Mismatched Tires Steer Toward Winter Trouble

LW_11_00798 II

By Bruce Smith

As we head into fall it's a good time to start thinking about how to outfit your pickup truck with winter tires.

We know some pickup owners try to save a few dollars by swapping in more aggressive tires on the rear of their pickups to improve winter traction, or they buy two new tires instead of four to keep expenses down.

We're here to say those owners are headed in the wrong direction.

At least that's the expert opinion of Mark Cox, head instructor and director of the Bridgestone Winter Driving School in Steamboat Springs, Colo.

"You should always install winter tires on your vehicle in sets of four, whether you have a rear-, front- or all-wheel-drive vehicle," Cox said. "Using two different types of tires on your vehicle will negatively affect its handling."

Cox explained that putting tires with better traction on the rear of a pickup — or any vehicle — will cause the back to push the front in corners, which is called "understeer."

Putting better tires in front will have the opposite: effect, oversteer, where the rear tires are likely to lose grip before the front.

Cox also said the handling effects of mismatched tires applies to all road surfaces and driving conditions, adding that low-traction surfaces like snow, mud and wet pavement will magnify the effects because the fine line between vehicle balance and traction are at their narrowest margins in those circumstances.

To maximize vehicle control and safety always buy tires in matched sets of four and rotate them frequently to ensure all four contact patches — the area of tread that touches the ground — have the same level of traction.

We recommend you don't shortchange your pickup truck's safety by swapping out just a pair of tires when upgrading to a full set would be a better choice.

Cars.com photos by Larry Walton

 

LW_11_00572 II

 

Comments

@Bruce,

On the so-called "failure of car-based pickups (i.e. Ranchero/El Camino), they did get replaced; their market was absorbed by the compact pickup truck like the D-50, Ranger, S-10 and yes, Dakota, the first of the "modern" mid-sized trucks (bigger than any of its competitors when it came out.) The Ranchero/El Camino showed a need for an everyday-driver type of truck. In fact, some people called them "Country Cadillacs" as they were good looking as a car, but still had the ability to carry things in the open. I have a promotional photo of an El Camino holding a load of pumpkins.

The point is that not everybody needs nor wants a full size truck, especially when you consider how large they've become today. We do have modern evidence of this in the fact that on the average, so-called Global pickups are about 20% smaller than American full sized trucks while the old 80s-vintage compacts were about 20% smaller than that--roughly 30% smaller than full-size. This puts them at just a bit smaller in height and width than the modern car-based "trucklets" by Fiat, GM in South America and a few others. But it's taking Hyundai to challenge the American market by even considering building one in the NAFTA area for sale here.

Will it sell? Most certainly; the market has been un-tapped now for almost 20 years. GM, Ford and Chrysler abandoned the market in their attempts to save money, but as in Ford's case, only a small percentage of their customers accepted the choice Ford offered; a full-sized truck or a Fiesta. Instead, compact crossovers and SUVs have exploded, decimating the sedan market (coupes were already gone with very limited exceptions). I would wager that no less than one-third of those driving crossovers and SUVs really want an open bed vehicle at about the same size. With the exception of certain fleets that currently have no choice of size of pickup truck, I would wager that as the car-based pickup becomes more visible on the roads, the CUV/SUV market will see a significant drop in sales. For companies that don't need to carry large objects like lumber and piping (in other words, pest control and maybe even animal control) the smaller truck will become the obvious choice as their use in South America demonstrates--by an article by a South American on TTAC something like six months ago where an automotive glass shop uses a Fiat Strada as their road service vehicle. Yes, they will sell.

By the way, I didn't like the Dakota when it first came out either; it almost exactly split the difference between the compacts of the day and a full-sized truck. Even then I considered it too large and it did coin the term of "mid-sized pickup", even if the International Scout truck was the same size 20 years prior.

I doubt anyone would argue that 4 brand new snow tires is the safest way to head into winter, but I'm prey sure that the " Bridgestone Winter Driving School in Steamboat Springs, Colo." is part of the MARKETING DEPARTMENT. That said, most is the generic advice is largely correct. Id like to pick at some details though...
Almost all vehicles under steer. Putting the better tires on the rear won't change that. I don't think anyone here is thinking of getting just 2 new front tires for their P/U.
An empty pickup is inherently unbalanced right out of the gate, so treating the front and rear axles differently is not without merit. Even once loaded, the front and rear have completely different jobs to do.

Snow tires can make a big diiferance on snow and ice, but they don't preform as well on wet and dry roads. Even here in WI thier are only maybe 15 days a winter where the roads are ice covered, the rest of the time you have less traction running snow tires.

yeah this makes some good points, but if you can't afford 4 tires 2 new tires is still going to serve you better than none. At the end of the day slick roads are going to be slick whether you have great tires or not. Better tires can only do so much to improve traction. Understeer would be a greater concern with only new tires on the rear, but where I live a curve in the road is a very rare thing. Just have to be careful and slow down plenty whenever you are making a turn.

