Vanagon Tires 101

Vanagon tires

The Syncro Westy of 1987 called for minimum load index (L.I.) of 97. Later models have been reported to me to call for 99 minimum on 14×5.5″ rims and 107 for 14×6″ rims.

Here is a chart of load index (L.I.) ratings:

97 730kg 1609-1652 pounds
99 775kg 1709-1763 pounds
107 975kg 2149-2200 pounds
Reinforced sidewalls

Tony Peet writes:

Reinforced sidewalls are extremely important for Vanagons because their high center of gravity and narrow track puts excessive forces on the sidewalls! (Stand up and lean to one side and then imagine what would happen if your bones/ligaments etc were “mushy”!)

Some list members reported ‘cracks in the sidewalls’ — that is why it happens. The folks at Michelin have had more than a few of the wrong tires on Vanagons returned to them with cracked sidewalls, which can (and I don’t want to be alarmist here, but just inform) lead to what they call something like ‘bead failure’ (the inability of the bead to keep the tire on the rim I think) and resulting ‘catastrophic blowout.’ Not a pretty picture, not likely to happen, but a possibility in cases of extreme wear and something the list needs to be more aware of in my opinion.

This is why Michelin corporate was so adamant about the Agilis on the phone with me. One tech guy was not quite, but nearly, hysterical.

I hope this helps, and please, let’s be more conscientious about informing people – especially new list members/owners — about the sidewall considerations in tire shopping/purchasing — irrespective of what brand they chose.