Volkswagen GTI Tire & Wheel Problems

spinner5spinner5 Member Posts: 3
edited January 2014 in Volkswagen
I just bought a 2007 GTI. It comes with the 17" wheels and summer performance tires. I live in NYC. Will I need to buy a set of winter tires for the snow? Any suggestions would be appreciated?


  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
    I'm going to rename this discussion to make it our one stop shop for GTI tire and wheel questions.
  • eldainoeldaino Member Posts: 1,618
    you actually could have just specified at the dealer that you wanted the all season tires; it should be a no cost option.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
    Being FWD and living in NYC, all seasons should do just fine for you unless you plan to take winter trips upstate into heavier snow areas.
  • spinner5spinner5 Member Posts: 3
    I should have explained. I bought the 07 GTI certified pre-owned. So, I didn't have a choice of tires.
  • nectarnectar Member Posts: 4 a cheap set of steelies and winter tires if you're doing much driving in the snow. this will do 2> you'll actually get traction in the snow. and two-> you'll keep the salt and grime off your nice alloys.

    i have had great luck with discounttire.

    even "all" season performance tires are a joke (i speak from many years of driving on them)

    just my .02
  • chekecheke Member Posts: 1
    I'm about to purchase a new GTI and the model I've chosen has the 18in wheels fitted. However when driving another model with the std 17in wheels I felt the ride quality is better with the 17ins.
    I'm considering having the dealer fit 17ins as long term i'll take ride quality over the extra performance.
    Any similar experineces?
  • 98jettadc98jettadc Member Posts: 10
    I live in Washington, DC. Since purchasing my GTI in March 2006, Iv'e had to get THREE new 18-inch tires... the horrible condition of roads is DC is destroying them. At $320/tire, I'm wishing I'd gotten 17-inchers.
  • bajaman1bajaman1 Member Posts: 1
    I'm getting a 08 GTI, but not to sure of the bolt pattern. Can anyone help.
  • upstatedocupstatedoc Member Posts: 710
    Uh, there's five of them if that helps. Not too sure what your'e looking for. :confuse:
  • rmorin2rmorin2 Member Posts: 110
    Unless performance is absolutely critical, I would go with 17" wheels and tires. In my area it gets cold enough and with some snow that all season tires are a must. I plan to make sure my new GTI is fitted with 17" all season tires. If the dealer won't make that happen, I'll take my business elsewhere. Fortunately, I have about 25 dealer within 50 miles of my home.
  • kpmaherkpmaher Member Posts: 1
    I am trying to sell 4 2003 VW GTI 17 inch Alloy Wheels in very good shape and was wondering what price these wheels sell for individually or in a set. Thanks.
  • jusben1369jusben1369 Member Posts: 3
    So, I got my GTi in October (live in suburban Boston) I got the 17 inch all season. We've had a lot of snow this winter. I went from a Durango so was worried but the all season have held up really well. I was contemplating winter tires.

    It's true the salt on your alloys is a separate issue but I've been really impressed with how this car has handled the snow this year.
  • warhubwarhub Member Posts: 13
    I'm purchasing a 2008 VW GLI. The car comes with 17" all-season 225/45R17 inch tires. There is an option to put 225/40R18 wheels and tires on the car for about $11 more per month on a 36-month lease. I'm not concerned about the $11 a month, but rather the possibility of significantly more tires bubbling, blowing up or wheels getting destroyed. I live in NY and travel mostly in the 'burbs, making the occasional (once a month) trip into NYC. There are still some potholes around to be sure, but nothing like the Bronx! If I went with the 18" it's solely because I like how they look. I'm sure the ride of the 18's is only negligibly "sportier," and I've been told that the snow traction should be about the same as the 17's given that the tires are the same manufacturer and are identical in tread type. Would I be a fool to buy the 18's? Am I destined to go through a significantly greater number of tires and possibly scuffed wheels or is the difference only going to be marginal. Again, I really like how the 18" wheels look, but I'm not going to do it if it's truly stupid in the wallet. :confuse:
  • waddywaddy Member Posts: 1
    I have an '02 gti w/17" all seasons. Moved to Maine. What are best snow tires...brands...studs needed?...

