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    Thread: XL Tires, why are they nessasary?

    1. 12-03-2008 04:58 PM #1
      Hello,
      I'm in need of new tires on my '06 Passat. The choices for XL tires are few. Is it a must to have XL's? What is the downside of not having them?
      Thanks

    2. 12-03-2008 05:07 PM #2
      I ran for some time on 225s and was fine. Then I replaced them with 245 XL and felt it to be more solid. Not sure if it was the placebo effect though.

    3. Member The Swami's Avatar
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      12-03-2008 05:16 PM #3
      Tirerack's Information on Tire Loads


      Modified by The Swami at 5:28 PM 12-3-2008

    4. 12-03-2008 05:23 PM #4
      I saw that, but that just defines Max load. What does that mean in real life applications?

    5. Member thenew3's Avatar
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      12-03-2008 05:46 PM #5
      Quote, originally posted by lilricky »
      I saw that, but that just defines Max load. What does that mean in real life applications?

      let me give you an example.

      my Passat 4motion weighs about 4000 pounds. it has a cargo capacity of another 1000 pounds. which means the vehicle can weigh up to 5000 pounds if I don't overload it.

      Next, the vehicle has most of the weight over the front. I don't know the exact percentage, but let's just say that 60% of the weight is over the front while 40% is over the rear axle.

      so 60% of 5000 pounds is 3000 pounds. that means potentially 3000 pounds can be on the two front tires.

      In my case the tires are 235/40/R18 with a 95XL rating. the 95XL means it is rated to carry 1521 pounds. the only other load rating in a tire of this size is 91, which is rated to carry 1356 pounds.

      doing the math, 1521 * 2 = 3042 pounds, which is just over the 3000 pound potential weight they have to carry.

      Now if I use a 91 load rated tire, that would only be designed to carry up to 2712 pounds (1356 * 2) which would be about 300 pounds short.


      Now will a tire blow up at exactly the weight it was rated for? Most likely not.

      I have lugged approximately 1800 pounds (including myself) of cargo in my wagon (flooring material from Lowes). the vehicle was very bottomed out, and I didn't go over 30mph. I only traveled about 10 miles like this, and every turn I made, I could hear the splash guards scrape the road. My tires did not blow and the suspension did not break. I wouldn't do it often though.

      I hope that explains it.

      2008 Passat 3.6 4Motion Wagon Mine RIP Totaled 4/23/2013
      2007 Passat 2.0t sedan Wife
      2007 Passat 3.6 4Motion Wagon Mine, Lemoned

    6. 12-03-2008 07:24 PM #6
      Quote, originally posted by lilricky »
      I saw that, but that just defines Max load. What does that mean in real life applications?

      XL means you can pump the tire pressures higher than SL.

      the load rating is a numerical rating-- that defines the max load


    7. 12-03-2008 08:43 PM #7
      I'm too lazy to dig up the old threads, but I've asked this question before. If my memory is correct, a former dunlop employee told me that:

      1. There is danger of overheating and blowouts if you use a tire w/o the correct load rating.

      2. Some insurance companies might deny coverage if you have a tire related claim and you use the wrong load.

      BTW, Costco will not mount tires w/o the correct load rating because they don't want to get sued.

      The bottomline is, just get an XL tire and save your energy to worry about other things. There are some good XL tires out there like Falken Ziex 912s and Toyo Proxes 4s.


    8. 12-03-2008 09:21 PM #8
      Falken 912's are only XL for 215/55r16 and 235/40r18 only. The 235/45r17 are not XL rated.

      Hell, the OEM Pirelli P6 4-seasons VW & Audi puts on their cars not not XL's nor have a 97 load rating for 215/55r16 & 235/45r17.

      Mine came with P6 4-seasons 235/45r17 94H --- kinda makes you wonder about the concrete requirement of 97 XL, since VW & Audi are not following their own requirements


      Modified by GT17V at 9:25 PM 12-3-2008


    9. 12-03-2008 10:06 PM #9
      I just went through this when buying tires for my B6, I had been running 235/35-19 w/a load rating of 91 (bridgestone potenza re960) - when returning to my stock 17s the dealer, costco, big o tires, & america's tire all recommended that I stay w/the factory load rating - so even though it limited by choices, I did. I ended up getting Yokohama S-Drive UHP summer tires for about $144 a tire... Here's a list of tires from Discount Tire/America's Tire that are XL & 97 load rated:

      Falken ZE 512 $118
      Falken Azensis $123
      Ripken Raptor ZR $119
      Kumho SPT $142
      Yoko S-Drive $144
      Yoko YK520 $152

      Prices are for 235/45-17 & based on San Diego zipcode.


