It can be a headache to blow out a tire. You assume it will be a simple fix, so you head to the tire store and choose the same model (or perhaps a slightly less expensive option?). and bang, you’re done.
However, you’ll frequently be informed that you should actually change all four tires. Say what? Three tires that appear to be in good condition are being disposed of while the cost has just doubled.
We are frequently asked if you can change just one tire on your vehicle. Actually, it depends on the circumstances. Here are some factors to consider when deciding if you need to replace a set of four tires, two tires, or simply one.
Let’s first examine why it might be required for your vehicle’s tires to be replaced in the first place.
When Should a Tire Be Replaced?
Your tires’ tread depth is frequently to blame. New tires typically have tread between 10/32 and 11/32 inches thick. When the tread depth on the tires exceeds 2/32″, the Virginia State Police deem them to be hazardous, and the vehicle will fail a safety check.
Nevertheless, Virginia Tire & Auto advises changing your tires when they reach a 4/32″ or lower tread depth. It has to do with safety.
Traction becomes a concern, particularly in rainy circumstances, as tread wears down to below 4/32″. The risk of hydroplaning increases as the tread depth decreases.
Additionally, if your tread depth is reduced, your automobile might not be able to stop quickly enough to avoid a major collision. The difference between stopping in time and stopping too late can be as little as a few seconds.
You might be burning through your front tires if you can’t recall the last time you had your tires rotated; this is yet another indicator that you might need to replace a tire. Due to the weight of the engine on them and the fact that they also steer the vehicle, which increases friction, front tires typically wear out more quickly than back tires.
There’s always a chance of a tire blowout or a pressure leak, which would result in the tire being under-inflated. Damage to tires can also result from an overinflated tire. A tire that is overinflated has less touch with the road, which increases the risk of damage when it hits a pothole.
Even if the tread on your tires hasn’t worn out, that doesn’t guarantee their safety. Tires deteriorate with time and may eventually pose a safety risk. Tire manufacturers and automakers agree that you should change your tires every five to ten years for this reason.
What to Think About Before Changing Just One Tire
So, can you fix your car with just one new tire? It depends, is the response. What you should remember is as follows:
1. Tire treads on adjacent tires
The other tires must still have enough tread to function properly and safely if only one or two tires need to be replaced. You might only need to replace one or two tires if your tires are still relatively new.
You should replace all of your tires if they are worn out and there is a difference of more than 4/32″ between the new and old tires.
2. Tire Style
Your tires should have the same tread pattern and tire type. You want all of your tires to be the same model and have the same or similar tread condition, whether they are front or rear tires.
Why? Because minor variations in tires have an impact on how they behave, specifically how well your car can accelerate, halt, turn, and manage wet surfaces. You desire a stable, predictable driving environment.
Choose the most comparable choice if the precise tire model is not readily accessible. (For example: If you already have all-season tires, purchase a different kind. Don’t purchase a tire with an asymmetric or symmetric tread pattern if your tires have a directional tread pattern.)
3. Vehicle Type
Your vehicle has all-wheel drive (AWD). You may have heard that all four tires on an AWD car must always be replaced. And it’s accurate. If your car has all-wheel drive (AWD), most automakers and the Tire Industry Association (TIA) advise that you always change all four tires at the same time.
This is because the lower tread tires rotate more quickly than the new tire(s) due to their smaller diameter. An AWD car will experience increased stress on engine components (such as the transmission and transfer case), which could cause serious harm and expensive repairs.
A minimum of two or four tires will need to be replaced if the variance is greater than 2/32″. Check the owner’s manual of your car to see what the manufacturer advises; some suggest to replace all four, while others say replacing only two is fine.
It may be difficult to imagine that such a minor change can have such a large effect, but even slightly mismatched tires can harm an AWD vehicle’s drivetrain.
As a Recap:
- You can get away with only replacing one or two tires if the tread depth on your tires is within 4/32″.
- The tires of an AWD vehicle need to be no more than 2/32″ apart. However, you should always consult the owner’s manual of your car to see what the manufacturer advises.
- To ensure a balanced, safe driving, purchase a same or similar tire (brand, size, load rating, tread pattern, etc.) when purchasing one or two tires.
The tire professionals at Virginia Tire & Auto can help you find the ideal tires for your needs regardless of the brand and model of your car.
How to Look After New Tires
You must determine where to put the new tires if you decide to replace one or two of them. Should you replace the front or the back tires first?
The back axle is typically the finest position for the new tires because it provides stability to your car. By doing this, oversteering or spinning out will be reduced.
No matter how many tires you decide to replace, by doing routine tire care, you can avoid premature wear:
Changing Your Tires
Rotate your tires according to the schedule suggested in your owner’s manual to get the most out of them. Additionally, every time you rotate your tires, have a reliable tire expert inspect them.
Verify the air pressure
To avoid a potentially dangerous blowout, this should be performed every month and the tire pressure should be adjusted as necessary. Make sure the service center you select has the tools necessary to maintain tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS).
Tire repairs (safely!)
There are proper and improper ways to fix a flat tire. Accepting plugs made of string or fabric is not a good idea, even if they appear to be a good deal based on price. Driving with clogged tires can cause severe injuries and major accidents.
Let a certified auto-care professional fix your flat tire for peace of mind. To ensure that it can be securely patched, they will inspect it from the inside out. Patching typically takes 20 to 30 minutes.
Also keep in mind that a tire can only be mended twice (never three times) for safety reasons. Replace a damaged tire instead of taking a chance on potentially fatal or catastrophic injury.