    Thanks, Waddy
  • rayd8rayd8 Member Posts: 5
    I'm in the same situation. Looking at an 09 GTI, i think the Huffs look great, but i'm considering settling for the Denvers if it means less headaches. Those Huffs are sweet though.. Is there really much difference in 17" vs 18"?
  • drbarbdrbarb Member Posts: 1
    Bought an 09 yesterday with the 18" wheels. The ride was so rough coming into work this morning, I've called the dealership and they are going to swap for 17". This had better make a big difference.
  • upstatedocupstatedoc Member Posts: 710
    :mad: :mad: :mad:
    So after 8200 miles my '08 GTI has had enough of it's summer tires. Took it in because the tire noise was getting progressively louder and the tech says they have very bad "cupping". Of course not covered under warranty. Anyone have better luck with their non-summer tires?
  • erinbgirlerinbgirl Member Posts: 1
    No luck my tires at all! So I am now about to purchase my 5th new tire on my GTI in 7 months. I love this car but how can I drive it and feel safe when I get a flat every month? I have the 18" Dunlop SP Sport 01's. The sidewalls bubble and split. Is it the tires? Or my car? I do live in MI which means I'm dodging potholes every second. I'm desperate for guidence!!
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    If/when I buy a new GTI (I'm hoping to hold out for a MKVI), I'll be selling the factory 18" wheels and tires on Craig's List almost as soon as I take delivery and replace them with a 17" set. Why? Better handling, better ride, and a MUCH greater ability to absorb a hit from a pot-hole.

    Best regards,
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
    18" wheels means low-profile tires, and if you're in any kind of rough road area, you're going to pay dearly for "looks" as low-pros just aren't meant to handle potholes.

    I can't think of many places where I'd want to run low-pros, no matter how nice I think they look, just because of that.

    A few years ago my brother was shopping for a new car, and the dealer showed him a car that someone had ordered but decided not to take. It had large wheels and low-pros and the dealer offered to not charge my brother the cost of the option in order to move the car. The car looked great with the wheels and tires, so he decided to take the deal. He lives in north NJ. Within two weeks he had gone thru two tires and was going to have to replace a wheel along with the second tire because of rough road conditions. He changed out the wheels and tires to something a little more normal in aspect ratio and decidedly "less cool". But the roads stopped eating his tires.

    His "free option" only cost him almost $2000
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
    8200 miles is at least 2200 miles past where I would have rotated the tires. No alignment is "perfect" and you do need to rotate the tires to "spread out the wear" and extend the life of the tires.

    On most of my vehicles I've rotated every 6000 miles, although on one current one that tended to develop cupping on the original tires, I rotate at 5000 miles.
  • dokmokdokmok Member Posts: 3
    Purchased at 2007 GTI Fahrenheit in late August. 18 tires have become increasingly noisey even under the most basic driving conditions. Also the ride is very rough. Any suggestions to remedy? Should I purchase 17 inch wheels and tires?

