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Mazda MPV: Tires & Wheels

igloomasterigloomaster Member Posts: 249
Hi, I have a question. My 2003 MPV came with stock Dunlops, size 205/65, 15".

They look small on this vehicle, but I can't afford to buy bigger rims. It's almost time to replace the stock tires.

The Tire Rack says the biggest tire I should consider is only a 215/65.

But a friend of mine suggested 225/60, and said it should work with no rubbing.

Anybody try 225/60 with luck?


  • d5ad5a Member Posts: 63
    Question about tire pressure. I have a 06 MPV with only 3,000 miles on it. The other day i noticed the front tire looked low. So i looked in the manual and it said a tire pressure of 35 psi. Come to find out all of my tired were low on air. They were at 25 psi. So i inflated them to 35 like the manual had suggested. Now I feel the ride is much harder. I know its from the tire pressure but wondering if I should lower the pressure again to make the ride smoother. Not sure if the tires were set at 25psi from the factory or if the tires had lost air since the car sat so long on the car lot before it was sold. Any info on what others have found to be a good tire pressure would be great. Should I follow the manual or just set them back to what they had been.

    Thanks everyone
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    The van would seem to ride harder when changing from 25 to 35 psi. Give yourself time to adjust to it. The higher pressure will provide much better fuel economy and also increase tread life.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyMember Posts: 6,064
    Riding on 25psi probably isn't as safe as recommended psi.
    I'd think 30-32psi would be fine... make it a bit softer.
    2020 Honda Accord EX-L, 2011 Hyundai Veracruz, 2010 Mercury Milan Premiere, 2007 Kia Optima
  • shirohniichanshirohniichan Member Posts: 12
    I just replaced all four tires on my wife's 2004 MPV LX Sport today with a set of Yokohama TRZ 215/60-R17 tires. I will pay closer attention to the inflation to see if I can get better wear out of them than we got from the OE Dunlop SP's or the Michelin Hydroedges (those only got about 18,000 to 21,000 miles on them before they wore out).
  • declansdaddeclansdad Member Posts: 120
    My wife's OE Dunlops wore out at 23K! I did replace them with the Michelin HydroEdge and so far, they seem to hold up a lot better than the Dunlops. Not much in the 17s that fit well.

  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyMember Posts: 6,064
    I got some Goodyear Tripletred tires put on the MPV last week. Went a little wider with the sportier looking 225/55/17" tires over stock size. The OEM Dunlops had 33,6000 miles on them, but performance/traction wise they were dead at around 28-30,000 miles.

    I like the Tripletred as the traction is awesome and the van is more stable and handles even better in turns. It is a bit nosier on concrete than the Dunlops, but the ride is much smoother and comfortable.

    Total out the door price with lifetime balance and rotation was $618 (that includes a $80 cash card from Goodyear).
    2020 Honda Accord EX-L, 2011 Hyundai Veracruz, 2010 Mercury Milan Premiere, 2007 Kia Optima
  • brian8ballbrian8ball Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 MPV with factory 205/65R15 tires. Would I be able to change the tires and rims to 185/70R14, as I have this set of winter tires that I can use? If it is possible how will it affect the performance of the vehicle, (other than the odometer/spedometer reading)?
  • subearusubearu Member Posts: 3,613
    You certainly can use 'em, probably will look a bit different. Looks like the winter tires have a diameter of 24.2", whereas the OEM 15's have a diameter of 25.5". So, if your speedometer reads 60mph, you'll actually be going about 57mph.

  • blackhawk_tblackhawk_t Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 Mazda MPV LX and found that when the psi was at 30, it tended to shimmy a bit a higher speeds. Around 70 or so. 35 psi makes the ride a bit rougher, but after messing around from 30-35, I found that 32 works the best. This also depends on how full the van is. If it's just a couple passengers, 32 is great, but if your loaded with 7, then 35 psi gives you the 32 psi feel.

    This is just my preference. ;)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    Just got back from the Mazda dealer. My wife picked up a huge nail on our 2002 MPV a few days ago, so I popped the spare on and took it to the tire place, since the tires have a fix/replace warranty. The tire place fixed the flat, and I didn't think any more of it. Then my wife told me last night that something was dragging on the ground under the van. I looked under the van and the spare tire cable was nearly touching the ground. The spare tire was in the back. I figured the tire place would re-store the spare, as they have done on other flats I've taken there. I was miffed at them because I was sure I had reeled the cable all the way in, so I figured they had started to replace the spare, then gave up for some reason. Then I tried to replace the spare, and the cable wouldn't budge!

    So I drove the van over to the tire place today and told them what had happened. They tried to replace the spare, but the cable wouldn't move. They apologized profusely, I asked them to tie the cable up, and I drove to my local Mazda dealer since the van has an extended warranty.