I thought this article was about mismatched tires?

So wouldn't the understeer provided by tires with a more aggressive tread pattern in the rear help compensate for the oversteer created by the surplus of weight in the front of the vehicle?

I guess the "easy" fix here is to determine the weight difference between front and rear and add that amount of weight to the rear in order to achieve 50/50 weight distribution and then have all 4 tires be uniform.

Don't forget that all this changes at higher altitudes folks :) and NEVER EVER EVER even come close to exceeding your trucks maximum rated capacity not even once :) and yes im being sarcastic.

The old age wisdom was to have the front tires in excellent shape with good deep thread. The front tires that have no cuts, bubbles and the walls are clear of any defect.

The rear tires according to old age wisdom is they do the pushing - where the front tires go the rear ones follow. The old reliable mechanics have even recommended a regrooved tires for the rear.
That is what the old reliable mechanic said - all the big vehicles use regrooved tires except for the front tires.

Now with this new dictum from Bridgestone one is wondering hmmm.... since we are in the peripheral issues that begs the question: a) going to the dealership mechanic or, b) no brand name mechanic - should be discussed - which one should be adhered.

How to know which mechanic is good and competent (some dealership mechanics have been found incompetent - Toyota dealer wanted $4,400 to repair hybrid battery, fix turned out to cost $10 - By Ryan Whitwam Feb. 17, 2015 5:01 pm).

This mismatched tire post is one of those Friday slow news day topics before PUTC packs it in before the State Fair. Get ready for a long weekend of nothing AND a long 6 day wait until the State Fair starts. Pickup trucks news withdrawal symptoms are already setting in.

I put skies on the front of my truck and at"s on the rear in winter.

Another piece of marketing by PUTC.

What should be stressed is the use of different tyres on the same axle. This will have a far more detrimental effect on vehicle stability than having different tyres on each axle.

The reality is many people, probably half in Australia, US and Canada only have enough money to not even buy two new tyres.

Traction is the name of the game in slippery and hazardous conditions. The best axle to put those new tyres with the most friction is the drive axle.

Then you must compensate you driving to suit the change in vehicle dynamics. But with all the electronic aids this day and age, it will be safer than a vehicle or pickup than twenty years ago.

Not everyone is cashed up. If the tyre manufacturers are that concerned about vehicle and personal safety then why don't they reduce their margins to make tyres more affordable.

Or, is this just a marketing exercise??

What the freak? How did those top two posts end up here?


Anyone that knows me will tell you I am not a malicious or angry person--quite the opposite. They do and will say I am unusually patient, and kind and sensitive to others. But, let’s all judiciously fight against this article’s kind of stupidity/laziness that indeed causes unnecessary death and mutilation and misery daily.

FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS… NEVER go OVER TWENTY miles per hour IF you have your SIGNIFICANTLY NEWER TIRES on the FRONT of your vehicle!!!!!!!!!

AND… never fully trust the so called and self-appointed experts such as the above writer Bruce Smith, publisher Mark Williams and Bridgestone school director Mark Cox. In any life and death situation, it’s just like getting a doctor’s opinion. I recommend you use them as a reference and then accumulate many opinions and then most importantly—USE YOUR OWN BRAIN. For that matter, don’t fully believe me until you have thought it through.

Now, what do we know about Mark Williams and this issue of tires and pick-ups. Last year, Mark Williams published a similar article on the question of whether to put the newer set of two tires on the front or back of a pick-up. That article, entitled “10 Things to Know About HD Truck Tires”, posted by Mark Williams on May 22, 2014, concluded that you should put the newer tires on the front of the truck to act as a clearing of the moisture for the rear tires.

This was DEADLY “expert” advice. People are dying out there every day because they have the significantly higher traction tires on the front of their vehicles. At speeds over twenty miles per hour, the vehicle will grip the front and lose control of the rear and spin or yes, oversteer. This is FAR MORE DANGEROUS than understeer most of the time. Sure, understeer is dangerous, but nowhere as dangerous as oversteer and spinning the vehicle!

Mark did not retract the article and publish a new article to apologizing and get it correct so that our roads would be saved from this dangerous instruction. No, not a word—even when many people left comments urging him to make it right. Did he go on vacation for a year? Is he too lazy to figure it out? I am not saying this to be a jerk, or unnecessarily harsh. Do you readers, or does Mark himself believe there are not people out there every day dying of this very problem? Even the commenters from last year’s article wrote in with examples of loved ones that got in fatal accidents due to this very misunderstanding of vehicle maintenance.
Even pickuptrucks.com and Mark Williams now admit (without saying so), that they were wrong. How do we know this? They published this new article which directly contradicts last years’ article—with no word of apology!