    Thanks for your ideas.
  • upstatedocupstatedoc Member Posts: 710
    Take a look at the tread in the inside of the tire. Is it fanning or feathering? This is what happened to the 17" ers on my '08 GTI. They made a terrrible noise, had to be replaced at 8k miles, no help from dealer or Bridgestone. :mad:
  • ahmedahmed Member Posts: 9
    I gave up trying to loosen the lug bolts on my GTI today. The 10-inch VW wrench supplied is way too small even when I put my foot on it. Feels like they're torqued to 250 ft lbs. So I took it to the tire shop that rotated the wheels and they laughed when I told them it's a VW, said this is a chronic problem with all the German cars. They assure me they use a torque wrench to set at manufacturer specs, but the German bolts seize up shortly after they're put on, and require either an air gun or breaker bar. I find this infuriating. An innocent up in the mountains in winter who gets a flat is in for a rude shock. Apparently the Germans prefer not to address this, consistent with the exotic logic that provokes them to do so many silly things with otherwise good cars. If you've experienced this, please reply or post.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    A problem with all German cars? Hmmm, that's funny, I've had seven cars from Germany (and worked on a whole lot more) over the years and never once have I had your problem, not even on my VWs. Go figure.
  • ahmedahmed Member Posts: 9
    Well, I've owned four different brands of German cars in the 70s and 80s and never had this problem with them either. But I have to believe that the big tire store I've patronized for 20 years has more recent knowledge than I, and has no reason to invent this. If there's some easy way to prevent the bolts from siezing and my having to haul a breaker bar I'd appreciate knowing it.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    The reason why your lug bolts were in so hard is because some lummox used an impact wrench to mount the wheels, contrary to the directives of pretty much every maker in the world, the Germans included. FWIW, the lug bolts of ALL of my German cars were supposed to be torqued to no more than 95 lb-ft of toque, well within the range to allow easy removal with a hand wrench.
  • ahmedahmed Member Posts: 9
    While I appreciate your taking time to respond, I think I did say that my long-time tire dealer assured me that the impact wrenches are set to 50 ft lbs and they use torque wrenches from there to bring them to spec. Now, that may have been happy talk, in which case when they do the job tomorrow morning I'll be watching and will use my factory lug wrench before they put the caps on, to see whether I can loosen the lugs or else find an answer to the problem.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Two comments:

    1) Impact wrenches, by the nature of the beast, "hammer" whatever they are torquing in place, and when using them on a wheel, especially an alloy wheel, they are guaranteed to screw things up royally. Lug bolts need to be smoothly hand torqued in place, period, full stop, the end. Said another way, any tire shop that uses an impact wrench on tires is a tire shop that will not get my business, ever.

    2) If they're only using fifty pounds of torque on lug bolts, then the cars they service are in serious jeopardy of finding themselves running down the road on three or fewer wheels.

    I'm thinking that you might want to call around and find a shop that hand torques the wheels they mount.

    Best regards,
  • extech2extech2 Member Posts: 120
    The day after we got our 07 GTI I removed all lugnuts one-by-one and re-installed them with a slight amount of grease on the threads. I did use a half inch breaker bar but after the installation I checked if they would come out with the tool in the trunk. I do this on every car we owned and never had a problem. Tire stores are notorious for over tightening lug nuts. Whenever the cars get new tires or get a service I like to repeat this procedure.
  • dokmokdokmok Member Posts: 3
    I appreciate your response very much. Thank you. Any recommendation on new tires to consider? We'll be using 225/40/18s. Quiet is first priority.

    Thanks again.

  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    I think the only three tires that meet your criteria currently on the market in the 224/40 R18 size are as follows (in order of my personal bias/preference):

    Yokohama Advan S.4. -- $180
    Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole Position -- $167
    Michelin Pilot Sport A/S -- $206

    The above said, I'd move the Michelin entry to the top of the list if I needed to drive in winter conditions (I do and those are the tires currently on my car).

    Best regards,
  • ahmedahmed Member Posts: 9
    When the tire store required a 2.5 hours wait to back off the studs and put on my new wheels, I went to a junkyard and bought a 3-ft pipe that snugged onto my wrench, then went home and easily removed those wheels, brushed the grit off the stud bolts, wrote some graphite into the threads with a no. 2 pencil, put on the new smaller wheels with narrow snow tires, and torqued them down to the max with the factory wrench expecting I'd just put 90 ft lbs or so on them on 12/12.
    Yesterday, on 12/17, I heard a rumbling, pulled over, and found the lugs were coming off. I put the car up on the jack (in freezing cold), used my 3-ft wrench extension, and torqued the lugs to more than before.
    I'll check them again and hope those stud bolts will stay in, but seems to me there's something wrong with VW supplying a wrench that won't take off a lug when there's a flat or need to change, and won't torque the wheel tight enough. I live in the northeast and travel to the mountains in winter, so can't afford flighty tools and instructions.
  • rudyjackrudyjack Member Posts: 3
    The 2010 GTI, both four door and two door, offers the optional Detroit 18 inch wheels with a so-called "summer tire" option. This is compared to the same wheels with the all-weather performance tires. The summer tires option costs more than the all-weather performance tires. I'm interested in the summer tires option (the car would not be in snow or freezing weather often if at all), but none of the dealers quite now what tires that option comes with. Has anyone purchased the summer tire option or does anyone know what brand and model "summer tire" that option comes with?
  • ahmedahmed Member Posts: 9
    If you won't be in wintry weather it seems to me it hardly matters whether "summer" or all-season tires unless the "summer" tires ride more quietly on dry pavement. If you're not in the desert, though, you might want an all-season tread in times of heavy rain.
    Here in the north, I found it necessary to downsize the drive wheels and put on soft-rubber snow tires, which are seeming to work well in snow.
    Someone else should know more than me about what a summer tire is.
  • nightmancomethnightmancometh Member Posts: 10
    I'm debating if I should get 18" wheels. I don't know much about tires and I'm looking for advice or your personal experiences. I have the following questions.