      Modified by OG KHUSH at 7:08 PM 12-3-2008


    10. 12-03-2008 10:52 PM #10
      Another thing to keep in mind is which Passat you own. The 3.6 4Mo Wagon is quite a bit heavier than, say, a 2.0T FWD sedan. In fact, I think there is roughly 500lbs of difference. I learned this the hard way when it came time to pay the 4 yr registration fee in NJ. Cars over 3500lbs are categorized under Class 8 and pay $84.00 a year for registration, meanwhile, lesser cars pay only $59.00.... so yea, didn't realize my Passat 4Mo was the equivalent of my 3/4 ton pick-up truck in terms of registration fees.

      fyi: http://autos.aol.com/cars-Volk...trims
      Turbo Sedan, FWD = 3206lbs
      Turbo Wagon, FWD = 3338lbs
      3.6L Sedan, FWD = 3442lbs
      3.6L Sedan, AWD = 3696lbs
      3.6L Wagon, AWD = 3819lbs

      I believe the numbers are a bit shifted depending on the source (compared with vw.com at least), but relative to the different trims, this should be accurate enough to get the point across.

      Point being, if you've got less than a 3.6L + AWD combo, you might not require that higher load index. See http://www.tirerack.com/tires/...id=35 for ratings and their application. Load range info can be found here http://www.tirerack.com/tires/...id=55. Basically, as stated previously, an XL tire can handle a higher air pressure than an SL tire. My final recommendation though is to always follow the specifications required for your specific application (ie: don't base it only on what people tell you you need, *coughforummemberscough*; often info is overlooked) (I also just noticed a few of you out there are saying you went with the 97XL but are driving 2.0T fwds... where did you learn that 97XL was necessary or was it just a precautionary overkill?)

      Perhaps someone with additional knowledge can chime in on the significance of the Load Range XL vs. SL specification. From what I understand, if you inflate your tires more, you can carry more load (within tolerance). This is evident by european door jam stickers showing two psi ratings for tires depending on the intended load (full vs. half). I don't understand why two ratings, the Load Index and the Load Range are necessary if the Load Index by itself specifies an absolute quantitative weight tolerance. Why should a consumer even consider the XL aspect? Take again, for example http://www.tirerack.com/tires/...cQty= and observe that a 245/45/17 95SL can support 1521lbs meanwhile, a 225/45/17 94XL can only support 1477lbs.

      How does the XL/SL play a role? My suspicion would have been that the car requires a certain psi rating on the tire to meet specifications (handling, wear, ride qualities) and at the same time, must be able to handle the maximum load, but the example I provided above doesn't support the argument, because the difference between the XL and SL tire is 1 psi (50 vs 51 psi max). Any takers?


      Modified by teng3 at 11:04 PM 12-3-2008


    11. 12-03-2008 10:59 PM #11
      Quote, originally posted by teng3 »

      How does the XL/SL play a role? My suspicion would have been that the car requires a certain psi rating on the tire to meet specifications (handling, wear, ride qualities) and at the same time, must be able to handle the maximum load, but the example I provided above doesn't support the argument, because the difference between the XL and SL tire is 1 psi (50 vs 51 psi max). Any takers?

      Because since you can cold inflate the tires more, you can carry more load, when you're comparing say 94 XL vs. 94 (SL), but when the tire pressure are the same, it has the same load capacity.

      the difference isn't 1 psi.... it's about 7 psi. 44 psi (SL) vs. 51 psi (XL)


      Modified by GT17V at 11:02 PM 12-3-2008


    12. 12-03-2008 11:12 PM #12
      That's what I was banking on. To exaggerate, say a 97SL can handle 1500lbs but only at a max psi of 40, and your car calls for 42psi. Then another tire rated at 95XL can handle only 1400lbs but up to 45psi max. And your car needs a minimum index of 95, then the 95XL is the only valid choice because the other tire can't even reach the specified psi. It may hold the weight, but it may also handle poorly or wear quickly due to the under inflation.

      However... as I said in my example, the difference between the max PSI in the two tires i referred to in the link is only 1 psi difference. 50 vs. 51psi. In fact, that specific tire PSI max ranges from 50 to 51psi for any size and rating combination. This is a counter point... anyone else?


    13. Member thenew3's Avatar
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      12-04-2008 12:15 AM #13
      Quote, originally posted by GT17V »
      Falken 912's are only XL for 215/55r16 and 235/40r18 only. The 235/45r17 are not XL rated.

      Hell, the OEM Pirelli P6 4-seasons VW & Audi puts on their cars not not XL's nor have a 97 load rating for 215/55r16 & 235/45r17.

      Mine came with P6 4-seasons 235/45r17 94H --- kinda makes you wonder about the concrete requirement of 97 XL, since VW & Audi are not following their own requirements


      Modified by GT17V at 9:25 PM 12-3-2008

      Actually the P6 do come in 97XL for 215/55/16 size. they do not come in XL for 235/45/17 size.

      This is the first time I've heard of VW using the P6 in 17" size on the passat. Normally it's either the Michellin MXMH4 or Continental contiprocontact or good year LS2 for 17"


      to add more confusion to this matter, the 4motion comes with 95XL tires, while standard FWD (both 2.0t and 3.6) come with 97XL tires.
      the 4motion is the heaviest vehicle in the passat line, yet the tires have a lower load rating. (almost 4000 pounds vs about 3400 pounds for the 2.0t fwd).

