Tire Discounters put 2 different sizes of tires on my car!

So here’s the scoop.

I took my mighty 1989 Plymouth Voyager to the shop to get a radiator. Turns out the back axle was rusted and needed to be replaced, so he went ahead and did that. So I get a call this weekend, and one of the first things he says is “Who put your tires on?”

That kind of alarmed me, because I had gone to Tire Discounters to get decent tires. I paid more for the tires than for the vehicle itself. I had the front set replaced about a year ago, and the back replaced last fall.

Turns out, the front tires are size 195 75 14 WW. The back are 175 75 14 WW. All the paperwork for both sets of tires says 195 75 14 WW. When I was getting the tire sizes, I realizes a very noticeable difference in the widths. If I realize it, I would hope that someone putting tires on my car would realize it.

What do you guys think is going on here? My first instinct was that they figured I would never notice that I did indeed have 2 different size tires. I really have a hard time thinking that this is an honest mistake, although I realize it could happen - what do you all think?

Also - what does this mean for me, my safety, and my van? I plan on calling, but I want to be educated. My mechanic said that it was pretty dangerous to be driving like this, and that my car was really out of alignment. Does the width difference effect traction, tire wear, etc?

ANY and all info that can be passed on would be very helpful. Thank you all soooo much!!

Honest or not, go back and have words (pleasant words, maybe) with the tire shop. You paid for 195s and you got 175s, which sound pretty small to me, for a minivan at least. You might be riding around with tires that are undersized for your van, and that can be dangerous (honestly, I’ve seen Ford Escorts with bigger wheels and tires than that.)

EDIT: And by all means, don’t print this page and bring it with you, they will see that “CluelessChick” signature and treat you as such. You’re more than just a clueless chick, anyway, right?

Those rear tires are under-sized and inadequate for the van, not to mention creating a risk of severe oversteer. Go back to the tire store sooner rather than later!

Thank you. I fully intend on calling them and getting the 195s, and I would also like to get an alignment. And CluelessChick is tounge in cheek :smiley: I have no intention of printing this out, so no worries. I plan on being very pleasant with them, but I want to learn all I can about this situation beforehand.

A quick look at the book shows that your vehicle should not have either size on it. It calls for a 205-70-14 which has an entirely different profile than a 75 series. It also shows that a 75 series tire was available, but ONLY on vehicles with a 15" wheel diameter.

The 75 series have a cushier ride but the 70 series has better handling. Normally the 75 series are cheaper than a 70 series tire.

You need to round up receipts, go back there, and find out what’s going on. They may owe you a complete set; unless you’re the one who picked the tires out and insisted on them. If that were the case the tire store should have refused to mount them or at the very least should have written a disclaimer on the receipt.
My guess is that someone at the tire store either got confused on the 70/75 series thing or just sold you what they had on hand at the time.

I had an '87. It came with 195/70-14 tires from the factory. I replaced them with 195/75-14s at one point when I needed new tires. Same width, just a little larger in diameter.

TireRack also shows 195/70-4 as the OE size.

Ok… I was looking…there are 2 different models. Is the Plymouth Voyager 15 OE a 15 inch wheel, and the 14 OE a 14 inch wheel?

Correct. And you have 14" wheels.

It really seems to me that someone would know that they were putting 175’s on a mini-van.

Consider having your trusted shop do your tires from now on. They might be very competitive on price. I know mine is.

The first time I went to Tire Discounters they were great - the tires were good, and the service was excellent. I haven’t heard a bad thing about them. My boyfriend uses them too, and one time when someone stole a tire off his Jeep and left it up on bricks (er… bad neighborhood) they REALLY helped us out. So this just strikes me as unusual.

IMHO an honest mistake.

They are people like you & I and make mistakes. Just go back and show the receipt and state the issue. Not sure if a “free” alignment is in order as differing tires would not cause this.

The danger in driving is potentially wrong size tires don’t take the load properly and an imbalance in handling that would pronounce itself in an emergency maneuvers or in slippery winter conditions.

I would ask for a pair of new tires intstalled with what you originally requested. I would try for a free alignment for the hassle but I think that would be a bonus in this case.

While I agree with your comments and recommended approach to solving the issue, I suspect it may not have been just an innocent mistake. I’ve seen this done intentionally when the correct size was not in stock under the assumption that the customer would not notice. I even had it done once to me some years ago on a pickup truck. I suspect it’s more common than we realize.

I’d be interested to hear back from teh OP as to how the tire shop handled the problem. That should be “telling”.

I do not mean to belittle you, but perhaps I need some enlightenment.

While your post is concentrating on proper ties, I’m sitting here looking at your first paragraph and wondering why the back axle was rusted(?) and was replaced(?) when you took the van in to get a rad?

Was the rad for your van or someone else?

Of course the back axle was/is rusty (surface rust), the van is 19 years old. It doesn’t need replacing.

I am going to make a guess.  Someone putting the tyres on looked at the tyres they were taking off rather than the work order which said 195 and replaced them with the same size that were already on there since some change between 1989 and then.  

I don't know what load ratings those tyres have nor what your Voyager calls for, but they may have been OK.  Often more than one size can properly put on a car, but almost always you would want all four the same size.  

There is some danger due to the difference in sizes but the only serious danger would be if the odd size was not load rated for that van.