Will changing tire/wheel size affect safety of my car?

I have a Hyundai Sonata w/ P215/55R17 tires. I am almost due to get new tires and my husband says that we should switch the wheels and get regular tires, not the lower profile tires that were OEM w/ the vehicle. The current tires are expensive and regular tires would be less expensive in the long run. When I asked at the dealership 6 mos ago they said that it would not be good for the car and would adversely affect the performance. If I do change, what tire size (regular sidewall height) would be appropriate (and less expensive)to change to?

To some extent it depends on the car and I am not familiar with your car. However with only a few exceptions, it is safe to change to a different wheel and tyre.

While it is true that good quality low profile tyres tend to get a tinny bit better mileage and they do tend to offer greater tractions on smooth dry roads, their advantage tends to loose out on roads with potholes.  Their real advantage is on a race track.  However the cost of a set of real racing grade low profile tyres and wheels likely would cost more than your car.

 Have you checked to see if the car is available without the low profile tyres? If yes then there should be no safety problem.  

Most low profile tyres are sold primarily for looks.  Personally I don't like the look, but If someone does like the look, fine.  

It could be argued that since consumer grade low profile wheels and tyres are more subject to failure on pothole roads, that the standard wheel and tyre combination would be safer.

Check out the thread titled:  [i] Low profile tires keeps blowing out[/i]

Check out Tire Rack. Do a “Winter Tire” fitment to see what they recommend in a smaller diameter rim. Then use that as a basis for deciding what is possible.

first it will change the way the car handles and rides. the diameter needs to be within 1/4 inch.larger or smaller diameter will effect the ABS system. narrow tires will effect traction and handling. the OE tires are designed to give the best overall handling, performance and traction

Is there a “base” version of your car that came with 16-inch wheels? If so, the tire size there would probably be the one to use, assuming the brake components still fit inside. Does your owner’s manual (or the label on the door jamb) list any other tire sizes where it shows the tire pressure to use? Does Tire Rack’s web site show any other OE sizes?

You’ll slightly reduce the performance of the car, which probably won’t be noticeable unless you drive aggressively. Saying that it’s “not good for the car” seems like exaggeration to me. You might also end up with a slightly softer ride, which many people would like.

1/4 inch.larger or smaller diameter will effect the ABS system.

1/4"…I don’t think so. If it were then just normal wear on the tire would effect ABS. My truck tires have a diameter difference of 2" from new to need new tires.

Like the other poster said use the Tirerack.com winter tire application piece to see what fits or simply call them.

As far as losing performance that is debatable. Simply buying better tires in a smaller size can equate to better performance than stock tires.

The stock tires on a Sonata are 215/60-16 tires.

You can get the stock 16" wheels either from another Sonata, or you can grab a set from a Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry, and they will all swap on, as they are all the same wheel bolt pattern and offset. Makes life so much easier, to know what other steel wheels you can grab, doesn’t it?

Anyway, the price difference isn’t that much between your stock sizes, and the smaller tires, plus you would have to spend money on buying a new set of wheels in the first place.
You are much better off just sticking with your tire size, and budgeting in the extra $10 to $15 dollars it costs per tire to get the proper size tire for your car.

And next time, think about this when choosing the options for your car when you first buy it.