For goodness sakes, that deadly article is still up at this address below!
http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2014/05/10-things-to-know-about-hd-truck-tires.html

And below is a copy of the pertinent text:
“Replacing Two Tires
If you are replacing only two tires, move the remaining pair of tires to the rear axle and put the new tires up front. You want the most tread on the front of the truck to avoid hydroplaning in bad weather. “
O.K., let me stop the quote here. Folks, you should not be going fast enough in bad weather to hydroplane, and you certainly should not be putting the better tires in the front and spinning out when you hit the brakes or go around a corner. If you must, put the newer tires on the REAR to anchor the vehicle! That said, you should be keeping both front and rear tires as close as possible in traction by rotating them OFTEN.

And if that quote was not bad enough, let’s go to the very next sentence of that article last May.

“Plus, according to some experts, most people can recover more easily from loss of traction to the front tires (understeer) than they can from loss of traction to the rear tires (oversteer).”

Now, I understand how embarrassing this must be for mark Williams and Pickuptrucks.com. The above sentence was the next sentence in the same paragraph as the first quote from the article.

Of course, the two statements perfectly contradict themselves. So I can only suppose that mark Williams has been drinking and writing—and I hope he did not go outside and get into his pickup and drive while drunk. Remember, I am not trying to be overly harsh here, but the facts speak for themselves. Those quotes above were direct quotes I copied and pasted into this comment! I am not twisting it.

Either way, he should have apologized and erased the article and published a new one with the correction. Unfortunately, he did not, and is culpable for the death and destruction and misery of his readers and those influenced by them.

Mark, from my observations, you don’t have the guts or moral fiber to publish this comment, but if you do publish the comment, it is a start in the right direction. Then PLEEEEEAAAAAASE delete the old article (or correct it), and then publish a front page apology like any legitimate journalist does every day.

Williams is under fire. Will he respond?

Jays,
Wow, man. Harsh.

@ Jays

1. You are barking up the wrong tree the writer of the essay is Bob Carpenter not Mark Williams
2. You personalize in your post that indicate there is more than what meet the eyes
3. Bob Carpenter maybe has a different view than yours - as you can see from your fingers in your hand - they are not uniform

Do not take this the wrong way - I believe you owe Mark Williams an apology.

We know Bob Carpenter was the author of last year's article. Jays clearly said Williams was the publisher and published it. I'm sorry to say the buck stops at Mark Williams, Editor, PickupTrucks.com. papa jim schooled me on that once.

My tires don't match my spare. If i get a flat tire I need to put the spare on the front because it will cause premature wear on my limited slip clutch cones in the rear axle do to the tires rotating at two different speeds. All wheel drive vehicles will cause damage as well if tires are not the same diameter. You should replace all tires at once.

There you go Hemi V8, replace em all even if you don't have the money.

HemiV8,
If your spare doesn't match any of your tyres currently fitted to your pickup or any vehicle for that matter don't put the odd tyre on the steering axle.

I do know here in Australia some or even all insurance companies will not honour your policy.

It is dangerous to fit an odd tyre on the steering axle!


You mistake harshness for clarity. Real people at this very moment are unnecessarily suffering death and mutilation due to this bad journalism. What truly is harsh: death and mutilation, or some clear warnings on a comments page of a website? How can you not only equate those, but get them backwards? Only a brain fried by alcohol or something could get it that wrong. Have you no compassion for all the men, women and children and their loved ones that have to suffer and will have to suffer for the dispensing of such misconceptions of automotive maintenance?

Over 40,000 people die in car accidents each year in the United States. Over 120,000 people die in China for this same reason. That does not even take into account those far more people who are mutilated but survive. Are you starting to get the picture? Maybe you are watching too many football games? Don't get me wrong, I just watched a great football game tonight, and loved it. But I would encourage you not to lose a sober perspective.

This is not about Mark Williams or me. This is about human stupidity and its resulting deadly consequences. If mark Williams wants us to regard him and pickuptrucks.com as a legitimate specialist on pickups and automobiles (which is his clear assertion), he must take responsibility for it. When he chooses to publish on matters of life and death, he better get it right. Don't you people read newspapers? When a journalist gets it wrong, he/she prints a correction. For that matter, when we cause harm to others, we at least apologize. That is what decent and responsible adults do. And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to get this kind of subject matter correct.

Wake up, my friends and good neighbors!

@Big Al et al: Hemi is right about the mismatched tires; on almost every car, the manual says to not put the Compact Spare on the drive axle, whether that be front or rear. But then, those Compact Spares are not intended to be full-time replacements; they're only rated for 50 miles or so and intended solely to get you to the nearest tire repair/replacement shop. If, on the other hand, the spare under the bed of his pickup truck is not the same size, he should get to the nearest tire shop and replace it before he needs it.

