Be Safe in Your 2011 Hyundai Sonata

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 by Cy Chowattukunnel
For the longest time, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord dominated the mid-size sedan game. Recently, however, a new contender has entered the ring - the 2011 Hyundai Sonata. And with many Sonata owners valuing safety over dry road handling, it's best they look at winter /  snow tires in the Studless Ice and Snow performance category.

Snow Tire Size

The GLS and Hybrid versions come equipped with 205/65-16 (215/55-17 is an optional Hybrid size) tires, while the Sonata Limited runs either 215/55-17s (2.4L engine) or 225/45-18s (2.0T). The Sonata SE runs on 225/45-18s in both engine models. For the GLS and Hybrid, 205/65-16 gives optimum balance between deep snow, ice and dry roads. Because 16" wheels won't clear the brakes on the Limited and SE trim levels, this makes 215/55-17 the best choice.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

The 2011 Hyundai Sonata uses valve-stem mounted TPMS sensors that must be initialized by the dealer to function. We can install sensors ($57* or $64* ea) purchased as part of a Winter / Snow Tire & Whee for free, but your dealer must initialize your sensors in the fall and spring as your summer wheels go back on.

Winter/Snow Tire & Wheel Package for GLS and Hybrid Sonatas

As I covered in a previous blog post, I believe the Michelin X-Ice Xi2 to be a slightly better choice compared to the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70, therefore I recommend a package that includes the 205/65-16 Michelin X-Ice Xi2 on steel wheels with the KT962 wheel covers for $735* plus shipping.

Michelin X-Ice Xi2
205/65-16 Michelin X-Ice Xi2
16x6.5 Black Steel Wheel
16x6.5 Black Steel Wheel

Winter/Snow Tire & Wheel Package for Limited and SE Sonatas

The ideal Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package for the Limited and SE Sonata is the 215/55-17 Michelin X-Ice Xi2 on 17x7.5 50mm offset Sport Edition F7 wheels at $972** plus shipping.

215/55-17 Michelin X-Ice Xi2
215/55-17 Michelin X-Ice Xi2
17x7.5 50mm offset Silver Sport Edition F7
17x7.5 50mm offset Silver Sport Edition F7

2011 Hyundai Winter FAQ:
  1. I would prefer not to use the wheels listed above, can I use something different? When you're creating a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package, different wheel options will be provided to allow you to choose the combination that you prefer. 
  2. I live at the North Pole and need a skinnier tire size for more emphasis on deep snow traction, what sizes can I run? There aren't any great super-skinny 16" or 17" choices, as the 195/60-16 (25.2") size is over 1" smaller in diameter compared to the 205/65-16 (26.5"). While 205/55-17s are 25.9" and their overall diameter is comparable, you're restricted to winter / snow tires which aren't great for the North Pole.
  3. I'm leasing my car and will not have it for a long period of time, can I mount winter / snow tires on the vehicle's wheels? If your leased vehicle is equipped with either the 16" or 17" O.E. painted finish wheels, then it's fine to use them as snow wheels. If you have 18" wheels, then you're restricted to the wider 225/45-18 size. This wider tire will plow through deeper snow instead of cutting through it, so using the 18" O.E. wheels aren't ideal.
*Prices subject to change
**Prices subject to change, excluding sensors

Comments on Be Safe in Your 2011 Hyundai Sonata

Thursday, March 28, 2013 by Alex Shum:
Hi, can I use 225/60-16 all season tires on my 2011 Sonata GLS.
Thursday, March 28, 2013 by cy:
225/60-16 on your Original Equipment 16" rims will work fine without rubbing or any other issues.
Thursday, June 27, 2013 by andrew:
my car 201 Hyundai sonata limited tire size 215/55/17. I would like buy 225/55/17 will work well? Please let me know.
Thursday, June 27, 2013 by cy:
Alex, 225/55-17 will fit on your 2011 Sonata Limited 2.4L's 17x6.5 Original Equipment wheels but this size is slightly larger than what we've test fit, so we would consider this to be a "custom size."
I would recommending getting anecdotal feedback from some of Sonata/Optima owners' sites/forums we sponsor. I suspect other Sonata drivers have gotten this size to work. Thanks. Cy.
Monday, July 8, 2013 by Mitzie:
I need tires ASAP my car is a hyundia sonata 2011 I have 205 65 R 16 tires in here now can I put a 215 60 R 16 on here will it be safe and will it rub on my struts
Tuesday, July 9, 2013 by cy:
Mizie, 215/60-16 works fine on your Original Equipment 16x6.5 wheel and won't on the inside (struts) or the the outside (fender). Thanks.Cy.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 by Zed:
Have a sonata 2013 GL 205/65/16. Can i put a 215/60/16 winter tire on the same original wheel? Is is safe? Same, better or worse on ice/snow?
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 by cy:
215/60-16 will work on OE wheel as wheel. Being about a 1/2 inch wider 215/60-16 will be slightly less
effective in deeper snow and slightly better in ice/packed snow. Thanks. Cy.
Thursday, November 7, 2013 by Ralph:
I have a 2011 Sonata with the 2.0 turbo and 225/R18 wheels. What is the best tire for me to quiet the ride and that will work in both winter (Live if Detroit) and summer?
Friday, November 8, 2013 by cy:
Ralph, with our rough Midwestern roads, a moderate-length wheelbase and 18" wheels there only so much we can do to improve ride compliance. With this in mind, the optimal choice for your parameters would be the Michelin Primacy MXM4, see:
Thanks. Cy.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013 by martin:
hi guys. need some advice in getting a new tire and wheels package. i currently drive a 2013 hyundai sonata 2.0T which is fitted with 18 inch rims. I am getting slightly confused cause the dealer had mentioned that 16 inch rims (215/60/16) would be fine for my model but then when I went by to a bigger and well known tire place they had mentioned that the recommended size is 215/55/17 cause apparently the brakes won't clear if i used anything smaller than a 17 inch. Can someone help clarify this to me and also about some insight about the TPMS sensors and if my year has them?
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 by cy:

