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Replace one, two, or all four tires?

AmesieAmesie Registered User Posts: 846 Member
edited January 2012 in Parent Cafe
One of the tires on my car is unfixably flat. The guy at he dealership (Toyota) told me that it is best to replace all four tires at once, so all of the tires have the same amount of wear. H thinks we should replace two, so that the front tires have the same amount of wear and the back tires have the same amount of wear. The Toyota guy is suspect because he has a financial incentive, and H is suspect because he is far from generally knowledgeable about cars . . . Anyone here a tire expert? (And the tires on the car now are about two years old.)
Post edited by Amesie on

Replies to: Replace one, two, or all four tires?

  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner Registered User Posts: 32,821 Senior Member
    If this is an AWD or 4x4, you will have to replace all tires. You can get away with replacing just 2 on front wheel drive vehicles, but if the tires are almost at the end of their useful life, why not get a new set and avoid the hassle?
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    The Toyota guy is right.
    But if you are only replacing two- they should go on the front for a front wheel drive car.
    Is the warranty expired?
    Understanding Tire Warranties - Edmunds.com
  • mregomrego Registered User Posts: 1,038 Senior Member
    Replace what you can afford. 1 or 2 if needed. If you need and can afford 3 then replace all 4 since you can often find "buy three get four" deals, so no need to pay for 4.

    P.S. Good idea to check inflation on the spare too and make sure you have a good jack and lug wrench.
  • leanidleanid Registered User Posts: 1,742 Senior Member
    Is there a law that requires all four tires be replaced on an AWD vehicle? The idea makes me bristle that one is forced to spend four times the amount when only one tire is needed! I've had to do it myself. Where is our freedom and autonomy when we are forced to buy more than we need? I prefer taking responsibility for my own actions. Again, is it a law?
  • jmmomjmmom Registered User Posts: 9,084 Senior Member
    What BunsenBurner said.

    It's not a law, it's a safety thing. The AWD/4-wheel drive will not function properly if the four tires are not the same and the same age.

    Someone else can give you the scientific/engineering/mechanical reasoning. But I've had to do it; didn't like it, but did it.

    I took the 3 good tires to our local swap shop, when it happened to me, (blowout on the highway of one tire) so that someone else could benefit from them.
  • LongPrimeLongPrime - Posts: 5,208 Senior Member
    You can go with one tire.
    Later when the remaining 3 tires are worn you replace the minispare with the best tire remaining unless the tire is poor. You then buy 4 tires. The minitire is actually pretty good for emergencies.

    If you have tires that came with the vehicle, it likely that 36K miles will be replacement time.

    If you bought tires with 60K+ mile tread warranty, and you have 24K miles on the 3 tires, I think it a new tire of the same make would be OK. We are not talking a whole lot of tread wear difference.

    not a tire expert but been there.
  • CheckersMidwestCheckersMidwest Registered User Posts: 1,175 Senior Member
    If you replace one and your other is also worn out ......it can cause damage to your car....parts like drive train, etc. It will also be hard to keep it inline....and will 'pull' left or right a lot while you drive. This will also cause unusual wear on your new tire and it won't last as long.

    General rule is replace 2 at a time....either front or back. My vehicle is AWD/4x4 (we have 2 actually) and we've done both......2 or 4. The new ones need to be on the front.
  • my$0.02my$0.02 Registered User Posts: 902 Member
    Replace 2 or 4 tires. If replacing only 2 tires, put the new tires in the rear to prevent oversteer (informally, spinning out; technically, greater slip angle at the rear) regardless of drivetrain configuration.

    From MSN Autos
    If you replace only two, the new tires should generally go on the rear wheels, regardless of whether the vehicle is FWD, RWD, or AWD. It is important to maintain maximum traction at the rear wheels to ensure stability. Putting new tires on the front and nearly worn-out tires on the rear wheels of any vehicle is a recipe for instability. It is thus very important to avoid dramatic differences in tread wear, front-to-rear.

    Only Replacing 2 Tires?
    Is it dangerous to put 2 new tires on the front wheels only?
    Top Ten Tire Safety Tips - MSN Autos
    Install Two New Tires on the Rear Axle - YouTube Shows hydroplaning control effect.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 63,569 Senior Member
    How worn are the other three tires?

