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Wheel/tyre Combination FAQs
Wheel/tyre combinations from Volkswagen are basically to be differentiated into Volkswagen Genuine Parts or Volkswagen Accessories – you can choose from both.
When you buy a Volkswagen, or one is delivered to you, you will be given a Certificate of Conformity (CoC). This contains a list of all approved wheel/tyre combinations that are permitted for your exact model and its engine system. This always refers to Volkswagen Genuine Parts, as they are used exclusively in new vehicles.
The Volkswagen Accessories Wheels expand the offer for a (subsequently) individually designed Volkswagen. With regards to the accessories items, the specific general operating permit is what’s important: They explicitly list all the vehicles for which the particular accessory or rims are approved. Registration by a testing station, such as an MOT facility, is not required in either case.
As a motor vehicle manufacturer, Volkswagen must apply for an EC operating licence for every car. This is valid across the whole of the EU. In addition to the permit, the respective parts are given an E-test mark. A certificate is then generated as a result – the so-called CoC (Certificate of Conformity). This document verifies that the vehicle conforms with the EC operating licence (EC type approval) and can be approved for every country in the EU without the need for individual licences. These vehicles are equipped with an EC type plate in the form of a black sticker in the driver door area or, in older vehicles, in the engine compartment.
The CoC document is equally as important as the registration certificate: Therefore, the original document should not be kept in the car. The CoC document contains the EC type approval number and comprehensive technical information on the vehicle, such as its emissions classification and all permitted wheel/tyre combinations, as long as it refers to Genuine Parts rather than accessories wheels.
A general operating permit can be awarded to both entire vehicles and individual vehicle components.
The vehicle general operating permit used to be the national approval for vehicles and was replaced by the type approval/EC operating licence in 1998. You should always have a part-specific general operating licence in the car when driving – you may need to show it during a control.
The CoC list contains all the combinations for each particular vehicle that have been tested and deemed safe and suitable by Volkswagen during the development phase. They are so precise that these combinations are inspected straight away by the MOT association and as such are already approved when the vehicle goes on sale. The selection and thus the recommendation of these combinations are based on practical tests. The results of these tests must meet Volkswagen high demands in terms of driving behaviour, safety and comfort.
Combinations that are not recommended by the vehicle manufacturer often result in structural changes to the wheel and/or the vehicle. These changes must first be checked by a state certified testing facility, although it should be noted that not all changes are tested. The easiest way to avoid such inconveniences is to stick to the recommended wheel/tyre combinations in the CoC or the part-specific general operating permit.
In contrast to a part-specific general operating permit, a part-specific technical report is not always a direct permit to execute a structural amendment. But: The part-specific technical report generally includes a section on “Fields of application”. For example, this may read as follows: “The amendment described in the appendix to the vehicle listed may be executed in consideration of the conditions and information provided”. In this case, the part-specific technical report is in fact a direct approval for the retrofitting of the wheel/tyre combination specified in the appendix. And in exactly the same way, Volkswagen has the respective part-specific technical reports from the MOT association for the approved wheel/tyre combinations named in the CoC.
Most importantly, however, a part-specific technical report contains the requirements concerning the correct installation of the particular part. Without an approved appendix, an MOT facility (or a comparable testing facility) will have to check that the retrofitting has been conducted correctly in accordance with the technical report. The structural amendment to the vehicle must first be successfully tested before it can be added to part I of the registration certificate, formerly the vehicle registration document, by an accreditation office.
The registration certificate only contains a selection of possible wheel/tyre combinations for the relevant vehicle, generally the minimum dimensions. But: It is not essential for one of the combinations listed to actually be mounted. All combinations that are approved according to the EC operating licence/type approval can be used, plus all combinations that may come about by way of a part-specific general operating permit and the vehicle stated within it.
In general, the following applies: All approved wheel/tyre combinations are valid for both summer and winter tyres. Nevertheless, winter tyres are specifically mentioned in e.g. part-specific technical reports. The recommended winter tyres differ from other tyres in two main aspects: The speed index (indicated in the last letter of the labelling on the tyre) and the diameter.
Winter tyres generally have a lower speed index as road conditions tend to be very different in winter. And: The larger a tyre or wheel, the smaller the amount of space available for snow chains. That’s why the recommended winter tyres tend not to be the largest size that is permitted for the respective vehicle.
The larger the rim, the larger the tyre – and the smaller the amount of space between the wheel and the surrounding vehicle body. This means that not all approved wheel/tyre combinations are suitable for snow chains. Therefore, the part-specific technical reports contain a “yes/no” field for snow chains alongside the listed combinations.
So, before selecting a rim or complete wheel, make sure you think about whether you can do without the option of having snow chains. If you have any questions concerning snow chains and their various types, fitting and approval with different wheel and tyre combinations, contact your Volkswagen Dealer.
If a wheel/tyre combination is mounted for which no operating licence is available – via the CoC, a part-specific technical report plus appendix or a part-specific general operating permit – the operating licence for the vehicle in question is automatically rendered void. It can therefore no longer be driven in road traffic. Regardless of whether the structural retrofitting appears to have made no difference to the driving. The only thing you have to do is to go to the MOT facility (or a comparable testing facility) to have the amendment to the vehicle officially tested.
If the testing facility issues a report (normally based on the part-specific technical report) stating that the structural amendment has been correctly executed and the driving safety has not been impaired, you can take this new report to an accreditation centre. They will add the amendment to part I of the registration certificate, formerly the vehicle registration document. As long as the retrofitting is not officially added to the vehicle documents, you should keep the new report or the new operating permit in your car at all times. You may be requested to show them during a control.
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