    Turns out the cable assembly needs to be replaced--and the part costs $500! Fortunately I have the warranty, which is zero deductible. But I also found out the warranty company (Ultimate Warranty) went out of business. :surprise: Luckily, their accounts were taken over by another company and they will honor the warranty, although I have to pay for the service and get reimbursed (the old company paid the dealer directly). So now the warranty company is looking for a used part, and if they can't find one today the dealer will order a new part and I'll get it installed next week.

    A lot of money for a spare tire retaining cable, eh? And I think it's only been used twice. I never did like that under-the-van spare storage. Now I have another reason not to like it.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyMember Posts: 6,064
    I used the spare tire on my 04 MPV about a year ago when my wife picked up a crowbar in it... it had fallen off a truck in front of her on the expressway. Didn't have a problem with the cable. Had to go to the salvage yard to find a replacement tire though. Or, I could have paid twice as much and had the dealership do it.. about $140 is what they wanted.
    2020 Honda Accord EX-L, 2011 Hyundai Veracruz, 2010 Mercury Milan Premiere, 2007 Kia Optima
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    I had to replace a tire last year. I went to Discount Tire and got two smooth-riding Kumho tires plus lifetime replacement warranty plus lifetime replacement warranty on my two original tires, all for less than what one tire would have cost at the dealer.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyMember Posts: 6,064
    My original post may have been a bit confusing. I didn't use my spare tire... my spare tire got punctured with a crowbar and had to be replaced.

    In October I replaced the OEM Dunslops with Goodyear Tripletreds, which I've been very happy with.
    2020 Honda Accord EX-L, 2011 Hyundai Veracruz, 2010 Mercury Milan Premiere, 2007 Kia Optima
  • sanzhangsanzhang Member Posts: 3
    I was the one who tried to take out the spare tire in a 2001 MPV for the first time. The cable came out, the tire could be spun, but it did not come down. After a lot of sweat and W-40, I took it to a dealer. The dealer used more W-40, but could not get the tire down either. At the end, the dealer cut the cable, and yanked out the tire from the tiny hole that the cable went through. I did not take the option of having the winch mechanism replaced - a $600 job. I called Mazda to find whether there is a hidden warranty, but was denied, I am now trying to improvise with nuts and bolts.

    Several mechanics that I talked to (including the one from Mazda) acknowledge that there are a lot of problems with this type of tire winch in both Chrysler and Mazda. I was lucky that I tried to remove the spare tire from my own garage. You can image how bad the situation will be if one really needs to use the spare tire in the middle of nowhere in a snow storm.

    I will encourage everybody to try out the spare tire mechanism to ensure that it works, before it is too late.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    I had to replace the winch on my 2002 MPV also. The spare did come down, but it would not winch up. The repair was nearly $600. Shortly after that, and after yet some more problems with the van, I dumped it. For a T&C that also has a winch-type system. :( Hope that one fares better if I ever have to use it.
  • mariop1mariop1 Member Posts: 1
    I would like to know how your making out with those Goodyear Tripple tread. Also would you suggest to go with the 225-60R-17 as you did on the MPV. I'm seeking my best choice still as I have a 2004 sport van like yours which I'm really happy with. It looks nice and sporty and drives well but now with 50,000 clicks on the odometer I need to replace those original tires.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyMember Posts: 6,064
    I would like to know how your making out with those Goodyear Tripple tread

    Sure thing. I really like the Tripletreds and thus far nothing to complain about. The traction in dry and wet is pretty awesome... fairly good in the little amount of snow we have gotten the past couple winters. The wife commented how good the traction was in the rain about a week after we bought them.

    I just had them rotated for the second time, so we've put about 14,000 miles on them. Very little wear noted. A little bit noisy on concrete, as most tires are nosier... very quiet on asphalt.

    Yes, I would recommend going slighter bigger with tire size. You get a bit more stability in cornering, which was pretty good with the old Dunlops. They also look nicer on the van IMO.

    You did pretty good getting 50k out of the OEM Dunlops. I only got 37,000 and they were getting pretty bad around 30k. I probably could have squeezed another legal 8k out of them.

    I bought my tires at a Goodyear store. You can also find them priced less at Walmart. I asked my local Goodyear store if they would meet the Walmart price, which they did. A little bit more for lifetime balance and rotation and should last you till you're ready to sell the van. Good luck. :shades:
    2020 Honda Accord EX-L, 2011 Hyundai Veracruz, 2010 Mercury Milan Premiere, 2007 Kia Optima
  • sramamur1sramamur1 Member Posts: 21
    I had a flat about four weeks ago and could not lower the spare tire. I was able to lower the cable and the tire spun, but as reported previously, the spare tire got jammed up at the top and was not coming down. Now I need to go to a garage to get the spare tire out.

