Can I have different tyres on my car?

Tuesday 21st January 2020

what makes tyres illegal

When replacing a tyre after a puncture or normal tyre wear, it can be tempting to change it with your spare tyre – regardless of what type of tyre that is. However, it’s important to understand how mixing tyres can affect the control, balance and safety of your vehicle.

So, is it illegal to have different tyres on your car? As a rule, mixing tyres on your vehicle is dangerous, and can be illegal. Read on to find out more about mixing tyres on the same axle, mixing different sizes and mixing seasonal tyres.

Mixing tyres

First and foremost, it’s recommended to fit the same tyres on all wheel positions of your vehicle. However, there are certain circumstances where mixing tyres can be acceptable, but this is subject to many variables:

Can I use different brand tyres on my car?

If having the same tyres across all wheel positions is not feasible due to lack of availability or budget constraints, it is possible to mix tyre brands. However, in order to maintain the safety and appropriate control of the vehicle, you would need to fit a pair of tyres with the same tread patterns and brand on the same axle. For example, the two rear tyres would need to be the same brand and tread pattern, whereas the two front tyres can be different to the rear – but would still need to be the same as each other.

That’s why it’s strongly recommended that you change your tyres in pairs – this detailed guide explains the benefits this would have for your vehicle, which type of tyres you should choose and more.

Can you have different size tyres front and back?

Generally, in a front or rear-wheel drive, as long as you have ensured both pairs of tyres are the same, you can have different size tyres between rear and front if the suspension geometry is set to accommodate for this. There is such a thing as factory-fitted vehicles with different sizes between the rear and front axles. These mixtures have been specifically designed to the vehicle’s specifications, and need to be carefully considered if you are to replicate this mixture on your own vehicle. Ensure you always follow the vehicle manufacturer recommendations when mixing different size tyres between front and rear.

Can you have different tyres on the same axle?

It is especially dangerous to mix tyres across the axle, and it is strongly recommended that you do not. In fact, it is illegal to mix cross-ply and radial-ply tyres across the same axle in the UK.

Can you mix winter and summer tyres?

It is strongly advised that you do not mix your winter tyres with summer tyres, or all-season tyres. This is because the compounds on each of these tyres are designed to perform in a specific way dependent on the season – so if you’re pairing up a winter tyre with a summer tyre, these two will work against each other and can lead to an imbalance of the vehicle and loss of control. Both types of these tyres are designed to perform optimally in a range of temperatures specific to the season – so the safety of the vehicle would be compromised if winter and summer tyres were mixed.

Still unsure which tyres you can use for your vehicle? It’s always best to contact your vehicle manufacturer or consult your vehicle handbook which will state which tyres are recommended for your car. To find out more about using different tyres on your vehicle, read our detailed guide on ‘What are the best tyres for your car’ to help you decide. Alternatively, browse our full range of tyres to buy online from your local Formula One Autocentre branch.

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