Should tyres be replaced in pairs?

Thursday 15th August 2019



Tyres can affect your vehicle’s performance in many ways, from your steering and braking down to your vehicle’s control and fuel efficiency. That’s why it’s so important to not only have the correct tyres fitted to your vehicle but to understand how the condition of them may affect the overall performance and potential safety of your car. Therefore, when you need to change a tyre, it’s often advised to change your tyres in pairs, which will help maintain balanced control and performance across the vehicle.

Changing tyres in pairs

Whether you’ve experienced a flat tyre or noticed a puncture, it’s important to replace your tyre as soon as possible. But should tyres be replaced in pairs?

The answer is ideally, yes. Replacing just the one tyre without changing the tyre on the opposite side of the axle at the same time may cause an imbalance to the vehicle – potentially leading to wheel misalignment and excessive tyre wear. Having different ages or types of tyres on the same axle can lead to an unequal level of rolling resistance and grip, and it may also affect your steering and braking, too. This could be potentially dangerous in the event that you need to perform an emergency stop. If your tyres on the same axle are a mix of old and new, your vehicle may fail to stop in a straight line when braking hard. Being on a motorway in such a situation for example, could spell grave danger.

To check that your replacement tyre will be the same tyre as the punctured tyre – or that your tyres on either axle are the same, you can check the markings on the tyre’s sidewall. These numbers and letters will show you the width, height, diameter, tread pattern and more – enabling you to match a new tyre as needed. Find out more information on what the numbers on tyres mean now.

Benefits of changing tyres in pairs

When you replace tyres in pairs, this can not only improve the control and safety of the vehicle, but you’re more likely to save money later down the line. Spending money on replacing another tyre that may seem like it has many miles left to go, may seem like an unnecessary costly exercise, however both brand-new tyres would then perform optimally, reducing the likelihood of you needing to make a return visit to a specialist should an older tyre fail or wear unevenly, or to undertake performance-enhancing fixes such wheel alignment adjustments.

The new pair of tyres should then be fitted to the rear axle with the older tyres switched to the front axle. This will assist in maintaining grip and control particularly in wet driving conditions, as the tread on a new tyre will be more efficient at expelling water, therefore limiting the risk of hydroplaning.

When do I need to change all 4 tyres at once?

Certain vehicle manufacturers will recommend that you change all four tyres in the event that one needs replacing. This is because some modern, highly-sophisticated drive systems require the vehicle to be completely balanced all round. Having a mix of worn and brand new tyres will leave the drive system unbalanced and compromise the vehicle performance.

If you’re unsure if your vehicle’s drive system requires you to change your tyres as a set of four, always check your vehicle handbook. Alternatively, you can speak to one of our highly-trained tyre specialists who will be happy to advise. Find your nearest Formula One Autocentres now.

Do I need to change winter tyres in pairs?

The minimum requirement for changing weather performance tyres, is the same as none-weather performance tyres – to change them in pairs on the same axle. However, most winter tyres have a directional tread pattern, and can only be switched vertically - for example, from the front to the back axle on the same side of the vehicle. If switched from one side of the vehicle to the other, they will rotate in the wrong direction.

It is also strongly advised that you don’t mix winter tyres with all-season tyres or summer tyres. This is because their compounds are constructed to perform optimally in very specific temperature ranges and they have different tread patterns designed for road handling during different weather conditions.

For example, winter tyres’ tread patterns are designed to help with grip in ice and snow. A combination of different types of tyres on your vehicle can cause the tyres to perform unevenly and, inevitably, affect the control of your vehicle. It’s important to keep this in mind when you’re changing your tyres in pairs – as having two summer tyres on the rear and two winter tyres on the front can lead to an imbalance and ultimately compromise the safety of the vehicle.

What type of tyres should I choose?

If you’re wondering which tyres are the best choice for you, read our helpful guide on “What are the best tyres for my car?”– including whether to choose budget or premium tyres.

Need your tyres replaced quickly? One of our trained experts are always on hand to provide tyre support and advice. Find your nearest Formula One Autocentres or search for your new tyres online today.

Simply need some advice on how to change a tyre? Learn more information on the best ways to change to a tyre from our helpful guide today.

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