Jays, old boy, I am going to disagree with that long oration. First off, it's a personal attack on the writer and publisher of the article; it's fine to express your opinion, but that doesn't give you the right to personally attack another's point of view.

Secondly, whether to put new tires on front or rear of a car to some extent depends on the vehicle itself. You most definitely want to put the new tires on the front, if it's a front-wheel-drive car as it gives the most traction to both steering and drive of the vehicle. However, whether or not to put them on the back of a rear-wheel-drive may be a different question--again depending on type. A pickup truck that typically runs empty or at most lightly loaded definitely needs the newer tires in back; a heavy sedan not necessarily so but is a good idea.

However, with RWD vehicles--indeed, with all vehicles--it is recommended that the tires be rotated regularly around every 5,000 miles or so (who here really does that?) When rotated regularly, the tires wear evenly and there becomes no real difference in tread depth or tire compound all around your vehicle. If you follow the 5-wheel rotation, your spare, too, gets proper use and even wear. (Again, who here really does that?)

No, for all that fear-mongering, you use examples of extreme stupidity to make your point and almost nobody here is stupid enough to run one pair of tires completely bald before replacing them. If people are crashing from their tire management choices, it's typically when they carry that choice to the extreme or simply don't pay attention to their tires at all. It is up to the driver/owner to know the condition of his tires at all times and replace them when practical. Since most people are that stupid, that's why when you get an oil change the mechanic will suggest either a rotation or let you know when the tires need replacement. Even then, some will ignore this advice or forget it as soon as they drive away. Their lives are in their hands, not the words of someone writing an article trying to at least make them aware of what's needed.

I use all season Michelins all around so have no need to worry and waste time changing to winter tires and back..
And spare tire is the same size anyway so using it is a nonissue with G80 locker..
Even when I had bigger wheels on the back I always toss whole bunch of weight in the back in winter to get good traction and drive more carefully around the corners not to lose it..

@roadwhale even on front wheel drive the new tires go on the back. Rear tires provide stability, if you put new tires on the front they will easily displace the water while the rear tires go surfing and lift off the ground, the slightest curve can cause a spin out when the rear tires lift off the ground. This is common knowledge so don't spread mid information.

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/techpage.jsp?techid=52

@rick: "even on front wheel drive the new tires go on the back. Rear tires provide stability, if you put new tires on the front they will easily displace the water while the rear tires go surfing and lift off the ground, the slightest curve can cause a spin out when the rear tires lift off the ground."

Sorry rick, years of experience tell me you're wrong. You need the grip up front so you can pull yourself out of a slide. I NEVER had an issue of the rear end swinging out in my Saturn Vue with the only exception being when I was driving on ice after a snowstorm and got hit by a crosswind. Even then, all four tires were approximately equal with the front having slightly less tread due to them being the original tires at about 15,000 miles or so. It was, despite having better tread, the rear that swung out. As it was, the fronts still managed to pull the SUV out of the slide. Remember, front wheel drive puts almost no wear on the rear tires by comparison, so when the fronts get down to about 1/2 original tread, you can move them to the back and still have about ⅓ remaining when its time to buy new fronts.

Of course, being sensible and actually replacing the tires when or slightly before the wear bars start showing helps avoid that hydroplaning issue you mention. I've always found the drive wheels wear tires faster so they always get the new tires first and I always move those to the non-powered axle either when down about 50%(FWD) or the wear bars start showing on the steer wheels (RWD). Considering I've lived and driven in several different climate regions, I've found that this works best for me as I've never had issues with hydroplaning and only minor issues with snow and ice due to using all-weathers instead of mud & snows. Even a Camaro can handle snow and ice when driven safely and the tires have reasonable tread. Maybe not as well as with snow tires, but well enough that I was going through areas that had 4x4s in the ditch.

Road Fail, Stop spreading misinformation.

Most tire shops I've been at have signs at the desk that clearly point out that if only 2 tires are being installed they will be put on the back wheels regardless of where the primary drive wheels are located.

This seems counter-intuitive and is a prime example of "critical thinking" versus "common sense". In any scenario critical thinking is superior to common sense.

I do have to agree that one should buy 4 tires at a time. I empathize with the sentiment that a lot of people don't have the money to buy 4 tires BUT a vehicle is an expensive purchase and requires an up front investment and an ongoing investment. If one can't afford tires then one should question their ability to own a vehicle.
With that being said, a lot of large tire chains have financing options.

This article does not explain much.

Why not a story showing the testing done to prove their mounting recommendations?

Even better, why not do a story explaining the difference between "3 season", "summer", "winter", and "mud and snow" tires.

@roadwhale do a search on the subject all the experts agree. Don't think low speed tiring to get moving, think high speed and what's really happening, this is when traction is the most critical in terms of safety

If you only buy two tires, they go in the rear no matter what.

http://blog.allstate.com/new-tires-rear/

@alan: I would note the commentary below the article you linked. I would again note that personal experience shows that the good tread should go on the drive axle, no matter what.

