Is it Okay to Have Mismatched Tires on My Car?
Vehicle owners know they will need a tire replacement at some point. However, there are different opinions on whether one should replace the entire set or just the ones that have issues. Opinions are one thing, but it’s important to understand what experts say about driving with mismatched tires. Read on to learn more about tire replacements and whether you can mismatch the tires on your vehicle.
What Does It Mean to Have Mismatched Tires?
In simple terms, mismatched tires mean one or more tires in the set differ from the rest. A mismatched tire set may have:
- Tires that are from different manufactures
- Tires that differ in tread patterns
- A mixture of run-flat tires and non-run-flat tires
- Winter tires that are mixed with all-season tires
- A combination of summer tires and winter tires
- Tires of different sizes or different construction characteristics
Benefits of a Fully Matched Set of Tires
Tire manufacturers and auto service experts recommend having a fully matched set of identical tires on your car. There are numerous benefits of having a uniform set of tires.
Get Maximized Tire Life and Tread Wear
Having the same tires on all four wheels allows you to rotate the tires regularly. You can move the front tires to the rear axle and vice versa. Regular rotation ensures the treads wear evenly and extends the life of the tires. However, tire rotations may not help the treads to wear uniformly if your wheels are misaligned. Schedule a wheel alignment to enjoy the benefits of regular tire rotation.
Better Vehicle Safety
A uniform set of front and rear tires improves the safety of your vehicle by giving it an even road grip. Matching tires also enhance your car’s stability for optimal control.
Lower Likelihood of Balance Issues or Vehicle Damage
When the tires fitted on your car differ in size or other characteristics, the vehicle experiences several issues. You may need wheel alignments and suspension repairs more frequently or experience inflation issues. A uniform set helps you mitigate these challenges upfront.
When Tire Mixing is Unavoidable, Ensure It’s Done Right
You may mismatch tires due to budgetary or other reasons. For instance, budget constraints may make it difficult to replace the whole set at one time. It could also happen if you need a new replacement tire right away but your usual is out of stock or back-ordered. Whatever the reason, if you must mismatch the tires, ensure you have identical ones on each axle. When mixing tires with different load indexes and speed ratings, ensure the ratings are higher than recommended and fitted on the rear axle.
When You Should Never Mix-and-Match Tires
If the situation does not allow you to have a uniform set, it is okay to have a slight mismatch. However, never attempt the following mismatches:
Swapping to Winter Tires
Mixing winter tires with other tires creates a traction imbalance. The difference in road grip may lead to loss of control, especially when driving on slippery roads.
Replacing Run-Flat Tires
Run-flat tires come with reinforced sidewalls, which make them completely different from non-run-flat. If you mix run-flat with non-run-flat tires, you disrupt the stability of the car.
Replacing Tires on a 4WD or AWD Vehicle
If you have an all-wheel drive (AWD/4WD) car, you should replace the whole set at once. If you mix old and new tires, the difference in tread depth can lead to serious mechanical damage.
Get the Tire Replacement You Need for Your Vehicle
Although it is generally not a good idea, circumstances may force you to drive with mismatched tires. When this happens, ensure you make the right choice. We don’t expect you to know the exact model that is most comparable to what’s currently on your vehicle, but you can trust the pros at Telle Tire to provide the right recommendation and professional installation.