We don’t have any compatible 16” winter wheels for your Sonata 2.0T, only 17’s. All the wheels listed in the Winter/Snow section here:

Have been test fit to verify they clear your brakes. We check for circumferential rotor clearance and caliper clearance using a CAD system. The dealer may have been referring to non-2.0T Sonata as we do have compatible 16” wheels for the non-2.0T Sonata’s.

TPMS: Your US-spec 2013 Sonata 2.0T has valve-stem mounted TPMS sensors, so if you want operable TPMS for the winter, we can mount & balance with Original TPMS sensors. Since each sensor has a unique serial number your dealer will have to initialize (input the new TPMS serial codes into the vehicle) every time you switch from summer to winter or vice versa.

Thanks. Cy.
Saturday, March 29, 2014 by BOB:
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 by cy:
Bob, our 17x6.5 50 mm offset steel wheel will clear your brakes but since clearance varies with spoke thickness and spoke curvature that doesn’t mean every 17x6.5 wheel will clear. If you’re trying to determine if the Original Equipment 17x6.5 wheel clears your 2.0T brakes, I would recommend getting anecdotal feedback from other 2.0T Sonata drivers who’ve attempted to use this wheel.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014 by Michele:
I need recommendations for VERY good all-season tires (215/55-17s) for a 2011 Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.4L. My state inspection is due, and my Kumho stock tires have 23k miles on them and will probably not pass inspection. These tires were absolutely useless to me this past winter, as it was impossible for me to even drive my vehicle on any roadway that had more than a couple of inches of snow cover. I work in a hospital and need to be able to make it to work in any weather condition, so I am looking for the best all-season tires for my vehicle that I can find. Snow tires are not an option, because I live in an apartment and do not have enough storage space to keep swapping out my tires. Plus, I only drive about 8k miles per year. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 by cy:
For the significant improvement in the snow grip that you’re seeking there is no substitute for a dedicated snow tire. So for your scenario I’d go with a Performance Winter tire as they wear better than Studless Ice and Snow tires and some models are still available for purchase. For example, Michelin makes the Primacy Alpin PA3 in the compatible size of 205/55-17 (skinny enough for deep snow but wide enough for packed snow and dry roads), see:
They’ll wear at relatively fast rate but they’ll give you the snow grip you need. Thanks. Cy
Friday, August 22, 2014 by Ariel:
I have a sonata 2011 GLS 205/65/16. Can I use a 215/65/16 tire on the same original wheel? Is is safe?
Monday, August 25, 2014 by cy:
Your 6.5” Original Equipment wheel is wide enough to accommodate 215/65-16 but 215/65-16 is taller than what we’ve test fit for your Sonata. The wider sizes that will definitely fit your Original Equipment wheel, maintain good speedometer accuracy and not rub are 215/60-16, 225/60-16 and 235/55-16.
Thanks. Cy.
Friday, September 26, 2014 by Jim:
I have a 2011 Sonata hybrid that needs all new tires. I live in Ashland, KY. This past winter we had quite a lot of snow. But, sometimes we get very little. This winter it is expected to be a similar winter to the last one. What would be a good tire to use that would last me through the winter and that I could use during 2015 summer, too? Thanks, Jim
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 by cy:
Jim, dedicated snow tires are optimal but the next best choice would be the Bridgestone Ecopia EP422 as it test well in snow for an all-season, see:


Tuesday, October 21, 2014 by Sue:
I am buying replacement tires for a Sonata GLS (2014). Does it need speed rated tires? What all season tires would you recommend for Pennsylvania weather?
Thursday, October 23, 2014 by cy:
Since wet grip, snow traction and other important safety parameters are also dependent on a tire’s rubber compound and tread design we don’t place undue emphasis on Speed Rating.

