Should You Mix Tires?

March 2nd, 2011
Tires in Marysville, OHThink about how weird and awkward it would feel to go around wearing a sneaker on your right foot, and a dress shoe on your left. That’s sort of what it’s like to mix-and-match tires on your vehicle. A set of four tires is designed to work together; the rubber formulation, internal construction and tread design of the tires is intended to keep your vehicle in a specific envelope of traction, handling, ride quality and drivability. Going to a different tire or pair of tires, even if they’re the same class (i.e. all-season, touring, etc) can result in “squirrelly”, unstable handling, ride quality and performance. That can be much more pronounced if you mix, say, winter tires with touring tires – each class of tire is designed with drastically different traction and handling properties. Mixing different classes of tires can result in a dangerous loss of control.
To ensure even wear and deliver the best performance and traction possible right from the start, it’s advisable to replace all four tires at once, as a set. At Boyd’s Tire & Service Center, we know it’s not always possible to do that, for various reasons. Sometimes a tire sustains damage that isn’t repairable (while the others are all okay), and sometimes it’s just too expensive to replace the entire set. If you have to replace one or two tires, here are some things to bear in mind: 
  • Tires should all be the same size and tread design, and preferably the same brand. Even within the same brand and class, traction and performance properties can be pretty different, with minute differences in handling and other properties. 
  • Tires should be the same brand, if at all possible, for the same reason. In some European countries, in fact, it’s illegal to have differing brands of tires on the same vehicle.
  • If you can only replace a pair of tires, make sure the new tires are installed on the rear, even on a front-wheel-drive vehicle. This might seem counterintuitive, since the front wheels are directing where the vehicle goes, but worn tires in the rear make it much easier to oversteer and swing the rear end out…and oversteer is harder to control and recover from than understeer.
  • Your vehicle was designed for a certain size and type of tires, straight from the factory. Steering, ride and suspension performance are all predicated on that type of tire, and you’re better off staying with that and not going to a skinnier, lower-profile or wider tire. 
If you’ve got tire issues and it’s time to replace either a pair or all four, give us a call at Boyd’s Tire & Service Center in Marysville, OH. Regardless of what you drive, we’re sure we’ve got a tire that’ll be a great fit for your vehicle, your wallet and your driving needs. Schedule an appointment for tires and auto repair in Marysville, OH from Boyd's Tire and Service Center.
  Posted in: Tire 101