Upgrading from your original 14" wheels and tires is one of the best improvements you can make to your Vanagon... but will a bigger GoWesty wheel and tire package make it impossible to park in your garage? This is a great question with a somewhat complicated—but very encouraging—answer. Read on!
Our 15" and 16" wheel packages might seem like they are 1" or 2" larger than the original 14" wheels they replace; in reality, though, you can expect around ½" increase in height with your GoWesty wheel and tire packages. Here's why:
The "size" of a tire (14", 15", 16") relates to the inside diameter where the tire meets the wheel. The extent to which a wheel/tire combination will raise a vehicle is primarily related to the difference in the outside diameter of the tire—regardless of "size." That is, you can increase the inside diameter of the tire without increasing the outside diameter by decreasing the sidewall height. And that's exactly what our wheel/tire packages do.
With regard to the GoWesty 15" and 16" wheel packages for 2WD Vanagons (intended for street use): We chose a tire size that was almost identical to the typical size tire that was fitted originally: 185/80-14, 195/75-14, or 205/70-14 tire. All of these sizes had about the same outside diameter, which was about 24". On our 15" package we use a 215/65-15, and on the 16" package we use a 215/60-16. Both tires are within ½" of the outside diameter of the typical 14" tire they replace, which is less than ½" smaller in radius—the distance between the center of the wheel and the contact patch on the ground. That is the amount the vehicle will be raised due to the new tire's outside diameter.
The tires we offer are also quite a bit wider. The suspension of a Vanagon, especially in the rear, has a normal camber angle relative to the ground. That is, the tire is not perfectly perpendicular to the ground; instead, it sits at a very slight angle (less than 2 degrees). Our wider tires tend to counteract this tendency, which also has a slight raising effect—but is, for all practical purposes, negligible.
For a more detailed discussion about tires and wheels, please read this article.