Reducing wheel size from R18 to R16 on TDI FR - is it safe?

Nov 19, 2020
My neighbour has a VW Golf and a spare set of R16 winter tyres that he has offered me. I have just put them on my 16 plate Leon FR TDI and they are pretty close to the calipers (about 4mm clearance at narrowest margin). The manual doesn't say much about tyre sizes, but the petrol flap says it can take R16 wheels (although I wonder if that is on the rear axle only). I have driven the car around the block and there is no awful scratching noises or obvious resistance. Do you think this is ok?

The front wheels on the TDI FR have larger brakes than most other Leon models I believe. 312mm discs rather than 288mm.


Active Member
May 10, 2020
Northwest England
Not an expert but I can't see any issues so long as you do a couple of tests is drive slowly on full lock and check for rubbing etc. There shouldn't be as the wheels are considerably smaller. 4mm clearance of the calipers should be fine, the wheel and caliper are fixed in relation to each other so unless the alloys are super flexible there won't be any touching. You are correct about the size, the diesel FR 184 has 312 / 272 mm discs. I believe the diesel FR 150 discs are the next size down (288/254?).


Active Member
Mar 10, 2013
16” rims with 205/55/R16 tyres on the FR are fine - I ran these on my previous Mk3 FR for 5+ years.

I have 17” winter rims on the Cupra with the 340 mm front brake set up - these were the Tuv approved size at the time of purchase on my previous Octavia VRS (also with 340 mm set up), and there is only 1-2 mm clearance.


Active Member
Jun 4, 2008
South Scotland
I fitted 15" VW alloys to my wife's 2015 Polo that has 288mm front brakes and so 16" VW alloys from factory, there is enough clearance, not excessive but enough, so I'd think that same design 312mm front brakes would allow the fitting of 16" alloys, if they are steel even more so.
So, as long as the offset is okay, have you checked to see if that is the case, insurers would want you to be using the same size and weight rating (at least) tyres, with winter tyres, the speed rating does not seem to be so important, though I've always tried to stick with what my summer tyres are to avoid any issues with insurers.
Why not check on the "mytyres" website and feed in your car's details and select "winter wheels with tyres" and see what wheel sizes they suggest, which will include diameter, width, ET and tyre size, load rating - and some speed ratings - really just to get a "warm" feeling from a professional source. Remember that there is a bit of lea way on ET.


Apr 20, 2008
Was always a common upgrade to ibiza’s and fabia vrs’s years ago, 312mm calipers are fine on 16” alloys. No issues.

Mr Pig

Active Member
Jun 17, 2015
Last week I took the 18'' wheels off our FR and put the 16'' steel winter wheels on. No issues, didn't expect any.

Handling is not ruined either. The suspension is much more important than the wheels.
EBC Brakes Direct - picture of brake discs and pads