Tires on a hybrid

When I bought my new 2008 Toyota highlander hybrid, the tires it came with were cheap and needed to be replaced in less than a year. I decided I wouldn’t reward the manufacturer by buying more tires from the dealer, but went to a tire store and bought some high end Michelins. They didn’t have my tire size in stock and put larger tires on my car than the old ones which they assured me wouldn’t be a problem. My old ones were 245/55/19 and the new ones are 255/50/19. I have gotten them rotated, aligned, and balanced as recommended. My tires are Latitude Tour line which are supposed to be longest lasting tire for crossover suv’s warranties for 65,000 miles.

Already at 37,000 my front tires are at 4 and 7/32’s and my rear tires are 3 and 4/32’s. The place that sold me the tires blames it on the weight and placement of the hybrid battery that manufacturers don’t take into consideration when it comes to proper tires. The dealer says my tires are the wrong size and wearing unevenly as a result.

My questions are:

1. Are having bigger tires on my car a problem?

2. Do hybrid models contribute to odd tire wear?

3. Should I replace my tires immediately and with what size and type?


As you can see from the attached chart, the size they put on is pretty close to the original size, uses the same rim size, and should cause no problem whatsoever with the possible exception of a slightly increased tendency to hydroplane or worse traction in snow.

The treadwear indicators (often called “wear bars”) are 2/32 above the root of the tread (by law). Your tires are getting pretty close to the legal limit. Honestly, unless you drive where it never rains or snows, I think you’re due for new tires. The “legal limit” does not provide sufficient tread to disperse rain or bite in snow.

Hybrid models do not contribute to odd wear. And, frankly, it doesn’t sound like you’ve gotten bad wear out of the tires you have. Wear varies by tire, and I’d be satisfied with 37,000 miles.

Thank you-the info you gave me is very useful. Since it is calling for snow soon, I will definitely work on getting new tires!

A wise choice.

Happy motoring.

If the originals where Bridgestone Duelers, then it’s no wonder they didn’t last very long.
Also, It’s no wonder they didn’t have your sizes in stock, only lists 4 tires total in that size, and 1 is a winter tire.

First, the uneven wear is the result of a mis-alignment condition - and that will also result in wearing the tire mor rapidly. The differences in the amount of tread you have left is a further indication of an alignment problem. This has nothing to do with the car’s engine or transmission - hybrid or otherwise.

Second, even if the vehicle is aligned properly, the rate tires wear is more controlled by how many turns you make compared to how much distance you travel in a straight line. Think of it as “Turns per Mile” with every turn causing much more wear than going in a straightline.

You didn’t do bad, considering. Fixing the alignment will help.

Oh, and proper inflation pressure also helps. Check the tires once a month.