NEW D Model wheels now available!

Brand new road wheels for all Citroen D Models (DS and ID) made after September 1965 are now available, and have just arrived in stock today.

These are the wider 5.5J wheels with square centre hole, as originally fitted to all models after 1970. The rims are welded to the centres, not riveted like the originals and this means you can run tubeless tyres more reliably. They are painted in the right grey colour inside and out.

No more trying to make your rusted and pitted wheels look good again, sell them to the scrap man and buy some shiny new ones!

We will have a limited number of these available to buy at the D Rally (Little Horwood MK17 0PF Recreation ground behind Shoulder of Mutton Pub – June 12-14 2015) but to secure yours BUY NOW for delivery, or collection at the rally. We’ll also most likely have these available already fitted with new Retro Tyres so you can buy, fit and drive away on them.

New Citroen DS Wheel

Brand new Citroen DS road wheel

Revised budget tyre for Citroen D Models

Remember the Nankang tyres we were testing on our ID19? Well, they passed all our tests without any problems and we pronounced them a worthy budget tyre for D models. The only niggle we had with them was that the Michelin XVS style tread pattern was made inside out on the Nankangs.

These tyres have now been revised and the first batch of them has arrived today. They are no longer branded Nankang, they are now “Retro” brand and the tread pattern is around the correct way, as per Michelin XVS. Everything else remains the same, including the H speed rating. Most budget tyres of this size have a lower speed rating than your original tyre.

So now, whatever your budget, your D Model can wear tyres which look the part too.

Click here for photos of the new Retro tyres.

Mystery Citroen wheel trims

I have been contacted by someone with a number of these original Citroen wheel trims, but we can’t work out what they fit.

I think they are an accessory rather than a model specific factory fit, but could be wrong.

Part number is ZC9 853 120U  I’ve not been able to find in any parts books.

The trims measure approx. 36cm across and the centre is approx. 19.5cm which makes me think they are for 14″ wheels and appear to be pre-1980’s, so CX or C25?

mystery wheel trim Mystery wheel trim 1

Can anyone positively identify these so I can let the chap with them know?

New budget tyre for D models

There is now a new 185/80 R15 budget car tyre on the market, perfect for DS and ID models, and I have just fitted a set to our test car for evaluation. These are Taiwanese made Nankang tyres, and get this, the tread pattern is a close copy of the Michelin XVS, albeit a mirror image. image    image   The tyres appear to be assymetric as they are marked “inside” and “outside” which hopefully does not relate to the tread, seeing it is on the opposite way to how Michelin puts it! As I’ve said before, I prefer Michelin XAS tyres on post 1965 D models, but I realise not everyone can stretch that far and a DS on the road is better than one sitting unused whilst funds for tyres are found.  By the way, the Michelin XVS is not as well suited to D Models as XAS as it has a flat tread, whereas the XAS has a rounded tread surface suited to the DS’s characteristics. When a DS corners it has a bit of body roll, more than average you might say, and due to the suspension design, the wheels stay parallel to the body meaning they lean with it when cornering. The rounded XAS tread keeps maximum tread in contact with the road, whereas a flatter tread tilts onto one edge when the wheel leans meaning less contact with the road and faster wearing edges.
That’s why you don’t see motorcycles with flat tread tyres, they are all rounded because the bikes lean when cornering.

This is also something to bear in mind when looking at budget alternatives which will also have a flat tread.
I currently recommend Federal tyres as the best budget choice but need to evaluate any new alternatives as they become available. First impressions of the tyres are that dry grip is very good, the ride quality has improved and they are quieter on the road than my previous tyres. Not sure how good a comparison that is as my previous tyres were also on for evaluation too, being 165 Firestone F560’s on the rear and 195/80 15’s on SM wheels on the front. Neither one can I recommend at all. When it rains I’ll be able to check wet grip on the Nankangs and time will tell how well they last. These can be had for less than £60 a piece, so even if they wear out quickly, it’s not a big deal. Will update here when I know more. image  


September 2014 Update: I have now travelled over 1600 miles (2600km) on these tyres and have so far been unable to fault them. They did squeal a little easier under hard cornering after 1000 miles but then I checked the pressures and they’d dropped a couple of psi. I’m running 32psi in the front and 29 in the rear, the same as I do with Michelin. Topping the pressures up meant it’s hard to make them squeal again. We’ve not yet had any rain to speak of in our area, so I still don’t know how they are in the wet or cold. Wear rate seems good, especially the way I’ve been testing them! Will update again when the weather turns wetter and colder.

