a white knuckle experiance. The irony is that the tires were very "poundy" on the pavement seams because they are inflated to hard, and yet the are so soft in the sidewalls that any mothion causes them to flex so badly it is scarey.

I will report back when the Agilis tires are installed, meanwhile I have to make one trip to Seattle and back on these and I'm a bit nervious.

(I do suspect however, that my feelings are exagurated because I know how under sized these tires are. On the other hand I have new respect for the Nokian Haka's)


PPS. I got the Agilis tires on today, What a world of difference! Anybody that has handling problems with thier Westy should look at the tires first. The LTX's were almost scary to drive. The body sway was terrible, and a evasive move would bring on almost uncontrolable sway. On the other hand, at 70 mph, a quick jerk of the wheel and there is no noticable body sway, no sense of being out of control. I know that these tires are spendy, but PLEASE consider the extra cost a being cheap insurance.

The Agilis's have a profile much like the Haka's without the agressive tread. I'm about to embark on a trans-continental trip next week, and I will report back if I have any surprises


One other side note, watch the guys in the tire store when they are using the lift or floor jacks. I had to yell at the kid who was trying to jack the car up using both the rocker panel and the l/p tank for a jack point!

Capt. Mike

My dealer, Piedmont Truck Tire, recently added the Geostar line. A little web research finds they have Geostar SV-820 in 185R14D, suitable for the westy. I then found Tireco sells both it and another, the Nanking N-810. Nanking is a Khumo brand, and Geostar a Nexen brand. Both are Korean. I know nothing of either tire, though have seen Khumos on a lot of high-end performance cars.

5/31/07: A browse of their latest brochure shows the SB-700 available in 205/70R14 95T. This load range is 1521 lbs, so meet minimum specs. (Westy OE tires in this size were 1550 lb.) This is an 'all-season' tread but one of the few 205/70's available.

Capt. Mike

Being suspicious of salesmen in general and tire sellers in particular, I'd sure like to see the source of her claim. I've not seen anything from VW or a manufacturer to support it. 2nd & 3rd hand information like this requires you demand to see the source and then confirm it anyway.

I went to the actual tire spec sticker on my '90 Vanagon, which came with 6" alloys. It specified the 185R14C8PR size as standard equipment. 205/70R14r was "optional." The rims listed were 5½Jx14 & 6Jx14 for either tire. I then went to 4 different manufacturers that make tires suitable for the Westy (including two of the OE suppliers) -- Bridgestone, Yokohama, Continental & Michelin. In EACH, their specs for a 185R14 (standard size -- not low profile) called for 5" to 6" rims. Most indicated that their measurements (for diameter, rolling circumference, etc.) were taken on 5.5", the median size for their recommended range. This is NOT a rejection of any other size within that range nor that any inference that the tires are "rated" for only that size.

Of course she also lied to you about the 205/70R14D not being available, as cited Oct 31, 2002 in this topic. As of today, they are listed as "in stock" at CIP. Scarce and limited to one or two manufacturers does not make it NLA -- just that she doesn't carry it.

This is a common ploy amongst tire shops -- to sell what they have, not what you want or need. In this case, I'd say it borders on the unethical unless she can show you an official VW tech bulletin that overrides their published specs. Find another dealer.
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Capt. Mike

Pros: More traction, braking and support on soft surfaces. Usually the larger size has greater load capacity (all things being equal) and the lower profile more lateral stability. Looks.

Cons: More subject to hydroplaning, less traction in ice/snow, not as much 'cushion' in the sidewall on rough roads or from road hazards, higher temps. Higher cost, low availability and almost no variety of types.

Capt. Mike

No one can make that decision for you -- see all the above posts. We don't know what you want, how and where you're going to use them and how you drive. Why are you "afraid the ride is going to be terrible?" Have you seen the tire, ridden on it, have friends that use them?

The "C" load-rating of most LT tires is unacceptable unless it's the C8PR of the commercial European classification. For example, a Michelin XLT 195/75R14C is unsuitable. It needs to be a D like the Bridgestone V603 195/75R14D. You should have no problem -- and I'd question the ability to even notice the difference -- in performance between a 185R14C8PR or 185R14D, a 195/75R14D or a 205/70R14r or 205/70R14D. From the load chart, you can see it is actually possible to reduce pressure for comfort in the 185R14D over the 195/75R14D (same tire) while retaining the load capacity.

You should keep the same rolling circumference of these recommended sizes. Any attempt to use a different width/profile combination other than those given will result in an unfavorable effect on gear ratios. Use 185R14D, 195/75R14D or 205/70R14D.

READ the load tables referenced and published on this site to determine the pressure you can reduce to and still have adequate load capacity. I'm running 50F/50R on 185R14C8PR as the 43F/48R VW recommends and was adequate for the Syncro load but was wearing the edges a hair faster than the center.