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Do Replacement Tires have to be of the Same Size?

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This question can be answered with a yes and no so let’s take a look at the details! If you want your tires to live to the end of their lifeline, then thumbrule is that they all need to be of the same size and type. Furthermore, if you rotate your tires as specified by the manufacturer, which is usually every 6000 – 10,000 KMS, especially on front wheel drive vehicles since the front tires wear out faster than the rear; you will increase the longevity of your tires. However, if you do not change the wheel position of wide low profile tires as recommended, they will also develop unusual patterns over time.

On the other hand, if you don’t intend on rotating your tires, then the size of tires in the front can differ from the rear, but the size of both tires on one axle should not differ in order to maintain proper braking and handling. Tires with different sizes on the same axle can cause unbalance and hence tilt to one side and sometimes pull when braking. Apart from mismatching tires on the same axle, it is also recommended that you use the same brand of tires, tread design and belt type for optimum steering, handling and braking.

Most car owners generally use anything that fits for several reasons including costs, unavailability of tires types, mechanic suggestions, but this is not a good practice. Doing this will affect the braking, handling and steering features of the vehicle drastically and within no time. There are a few car owners who prefer to use oversized tires for the rear wheels claiming that it improves fuel economy, which is true to a certain extent. Research proves that fitting your vehicle with oversized tires in the rear reduces the number of revolutions per mile, but it also affects the accuracy of the odometer and speedometer. For some drivers, tampered odometer and speedometer readings hardly matter, but there are many that like to maintain their vehicle up to high standards from all angles.

Some drivers may want to put larger tires on the rear to achieve efficient traction and a certain bold look, but fact is that this results in clearance problems and reduced friction on wet roads. In terms of clearance problems related to larger diameter tires on the rear axle, they may rub against the wheel well while in motion or some close knit areas of the road, which can be extremely dangerous for you and other vehicles. Owner manuals from cars with antilock brakes recommend that all four tires be of the same type, size, pattern and brand.

This is because the size of the tires affects the readings of the wheel sensors, which are directly connected to the ABS and traction system, and may upset the operation of the overall system, making your car extremely unsafe. This may also lead to the voidance of your car factory warranty and end up costing you a fortune to fix on your own. All-wheel and four-wheel drive vehicles must also have the same tires all around to main the communication between both axles. If the size of the tires differs from front to rear, slippage may occur, which again is a major safety hazard and will affect the overall wear and tear.

Reading your owner’s manual and following the direction is highly recommended for replacement tires and any other repairs or changes to your vehicle.

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