2 sets of tires varying by tire width & load index. What's the optimal installation placement for these tires?

2 sets of tires varying by tire width & load index. What's the optimal installation placement for these tires?

by -D-
(Los Angeles, CA)

One of my rear tires was busted so had to replace it. Since I can't afford new tires at the moment, I was advised to consider used tires. So I did.

The specs for the original tires are: P215/50 R17 90V M+S

The specs of the used tires I picked up are: P205/50 R17 93V M+S

I've read enough articles to know that this combination is okay. But what I can't find is information on what's the optimal placement for these different-sized tires, or does it matter?

Will the narrower tire width benefit more when installed in the rear or front? Currently, the narrower tires (P205) are installed in the rear. I am in Los Angeles where it's almost always sunny and dry. Please advise. Thank you.

Editorial Comment:

What you didn't mention was the kind of vehicle you're installing these tires on.

Almost all vehicle manufacturers that I know of strongly advise their owners to not mix tire sizes on vehicles that are 4X4 because of potential damage which this can cause to it.

So if this is a 4X4 vehicle I'd advise you to get the same sized tires all round … and if they're used with about the same degree of wear.


Comments for 2 sets of tires varying by tire width & load index. What's the optimal installation placement for these tires?

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vehicle info
by: -D-

The vehicle in question is a 2003 Acura CL-S. I believe it's a front wheel drive.. Thank you!

Editorial Comment

There are some people who will swear that narrower tires perform better when they are on the steering wheels, and others who feel they are better on the non-directional wheels. I have not seen any tests which have been done which will confirm either view point.

From a different perspective, some drivers prefer to install newer tires on the drive wheels and others will insist on installing them on the steering wheels, feeling that the newer treads give better control in this position. Because your vehicle is a front wheel drive, you don't have this conflict, but you may wish to inspect your tires to see which have the better tread, since you purchased used tires and they may not have a greater amount of tread than the older ones which you previously had.

You're still running into a conflicting situation because you have mixed sizes on your vehicle, and this will limit your options when it comes times to rotate your tires.

As I mentioned earlier, for most cases it is better to use the same size tire on all wheels unless you have a vehicle which has been designed specifically to use different sizes on front and back.


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