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Tire sizes for car - always go with stock tire size or can should consider alternate sizes?

Looking to replace worn tires for 2009 Hyundai Accent (GS?) Hatchback. The stock tires are P175/70R14 84T. I went out getting quotes for that tire size. Got some from 2 shops.

Then at Sears didn’t have any tires for that size in stock, but at their shop looking up by car model, came up with options for 185/65R14 tires. There was one other size 195/somethingR14 as well but I didn’t jot that down.

Is it always best to go with stock tire size for replacement tires or should one consider alternate sizes if available?

Alternate sizes are okay to consider, as long as you are willing to accept the “downside” that can come with them.

If you go to a tire with a lower profile (for instance, a 65 series instead of a 70 series), your handling may improve a bit, but your ride will probably be rougher.

If you go to a tire that has a wider tread (for instance, P185 instead of P175), your gas mileage may suffer a bit. And–believe it or not–that wider tire will be less capable on snowy roads than the narrower one. I realize that this is counterintuitive, but it is true.

It is difficult for shops to keep all of the myriad tire sizes in stock nowadays, but if you keep looking, some tire shop will either have the original equipment size in stock or will be willing to order them for you.

I recommend sticking with the stock size. lists the 185/65R14 as an optional size, so it must have been offered. In that case I wouldn’t have a problem with it IF the wheel is the correct width.

But that’s harder to know, so I’d probably stick with the original tire size, just to be sure.

My independent tire dealer recommended a different size tire for the Ford Aerostar that I owned at the time. I don’t remember much about it, since it was a while back. It seems to me that the tire the independent store suggested was a 70 series as opposed to a 75 series. However, the diameter of the tire was about the same. I had them install the different size and there was an improvement in the handling.
However, this was a knowledgeable independent tire store. I don’t think I would trust Sears on recommending a different tire size.

One way to learn the accepable options is to look at the new car choices. Many have optional rims and tires as factory options.
Look at the ol’ Ford ranger. Same truck with 14, 15 and 16 choices.
Watch the total outside diameter and possible the width because of turning radius and suspention travel rubbing.
Most tire stores do not let you ‘‘try on’’ tires.

The stock size is the safest. Changing the tire size will affect your handling, traction, and wet weather/bad weather performance. It will likely also affect your gas mileage. Unless you understand what the changes will be, the stock size is the way to go.

Regarding optional sizes, be careful. On some vehicles optional sizes are offered on the new vehicles, but they use different rim widths. A given rim with will accept typically +1 and -1 section width difference tires without problems, but you should check that out before making any decisions. I haven’t checked, but the technical section of should tell you the stock rim width on your vehicle as well as the tires sizes that the rim will successfully accept. They’ll also tell you the rims size necessary for any alternate tire size you’re considering. Do NOT assume that the tire buster will know this. Many of these guys are honest, decent kids but lack any real technical knowledge.

Keep it simple. Stick with the stock size. If the store you like doesn’t have them, go elsewhere.

+1 concerning your tires rubbing if you go with the wider tire. 10-mm wider is about 3/32" on each side. That is probably OK, but if you aren’t sure, check with Hyundai first. Instead of checking, I would go somewhere besides Sears and see what they have to offer. The tire chains like Mr Tire, Pep Boys, or NTW have local warehouses that should have your tires if they are not on site immediately. I use Mr Tire and I am quite happy with them. But a lot of that is in who works at that particular outlet. Ask around for a good tire dealer in your area. It might turn out that it is the Sears you went to, but Sears doesn’t have a good reputation for tires in this area.