@roadwhale, some people just don't get it, they can't think and understand . Just because you have not had an issue yet, it only takes that one time for something catastrophic to happen.

United States Department of Transportation

FMCSA
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Part 393
PARTS AND ACCESSORIES NECESSARY FOR SAFE OPERATION
top navigation controls


Section Guidance

§ 393.75: Tires.

(a) No motor vehicle shall be operated on any tire that—
(b) Any tire on the front wheels of a bus, truck, or truck tractor shall have a tread groove pattern depth of at least 4/32of an inch when measured at any point on a major tread groove. The measurements shall not be made where tie bars, humps, or fillets are located.
(d) No bus shall be operated with regrooved, recapped or retreaded tires on the front wheels.

Most people do not have the skills to deal with oversteer. That is why vehicles tend to understeer. They are designed that way. New tires on the back help with oversteer.

Most people have never been had to perform any emergency maneuver let alone have to drive in extremes of weather or extremes of terrain. They tend to assume that because luck has kept them out of harm's way that means that they are great drivers.

Safety devices on vehicles have been mandated because drivers on average are poor. Tire companies have come up with the new tires on the back ruling most likely because they have faced litigation due to driver error.

Imagine a question from an NTSB investigator

Why you did not adhere to FMCSA section 393.75?
to those who advocated new tires to go on the rear!

Imagine these answers:
a) 'tire shops I've been at have signs at the desk that clearly point out that if only 2 tires are being installed they will be put on the back wheels'
b) 'New tires on the back help with oversteer'
c) 'if you put new tires on the front.....'

Just imagine the ambulance chasers would be salivating to get injured parties against the above edicts

Imagine also the above they are working for a trucking company - what would be the fate of that company

Another issue to be discussed by PUTC - 2 new tires change - should they go in the front (as advised by the federal government) or rear of the truck?

David Robertson - commercial vehicles tend to follow different guidelines than that of personal use vehicles. I'm sure that if a tire company is advocating a certain course of action then it must meet current laws.

I looked at what you cited and they DO NOT specify new tires having to be mounted on the front.

Tires

Motor vehicles must not be operated on any tire that:

1. Has body ply or belt material exposed through the tread or sidewall;
2. Has any tread or sidewall separation;
3. Is flat or has an audible leak;
4. Has a cut to the extent that the ply or belt material is exposed; or
5. Has a cold inflation pressure less than that specified for the load being carried.

Any tire on the front wheels of a bus, truck or truck tractor must have a tread groove pattern depth of
at least 4/32 of an inch when measured at any point on a major tread groove. Other tires must have a
tread groove pattern depth of at least 2/32 of an inch when measured in a major tread groove.
A regrooved tire with a load-carrying capacity equal to or greater than 4,920 pounds must not be used
on the front wheels of any truck or truck tractor.

..................................................................................

They mention tread depth and retreads on the front wheels.

Care to point out the pertinent section that you are referring to????

6 Common Tire Myths Debunked
PM contributor Mac Demere, who worked at one of the big tire companies for years, corrects a few commonly held misconceptions you might have about your tires. (For more tire know-how, check out what your tires are trying to tell you.)

2. When replacing only two tires, the new ones go on the front.

The truth: Rear tires provide stability, and without stability, steering or braking on a wet or even damp surface might cause a spin. If you have new tires up front, they will easily disperse water while the half-worn rears will go surfing: The water will literally lift the worn rear tires off the road. If you're in a slight corner or on a crowned road, the car will spin out so fast you won't be able to say, "Oh, fudge!"

There is no "even if" to this one. Whether you own a front-, rear- or all-wheel-drive car, truck, or SUV, the tires with the most tread go on the rear. Don't believe it? Watch this.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/how-to/a3121/6-common-tire-myths-debunked-10031440/

Lou_BC - I will give you an easy one

a) Imagine you are driving your pick up (which you have new tires in the rear and bald ones in the front) and you collided with a school bus - full of students going to school

b) Imagine you are driving your pick up (which you have new tires in the rear and bald ones in the front) and you collided with a bus full of grannies going to bingo hall to play bingo

c) Imagine you are driving your pick up (which you have new tires in the rear and bald ones in the front) and you collided with a bus full of disabled and mentally challenged going on sight seeing

d) Imagine you are driving your pick up (which you have new tires in the rear and bald ones in the front) and you collided with a bus that is full of elderly who are going from the retirement home to polling site to vote

Those all scenario make it a federal issue thus you will have to speak to NTSB - do you still hold the view that you are right in your decision to put new tires in the rear?

While the bus company adhered to federal regulations from their end however your front bald tires are the culprit

Ambulance chasers they will be dying for your answer!

