Can you replace just one tyre?

By Julia Freeman

There is a fairly short answer to this often-asked question. Quite simply, it is inadvisable to only replace one tyre of a car. Let's explore the reasons behind this.

car tyre replacement

Match your tyres as much as possible

Our years of experience tell us that cars with four tyres that all behave in a similar manner are likely to be balanced, predictable and ultimately safe. The best way to ensure that tyres behave similarly is to have them be as similar to each other as possible. This is the case for all aspects of the tyre, including tyre pressure, make, model and crucially, condition.
 
Having a new tyre in tandem with three tyres which are worn, even if they still retain a safe level of tread, can introduce issues with handling and traction, potentially unbalancing the vehicle. Tyres which are new have a wider overall diameter because there is no wear and will, therefore, require fewer rotations to cover the same distance in comparison with tyres with significant wear, potentially upsetting your ABS or traction control.

If you're uncertain about which tyre(s) you should buy, ask your tyre fitter and they will gladly give you some advice and talk you through the next steps.

Are there exceptions?

If there is a situation where a tyre has failed due to a puncture and the rest of the tyres on the vehicle have only lost a small percentage of their tread, it may be safe to only replace the tyre which has been damaged.
 
That said, four-wheel drive vehicles often come with recommendations that all tyres are replaced at the same time. This is to do with the way in which a four-wheel drive system engages with the surfaces driven on. Differing diameter tyres, even if the variance is small, can cause issues and potentially damage drive systems.
 
As ever, with all items motor vehicle related, if you have doubts as to whether you should change one or more tyre on your vehicle, it is worth talking to your local tyre experts who can point you in the right direction.

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What about tyres that are not damaged?

If a tyre is not damaged and there is only one tyre in need of replacement, it is advisable to have your car's wheel balancing looked at. Uneven wear with normal use can often be a sign of a deeper problem with a vehicle.

A full set of tyres is not in my budget

If stretching to a full set of tyres is not a possibility right now, there is an alternative. Provided that your vehicle is two-wheel drive, replacing the tyres on one axle, whether front or rear, is feasible. This will avoid the need to invest in four new tyres all at once although you will probably need to replace the other pair of tyres in a relatively short time.
 
A new pair of replacement tyres at the front or rear should behave in a similar manner, avoiding sending false error signals to the ABS or traction control systems.

Talk to Protyre’s tyre professionals

The helpful team at Protyre offers a free tyre check where our experienced and qualified technicians and tyre fitters will check elements including tyre pressure, tread depth and the overall tyre condition. They will also offer advice as to whether or not you need to replace your tyres, and indeed what the best course of action is for you in order to keep your car running safely.
 
We stock all leading manufacturers ranging from Pirelli and Bridgestone through to Falken, Sumitomo and more, all at highly competitive prices. With same-day fitting across much of our range, buy your tyres online today for our best prices.

Book a free tyre check

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About the author

Article Author Photo
By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Retail Marketing for Protyre and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to make sure Protyre is more than just a local garage.
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