October 2014 update: With the last week or so of cooler wet weather, I’ve been throwing the car around roundabouts and corners where safe to do so, and also tried numerous emergency stops on different surfaces. So far I’ve not found any lack of grip, they are certainly a lot better than the budget tyres I had on my AX a year or two ago. I really cannot fault these tyres at all, even at double the price they’d be great value.   In summary, I say use Michelin XAS as your default 15″  D Series tyre because that’s what should be on there, but if you really cannot stretch that far pricewise, these Nankang tyres are the next best with the bonus of looking a bit like they should too!

February 2015 update: I’ve now used these tyres in all weather conditions and temperatures that most of us will encounter and still have been unable to fault them. As long as the pressures are kept up, they just do the job without fuss.  However, there are changes afoot….. I have recently found out that these tyres are no longer going to be branded Nankang. The name on the side will be “Classic Tyre” or something similar and the tread will be turned around the right way, the same as Michelin. The good news is that the price stays low, the grip should be even better on corners, and we’ll still be stocking them. We’ll also soon be able to supply brand new 5 stud wheels with square hole (5.5J) for D models and then you’ll be able to order the wheels by themselves or with new tyres (including Michelin) fitted. Check out our website shop as they’ll be listed on there as soon as we have them.


What tyres are people using on their D Model?

At the Citroen Car Club D Rally last weekend, I was curious as to what tyres people are using on their cars. My recommendations are in another article, but what are people actually using?


Of the 20 cars I checked on the Saturday evening, it was pleasing to see the majority were wearing Michelin rubber.  Seven of the 20 had Michelin tyres front and rear and a further two had Michelins on the front only.

The next most popular tyre choice was Vredestein with six cars having them on the front wheels and five having them on the rear. Federals were next with two cars having them on the front and three with Federal tyres on the rear.

Hankook and Kumho were also represented with one car each having them on the front and the same number with them on the rear. Bridgestone 195/80 x 15 were on the front of another car and the remaining rear wheels wore Nankang, Firestone and Courier Driver (185/65×15) tyres.


I say it’s pleasing to see the majority of the cars wearing Michelin rubber and I always quote the Textar brake pad example when people ask why they should fit Michelin tyres when there are cheaper alternatives.

Textar used to make the original brake pads for D models and these were sold via Citroen and later via the aftermarket. They were a bit pricey, but by far the best brake pad available. An inferior alternative came on the market at about half the price and so many people bought the cheap alternative, oblivious to the shortcomings of these pads and only seeing the price, that demand for the good Textar pads dropped to the point where Textar stopped making them. Now people who actually drive their cars and notice if the brakes are working properly or not and who want/need the good pads cannot get them.

It is also possible that this could happen with Michelin tyres. If too many people buy tyres based on price rather than quality, they could be endangering the supply of the good tyres for everyone else. OK, unlike the brake pads, it’s not just Citroen D models that these tyres fit, so the market is much larger and the likelihood of demand dropping below economical production level is much less, but it’s worth thinking about.


I know lot of D owners take their car out only a few times a year and are unable to justify spending more than absolutely necessary on tyres which will likely perish with age long before they are worn out, and that’s fine, I understand. But anyone who uses their car a lot should really be using the good stuff as the more Michelins are used, the longer the price will stay down to an affordable level. They are the right size and have the right characteristics for your car after all.


Michelin Vintage and Classic tyre catalogue 2012 / 2013

I’ve just received a copy of this catalogue and thought you might like to browse it too. I find it  interesting to compare the actual outside diameters of the various tyres fitted to D models. They are all different, but all had the same speedo gearing, so I guess accuracy isn’t that important…..

Michelin classic and vintage tyres catalogue 2012 / 2013

Scraping noise from DS front wheel.

I have been doing a routine service on a DS in the workshop today and found that it had a worn inner track rod joint on the right side. When I went around to the left side and turned the wheel full lock to access the grease nipples, I noticed a scraping sound when rotating the wheel. Upon investigation I found that the track rod was scraping on the inner edge of the wheel rim and had been for some time judging by the wear mark and shaved down balance weights! Closer examination revealed that at some point in the past, someone wasn’t being too observant and had fitted a right side track rod to the left side of the car. This meant that the bend in the rod to provide clearance for the wheel rim on full lock was going the wrong way and giving less clearance, hence the scraping noise. Strangely, the vehicle owner didn’t notice it, or if he did made no mention of it.
By chance, although it was fitted to the wrong side, the track rod was in perfect condition, so I used it to replace the worn out one on the right side and fitted a new correct item to the left.
There is always something amusing to be found in a classic Citroen garage!