Where is the Pickup truck reviews and testing? These articles are getting Lamb.


Road Whale:
"Jays, old boy, I am going to disagree with that long oration. First off, it's a personal attack on the writer and publisher of the article; it's fine to express your opinion, but that doesn't give you the right to personally attack another's point of view."
Jays:
I did not attack a person in last year's article, I asserted the truth to keep people from dying and getting mutilated. Then, others joined me. Then Mark Williams and pickuptrucks.com blocked our comments. Then, more than a year later he COMPLETELY CHANGED his "point of view" without issuing a retraction and an apology as all legitimate journalists do. So mark Williams now agrees with us and disagrees with you. And we are all to conclude that he just wants to guard his reputation and play a slight of hand, instead of plainly admitting he was wrong and those of us who took valuable time out of our days to write in and correct his mistakes for his and every ones else's sakes were literally thrown under the bus. So then, and only at that point, did Mark Williams and pickuptrucks.com EARN their personal attack. Not all personal attacks are bad, if they are correct and if they are constructive. Mark Williams is an adult--not a child. He should be able to take the criticism and correct it. I would not do the same with a child in the same way. And this is a life and death matter, and what journalists report does get perpetuated and does matter--whether you think it does or not.

Your actions contradict yourself, for you have written in to make YOUR case. So obviously, you think it does matter. I would say your moral compass is asleep or spinning around senselessly(just as you admit your driving to be). It is evident by the contradiction of your words and your actions.
Road Whale:
"Secondly, whether to put new tires on front or rear of a car to some extent depends on the vehicle itself. You most definitely want to put the new tires on the front, if it's a front-wheel-drive car as it gives the most traction to both steering and drive of the vehicle."
Jays:
No matter if it is front wheel drive or rear wheel drive, all vehicles will get in an emergency braking situation at high speeds, and the ALL must have the newer tires on the rear to anchor them from spinning and oversteering. What is sooooo difficult to understand about that!
Road Whale:
"However, whether or not to put them on the back of a rear-wheel-drive may be a different question--again depending on type. A pickup truck that typically runs empty or at most lightly loaded definitely needs the newer tires in back; a heavy sedan not necessarily so but is a good idea."
Jays:
You are starting to come around. Not quite there yet.
Road Whale:
"However, with RWD vehicles--indeed, with all vehicles--it is recommended that the tires be rotated regularly around every 5,000 miles... or When rotated regularly, the tires wear evenly and there becomes no real difference in tread depth or tire compound all around your vehicle. If you follow the 5-wheel rotation, your spare, too, gets proper use and even wear. "
Jays:
Great, at least we all can AGREE on THIS! ! C O N S E N S U S ! If only our politicians could find these nuggets of consensus and put them into law. Isn’t that their job?
Road Whale:
"(... who here really does that?)
Jays:
Duh, that is why we are writing, because not enough of us do what is right. Why else would all of us be persuading the rest of the drivers to do the right thing? Has anyone ever called you nihilistic and sarcastic before? And it is not the funny kind of sarcastic. You are exactly the kind of people that are the problem.
Road Whale:
"No, for all that fear-mongering, you use examples of extreme stupidity to make your point ."
Jays:
Where? Which exact examples are you talking about? the 40,000 dead and many times more mutilated every year in the United States? If you are already not afraid of that(and who is not afraid of getting out on the open road with all the crazy things we see out there including how people maintain their vehicles), then, you are not only blind--you are asleep as I have said. The healthy kind of fear is what I am talking about.
Road Whale:
"almost nobody here is stupid enough to run one pair of tires completely bald before replacing them. "
Jays:
Next time you are at a large parking lot. Go looking at people's tires. I am not talking about a sale of used Mercedes lot. Say, a normal grocery store in an average neighborhood. Look at the bald tires. We are trying to encourage them to maintain their tires properly. Why would you not join the effort?
Road Whale:
"If people are crashing from their tire management choices, it's typically when they carry that choice to the extreme or simply don't pay attention to their tires at all. It is up to the driver/owner to know the condition of his tires at all times and replace them when practical. Since most people are that stupid, that's why when you get an oil change the mechanic will suggest either a rotation or let you know when the tires need replacement. Even then, some will ignore this advice or forget it as soon as they drive away. Their lives are in their hands, "
Jays:
Of course, what have I said that disagrees with that. We are trying to persuade them to be better.
Road Whale:
"...not the words of someone writing an article trying to at least make them aware of what's needed."
Jays:
Bizarre, you contradict yourself, and you contradict this year's mark Williams and last year's Mark Williams. Just as Mark Williams contradicts himself. I hope people are getting a clearer of who to trust here.
Road Whale:
""--------------@rick: "even on front wheel drive the new tires go on the back. Rear tires provide stability, if you put new tires on the front they will easily displace the water while the rear tires go surfing and lift off the ground, the slightest curve can cause a spin out when the rear tires lift off the ground.":"

