Should Tyres Be Replaced in Pairs?

Technically speaking, if all your tyres run out of tread at the same time, this is a good sign. It suggests that your vehicle is well balanced and has been properly serviced. It also means you have obtained the maximum value from your set of tyres.


On front-wheel drive vehicles, front tyres wear more rapidly. Our qualified fitters at any Protyre garage may be able to swap them occasionally to equalise wear, however, this is not possible on every vehicle or if your tyres have directional tread patterns.
If your tyres are wearing faster on one side, this requires a check by the experts. It can be caused by problems with your steering, suspension or brakes so let our qualified fitters investigate as early as possible.
However, there are occasions when you only need one tyre replaced. There are several factors involved in deciding whether this is a good idea.

When are odd tyres okay?

In essence, odd tyres are okay only when they are not particularly odd. Even if you buy the exact same brand, it won’t match flawlessly because it has no wear. Without wear, the diameter of the tyre will be slightly larger. If the opposing tyre is considerably worn we recommend replacing both. If the wear is minimal you can assume it will be safe.
Generally speaking, it is more important that left matches right than front matches rear. Therefore, you might need two, but you don’t usually need to buy four replacement tyres in one go. The situation may be different if you have a 4WD vehicle. In that case, all four wheels need to remain correctly matched.
Any imbalance between your wheels is undesirable for three main reasons; it accelerates the wear on all of your tyres; it causes strain on your drive-train and differential leading to mechanical problems; and it can cause oversteer, understeer or a spin during an emergency stop. Rolling noise and chassis vibration are also possible. Drivers often fit poorly matched tyres and think everything is fine – until they brake in the wet or go for an annual service.
Remember, identical tyres are still mismatched if they aren’t correctly inflated.

How odd is too odd?

Many car manufacturers recommend that tyres on the same axle should never vary in wear by more than 3mm in average tread depth. Others advise just 1.5mm. Some garages are equipped to shave new tyres to match older ones, but this is a questionable practice and not exactly budget-friendly!
Just as important are the load index, speed rating and other characteristics. Again, the match is most important left-right while you have more leeway between front and rear. However, never mix cross-plys with radials, summer and winter tyres, or normal tyres with runflats. This is all too easy to do because the major brands often produce winter, all-season, extra-load or run-flat versions of the same tyre family. Never confuse Pirelli Cinturato P7 with Pirelli Cinturato P7 Runflat, or Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season.
Some people will tell you to fit new replacement tyres on the front axle, others say the rear. The benefits are mixed. Steered tyres wear more rapidly so may catch up with older rear tyres. On the other hand, you don’t want compromised grip at the rear. If you are in any doubt, why not ask our friendly fitters for advice.

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