If you’ve damaged one tire, you may be wondering if you can replace a single tire – instead of all four. After all, tires are quite expensive, and three of your’s still work great!
However, there are some special considerations to make when mismatching tires. Keep reading below for everything you need to know.
Is It Okay to Have Mismatched Tires?
Your car should preferably have four of the same tire for maximum performance and safety. However, you may be able to replace one tire if it’s similar to the other three. If all your tires are already worn, this may not be possible, though. The tread difference can create safety concerns.
However, there are some cases where you can easily replace only one of your tires. It mostly depends on your personal situation!
Can You Mix All Four Tires?
Preferably, you should have all four of the same tires on your car. This means having the same brand, size, tread pattern, and speed rating.
In other words, they need to be the exact same tire.
Generally, most manufacturers do not recommend having mismatched tires at all. The official recommendation is to change all four tires.
However, if you have a FWD or a RWD vehicle, you may be able to get away with some mixing a matching. With that said, it is important that the front two and rear two tires are the same.
In AWD and 4WD vehicles, it is best to have all the tires the same. If you need to change one tire, you may end up needing to change all the tires.
Of course, this can get quite expensive, so we also understand that most people will want to avoid this.
For the most part, the main reason you want to avoid mixing tires is because they may wear differently. If tires have different thread patterns and sizes, then they may wear at different speeds.
In the end, you may end up with wobbly tires. In some cases, tires with uneven wear can be unsafe.
If you do install a single new tire, it is essential that you install the new tire on the back. The newer tire will automatically be “mismatched” since it will have a deeper tread.
Is it Okay to Change Just One Tire?
If you want to have optimal vehicle handling, then you should change all tires at the same time.
If you only replace one tire, then all the tries will have uneven tread. This factor will affect the overall rideability of the car.
In other words, the tires will have different levels of acceleration and braking. Over time, this can cause difficulties.
However, it does depend on how worn the other tires are. If the other tires aren’t terribly worn, then it may not make much of a difference. But very worn tires will make a significant difference.
Furthermore, the software in your car may have difficulty figuring things out if one tire is obviously different from the others. Traction control systems and differentials may not understand the differences of information between tires.
Sometimes, manufacturers will have specific information to not change just one tire. However, others don’t have a specific recommendation.
However, sometimes, you only have the money or ability to change one tire. I recommend speaking to your tire technician before attempting this, though.
hey can measure the tread of your existing tire and determine if it is possible to only replace one tire.
Is It Okay to Have Different Tire Brands?
It depends on the tires. If all the tires are brand new and similar, then you may not have an issue with mismatched tires.
However, if the tires are very different, then they could wear unevenly, leading to differences in braking and control.
If you only bought the tires a few months ago, they likely haven’t become worn very much. Therefore, you may be perfectly fine only replacing one tire.
With two different types of tires, you’ll likely be better off. It is best to have the front two tires the same and the back two tires the same.
Otherwise, you could have handling problems. If you need to replace one tire, consider replacing two instead.
If you have a FWD or a RWD vehicle, this is especially helpful.
Of course, you could also rotate the tire to ensure proper wear and tear. In many cases, this may be enough.
However, if your tires are already super worn, rotating tires may not help very much.
What Happens If You Mismatch Tires?
In some cases, mismatching tires doesn’t do anything. Sometimes, the wear difference isn’t substantial, and it is hardly noticeable.
However, this isn’t always the case. On many occasions, you will be unable to just replace one tire safely.
For the most part, this is due to differences in tread depth. Not only do different tires have different tread depth, but if the tires are already worn, they will have an even lower tread.
Different tread levels simply aren’t safe in a car. The car won’t be able to drive safely, as all the tires will brake and accelerate differently.
You may not be able to notice the difference at first. However, you don’t want the differences to become extreme in emergency situations.
In many cases, the effects aren’t felt until you push your car, which typically occurs during an accident.
When you replace only one tire, it typically causes the tires to spin at different speeds. Because of this, your car’s traction control system may get confused.
Sometimes, it may send false signals. Other times, it may cause the system not to work at all.
Usually, this is only the case when one set of tires is extremely worn, though. If the older tires are decently fresh, then this typically isn’t a problem.
Luckily, there is a possible workaround. You can have the new tire shaved down to the same depth as the other tires. Of course, this will shorten the lifespan of the tire – but it is often better than purchasing two new tires!
With that said, shaving will cost some amount of money. However, it will not be nearly as much as purchasing four new tires altogether. Usually, most car dealers offer this service.
Can You Mix Different Types of Tires?
You should not attempt to mix different types of tires. If you’re using winter tires, be sure that all the tires are winter tires. If you’re using all-season tires, be sure that all the tires are all-season tires.
As you can probably guess, these tires are made to different specifications. Therefore, using them together is likely to cause driving problems.
For instance, if you drive with two winter tires and two summer tires, the winter tires will have more traction than the summer tires. Generally, the summer tires will be unable to get enough feedback, which may make them slip.
In other words, you want all the tires to perform as close as they can to each other. Otherwise, they may cause driving problems.
To learn more about tires, you can also read our posts on how long do spare tires last, if you can replace run-flat tires with regular tires, and if donut tires fit all cars.
Preferably, you shouldn’t mismatch your tires. Different tires have different driving capabilities. Therefore, mismatching tires can cause some serious driving problems.
However, if your tires are newer, you may be able to replace only one. Otherwise, the tires will be too worn. The difference in tread level can cause some considerable problems.
In some cases, you can have the tire shop shave down the new tire to make it match the old ones. However, this only corrects the tread problem.