Learning Center / Driving with Mismatched Tires


For Best Performance, Match Your Tires

Unless your vehicle has a flat and you are running a full-size spare, you should always look to have the identical tires with the same tread pattern on each wheel. When you use different tires on each wheels, tires will not only wear unevenly due to different tread patterns, but may also perform differently because of construction or materials used. Some vehicles have what is known as a “staggered fitment” which is different-sized tires for the front and rear axle wheels.

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Image via Wikipedia

Ways Owners Mismatch their Tires:

Matching Tires = Even Wear/Longer Lifespan

Tires are designed to work in unison with one another, and using a tire with different tread patterns than the others can lead to poor performance and traction, especially in wet or icy conditions. In addition to control and stability suffering, using a mix of different tires makes it difficult to rotate your tires in a way that will cause them to wear evenly.

Even if you regularly rotate your tires, running a different sized tire on some wheels, having a alignment issue, or not keeping up with maintenance on your tires can leave you shopping for a new set of tires well before you should need to. In the instance where you get a flat or puncture in one tire of your matching set, the first option should be to replace that tire with the same brand and model tire. By doing this, you restore the ability for the tires to work in unison, and it should not affect the handling and performance of the vehicle. If you haven’t purchased new tires in a while, and the model that you are currently running isn’t offered anymore, Treadhunter recommends looking to find a tire in the same performance category with an equivalent load rating, speed rating, handling and traction characteristics as the remaining tires you have on your vehicle.

Treadhunter will always recommend that when replacing tires, you should always try to replace them as a set. Sometimes, this isn’t an option financially, and a lesser, used tire may be the only option. While you may be able to operate your vehicle for a while on a discount used tire, over time the performance of your vehicle, as well as it’s smooth ride, will begin to deteriorate. Just one tire that differs from the rest of the set can cause the vehicle’s handling and balance to become uneven, creating potentially dangerous situations for the vehicle operator, especially in poor driving conditions.