Can I Put Different Size Tires on My Car?

Written by robert morello Google
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Can I Put Different Size Tires on My Car?
Tire size is a key factor in performance and safety. (tires stacked in herringbone design image by Zhann from Fotolia.com)

Tires are an important part of overall car safety and handling. Mixing and matching brands or styles is certainly an option, but it's generally not a good idea to use tires of different sizes.

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Function

Tires are the one part of your car that actually come into contact with the road. They control your steering, speed, gas mileage, braking and overall grip in all conditions and road surfaces. Tires of differing sizes can affect all of these functions.

Considerations

Tires of different sizes can cause your car to pull in the direction of the smaller tires, thus compromising handling. They can come into contact with the car frame, body or suspension, which can result in damage to these parts and the tire, possibly leading to a blowout. Even if a tire fits when the car is at rest, it may not when the car is bouncing on bumpy surfaces or turning. Different size tires can also cause transmission damage if used for long periods in cars with all-wheel drive.

Warning

While your car likely comes with a "donut" or undersized spare tire, this is only to be used in emergency situations and for as long as it takes to drive to a repair shop. Do not assume this tire is OK to use for long periods since it came with the car. It is grossly undersized and not of the quality of a full-size tire.

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