Should tyres be replaced in pairs?

There comes a time when your tyres need replacing through wear and tear or damage. If only a single tyre suffers a puncture or shows signs of bulging or cracking, it’s tempting to replace just the affected tyre.

 
It can be daunting knowing which tyres to select and the price of a full set can make a serious dent in your wallet.
 
But however tempting it is to only replace one tyre, there are some very good reasons why you should at least replace both tyres across an axle, if not all four.
 

Can I replace a single tyre?

Tyres are fundamental to car performance and safety so it’s not recommended to replace just a single tyre. If you’ve noticed signs of wear and tear then you’ll need to get a replacement as soon as possible.
 
Because tyres are the only point of contact between your car and the road, having two different tyres on the same axle is not advised. Pairing an old tyre with a new one will cause an imbalance in rolling resistance and grip, causing unpredictable performance, steering problems and using more fuel.
 
Braking can also prove dangerous as your car won’t stay in a straight line if you have to apply the brakes in an emergency, putting yourself and your passengers at risk.
 

Why are tyres replaced in pairs?

Tyres are replaced in pairs across the same axle to avoid steering and safety issues. In fact, driving with two different tyre types across an axle is illegal and an automatic MOT fail. All tyres should be the correct size and dimension for the vehicle and pairs of tyres should share the same construction, e.g: radial or cross ply.
 
To check that both tyres are the same, look at the sidewall. You’ll find an 11 number and letter code that gives you all the information you need to compare the size of your tyres:
 
The first 3 numbers represent the width of the tyre in millimetres The 2 numbers after the slash apply to the aspect ratio The letter R followed by two numbers represents the rim diameter in inches The next pair of numbers show the maximum load the tyre can support The final letter is a code representing the maximum speed at which the car can carry its load
 
Ensure that your tyres are the correct size and rating by checking in your vehicle handbook.

What are the rules for replacing tyres?

When it comes to replacing pairs of tyres across an axis, the following rules apply:
  • Make sure, where possible, that both tyres are the same brand, size, tread pattern and type
  • Don’t mix winter and summer or all-season tyres because of the different tread patterns and tyre compositions used
  • If you’re replacing tyres on a 4x4, make sure you replace all 4 tyres or you could compromise the handling Make sure that your new tyres match or exceed the existing load and speed rating
 

Your free tyre check at Protyre

Our tyre professionals can give your tyres the once over before recommending high-quality replacements from brands such as Bridgestone and Pirelli. Make use of our multibuy discount prices to make sure all your tyres match and are the right size for your vehicle.

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About the author

Dean Richardson

Dean is a Regional Director for Protyre who is also responsible for the running of our Protech Academy. The ...

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