    On top of this, the spare is also busted and could not be repaired. Need to look for another spare as well.

    Well, atleast I got the flat fixed quickly!!

  • sramamur1sramamur1 Member Posts: 21
    There is no ABS on my 2003 Mazda MPV DX and I need to change the tires before the snowy winter arrives. Wondering whether to go with a proper winter tire or an all weather tire such as Nokian WRG2

    Any comments and suggestions?


  • whoknows987whoknows987 Member Posts: 1
    If the spare tire will not lower, the solution is not simple. Please bear with my rather lengthy explanation.

    The spare carrier for this vintage Mazda MPV is one of the poorest designs I have seen in nearly 40 years of practice as a mechanical engineer but let’s focus on getting the spare tire removed and not deficiencies of the design. There may be more than one problem but, if your spare tire will drop down about an inch and then won’t go any further, the problem is a stuck safety catch and not a broken winch mechanism. On the top of the fixture on the end of the cable that holds the tire up, there is a spool about an inch long and about three-fourths inch in diameter. There is a thick ridge around the top of this spool. When the spare tire is winched all of the way up, this spool goes into a hole in the bottom of the carrier and activates a mechanism that locks around the spool keeping it from sliding out in case the cable breaks. To make sure that the safety mechanism is engaged, it is linked to a similar mechanism on the top side of the carrier where you insert the wrench to lower and raise the tire. However, this one works just the opposite. When the tire is raised all of the way up, it opens and allows the special wrench to be inserted or removed. When the tire goes down, it locks around the wrench so that it cannot be removed. The idea is to make sure you fully raise the tire and engage the safety mechanism before the wrench is removed.

    At least that is the way it is supposed to work. Given the location and all of the salt, mud, water, etc. that gets thrown up onto the carrier, it should be no surprise that it does not always work just right, especially if it hasn’t moved for many years. If you insert the lowering wrench, give it a couple of turns in the correct direction and the mechanism does not lock around the wrench, the safety catch on the bottom has not released either. You can pull and pry and twist and cuss all you want, you will not get the spare tire to go any lower (I know from first hand experience).

    No guarantees, but your best bet now is a pair of long nose pliers, a medium size flat screwdriver, and a can of WD40 with the long, skinny tube to direct the spray. Leave the tire in this slightly lowered position. You should see the mechanism that is supposed to slide out over the lowering wrench sticking out just a bit from under the rim from which you removed the plug that allows you to insert the wrench. There should be two of them more-or-less on opposite sides. Spray the WD40 horizontally back along these mechanisms getting it to go as far back into works as you can. Hopefully, you will be able to wiggle them a bit with the screwdriver to help work the WD40 back into where it needs to be. Now pry with the screwdriver and pull with long-nose pliers to try to get the locking mechanism to move towards the center like it should. Once it does, it will also release the safety catch on the bottom and allow the spare tire to drop down. Don’t expect this fix to be a 5-second solution. With 10 minutes or so of prying and pulling along with additional squirts of WD40 and a few choice swear words thrown in for good measure, you may be able to get the mechanism to release. In the seven years I have owned the vehicle, I have had to remove the spare twice, separated about five years in time, and it worked for me both times.

    If you just cranked the winch a few turns down and stopped before going through the above process, you should be home free once the safety catch releases. Go ahead and lower the tire and remove it per the instructions in the manual. You will probably have to fiddle with the mechanism on top to be able to get the lowering wrench inserted but, if you got that far, this step will be a piece of cake. However, if you cranked and cranked trying to get the tire to come down before you figured out it was not going to come down, you may well have the cable all balled up inside the winch as well (I also know this from experience). Once the safety mechanism has released and the tire is supported by the cable, you may have to work the crank back and forth quite a bit along with some tugging on the tire to get the cable to extend. It took me a while but, with a lot of work, I was able to slowly get the cable to extend all of the way out. That exercise took another 15 minutes or so. With my second experience, I knew enough to quit cranking before I messed up the cable and it worked just fine once I got the safety mechanism to release.

    Is there a fix? For a handful of $100 bills, the dealer will replace the carrier assembly. I see no reason to expect a new one to be any better than the old one. The problem is a bad design, not a specific faulty part, as best I can tell. The simplest solution is to put the spare tire in the back end of the van, wind the carrier all of the way up, and forget it was ever there. If you don’t like that idea, I can offer two other solutions but keep in mind that both involve defeating the safety device. Before you do either one, think about the spare tire coming loose and flip-flopping end over end under your van at highway speeds. The result is not likely to be pretty under the best of circumstances and could be fatal.

