Salt & Pepper, Ant & Dec, Batman & Robin… some things work better in pairs and the same goes for your tyres – the fronts and the rears.
Fitted on the same axle (a central rod that connects a group of wheels), it’s clear to see why we always recommend changing your tyres in sets of 2 for balance and stability to remain between wheels.
By fitting only one new tyre on an axle, you’ll instantly create an imbalance that could cause issues whilst driving, being unpredictable and at worst uncontrollable in an emergency situation. And that’s why it’s also important to keep the tyres on each side of the axel identical – same brand, same tread pattern, same size, same ratings.
In an ideal world you’d change all 4 tyres at the same time. But in reality, we know this isn’t the case and it’s highly unlikely your tyres will wear at the same rate. But every cloud and all… at least it’s easier on the bank balance.
To gain the most wear out of your tyres, you should always fit the newest set to the rear axle. Why? Because no matter if you’ve got a front, rear or four-wheeled drive vehicle – a loss of grip at the rear is very difficult to control (although this is not applicable for some vehicles with different sized rims front to rear i.e. BMW, Mercedes, MR2)
Rules and Recommendations
Although we can only offer our advice on fitting new tyres in pairs, there are some laws and stipulations you need to adhere to…
– You must not mix cross-ply and radial tyres on the same axle.
This shouldn’t be a problem for most as the majority of tyres sold in the UK are of radial construction. It’s pretty rare these days to find a Cross-Ply tyre unless you’re on the hunt for a specialist or niche product.
– Fit the tyre size, speed and load rating as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
If you are looking to modify performance and handling then you can increase all of the above but can never go below the recommended sizes and ratings.
– Never mix winter tyres with standard all-season or summer tyres.
Although there’s no law to stipulate, TyresOnTheDrive would never recommend mixing seasonal tyres. If you’re looking to purchase winter tyres, these need to be purchased in a set of 4 to show a return on your investment.
– On four-wheel drive vehicles always replace the full set of tyres.
It is important you replace all 4 tyres on any four-wheel drive vehicle as you could cause permanent damage to the system. The one exception would be if the difference on the current tyres vs the new tyres is less than 3mm of tread.
If you’re in doubt and looking for some more advice then please don’t hesitate to speak to one of our friendly advisors. Their wealth of tyre knowledge can bore you rotten but does come in handy in these situations!