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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got a bulge on my tire 4 days ago and I have some questions. My car is a 2006 WRX TR. The bulge is about 3 inches in diameter and needs replaced. The tire pressure didn't change after the incident and the tire is still in good condition. Since I am currently in Texas and in about one week I have to drive to Iowa, what would be the best thing to do? Replace the one tire with a used or new one? replace the front two? or replace all four tires before my drive?
Thanks!
 

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All four tires must be of the same make/model, and must be within 2/32" of each other, or else you risk drivetrain damage.

You have a few options, both with their pros/cons:
1) Buy a replacement tire that's shaved to spec and have it mounted/balanced
2) Buy four replacement tires

Option 1: You're buying a new tire and then taking life away by shaving it down. For someone on a budget, this is the way to go as it will be like $25-30 to shave the tire in addition to the cost of the tire and whatever mount/balance fees your shop charges.

Option 2: You get all new rubber, but that's a significant expense, and you're left with three working tires that you have to deal with. You can sell them to recoup some of the costs, but you're going to take a financial hit. You'll need to pay for all four wheels to be mounted/balanced.


See what tread depth you have left on your other three tires, and make a financial decision which best suits you. If your tires are relatively new, you're probably better off with Option 1. If the tires are nearing the end of their life, you might be better off with Option 2. Option 2 also gives you the opportunity to try a different tread pattern / compound for different driving characteristics (e.g., you want a more aggressive tire for better traction at the limit or a more subdued tire for better gas mileage and tire longevity).
 

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On our Forester I had a tire go bad and replaced just that one with a new one. Our tires were still fairly new and so a new one made sense. I used a different brand but one with a diameter just less than the diameter of the other three. So in my case I had one new tire with a diameter "very" close to what the three used ones were just by hunting for a tire of any brand with the right diameter. I now, though, run the risk of the two brands wearing differently. I mitigate this by frequent rotations, but still it is a risk.
 

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I've also had this happen. I took a picture and sent it to the manufacturer via their website. They sent me a replacement tire to Discount Tire for me. They saw it as a defect. It's worth a shot. In my case, it was a Continental DWS.
there you go. Most often you buy lifetime warranty's for tires when you go to places - usually just a gimmick to get an extra $9-14/tire from you...but those warranty's are real if the tire randomly blows up or forms a bubble.

I had a tire with ~2000 miles on it totally obliterate itself while hauling with my silverado about 3 years ago (Scary AF). the blow also broke the spare tire mount (allegedly) and we had to break the mount off the truck in order to get the spare tire. New mount was $180

I wrote a letter to the manufacturer with pictures and a receipt for total work of new tire install + new spare tire mount. They sent me a tire gift card for $200. I ultimately paid I think 350 for labor, new tire, and the $180 spare mount. so they basically covered 1.5 tires...worth it to me!

take pictures and write a letter
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So if I get just 2 new tires in the front, just so i can get to Iowa from Texas safely, that will still potentially damage my car? Cause I want to wait to get all new 4 tires when I get home. Also if I were to find a used tire within 2/32" tread, does it really have to be the same make? Once again this would only be for driving back home.
 

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i think you'll be fine. sometimes I think people are WAY too perceptive to "it's gonna blow your freakin **** up"

do 2 new in the front, make the trip, and see
 

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So if I get just 2 new tires in the front, just so i can get to Iowa from Texas safely, that will still potentially damage my car? Cause I want to wait to get all new 4 tires when I get home. Also if I were to find a used tire within 2/32" tread, does it really have to be the same make? Once again this would only be for driving back home.
You'll be lucky not to trip the traction control and put it in limp mode. Did it to my legacy.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G935A using Tapatalk
 

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So if I get just 2 new tires in the front, just so i can get to Iowa from Texas safely, that will still potentially damage my car? Cause I want to wait to get all new 4 tires when I get home. Also if I were to find a used tire within 2/32" tread, does it really have to be the same make? Once again this would only be for driving back home.

You might make it (I doubt it), but it will significantly shorten the life of your center diff.. it would be as if you were spinning the front tires the entire way. Continuous slip will create a significant amount of heat in the center diff, which will burn the viscous liquid in the center diff. The liquid has a maximum operating temperature, when it goes beyond that temperature the liquid starts to become permanently thicker. Eventually it will get to the point where it's basically locked.. turning sharply will cause the drivetrain to bind up and put a significant amount of stress on the rest of the components until something else fails.

As far as using a different brand/model, different tires have different circumferences, if the circumference is nearly identical to the other three tires that might work in an emergency. You wouldn't want to leave it like that for long though since the tires will wear at a different rate and will potentially track different on the road depending on tread pattern and rubber compound.




i think you'll be fine. sometimes I think people are WAY too perceptive to "it's gonna blow your freakin **** up"

do 2 new in the front, make the trip, and see

You can think he'll be fine all you want, that doesn't change physics. I went 30,000 miles in my first WRX without rotating the tires and the difference in circumference burned up my center diff. Getting that replaced certainly cost me a lot more than four new tires (or in my case, a couple of tire rotations). People have tried replacing two tires many times, and it almost always results in a ruined center diff.. I'm not sure why you think this case would be the exception.

He can certainly try to make the trip with just two new tires if he wants. He might even make it there depending on the difference in circumference, but it will have caused irreversible damage to the viscous liquid inside the diff, which is a sealed unit and the silicone based liquid cannot be replaced without swapping out the differential. IIRC the diff costs about $900.. plus labor.
 

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for what its worth: I'd listen to everybody else :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks everyone who answered you were very helpful. I have one more question, my tires are currently 225/45R17. But the stock size is 215/45R17. Should I go back to the stock size or stay with the current size? Also what would the difference be on my car, like performance or gas mileage wise if any?
Thanks!
 

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Thanks everyone who answered you were very helpful. I have one more question, my tires are currently 225/45R17. But the stock size is 215/45R17. Should I go back to the stock size or stay with the current size? Also what would the difference be on my car, like performance or gas mileage wise if any?
Thanks!
https://www.miata.net/garage/tirecalc.html

Comparing 225/45/17 to 215/45/17 of the same tire, you'll have increased handling due to the increased contact patch, but at the expense of gas mileage (increased resistance and weight of the tire) and acceleration (weight of the tire).

I prefer cornering grip over absolute acceleration, personally, and generally feel that wider tires are worth the sacrifice. If I want faster acceleration, I add power to the wheels vs reduce the contact patch.

Ultimately, the choice is up to you.
 

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IMO if you are going to replace them anyway when you get back, replace all 4 now.
 
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