    If the other three tires are close to new, just replace the one damaged tire with another of the same make and model of tire.

    If the other three tires are close to worn out, replace all of them with the make and model of tire of your choice.

    It is best if the tires are all the same make and model and all have approximately the same wear (rotate the tires to ensure that they do not get too different in wear levels).

    You may want to shop around for tires at tire shops and on-line (e.g. Tire Rack - Your performance experts for tires and wheels , Home - Discount Tire Direct ) because the car dealer does not necessarily have the best selection or best price for the tires. The car dealer will typically stock mainly the same model of tires that came with the car from the factory -- but many Toyota cars come with tires that have mediocre performance (except in fuel economy), high price, and poor treadwear, so there may be better choices around if you are at the point of replacing all four tires.
  • GladGradDadGladGradDad Registered User Posts: 2,818 Senior Member
    You only need to replace the one tire. Replacing all 4 tires would be ridiculous unless the other tires were so worn they're about to be replaced anyway. Replacing all 4 tires isn't necessary just because of AWD either. An AWD vehicle still has a center differential that can handle a difference in tire heights between a new one and a half-worn one unless this is an AWD with a unique design issue in this area that can cause a problem with the differential.

    When you do put a tire on that's different than the others you should put it on one of the rear tire positions for safety - i.e. not on the front wheels that are actually steering.

    I definitely wouldn't have faith in what this Toyota person told you just because they said it. The typical Toyota service coordinator who's usually the person you're interfacing with generally isn't very knowledgeable on vehicle mechanics as opposed to a mechanic who actually knows something about vehicle mechanics. Some of these service coordinators know less than nothing and hand out a lot of mis-information (that they might actually believe but are wrong about). I've seen this time and time again.

    If you google this you'll find some hits from vehicle and tire oriented websites on the subject but steer clear of blogs where you have just a guy offering an opinion (like mine I guess).

    Also consult your owner's manual to see if it has any directive on this topic that might be unique to your vehicle. If you want more input on it you might want to call a couple more Toyota dealerships and ask them what they have to say about it - i.e. tell them you're planning on buying tires at a tire store and want to know how many you need to get. This way the Toyota place doesn't have a financial incentive in this. On the other hand they might give the CYA answer and say replace all of them.
  • jmmomjmmom Registered User Posts: 9,084 Senior Member
    I wish I'd come on here years ago when I replaced all four of my tires! Did a little checking around, but obviously not enough :).
  • Dad_of_3Dad_of_3 Registered User Posts: 2,067 Senior Member
    If you replace two tires, take the one used one home. As the tires wear, include the tire in the rotation cycle, keeping tires of similar tread on the same axle. This way you're not really throwing away a tire with some life in it, and you don't put an almost bald tire with a new one.
  • my$0.02my$0.02 Registered User Posts: 902 Member
    If you google this you'll find some hits from vehicle and tire oriented websites on the subject but steer clear of blogs where you have just a guy offering an opinion (like mine I guess).

    Purchasing 2 tires - Tires & Wheels Discussions at Automotive.com
  • NewHope33NewHope33 Registered User Posts: 6,208 Senior Member
    Has anyone suggested replacing one-and-a-half tires yet???

    Any/All of the prior suggestions may be spot on, depending on what kind of tires are on the car, how long the owner plans to keep the car, whether the owner is happy with the tires, how old the tires are, how worn the tires are, whether the tires are all worn about the same, etc., etc., etc. And then there's the social aspect ... "The Toyota guy is suspect because he has a financial incentive, and H is suspect because he is far from generally knowledgeable about cars ...."

    If you're looking for an unbiased expert opinion, the guys at t-i-r-e r-a-c-k are very knowledgeable.
  • milkandsugarmilkandsugar Registered User Posts: 2,869 Senior Member
    We have 2 AWD cars and we replace 2 at a time. Our trusted mechanic recommends that for us and that is what we have done for years with no problem. Just not cost effective for us to change all 4 and we do a lot of driving in all weather types because of our jobs.
This discussion has been closed.