For your Pennsylvania mix of rain, hills and harsh winters I would recommend either the Hankook H727 for its snow handling prowess (relative to other all-seasons) or the General Altimax RT43 for it’s wet grip advantage.

See our Hankook H727 test here:

See our General Altimax RT43 test here:

Thanks. Cy
Friday, October 31, 2014 by foxj:
Hi, my car 2011 Hyundai sonata SE tire size 225/45/18. I would like buy new Winter tire and wheels package 205/65/16 will work well? Please let me know. Thanks
Friday, October 31, 2014 by cy:
205/65-16 on 16” wheels will work fine and is optimal for drivers that in the dark blue part of our snow map, see:

The narrower 205/65-16’s will cut through deeper snow better but also be wide enough for packed snow & ice.

Thanks. Cy.
Wednesday, November 5, 2014 by Alex:
I have a 2012 Hyundai Sonata SE. 2013 winter was brutal for me since I have all performance wheels and with the snow we received in Chicago I was barely able to drive anywhere without sliding or getting stuck. Which winter wheels will you recommend? Is it okay to use a 16" rim on Sonata SE? I currently have 225/45-18"
Thursday, November 6, 2014 by Chris:
Hi. I have a 2011 Sonata Limited 2.0 and need a good winter tire as I live in the hills of Pa. My car was absolutely terrible last yr in the snow.I currently have Goodyear Eagle GT All season 225/45R18's. Are the Bridgestone Blizzaks good or can you recommend some options. My car barely made it thru my neighborhood of small hills let alone main streets.. Looking for immediate purchase.. Thank you.
Friday, November 7, 2014 by cy:
For your PA mix of deep snow, packed snow and ice, I’d recommend 205/65-16 Bridgestone Blizzak WS80’s (the newer version of the Blizzak WS70) on either steel or basic alloy wheels.
Thanks. Cy.
Friday, November 7, 2014 by cy:

For your harsh Chicago winters I’d go with 205/65-16 Studless Ice and Snows on any of the 16” wheels listed in the Winter section for your Sonata. Do you have Sonata SE 2.0T or a Sonata SE 2.4? Please enter your exact information on our website, all the listed wheels will clear your brakes and be compatible with your Sonata.

As for a specific tire both the Blizzak WS-80 and Michelin X-ICE Xi3 are appropriate. If your dry road commute involves lots of stop and go expressway driving, the Michelin X-ICE Xi3 offers better dry road braking. This will come in handy as your brake hard for abruptly slowing traffic.

Thanks. Cy.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014 by Alex:

I have a Sonata SE 2.4. Thank you for your advice.
I was talking to parts in the dealer I usually go get my maintenance for the car and was told that it wouldn't be a god idea to go to 16" wheels since it will throw off the computer, speedometer, and ABS. IS this correct? They told me to just swap the tires.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014 by cy:
Alex, the overall diameter of your is 26 inches and the overall diameter of 205/65-16 is 26.5 inches. That 1/2" difference in overall diameter isn't significant enough to cause any issues with your Sonata's computer, speedometer and ABS. Thanks. Cy
Wednesday, November 12, 2014 by Rich:
I am about to replace the original KUMHO P215/55R17 tires on my 2011 Sonata Hybrid and have been searching for a good all-season tire to drive in the suburban Philadelphia region. Last winter was a challenge, but not so much that I want to put on winter tires. Other sites recommend CONTINENTAL ExtremeContact DWS all-season, so I was wondering if you can recommend them?
Thursday, November 13, 2014 by cy:
Rich, the Continental ExtremeContact DWS has good snow grip for its tire type and also good wet grip but may not be the optimal choice for efficiency. Thanks Cy.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 by Ricardo:
i have 2013 Sonata with 205-65-16, but am considering a 215-65-16 or 215-60-16 for winters. Is this ok?
Thursday, November 20, 2014 by cy:
Ricardo, 215/60-16 is fine, 215/65-16 is over-sized so there's a risk of rubbing. Thanks. Cy.
Tuesday, December 2, 2014 by Rick:
In this article it is mentioned that 16" wheels on the 2011 Sonata SE will not clear the brakes, so a 17" tire is recommended. When I search for a tire/wheel package the 16" wheels are listed as being compatible. I'm looking at getting 225/60R Dunlop SP Winter Sport tires on 16x7.5-114 ET45 rims, but I am unsure if I should still consider 16" rims. Thanks!

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