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Left front tire has bubble - replace just that tire? Dangerous to drive? Need answer quickly, PLEASE

My Hyundai Sonata Limited has 25,000 miles on it and is just 4 years old. The left front tire has a bubble in it. The dealer said it must be replaced ASAP. Please tell me if it is okay to replace just the one tire or if it is important to replace both front tires or what’s the right thing to do. All the tires are the originals that came with the car. Also, is there any warranty on the original tires? Please help this grandma with what to do about this.

Thank you very much!

Check your paperwork that came with it, but chances are there isn’t a tire warranty. You definitely need to replace the one ASAP, and with 25000 miles it’s be better to replace the damaged tire and one good tire that is most worn. The new tires will be put on the back axle to ensure stability. You don’t need to do this at the dealer, Walmart, Costco, and Sams Club are all OK as long as you stick with a name brand tire. I use Discount Tire.

i would at least change the front tires it all depends on the tread. not sure about the warranty you’ll have to check with dealer

Thank you for the quick replies! Do the two new tires have to be the same brand as the other 2?

Not a requirement that they are, but they should be the same size and speed rating. But if all 4 tires are worn, it would be better to replace all 4.

Just curious, but is this flaw a protruding bulge or is it a vertical indentation on the sidewall?

If the latter, that can be entirely normal and I’m just wondering if someone is bringing this to your attention while misinterpreting what they’re looking at.

It is a protruding bulge.

The originals are Hankook Optimo H426. P215/55R17 93V. Which is the size? I think the speed rating is V or 93V?

It sounds like I need to replace at least the 2 front tires, but the brand doesn’t have to match the originals. The new tires should go on the back. Is this right?

Thank you everyone for your help!

The brand doesn’t have to match the originals, but if the tread design isn’t similar it may cause unpredictable handling. You definitely don’t want two different tread designs on the same axle (front or back)

If you replace just two, it will limit how you can rotate the tires and in another 25K or so you will need to replace the other two, resulting in a mismatched set once again. It might be best to just replace all of them, especially if they are at least halfway worn out. And if you have all-wheel-drive, I would definitely replace the whole set.

You’re getting good answers here. Let me try to summarize and add my own comments, presuming that you don’t have all-wheel drive, which adds its own issues.

If you’re going to have tires with different tread depths (new versus used), it’s strongly recommended to have the better ones on the rear. Most tire shops will insist on this these days. This fact wasn’t understood well in the past, so a small number of people still cling to the old ways and disagree with this. With tires of different tread depths, oblivion has pointed out the drawbacks above.

It’s recommended to have the same tire and reasonably close tread depth on each axle.

It’s preferred to have the same tire on the front and rear. If you can’t, then try to use tires with a similar tread design.

It’s ideal to have the same tire with the same tread depth all around.

All of these rules are for safety reasons, mostly to keep the car pointed in the desired direction on a wet or snowy road, especially when you’re in a turn.

Take it to a tire shop…not the dealer. don’t buy the tire from them. Change a bubble, yes, a slight bulge ?,if it doesn’t have some bulges, it isn’t “normal”. Like cracks in a foundation, the nature of the beast. But have buble’ (not Michael) checked and changed (two per axle) asap.

I’d try to replace the tires with the same brand and model if possible. Go to a tire dealer that handles Hankook tires. The correct tires might need to be ordered, but that usually takes a day or two for the shop to get them. Your size is P215/55R17 and the 93V refers to the speed rating of the tire.

Ya, 4 V rated 17" tires will only cost $800 or so. But it’s your safety that’s important. I heard Costco has $70 tires. Never actually seen them but everyone on the Internet says they exist.

Oops, Sorrry


"I heard Costco has $70 tires. Never actually seen them but everyone on the Internet says they exist. "

Well, here is someone on the Internet who says that they do not exist–at least in the size that the OP needs.

Costco carries only premium-quality tires, not price-leaders, so I seriously doubt if they have any tires that sell for $70…unless perhaps someone is looking for tires for a 1960 Falcon.

In the size that the OP needs, none of the Michelin, Bridgestone, or BF Goodrich tires at Costco are priced at less than twice the cost that you mentioned.

“The originals are Hankook Optimo H426. P215/55R17 93V. Which is the size? I think the speed rating is V or 93V?”

The tire size si P215/55R17, the speed rating is V, and the load capacity rating is 93. Discount Tire’s web site lists 20 tires in that size and speed rating, from $99 to $200, but they don’t carry Hankook. The web site lists your exact tire for $120 each, plus tax and delivery. If you can’t find your Hankook tire at a shop near you I would call tirerack and see if they have an agreement with a shop near you. They’ll ship the tires to the shop and the shop will put them on. They should be able to give you the installed price.

I never replace two tires when one is bad; just do the one and have had no problem. Get a new tire of the same size and traction rating as per the sidewall. If the traction rating is not good for that, then I ask: What is it there for? If your car has antilock brakes, then you can use any tire of the correct size.

Your differential will easily tolerate the slight difference in diameter between a brand new and a used tire when normal rotation eventually gets the new tire to the front.

I’m learning so much! I only drive about 5-6K miles a year and keep my cars a long time (my last car I kept for 16 years). I did the test of the remaining tread using a quarter and it measures to the top of George Washington’s head. If I understand correctly, I’m thinking I have about half of the tread left, though I’m not sure about that. Oblivion’s point about limiting tire rotation makes me think I should go for 4 new tires.

Now the question is which tires. Consumer Reports rated Continental PureContact (V) as first for my car and Michelin Primacy MXV4 (V) second. Hankook was way down the list, so I’m thinking I should eliminate them. I want to buy the tires locally and am not sure I can get the Continentals around here. Next decision is whether to buy Road Hazard insurance. What do you advise? I am so grateful for all your help!

Before deciding, check how much wear you actually have on your tires and serach out prices. If you have over 70% of the tread gone, it may be more cost effective to buy 4 new brand-name tires on sale than to just replace the two. I saw a sale yesterday that advertised “buy three and get the fourth free”. Tire prices vary so widely that it’s sometimes cheaper (or not much more) to replace all four.

If this is where your tire tread is then I would replace all 4:

As to which tire, I wouldn’t worry about getting the ‘top rated’ tire, anything in the upper half or third of the ratings would be good for me. I’ve always been happy when I bought Michelin tires, they are more expensive, but they last a long time. I don’t buy the road hazard warranty, but that’s up to you.

The reason I asked earlier about whether this is a bulge or indentation is that many times the indentation may resemble a bulge and has often been referred to as one. Here’s a link to a picture of a normal overlap indentation; just in case.

If the tires have some age and miles on them, my preference would be to replace at least the pair and keep them on the same axle.

As to putting new ones on the front or rear there are varying opinions on that. I’m in the minority opinion and have my reasons for installing the new ones on the front.