New Tires Go WHERE?

In a perfect world you would always replace your tires in sets of four.

But the world is not always perfect, is it?


Most new cars are front wheel drive and because of that the front tires do the lion’s share of the work when braking, acceleration and steering. Failure to regularly rotate the tires on a front wheel drive vehicle will typically cause the front tires to wear out much faster than the rears. The rears may have half or more of the tread remaining while the fronts are totally shot.


So you decide to buy two new tires.


Where should the two new tires go?


Intuitively you would think that since the front tires wore out first and the rears have about half of their life still available, new tires would go on the front.



New tires go on the rear.


Where do they go on a front-wheel drive car?

New tires go on the rear.

What if the car is rear-wheel drive?

New tires go on the rear.

What if the two rear tires are in really good shape?

New tires go on the rear.

What if ( – insert nearly any variable – )

New tires go on the rear.

As a matter of fact, unless the car has staggered sizing (different sizes on front and rear)

New tires go on the rear.


Without the stability provided by the rear tires, steering or braking on a surface that is even slightly damp can cause a spin-out.


“But how about if I have a blowout? I’m better off with a rear tire blowout than a front tire blowout, right?”



A rear blowout is especially dangerous because of the way the vehicle’s handling is affected. In the case of a rear blowout, there is pretty much nothing that a driver is able to do to control the rear end of the car once it fishtails and swerves.



In weather that is clear and dry it hardly makes a difference.

Wet conditions make it critical that new rubber goes on the rear. The deeper tread of new tires will provide better road grip on damp pavement. Hydroplaning is much less likely; oversteer and loss of vehicle stability are also less common with better rear tires. Drivers are able to correct for hydroplaning more easily with new tires in the back.


Every tire manufacturer and every major retail chain are in agreement that, if only two tires are being replaced, the two new tires should be installed on the rear axle. This applies whether the car is front drive, rear drive, 4×4* or even all-wheel-drive*.



Be safe.



* You may have difficulty getting anybody to fit a 4×4 or an AWD vehicle with fewer than four tires, however. This is a mechanical liability issue rather than a safety issue and is a subject for another blog post.



~ by tireabc on April 17, 2014.

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