If you just had a tire blow out, you might be tempted to mix and match your tires from an old set. Can you do this, and should you have all four tires be the same tires and brand? In this article we are going to go in depth with this topic, to help you find out the answer.
You should never have different brands of tires on your car, especially if you have an all-wheel drive vehicle. Having different treads, and sizes can cause damage to your vehicle, or worse be dangerous. There are only a few cases where it makes sense to have mismatched tires, but never for long periods of time.
1. Different tires have a slightly different radius
Every tire and tire brand has slightly different sizes, primarily because the tread patterns, and styles all have different depths. This results in tires that each have a slightly different radius than the others, even if they are the same tire size.
This makes each tire that is a different brand move at a slightly different speed and can confuse your car, or at least change the dynamic of the vehicle away from what the manufacturer of the vehicle intended.
At the very worst, if you have an all-wheel-drive vehicle, it can damage your vehicle’s transfer case beyond repair. When you have tires with different sizes, it causes the AWD system to constantly be compensating for that difference and will overheat and cause your transfer case to fail. This can cost thousands of dollars to repair, far more than it would cost to just replace all four tires with the same brand.
2. Your traction will be different depending on the tire brands
Another issue that arises from having tires of different brands is that you will have varying levels of traction depending on which tires are powering the car. If one pair has a better grip than the other, then your car could veer in one direction or another because it will be pulled by the tires with more traction.
This can be especially dangerous when you are driving in wet or icy conditions because your tires need to have a consistent level of traction for you to be able to drive safely. Having tires of different brands can make it difficult for you to control your vehicle in slippery conditions and can potentially lead to an accident.
Can you use mismatched tires temporarily?
While we 100% do not recommend utilizing mismatched tires on your vehicle, it may be a decent temporary solution. If all you have is a tire that is mismatched to get you to the tire shop, then it can be used (except for an AWD vehicle).
One common time this happens is with a spare tire! Most people replace all four tire tires (by buying them at a site like this) but forget that they have a spare (generally under the vehicle, or under the trunk cover). This results in mismatched tires if one of your tires blows out. This generally is okay to do (again, not in an AWD), but just for you to be able to get to a tire shop to get all four tires under the same brand and wear them again.
- TIRE ROTATION & ALIGNMENT ARE DIFFERENT THINGS: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW!
- TIRE SIPING: WHAT IS IT, AND SHOULD YOU HAVE YOUR TIRES SIPED?
- YOUR TIRES ARE TOO OLD: HOW MANY YEARS, AND MILES TO REPLACE?
If you have to mismatch your tires, how should it be done?
While not recommended, if you do need to have different brands of tires on your vehicle (again, not AWD), you should always have the same brand on either side. You should have two of the same brand on the front, and two of the same brand on the back.
This gives you the same traction on either side of the vehicle and should help out with losing traction and moving to one side over the other.
Can you have mismatched tires on a four-wheel drive?
We do not recommend having different brands or types of tires on a vehicle. While having mismatched tires on a 4WD isn’t as detrimental as an AWD vehicle, it still has its own complications.
Four-Wheel Drive vehicles put the same power to all four wheels, and when engaged, mismatched tires (that have different radiuses) will hop continuously.
The bottom line is that tires of different brands should not be used together on any car. While this may save you money initially, if there are problems with your vehicle due to mismatched tires, then the cost of repairs could be much more than you would have spent on tires.