Put Your Best Foot Forward but Your Best Tires to the Rear

Put Your Best Foot Forward but Your Best Tires to the Rear

It might not be the rainy season, but you still need to pay attention to tire placement.

When someone only wants to buy two new tires, they often think the new tires should go on the front of the vehicle. This might seem logical since the front tires do a lot of work, especially on front-wheel drive vehicles. But the truth is that the rear tires of a vehicle provide most of the vehicle’s stability. And without that, steering or braking on a damp or wet road may cause a spin. This is true for FWD, RWD and AWD vehicles.

It’s been proven that if the front tires have significantly more tread depth than the rear tires, the rear tires will lose traction first and can cause a spin in wet conditions. Most tire manufacturers and dealers recommend putting the new pair of tires on the rear. Some service centers will not even rotate the tires if there is a significant difference in tread depth, especially in the rainy season. If you do a search online about where to install just two tires, you will see that the debate still continues in the public, no matter how much evidence there is available.

The video below was produced by Michelin/Uniroyal Tire several years ago but the information still applies today.

Below are some guidelines for maintaining your vehicle’s tires.

  • Check your tire pressure frequently. Follow the recommended pressure on the vehicle’s tire label and not the maximum pressure shown on the tire.
  • Rotate your tires following the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended interval to keep the tread depth consistent.
  • Replace tires in complete sets whenever possible.
  • All tires on the vehicle should be the same design and size unless otherwise recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
  • Have the vehicle’s wheel alignment checked and corrected on a regular basis.
  • Repair mechanical problems with the steering and suspension as soon as needed.
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About the Author

Nick Taylor

Nick Taylor is the SureTrack Community Administrator and a Senior Applications Specialist at Mitchell 1 with over 25 years of experience with electronic repair data systems. Nick previously worked in the automotive dismantling and engine rebuilding industries.