What wheels and tires can you use on your Freelander?
Because a Freelander is a 4×4 vehicle, the type of wheels and tires you use are very important to make sure you don’t damage the drivetrain.
Recommended tire sizes
Recommended tire sizes for Freelander 1 (1998-2006) is it so:
- 15-inch wheels: 195/80 R15
- 16-inch wheels: 215/65 R16
- 17 inch wheels: 235/55 R17
- 18 inch wheels: 235/50 R18
- 19 inch wheels: 245/45 R19
- 20 inch wheels: 245/40 R20
- 22 inch wheels: 295/30 R22
Although we did not find many Freelanders with 22 inch wheels!
For him Freelander 2 (2006 onwards) recommended tire sizes are:
- 16 inch wheels: 215/75 R16
- 17 inch wheels: 235/65 R17
- 18 inch wheels: 235/60 R18
- 19-inch wheels: 235/55 R19
- 20 inch wheels: 275/40 R20
- 22 inch wheels: 265/35 R22
What do the tire size numbers mean?
Although many of us are quite used to ordering tires by number and we know they are important, not all of us understand what they mean.
If we take the 16-inch wheels for a Freelander 1 the tires should be:
The first number, 215, is the width of the tire in mm from sidewall to sidewall when you are not stressed and looking at it from above. The technical name is the width of the section.
The second number, 65, is the ratio of the tire’s sidewall height expressed as a percentage of the width. The technical name is the aspect ratio or the height of the section. In this case, 65% of 215mm is 139.75mm.
The R means that the tire is of radial construction, this just means that the strand layers are arranged at 90 degrees in the direction of travel, or radially (from the center of the tire).
The next number, 16, is the diameter in inches of the wheel rim on which the rim is designed. So in this case, it is a tire for a 16-inch wheel.
It’s a bit weird for tire sizes to mix inches with mm, but this is how it’s done!
When you look at the size printed on the tire, this number, for example 215/65 R16, will be followed by two numbers and a letter. The two numbers are the load index and the letter is the speed rating. The load index indicates how much weight the tire can support (for a Freelander you need a minimum load index of 84 or 85, depending on the exact Freelander model you have) and the speed rating refers to the speed at which it can travel for 10 minutes continuously without the tire breaking into pieces.
The speed ratings are:
- Speed symbol Maximum speed capacity
- MPH Km / h
- L 120 75
- M 130 81
- N 140 87
- P 150 95
- Q 160 100
- R 170 105
- S 180 113
- T 190 118
- U 200125
- H 210 130
- V 240 150
- W 270 168
- And 300 186
- Z 240+ 150+
Can you use a different size tire than recommended on your Freelander?
As long as the total circumference of the wheel with the rim on is within plus or minus 2.5% of the recommended, then you should have no problem fitting different tire sizes to your Freelander (although the speedometer will give a slightly inaccurate reading). The total circumference is calculated from the total diameter.
If the total circumference is plus or minus 2.5%, you risk damaging your drivetrain.
Taking the most common Freelander tire sizes, here are some alternate sizes you can use:
The 195/80 R15 alternatives are:
- 205/75 R15 (-0.87% difference in circumference)
- 215/70 R15 (-1.70% difference in circumference)
- 215/75 R15 (+ 1.47% difference in circumference)
- 225/70 R15 (+ 0.32% difference in circumference)
- 235/70 R15 (+ 2.34% difference in circumference)
The 215/65 R16 alternatives are:
- 225/65 R16 (+ 1.76% difference in circumference)
- 225/60 R16 (-1.44% difference in circumference)
- 235/60 R16 (+ 0.28% difference in circumference)
- 255/55 R16 (0% circumference difference)
The 215/75 R16 alternatives are:
- 225/70 R16 (-0.83% difference in circumference)
- 225/75 R16 (+ 2.19% difference in circumference)
- 235/65 R16 (-2.19% difference in circumference)
- 235/70 R16 (+ 1.09% difference in circumference)
- 255/65 R16 (+ 1.36% difference in circumference)
The alternatives to the 235/65 R17 are:
- 245/65 R17 (+ 1.64% difference in circumference)
- 255/60 R17 (0% circumference difference)
- 265/60 R17 (+ 1.64% difference in circumference)
- 275/55 R17 (-1.52% difference in circumference)
Remember that if there is a difference in circumference, the speedometer reading will be slightly wrong.
You can check if it is safe to replace your current tires with any other size by using one of the available tire size calculators, so if you want to check it out for yourself, give this tire calculator a try.
How many tires should you replace on your Freelander?
It is always recommended to replace all four tires at the same time on your Freelander, with the same make, model and type, so as not to damage the drive train.
The Freelander 1’s 4×4 system is very sensitive to differences in the rolling radius of the tires, and if the tires differ by more than 5mm, you run the risk of damaging the drivetrain, especially the rear differential.
To check that your tires are not winding up your Viscous Coupling Unit (VCU), the bulbous piece in the center of the propeller shaft that runs from the front to the rear of your Freelander 1, which is the driveshaft to the rear wheels. , then drive your Freelander for about 5-10 miles, then get under and check the VCU temperature. BE CAREFUL, the VCU can get very hot! If the VCU is too hot to hold your hand comfortably, then you have a problem with your tires and should seek to replace them IMMEDIATELY; otherwise you will have a very high bill for drive train items.
If you only replace two tires on your Freelander 1, make sure the new tires go to the rear (the same make, model and type as the front ones) AND check the VCU temperature, as noted above, to make sure that it is not heated. Never replace just one tire on a Freelander.
A little more technical details about Freelander tires and wheels
For those of you who like a little more technical details on your Freelander rims and wheels, here’s a little more information.
For Freelander 1:
- 5 x 114 PCD
- Scroll from 35 to 45
- Boron 64.1
- Fittings N 12 x 1.5
For the Freelander 2:
- PCD 5 x 108
- Scroll from 35 to 50
- Boron 63.4
- Fittings N 14 x 1.5
If you don’t understand what they mean, here is a short explanation.
PCD is the diameter of the pitch circle. This is the diameter, in mm, of a circle drawn through the bolt holes in the wheels. It also indicates the number of studs or bolts the wheel will have. So the Freelander 1 has 5 bolts and the diameter of a circle drawn through the bolt holes is 114mm. The Freelander 2 has 5 screws and a diameter of 108mm.
Offset is where the wheel will sit in relation to the vehicle’s body line. The offset is usually stamped on the wheel and is measured in millimeters of et (et is short for the German word ‘Einpresstiefe’, which literally translates to insertion depth). The numbers are essentially the distance between the center of the wheel and the hub.
The center hole of a wheel is the center that fits over the hub. The hole measurement is the diameter in mm of the central hole.
The accessories are the necessary wheel nuts and bolts.