Cavalier Tire Sizes

For Tires, Size Does Matter; Thermostat Change Not A Good Idea
September 22, 2015 – 12:11 pm
225/50 and even tire wear

The "65" in your tire's size designation stands for its sidewall height, or "aspect", in millimeters. The P215/70R15 you want to install has a sidewall height of 70 millimeters. If you use the 70mm aspect, you increase the radius of the tire by five millimeters, and thus change the number of times it turns each mile. The smaller tire revolves 804 times each mile. The larger one turns only 778. That's why you would render your speedometer inaccurate with the larger tire.

Q: I have a 1989 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 with a 2.8-liter engine. The car seems to be running hot. I wanted to put a cooler-running, 180-degree thermostat in it, but could only buy a 195-degree one from the local auto parts store. So, I purchased a 160-degree one from a racing parts store. Would this thermostat be a problem in the car?

Also, why does the car let the temperature get to about 220 degrees when idling, then start the fans and try to play catchup cooling the engine down?

A: First of all, there is no reason to believe you have a cooling system problem. According to Bob Zimmerman, service manager at Magarity Chevrolet in Flourtown, that engine is designed to operate in excess of 200 degrees, and its fans are built to come on between 220 and 235 degrees, which is what yours do.

I suspect that, like this writer, you go back to a time when engines were overheating when their coolant reached the boiling point of water (212 degrees). But, today's engines operate at markedly higher temperatures.

Also keep in mind that it is never a good idea to treat a cooling system problem with a lower-temperature thermostat. That's the ultimate in treating the symptom instead of the disease.

Additionally, it will make your engine less efficient. Zimmerman points out that if you substitute a colder thermostat for the 195-degree unit that should be in your car, you will raise both emissions and fuel consumption because the engine temperature sensor will dictate a richer air/fuel mixture.

Q: I am the original owner of a 1986 Nissan 300ZX 2+2 model. This car has 45, 000 highway miles on it. It is loaded and in mint condition. The car has been garage-kept for the last eight years, and driven only a few times a year.

Will this car appreciate in the near future? Is it worth keeping?

A: No one can tell you with certainty what's going to happen to the prices of old automobiles. My guess is that your car's value probably has bottomed out around $5, 000. If the value of the earliest Z cars is any indication, yours won't appreciate in a big way.

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Popular Q&A
What is the tire size for a 2001 cavalier.

The tire size for 2001 Base Model Chevy Cavalier are P195/70R14, LS are P195/65R15, Z24 are P205/55R16.

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