    1) Are all 18" tires low profile?

    2) Are 17" tires more pothole friendly?

    3) What is the fastest land mammal? :P (Airplane II)

    Thanks much
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    1q) Are all 18" tires low profile?

    1a) No, but in the size that properly fits the GTI, yes, they're low profile.

    2q) Are 17" tires more pothole friendly?

    2a) Assuming the identical outer diameter of rubber, yes.

    I'll leave question 3 for others to answer. :P
  • ahmedahmed Member Posts: 9
    I received this message but am not sure how it refers to my posts, so let me say that my 2.0 GTI came with 17-in. wheels that are too wide for snow or ice, so I bought an extra pair of 16-in. wheels and fitted them with soft-rubber snow tires for winter and they work well with the disc brakes and have gotten me through all kinds of snow, ice, crud, mud in the Northeast mountains this winter. I'll switch back to my 17-in. wheels in the next few weeks after threat of cold weather.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Uhhh, you have me at a loss, I rather thought I was responding to a post by nightmancometh. ;)

    Best regards,
  • upstatedocupstatedoc Member Posts: 710
    Cheetah? That's what my 4 year old's answer was.
  • dokmokdokmok Member Posts: 3
    1). Mine are 18" and low profile. I think that all 18" for the GTI are low profile.
    2). I would imagine that 17" tires are more pothole friendly. They are generally smoother riding, as well, not as "sporty." My car came with 18" (2007 Farhenheit). If I had it to do again, I'd go with 17" tires. This is simply personal preference.
    3.) Cheetah! :)
  • upstatedocupstatedoc Member Posts: 710
    My '08 GTI came w/ the standard 17" rims and I was still bobbing and weeving around any road imperfections, I think I remember one member say they were trading in their 18"s for the 17"s because of the ride.
  • boston_spiritboston_spirit Member Posts: 1
    I have an 09 GTI with the Dunlop SP tires too. Right now 3 out of 4 tires have bubbles. I'm regretting this car... I'm in Boston and we have potholes too. But my last car was an Infiniti and I drove in all the same places and NEVER had a tire bubble.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    It isn't the brand if car, or for that matter the brand of the tire you have on that car, it's simply a matter of the height of the side wall. I assume your car has 18" wheels on it; if I'm correct then all you have to do is to reduce the wheel size to 17" and put higher aspect ratio tires on those new rims to keep the diameter of the tires the same.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
    Yep, low-profile tires may look great, but aren't very practical in a LOT of places.
  • perunestperunest Member Posts: 42
    3. Over a long distance it's the Alaskan Husky, which can run for many hours at a time, consumes 10,000 calories a day and completes the 1,150 mile Iditerod in about 9 days.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Uhhh... What? :confuse:
  • upstatedocupstatedoc Member Posts: 710
    In reply to the fastest land mammal from a few months ago. ;)
  • nightmancomethnightmancometh Member Posts: 10
    Understood :) The fastest land animal joke was from the movie Airplane II. I'm really showing my age.

    From the looks of the past messages, I'm going to go for the 17" wheels due to the feedback from all of you. Thanks for making my decision wise and practical.
  • perunestperunest Member Posts: 42
    The 2011 GTI will come with 18" wheels as standard. Also with a better Bluetooth that stores your cell phone address book.
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