Scarcity of Radial Tires


There seems to be a low supply of “P185”'s ( a small tire) in my area, though I have heard SUV owners have the same problem.

Retailers seem to say “out of stock” or have to order that.

Is this because there are so many sizes and types that they cannot stock everything or are foreign countries competing for the tire supply too?


There is plenty of supply.

The problem is that most tire dealers are only going to stock what is popular. To do otherwise is to have product that sits for weeks on a shelf and not generating profit- not to mention occupying valuable storage space.

So small 14" and 15" tires are available, but they are not popular enough to stock - the market has moved to low profile 16" and 17" for the vehicles that took those sizes.


One of my cars takes 185x14" tires. I called Sears and was told they had none in stock in that size but they could have them in the store in 24 hours. So I ordered via phone. They even gave me a call the moment my tires arrived. Good service.


It’s a shelf-space problem. 12,13,&14 inch wheels have become obsolete. Retailers are not willing to devote space and money inventorying these low-demand tires. But they ARE available if you order them in advance…


I look for the cheaper tires. I find some that look quiet but won’t get you stuck in snow, and hope for the best.


185 tires are still available in adequate supply. However, they are not used on late model cars. That’s why your dealer has to order them from his warehouse or wholesale supplier. Check TireRack’s web site for what’s available.

By the way, P185 is not a complete description. You also need to specify the wheel diameter and, often, the “aspect ratio” which is the ratio between the width of the tire and the height of its sidewall. The tire you are looking for may be 185/70-14, which is a 185 millimeter wide tire with an aspect ratio of 70% that fits on a 14 inch wheel. If the aspect ratio is omitted, it is probably 80%.

One nice feature of the TireRack web site is that you can tell it the make, model and year of your car and the site will guide you to some good choices. Even if you don’t buy from TireRack, you can take the shopping list to local dealers.