      Logic would suggest that if the FWD passats require the 97XL rating then the 4motion would require something even higher given its higher base weight. or vice versa, if the 4motion can make do with 95XL rated tires, then the FWD versions should be able to get by with a lower load rated tire since they are about 500 or 600 pounds lighter.

      My BMW 328i which weighs about 200 pounds more than my wife's 2.0t passat has 91SL tires on it from the factory. so I would imagine that passat would be ok with 91SL rated tires. but just to be safe, I still ended up putting 97XL tires on my wife's passat. (Kumho ECSTA LX Platnium)

      2008 Passat 3.6 4Motion Wagon Mine RIP Totaled 4/23/2013
      2007 Passat 2.0t sedan Wife
      2007 Passat 3.6 4Motion Wagon Mine, Lemoned

    14. 12-04-2008 10:34 AM #14
      and... one more ounce of confusion. I believe the load ratings may be irrelevant due to max payload capacity. Consider a 2.0T Turbo Wagon, fwd. It weighs 3512lbs and can handle a payload of 1228lbs. Then a 3.6L AWD Wagon weighs 3819lbs and has a payload of just 1089lbs. Of course, we know that this data depends on many factors such as engine output, transmission tolerances, tire ratings, suspension, etc, however, looking at just the numbers, the difference in total weight between the two models is 168lbs. Divided between the 4 tires, your looking at an additional 42lbs on each tire which equates to almost nothing in terms of Load index ratings. Therefore, it would make sense that all wagon variants run pretty much the same tire load specs.

      Conclusion - since the 4Mo 3.6L wagon is heavier than the 2.0T FWD wagon, it has a lesser payload (do to aforementioned factors) but similar total weight and therefore, similar tire requirements. This can obviously be applied directly to sedan specs as well.


    15. 12-04-2008 09:42 PM #15
      Quote, originally posted by GT17V »
      Falken 912's are only XL for 215/55r16 and 235/40r18 only. The 235/45r17 are not XL rated.

      Hell, the OEM Pirelli P6 4-seasons VW & Audi puts on their cars not not XL's nor have a 97 load rating for 215/55r16 & 235/45r17.

      Mine came with P6 4-seasons 235/45r17 94H --- kinda makes you wonder about the concrete requirement of 97 XL, since VW & Audi are not following their own requirements


      Modified by GT17V at 9:25 PM 12-3-2008

      That's true. I was assuming he had 16's which was probably presumptuous on my part.

      In any case, for some strange reason, tire sites, such as Costco list 97XL requirements for 215-55-16 but only 94 for 235-45-17s. Not only that, my dealer confirmed that 94s are okay with 17s. Knowing how legalistic Costco is and how by the book my dealer is, I'm assuming that VW does allow for 94s on 17s, though it doesn't say this in the owner's manual.


    16. 12-04-2008 11:01 PM #16
      Quote, originally posted by vwconvert »

      I'm assuming that VW does allow for 94s on 17s, though it doesn't say this in the owner's manual.

      That's my assumption also--- since that was what came on my car from the factory, as a mentioned before.

      I also have the Falken Ziex 912 235/45r17 94W...

      my snows are nokian hakkapeliitta rsi 205/55r16 94R XL


    17. Member 60cdnstd's Avatar
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      04-05-2009 10:11 PM #17
      Ok Im confused. Can I run Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S 235/45R17 94H on my 06 B6 3.6 FWD sedan?

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      04-06-2009 01:00 PM #18
      Why take the chance of any problems. Most tire dealers will not mount a tire with a load rating lower than the manufacturer reccommends. If you're looking of an A/S tire take a look at the Dunlop Sport Signature. It is available with the proper load rating and is an A/S High Performance Tire that really does perform well in deep snow as well as provide a quiet, sporty ride on dry pavement. I've had no trouble getting up a long steep hill with speed bumps in 8" of unplowed snow. My Toyo Proxe 4s couldn't even make it up the first 100 yards. The Dunlops are quieter and handle just as well as the Toyos on dry pavement. Reasonably priced also.

    19. Member 60cdnstd's Avatar
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      04-06-2009 05:48 PM #19
      Quote, originally posted by pwaug »
      Why take the chance of any problems. Most tire dealers will not mount a tire with a load rating lower than the manufacturer reccommends. If you're looking of an A/S tire take a look at the Dunlop Sport Signature. It is available with the proper load rating and is an A/S High Performance Tire that really does perform well in deep snow as well as provide a quiet, sporty ride on dry pavement. I've had no trouble getting up a long steep hill with speed bumps in 8" of unplowed snow. My Toyo Proxe 4s couldn't even make it up the first 100 yards. The Dunlops are quieter and handle just as well as the Toyos on dry pavement. Reasonably priced also.

      Thanks! That one is rated well. I will check it out


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