Replace all four tires on AWD? (Solution)

The rear-wheel and front-wheel-drive cars don’t need the replacement of all four tires at once. But, an AWD vehicle needs balanced traction at all four corners. Mismatched tires on AWD may lead to the damage of several components. The tires on the front axle in AWD often wear off faster than the rear tires.

  • If you’re thinking of replacing 1 tire on an AWD vehicle, take a moment to review your owner’s manual. The owner’s manual may recommend that you replace all four tires of your vehicle at the same time. When reviewing your manual, be sure to look in both the tire section and the transmission section.

Do all 4 tires need to be replaced on AWD?

And almost all manufacturers agree that you should replace all four. Also, get a tire pro to use a tread depth gauge to accurately measure the tread if you think two of your tires still have some tread life in them.

Can I replace just 2 tires on AWD?

Replacing just one or two tires on an AWD vehicle could cause unnecessary wear and tear on your drivetrain, or confuse the traction control system to think that you are frequently losing traction. A new tire is larger in diameter than one of the same brand, type and size that’s part way through its tread life.

Why do I have to replace all tires on AWD?

For all-wheel-drive (AWD) cars, it is recommended that all four tires be replaced at the same time. This is because in these cars, the computer and differential work simultaneously to supply torque to each wheel, ensuring maximum control.

Where should new tires go on AWD?

It doesn’t matter whether your vehicle is a front-, rear-, or all-wheel-drive car: if you can only replace two tires, they should ALWAYS go on the rear axle.

Can you run mismatched tires on AWD?

Mismatched tires on AWD may lead to the damage of several components. The tires on the front axle in AWD often wear off faster than the rear tires. You should not drive with mismatched tires because the worn out tires rotate faster than the good ones, which may cause serious mechanical damage.

Should you change all 4 tires at once?

It’s always best to replace all 4 tires at the same time. This is because all 4 tires spin independently of one another, and different tread depths and/or styles can cause them to spin at different speeds. That could potentially damage the drive train, and possibly affect an indirect TPMS system if the vehicle has one.

Do I need to replace all 4 tires on 4matic?

You do not need to replace all 4 tires. You do need to pay attention to a wide variation in tire wear laterally as it could cause an imbalance in traction if one tire is significantly more worn than the other on the same axle. Do all four tires have to be replaced on an all wheel drive car when one tire is damaged?

Can you buy 2 tires instead of 4?

If two of your tires wear out faster, it may only be necessary to replace those two instead of replacing all four. If you do, it’s important to have the two new tires installed on the back and the partially worn tires moved to the front – even on front-wheel-drive vehicles.

Is it OK to change 2 tires only?

Mixing tire brands or even different models may cause handling instability. And when replacing only two, we recommend installing the new tires in the rear and placing the (older but still decent) rear tires in the front. This may help prevent a spinout or oversteer condition on slick roads.

Should all 4 tires be the same brand?

The short answer is that, in general, manufacturers do not recommend tire mixing at all. That means having the same brand, size, tread pattern, load index, and speed rating on the front and rear tires. However, there are exceptions that can lead to mixing tire brands.

Is it better to have new tires on the front or back?

According to Tire Review, new tires should always go in the back. Rear tires provide the vehicle stability, and if they have little tread, then stability is lost.

Do I need to change both front Tyres at the same time?

Replace tyres in pairs on the same axle If you have noticed that one of your tyres is worn, damaged or punctured, it’s important to have it replaced as quickly as possible. Ideally, all four tyres would be replaced at the same time, however this is not completely necessary if only one needs to be changed.

When you get 2 new tires Where should they go?

When tires are replaced in pairs, the new tires should always be installed on the rear axle, and the partially worn tires should be moved to the front.

Should You Replace All Four Tires on Your AWD Vehicle? – Les Schwab

The front tires of an all-wheel-drive (AWD) car often wear out more quickly than the tires on the rear axle of the vehicle. Why? Because your front tires are responsible for the majority of your braking and steering. Misalignment, aggressive driving, underinflated tires, and a failure to rotate front tires to back tires on a regular basis are all issues that can contribute to tire wear and tear. (You can learn more about how to prevent some of these issues here.) Although it may be tempting to replace only the two most worn tires on your AWD car, here are some reasons why it may be preferable to replace all four tires at the same time.

