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I live in one of the top POTHOLE ridden cities in the world (San Jose!) I would like to change my tires for something bigger/taller/softer on my 2006 mazda3 2.3. One tire company thought I could go from 205/50R17 to 225/50/17. Another said I could only go as large as 225/45/17 which, to my understanding, is no improvement, as far as increasing the sidewall height. Obviously, I am confused as to what might contribute to a softer ride. Anyone know how 'tall' of a tire I could go? Any suggestions on improving the ride?
 

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The amount of improvement will depend on what you are starting with.

I switched from Nexen's to Continental ExtremeContact and it was amazing. Much softer ride, and much, much quieter. It was slightly squishier around corners though due to the softer sidewall, but my back is much happier.
 
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