"Sorry rick, years of experience tell me you're wrong. You need the grip up front so you can pull yourself out of a slide. I NEVER had an issue of the rear end swinging out in my Saturn Vue with the only exception being when I was driving on ice after a snowstorm and got hit by a crosswind…
Jays:
So you want us to trust a guy who admits he has been driving too fast, and has been sliding in adverse conditions? You are not to go fast in adverse conditions. And yet you say you NEVER have, but then site a time that you DID!!!!!!!!! Folks, are you getting the picture?
Road Whale:
"@alan: I would note the commentary below the article you linked. I would again note that personal experience shows that the good tread should go on the drive axle, no matter what.
Jays:
That is if you are driving illegally and dangerously fast for adverse conditions and if you want to power out of spins rather than brake out of them if you are too much of a risk-taker to get into them in the first place. Is this the guy you want to be taking advice from? It’s yoru choice in the end.
Road Whale:
"Imagine you are driving your pick up (which you have new tires in the rear and bald ones in the front) and you collided with a bus that is full of elderly who are going from the retirement home to polling site to vote”
Jays:
But according to you, and I quote, "almost nobody here is stupid enough to run one pair of tires completely bald before replacing them. " To quote the Princess Bride, “Your intellect is truly dizzying".
Road Whale:
"Those all scenario make it a federal issue thus you will have to speak to NTSB - do you still hold the view that you are right in your decision to put new tires in the rear?
While the bus company adhered to federal regulations from their end however your front bald tires are the culprit
Ambulance chasers they will be dying for your answer!"

Jays:
FMCSA, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in Part 393 is right and wrong(by omission). And YOU are ALL WRONG. On commercial vehicles (and that is an important difference), you should not be letting the front tires get low. The front tires only have two. The rear tires almost always have four or many more as backup and also as added grip and stability. Therefore, you can't let the front tires on commercial vehicles get as low as the back tires in most situations.

But you translated that to mean that we as regular passenger vehicles should be putting the new tires on the front, while we should be putting our almost-ready-to-replace-tires on the back. And that is DEAD wrong.
By the way, don’t let the government do your thinking for you. They can help, as in this case, but they can also hinder—as in this case.

SO TO SPELL IT OUT MORE CLEARLY, put the most "grip" on the rear(whether that means more tread on each tire or not), and the less grip on the front.

But don't get too low on the front either.

And rotate ALL tires including the spare regularly.

And lets pleeeaaaase remember that this is a website for pickups, and most pickups are usually running unloaded and this, are light in the rear. so please keep the best tires in the rear to anchor your pickup truck! Remember, pick-ups are more dangerous and plentiful vehicles

So drive relatively slowly--especially in dangerous conditions (unlike Road Whale admits he does).

I think no one will blame me for not doing my duty here. And if all this does not help you, you are beyond help for now. More life experience will be necessary to supplement your grip on reality.

Wake up my friends and good neighbors!

We're talking trucks. This is a truck site.

Most people drive four wheel drive trucks, especially in snowy climates.

Now, let's look at this. I can't get out a box of crayons and some paper and draw a picture if you like.

The rear tires push and pull. The front tires push, pull, steer, and do a majority of the stopping. Having said that I think it's pretty easy to pick out where the "good" tires need to go. FRONT, always.

Better tires on the front gives better control, better braking, and still aids in pushing and pulling the vehicle. But...as always...four equal tires are truly the best option.

Even worse to put the new tires on the front of a pickup which is already front biased.

Jim, you are missing the point. You are correct in a small way, but you are missing the bigger point. When you hit the brakes some day and your front tires get more grip, that makes your tail spin, which is a far worse problem than your front losing grip in far more situations (and more dangerous situations). Please come to your senses for your sake and everyone else's.

Oh, sorry Jim. Thank you for your good sense. I meant WXman. :)

See, I published a corrections or retraction when I was wrong. I wish I had the ability to erase the mistake, like Pickuptrucks should in the case of their publishing last years article that was DEADLY wrong.

All of you should go google "pickup trucks hd tires" and reread that article in "suggestions #8". Payspecial attention to how that suggestion completely contradicts itself.

And yet no correction!

David Robertson - your ramblings do not say anything about putting new tires on the front. Commercial vehicles tend to run different tread pattern tires on the drive axles and on the steering axles.

The laws you stated cover tread depth, retreads, and tire damage.

Too bad that PUTC tends to ignore blogs. There is considerable disagreement on this topic.

This would be a great story to research and clarify.

Tires age out, which is front drive cars get new tires on the rear axle. Then the rear tires are moved to the front axle.
Same procedure applies to pickup trucks; even more so because of the inferior rear suspension and sprung:unsprung weight ratio.