Citroen DS / ID wheel trim types

We often have people ringing up for a replacement wheel trim for their Citroen DS or ID, but usually also do not know what type they need. These pictures should help clarify what hubcap type is what and aid you in identifying which type you have.

Citroen DS wheel trims

Citroen DS / ID wheel trim types

Loose nuts!


Citroen DS wheel with worn stud holes

We had a DS23 IE Pallas in the workshop recently where the owner wanted the front wheels balanced. When I removed the wheel trims I found that some lazy sod had given the wheels a nice respray without even removing them from the car! The nuts were all covered in the paint too, which of course immediately all flaked off when I loosened them.
Had that person bothered to remove the wheels and do a half decent job, they would have noticed that one of the wheels had been running with loose nuts at some time in the past and as a result, the stud holes in the wheel were about one and a half times bigger than they should have been and badly burred. Obviously there was no point trying to balance that one
as it could not be accurately located on the car or balancing machine and needed to be replaced. Not only that, but it was a 5J wheel (round centre hole) rather than a 5.5J (square centre hole) as a DS23 should have and the others on the car were.

worn wheel stud hole

Worn Citroen DS wheel stud hole caused by loose nuts

Federal vs Michelin

For the later Citroen DS and ID models with 15″ wheels there are currently 3 main brands of suitable tyre on the market in the UK; Michelin, Vredestein and Federal.

Michelin XVS

Michelin XVS

Michelin XAS

Michelin XAS

At the top end of the market are Michelin XAS, which are of course what the car had when new and in our experience are the best all round tyre in terms of ride, grip and longevity. They look good on the car too and if money was no object they’d be our first choice every time, however they are a bit on the pricey side at around £180.00 for the Michelin 180HR15 XAS at the time of writing. Please note that the  Michelin XVS tyre is not as well suited to the D models as the XAS tyre. This is because the XVS has a flat tread, whereas the XAS has a rounded tread surface suited to the DS’s characteristics. When a DS corners it has a bit of body roll, more than average you might say, and due to the suspension design, the wheels stay parallel to the body meaning they lean with it when cornering. The rounded XAS tread keeps maximum tread in contact with the road, whereas a flatter tread tilts onto one edge when the wheel leans meaning less contact with the road and faster wearing edges.
That’s why you don’t see motorcycles with flat tread tyres, they are all rounded because the bikes lean when cornering.

federal tyre

Federal 185R15 93T car tyre suitable for Citroen DS


At the other end of the market are the Chinese made Federal 185R15 93T. Don’t let the country of origin put you off as we have tested these tyres over many miles ourselves and can testify that they are pretty good. The Federal tyres actually provide a slightly softer ride than the Michelins and offer as much grip in the dry but slightly less in the wet.
They are a more flexible tyre which means they are less precise and stable when cornering and we would not expect them to last as many miles as the Michelin tyres, but with the kind of usage that most DS’s get nowadays, the tyres will need replacing due to age before they actually wear out the tread anyway. If your budget does not stretch to Michelin tyres, the Federal tyres are your next best bet and at the time of writing these can be had for around £75.00 each. 

Vredestein Sprint Classic

Vredestein Sprint Classic

This leaves the Dutch made Vredestein 185HR15 Sprint Classic tyre for around £115.00 at the time of writing. There are many Citroen DS and ID models out there using these tyres and by all accounts they are a pretty good tyre, but we have not tested these long term ourselves. 

However, we prefer not to recommend them for a number of reasons and these are our personal opinons only.
Firstly, they look ugly – a bit like a van or truck tyre. Secondly, we have seen quite a number of warped / bulging Vredesteins on cars that have been in for repair. We do not know if these
have been damaged by kerbing or pot holes, but we do not generally see the other brands like that as often.
The third reason is that we see no additional advantage in using Vredesteins over Federals so why spend an extra £40.00 per corner when you don’t need to?

Michelin Agilis 61 tyre

Michelin Agilis 61 van tyre – for vans or dessert driving in your DS!

We often have Citroen DS and ID models in the workshop with light commercial tyres fitted. This is usually because they are readily available in the right size from any tyre shop and reasonably priced.
This got me wondering as to the advantages and disadvantages of using van tyres on a car and after a bit of research, I can report the following:
Advantages: availability, longevity
Disadvantages: Poorer ride, usually noisier, less grip.
As far as I am concerned the disadvantages outweigh the advantages, especially as the cheapest 185/80R15 van tyres are about the same price as the Federal tyres above anyway.
The bottom line therefore is DO NOT FIT VAN TYRES TO YOUR CAR!