    The first solution is to cut two pieces of wood (or whatever) about ¾ inch square and about 10 inches long. Lay them on the top of the spare tire, one on either side and raise the tire until it won’t go up any more. The blocks will keep the tire assembly from going up far enough to engage the safety latch. You may have to fiddle with the mechanism a bit to get the lowering wrench out and get it back in the next time you want to lower the tire, but that should not be a major challenge. Also, the tire will protrude a bit and be slightly visible from the side of the van. The advantage of this solution is that it does not permanently alter the carrier. If you ever decide you want to go back to the way it was originally, all you have to do is pull out the blocks and crank the tire all of the way up. The second solution is to grind the ridge off of the top of the spool described previously. Without the ridge, it won’t make any difference whether the safety mechanism releases or not as there will be nothing for it to catch on. Be very careful not to damage the cable as you will then indeed have created a potentially serious hazard and there will be no safety backup. The advantage of this solution is that the tire will raise all of the way up into the carrier and the lowering wrench should be released. The disadvantage is that you have permanently disabled the safety latch.

    Perhaps the best solution of all is to carry a can of Fix-a-Flat and forget the spare tire.
  • gmangman Member Posts: 5
    My wife's '04 MPV makes this intermittent squealing noise from the left rear wheel area. It usually starts with when we first pull the car out from the garage. After a couple of miles it seems to go away.
    I have new Goodyear TripleTreads installed about 8 months back, and the brakes seem fine. Anybody else encounter this issue?
    Any info is appreciated because we are planning a long road trip in a couple of weeks..

  • sanzhangsanzhang Member Posts: 3
    You described the mechanism very well. It is a flimsy, delicate clockwork that is cast to work under the elements. Madza should consider it a disposable part, like paper coffee cups, and price it accordingly, not in the $300 range. I was able to locate a used one on the internet and had it couriered for a total of $65US. Mounting the carrier involved tightening four bolts, and cutting 2 rivets used to attach the spare tire shroud to the carrier.

    I hope it will work for a long time with proper maintenance. At one time I was thinking of attaching an emergency latch release (I am also an engineer), but abandon the idea in fear of unexpected complications or inadvertent release. In case I need to try your method, I want to know whether you hoisted up your van when you did the trick. There is not a lot of space when I lie on the ground.
  • cnosilcnosil Member Posts: 1
    My winch assembly fell apart also and have only been able to find them in the $300-$400 range. Can you provide the source of the one you found for $65? Is it a commercial source or just someone who happened to have one?
  • sramamur1sramamur1 Member Posts: 21
    Thank you so much for the detailed explanation. One of my neighbours has a shop and we hoisted the vehicle and did the WD-40 treatment as you suggested. We were able to get the tire lowered and he even took it out and fixed the flat for me.

    Prior to this, I was looking at possible spare tire from wreckers (I was going to leave that in my trunk and forget about the original spare tire), but could not find one to match the nut/hole configuration of MPV tires.

  • sanzhangsanzhang Member Posts: 3
    Go to I believe the part is the same for all years, so you don't have to limit your search to the model year of your MPV. I just checked and you can have many spare 'spare wheel carriers' for a small fistful of dollars.
  • etsangetsang Member Posts: 1
    I have a suggestion, make this simple and save money in your pocket.
    Buy a new full size tire with rim and put it in your truck, forget that spare tire.
    Don't wast time and money.
  • farkwafarkwa Member Posts: 3
    Hello my wife and I brought a second hand 2000 mazda mpv.
    It came lowered on 19" rims with 235/35/19.
    We are currently having problems with the front inside tyres wearing before the rest of the tyre even if we keep the balance and alignment up to date. We are also having problems with the back rubbing the guards when we hit big bumps.
    We were thinking of changing to a 17" wheel and running something like a 225/55/17 tyre to help clear the guards and to keep it looking a bit sporty..Would this help at all any feed back would be appreciated :confuse:
  • penyupenyu Member Posts: 1
    Hie Farkwa, I happen to have had a problem exactly like yours, lowered mpv sporty look 19 inch rims wearing 235x35x19 tyres very sweet looking but I could not cary more than two passengers at the rear seat bcoz the rear excel would hit the bump stoppers even at small bumps, the ride would be very terrible, I almost sold it for that reason. After thinking of changing the rims and tyres, I realised through a sticker that was written Ti-200 high performance suspension coils and this was my problem for they lowered my mpv for good handling, speed, curving and they were too soft for our rough roads
    Solution: I replaced the high performance lowered springs with the original mazda mpv springs and one time ground clearance was back to o.g and the ride on bumpy roads was smooth, can seat full capacity plus laguage without tyres rubbing against the guard , did not change my rims and tyres. I m sure if you change your springs back to the original you won't think of changing your rims
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