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Why are my tires Illegal according to Walmart?

I drive a 2006 Mercury Mountaineer with BF Goodrich LT265/70r17 All Terrain tires on it. I got a flat on my passenger rear tire out on a rural back road after crossing an old wooden bridge. I changed my tire with the full size spare. But the spare is not the size of the other tires and causes an interesting rear alignment problem and I am worried about messing up my rear differential. I went to Wal-Mart to purchase one to replace the popped tire and was told it was illegal for him to sell and install the tire because it was not the one recommended by the manufacturer (ford). I bought the vehicle used with these tires. I really like the ride an look of my tires but it is time to for new ones any way. What advice can the community give me on how to proceed? I am on a budget and was planning on buying one at a time to match the existing tires.

They’re not illegal !
Just different from o.e. ( 245/65r17 )
The potential problem here is that one new tire will have a different overall outer diameter than the worn ones of the same size. On an all wheel drive system , that can cause the same problems as your mis-matched spare.

By using the word ‘‘illegal’’ I’m sure they’re just trying to stress the importance of matching tires and in fact it may be discussed in your owner’s manual that you are not to mis-match tires on the awd.

I was told the same thing at Sam’s. My tires were Z rated and the ones I wanted weren’t. I insisted that I did not need 120mph tires and I would not exceed 80mph. They said they would not warranty them. I said put them on I don’t care.

its the insurance company making the rules. who elected them? not me. its not illegal just policy. I would think two tires would have been better for your truck tho. then you could have kept the extra for a spare

@Ken Green My Mountaineer is a 2wd not awd does that still make a difference

First. You don’t replace tires one-at-time.

If you need tires you replace all four of them at one time.

Second. If the tires on the vehicle don’t match what is recommended by the manufacturer on the placard on the door jamb, nobody is going to replace the wrong size tire on your vehicle one-at-time.

It’s a liability issue.


The 4x2 will not be effected by a slight difference front to back yet you may still notice the sid to side difference depending on the wear on the old tires. So two would be the recommendation if there’s lots of wear. THEN you may use the old tire for a better match as a spare.

Yah, thier use of the word ‘‘illegal’’ may have to do with their store policy… illegal to thier bosses for those workers to go against the grain.

Find another tire store. Not a chain with minimum wage ‘‘installers’’ .

Had the same thing happen on my 89 Mustang GT from a tire place last year, said I needed 140+ MPH rated tires and would not put the lower 112 MPH tires on. I told them I never go over 75 or 80 and they did not care. I went a few miles down the road to another tire place and got what I wanted no questions asked. Who in their right mind would drive a car at 140 MPH on public roads with other vehicles traveling the roadways…Maybe a nut behind the wheel. After I had the new ones installed I went back to Goodyear and showed the guy "The sale he lost ". He was not happy. I still got the warranty on the 112’s. When the 89 came out, Road and Track showed the car would do 149 MPH…Its been 25 years and never tried it and have my stang since new. I take care of my car as its my daily driver being retired.

Why do you want to keep these oversized tires? Are you sure they’re not rubbing, given how much wider and taller they are? Do you care that your speedometer is inaccurate? Do you really want to buy an oversized spare to match? Do you want to go through this hassle the next time you need a replacement tire?

Personally, I’d get four tires (with good reviews on Tire Rack’s web site) in the original size, assuming you’re still using the original wheels.

Its not illegal. But apparently it is against Walmart policy. You cannot make them replace the tire but you can go elsewhere to a different store.

@lion9car The other 3 show no signs of rubbing plus I have a heavy duty suspension and you are right on the speedometer it is already noted at 3 miles an hour slow

What size are the current tires? What size are the correct tires? If they put non-stock sized tires on your car and something happens you could sue them. No way they’ll take that risk, and I agree with them.

Tirerack shows a 235 and 245 - 65 series tires as being correct. Your tires are wider and taller; ergo, they see a liability issue and want no part of it no matter how benign it seems on the surface.

Companies are routinely sued to oblivion over less.

In rural South Texas it is better to be prepared to go off road than to expect pavement around every corner. You are more likely to encounter rutted and graded dirt roads than in the cities.

@tester That is good advice

Gee…“If you need a tire, you need four tires”: do you take your own advice, @Tester?

If I get a flat in an otherwise-good tire with lots of tread, no way am I paying $800 for four tires! What about breakdowns enroute, when you might have a fixed amount of money to keep rolling?

At most, I replace one axle at a time and feel like I’m erring on the side of safety.

Here in Los Angeles, it seems half the cars are slammed on dubs

If all the tire shops refused to mount non-stock size tires, they’d quickly be out of business

I believe most of the shops here would gladly have sold OP the tire size he wanted, if they had it in stock

what gets me is saying its illegal and treating the poster like she s dumb.
that s like the checkpoints on the highway when there isn t an emergency. I can read the constitution, I m not an idiot, its an unreasonable search.

I never had a problem replacing a single tire when needed. I once had a problem matching a General tire that was OE on a car and was split opn on a pot hole but it was worthwhile shopping around and only buying 1 tire when the others were in excellent condition.

It could be that if the word “illegal” was used it was a poor choice of words with maybe “company policy” being more applicable. Wal Mart has some strict company policies and I don’t blame them one bit.

I was in WM one time last year and some guy at the automotive desk was absolutely reaming the counter clerk from one end to the other. From what I overheard the wife had asked that a bald tire with steel showing be patched and WM refused to do so. Wife called hubby and all hxxx breaks loose when he gets there.
Hubby’s ire is a bit misplaced IMO but maybe he had a latent desire to off his spouse and was just upset because WM wasn’t cooperating…