Ideally, you are running four tires that have generally equal amounts of tire tread. You can help to keep them that way with regular tire rotation.
When two tires have more tread than the others, it is best to use those tires on the back to give your vehicle better stability to handle turns, cornering, and various steering inputs.
Short answer regarding where to mount tires with more tread:
Tires with the most tread should go onto the back wheels. This is because the rear wheels provide vehicular stability that enables you to keep the car under control. If the rear end loses traction and stability, your vehicle is out of control.
Should you have more tread on the front or rear tires?
It always is best to have all four tires with roughly the same tread depth. When tires have the same amount of tread, they should be the same diameter.
That is especially true when all four tires are part of a matched set and virtually identical.
If your vehicle has an all-wheel-drive system or a 4X4 drivetrain, it is very important to keep tires matched on the front and rear drive axles. If you run tires of different sizes on the same axles, that causes the transfer case to ensure uneven RPMs.
Eventually, the drivetrain could fail.
If you can keep the tread depth generally the same on all four tires, that is great.
Then it will not matter which tires are on the front and which are on the back. They all will be about the same. Regular tire rotation and keeping each tire properly inflated can keep them that way.
Which tires should you replace first?
It is very important to use tires that have good tread depth and that are in good condition. When you buy a set of four new tires, they are identical and share the same tread pattern and depth. Ideally, you can keep it that way with regular tire inspections and maintenance.
Sooner or later, one or more tires might suffer more wear and tear than the others. Potholes, curbing, and other potential road hazards could damage one tire but not the others.
Whenever any tires show signs of excessive wear and tear or outright damage, it could be time to replace them.
Signs that tires should be replaced include:
- Uneven tread wear.
- Damaged belts.
- Tire plug was used to repair the tire.
- Signs of cracking or dry rot on the sidewalls.
- Damage to the sidewalls.
If you do not maintain your tires with regular rotation and the correct air pressure, one of them could wear unevenly. The shoulders might wear thin or the tread might have suffered damage.
If you have a tire that makes a thumping sound while driving, it could have a tread separation.
There are many ways in which tires could suffer damage and wear unevenly. When the signs of significant damage are apparent, you should consider replacing one or both tires on that same axle.
Two new tires – do they go on the front or back?
New tires always go onto the back of your vehicle.
Tests show that new tires do a better job of ensuring you are driving a stable vehicle when they are mounted on the rear axle instead of the front axle.
The engineers at Continental tire recently studied the effects of placing new tires on the front of vehicles versus the rear. They used identical cars with identical tires to drive around a test course that included a section of roadway that was covered by water.
The only difference was one car had new tires on the back while the other had new tires on the front.
The test showed that both configurations would cause the car to lose control when it encountered the water in a corner. But the cars with new tires on the rear regained control much more quickly.
The ones with new tires on the front often spun around and remained out of control longer.
Ultimately, the test showed that the vehicle stability systems helped to compensate for the front end. That helped to regain traction and control of the vehicle more quickly.
So does having better tires on the rear end, because the better tread maintained traction longer and regained it sooner than more worn tires.,
Do you have to keep track of it?
It is very important to keep close track of your tires.
You need to know when one or more is low on air. Adding air to tires when their respective tire pressures are low will help to even out the wear and tear. It also will help to keep the tread in good condition longer.
Check out this article to know how hard you should inflate your tires.
So will regular wheel balance and tire rotation service.
Can you switch front and back tires?
It is very easy to switch front and back tires. You just need to raise the vehicle, remove the wheels, and switch them. The front can go onto the back and the back onto the front.,
The process is so quick and easy that many tire stores offer free balance and rotation services for tires and wheels. That always is a good idea to do about every 5,000 miles.
Regular tire balance and rotation service help to keep the tires wearing evenly. The service also helps to give you a much smoother ride.
Typically, you will want to balance the wheels when you rotate tires.
The tire technician will inspect each tire for tread depth and possible damage. And the balance service eliminates wheel-hopping and other issues caused by an out-of-balance wheel.
Most vehicles have a specific tire rotation that is indicated in the owner’s manual. If your vehicle uses a full-size spare tire, that tire could be included in the rotation.
But if the spare is a donut and intended for only emergency use, then the spare is not part of the wheel rotation.
Does it matter if the car is front-wheel drive?
The front-wheel-drive can increase the wear and tear on the front tires. But it also can help the front tires to regain traction sooner. But the back tires only have the tread to help them hold traction.
When you have front-wheel drive, it still is better to have the tires with more tread on the rear. That will help to maintain overall stability and traction while you are driving.
What about cars with all-wheel drive?
An all-wheel-drive (AWD) system needs evenly matched tires on the front and the rear axles. That helps to keep the RPMs about equal in the respective transfer cases.
So you need to pay much closer attention to tire wear. The more evenly that you can keep the tire wear, the better your traction and handling.
An AWD drivetrain will enable the rear tires to regain traction sooner.
And the AWD systems often have traction control for all four wheels. But it still helps to have the best tread on the rear to compensate for lateral forces on the axle.
What happens if you have more tread on the front wheels?
If you have more tread on the front wheels, you are running a greater risk of losing control of the vehicle. The rear end stabilizes your car and enables it to track straight and true.
But if the tires cannot gain and hold traction, the rear end will slide around corners and possibly cause an accident.
In worst-case scenarios, the rear end might swing around and possibly cause a collision or a rollover accident.
Fortunately, it is very easy to check tread depth and rotate your wheels to keep the thickest tread on the back axle. You can use a small coin, such as a penny, to determine the depth of the tread on each tire.
Then you can move the two wheels and respective tires with the most depth to the rear.