@Jays:

Road Whale:
"almost nobody here is stupid enough to run one pair of tires completely bald before replacing them. "
Jays:
Next time you are at a large parking lot. Go looking at people's tires. I am not talking about a sale of used Mercedes lot. Say, a normal grocery store in an average neighborhood. Look at the bald tires. We are trying to encourage them to maintain their tires properly. Why would you not join the effort?
----------------------------------------------------------

I said, "Nobody HERE", as in on PUTC. Or are you trying to claim some of these commenters are that stupid?

============================================

Road Whale:
""--------------@rick: "even on front wheel drive the new tires go on the back. Rear tires provide stability, if you put new tires on the front they will easily displace the water while the rear tires go surfing and lift off the ground, the slightest curve can cause a spin out when the rear tires lift off the ground.":"
"Sorry rick, years of experience tell me you're wrong. You need the grip up front so you can pull yourself out of a slide. I NEVER had an issue of the rear end swinging out in my Saturn Vue with the only exception being when I was driving on ice after a snowstorm and got hit by a crosswind…
Jays:
So you want us to trust a guy who admits he has been driving too fast, and has been sliding in adverse conditions? You are not to go fast in adverse conditions. And yet you say you NEVER have, but then site a time that you DID!!!!!!!!! Folks, are you getting the picture?
---------------------------------------------------------------

No, because you have no idea what the situation was. You're making an assumption about the conditions that had NO connection with 'driving too fast'. Granted, I'd just climbed a relatively steep hill (for a state highway) but was only going about 25mph on stock tires and had not spun the wheels once on that climb. I would also note the vehicle has a manual transmission so had much better control of my speed than most automatics. The exact circumstance was coming out of a valley protected from the wind up to a plateau with no trees blocking the wind and no visual indicator that there was any wind (like maybe snow blowing across the road?) An SUV tends to be a 'high profile vehicle" compared to a sedan or even a pickup truck (unless said pickup has a cap over the bed) and the wind shoved the back end around. Steering the way I wanted to go and easing in on the gas pulled the tail back into line because it is front-wheel drive.

Are you getting the picture?

=========================================

Road Whale:
"@alan: I would note the commentary below the article you linked. I would again note that personal experience shows that the good tread should go on the drive axle, no matter what.
Jays:
That is if you are driving illegally and dangerously fast for adverse conditions and if you want to power out of spins rather than brake out of them if you are too much of a risk-taker to get into them in the first place. Is this the guy you want to be taking advice from? It’s yoru choice in the end.
--------------------------------------------------------

Hmmm... maybe you need to take a course on reading comprehension; you obviously can't understand what people are saying.

Most people drive four wheel drive trucks, especially in snowy climates.

Now, let's look at this. I can't get out a box of crayons and some paper and draw a picture if you like.

The rear tires push and pull. The front tires push, pull, steer, and do a majority of the stopping. Having said that I think it's pretty easy to pick out where the "good" tires need to go. FRONT, always.
Better tires on the front gives better control, better braking, and still aids in pushing and pulling the vehicle. But...as always...four equal tires are truly the best option.
-- Posted by: WXman | Sep 22, 2015 7:55:31 AM
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Disagree, WXman. A 4x4 needs equal tread all around. Period. Even where I live there are quite a few people who only drive 4x2 pickups. I'm one of them. My 4x4 is a Jeep Wrangler and believe me, when it snows I drive that and not my truck. I always ensure equal tread under my Jeep because it has to handle conditions that will be risky for any x2 vehicle. That said, I've personally driven both RWD and FWD on streets and highways covered with snow pack and ice. I drove a Ford LTD over Wolf Creek Pass in Colorado without chains and never once slid, while a driver in a big Grand Cherokee 4x4 nearly slid off the mountain going slower than me because they didn't know how to drive a 4x4. I KNOW how to drive on snow and ice, which is a lot more than I can say about people around me who have lived here all their lives.

It's also one reason why I don't trust most ABS systems--they don't necessarily know the vehicle is still moving when all four tires DO lock up on ice. *That Has happened to me--and is why I no longer drive that particular car in icy conditions.* I also tend to turn off stability control on my Jeep in icy conditions, because it cuts power sometimes when you most need it. Such systems are fine when you're on dry or merely wet roads, but they give the driver too much confidence on icy roads, encouraging them to drive faster than is safe. Remember, 4x4 is great for getting moving, but lousy for stopping (unless you have a manual transmission or much better control of what gear you're in with the different select-shift models.)

Road Whale, you are still wrong about new tires on the front axle; and we haven't even brought up EBD-electronic brake force distribution.
Yes the front tires wear quicker, roughly 2x the rear.
So if you put new 8mm tires on the rear, and they wear down to 6mm (say in 2 years); the fronts will start at 6mm and wear down to 2mm. (then get tossed)

It is grossly criminally irresponsible to put new {better} tires on the front axle.



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