If you have a front-wheel drive vehicle, you’ve probably noticed that your two front tires wear out faster. The front axle is responsible for transmitting acceleration, steering and much of the braking forces – more wear on your tires.
Therefore, if you don’t rotate your tires on a regular basis, your front tires will likely wear out faster – sometimes as much as 50% faster. Your intuition may tell you to put the two new tires on the front axle.
You figure that the two new tires will wear out about the same time as the partially worn rear tires. In this case, DO NOT FOLLOW YOUR INTUITION! The two newer tires should be installed on the rear axle so that on wet surfaces the deeper tread will help prevent a possible oversteer situation.
Understeer vs. Oversteer
If the front tires have significantly more tread depth than the rear tires, the rear tires
will begin to hydroplane and lose traction on wet roads before the front set. This is a situation called “oversteer,” which is difficult to control. Intuition can again be your worst enemy. Your instinct is to let off the gas pedal, but this may actually make it more difficult for you to regain control.
“Understeer,” when the front tires begin to hydroplane first, is easier to control because releasing the gas pedal will slow the vehicle and help you regain control.
The best way to ensure that your tires on both axles wear at approximately the same rate is regular rotation, which is recommended every 5,000 to 7,000 miles. Also follow the rotation patterns suggested in the vehicle’s owner’s manual. With regular rotation, you will still experience some variations in tire wear, but it should not be enough to upset the vehicle’s hydroplaning balance.
Go For 4
The best solution, especially on front-wheel drive vehicles, is to install a complete set of new tires.
I know . . . tires can be expensive and they are not exactly a glamorous purchase, except for the true enthusiasts. But I encourage you to take a look at Duraturn . . . very good quality at a really competitive price.
Our Mozzo Touring tire, for example, delivers long tread wear, good traction and a smooth ride . . . and it’s backed by a 30-day total satisfaction guarantee and 70,000 mile limited tread wear warranty.
No matter what tire brand you purchase, I encourage you to go to the rear with your new tires if you only buy two. This could keep you from hydroplaning into a ditch!