Mismatching Tires May Cause Damage to Your AWD Vehicle

Replacing only one or two tires on an all-wheel-drive car might result in excessive wear and tear on the powertrain, as well as causing the traction control system to believe that you are losing grip on a regular basis. A fresh tire has a bigger circumference than a tire of the same brand, type, and size that has reached the end of its tread life span. This indicates that there is a detectable change in tire circumference, which may have an impact on the performance of your vehicle. If you want to understand why this is important, imagine two persons out for a walk.

One of them, on the other hand, is taller and has longer legs.

  • The same is true for tires that are not properly matched.
  • As a result, the tire with less tread depth will spin faster and have more rotations than the tire with higher tread depth in order to keep up with the faster-moving vehicle.
  • So, what is it about combining new and worn tires that poses a risk to your AWD vehicle’s performance?
  • These are the parts of the vehicle that transport the power from the engine to the wheels, which in turn propel the vehicle forward.
  • If this occurs, your car’s electronics may transmit power wrongly for your present driving circumstances.
  • This is what permits the AWD system to adapt to slippery driving conditions by directing power to the wheel(s) with the highest traction at any given time.

Driving in such mode on a paved road or at a high rate of speed may cause damage to your vehicle’s powertrain, resulting in costly repairs.

Follow Your Owner’s Manual and Expert Advice

Whenever any of your tires need to be replaced, it’s critical to first consult your vehicle’s owner’s handbook to see whether or not it suggests changing all four of your all-wheel-drive tires at the same time. Look in the tire and gearbox sections for further information. The failure to adhere to these suggestions may result in costly damage to some of your car’s most vital driving components, such as the transmission, if you don’t take precautions. Any competent tire dealer will adhere to the guidelines of automobile manufacturers.

We can then assist you in determining whether or not a whole set of new tires is the best option.

Recap: Why You May Need to Replace All Four Tires on Your AWD Vehicle

  1. Mismatched tires are frequently cited as a significant cause of drivetrain damage. To keep differences to a minimum, make sure they all match (same brand, size, and kind)
  2. The difference in tread depth between the front and rear tires, as well as between the left and right tires, should be small. For further information, consult your owner’s handbook.

Not sure if your vehicle is all-wheel drive (or four-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or front-wheel drive)? Check your owner’s manual for any discrepancies and then click here. Read on to find out more

Should You Replace All 4 Tires On An AWD Car?

The usual criterion we use when assessing whether we need to replace only one tire, two tires, or all four tires is that wear depth is the most important factor. On any vehicle, the tread depth cannot vary more than 2/32 inch from one side to the other. On all-wheel-drive cars, the tread depth cannot vary more than 2/32 inch from side to side or front to rear. Friction is the primary reason why tread depth cannot vary more than 02/32 of an inch. The tread depth of a fresh tire is normally between 10/32 and 11/32.

  1. For a tire with a smaller diameter to go the same distance as a tire with a bigger diameter, the tire must spin quicker and have more rotations.
  2. An axle and a transmission/transaxle system link the two front tires of an all-wheel-drive vehicle, which is also known as a front-wheel drive vehicle.
  3. Sharp turns or even traction loss on slippery terrain are examples of situations when this is true.
  4. It causes a significant amount of friction on the internal elements of the transaxle, resulting in high temperatures and the possibility of failure.
  5. The differential gears that are used to move the vehicle forward and backward are rather massive and built to handle a heavy weight.
  6. These little gears (spider gears) are only intended to be used when the vehicle is being turned around.
  7. This results in a great deal of friction and heat.
  8. On an all-wheel-drive vehicle, the CV axles, transmission/transaxle, differential, and, in some cases, a transfer case/power transfer unit are used to connect all four tires.
  9. As a result, it is critical that you take excellent care of the tires on your all-wheel-drive vehicle.
  10. If you do experience early failure of one or more tires, be careful to follow the necessary measures to establish if you will need to replace all four tires or just one.

It is better to err on the side of caution because tires are far less expensive than the powertrain components that might be harmed by improper tire selection.

Do You Need to Replace All 4 Tires on Your AWD Vehicle?

The front tires of an all-wheel-drive (AWD) car often wear out more quickly than the tires on the rear axle of the vehicle. Why? Misalignment, aggressive driving, under-inflated tires, and a failure to rotate front tires to back tires on a regular basis are all typical reasons of tire blowouts. (See this page for information on how to prevent some of these issues.) As a result, it might be tempting to try to prolong the life of AWD tires that still have some tread life by changing only two of them.

  1. Here’s why it’s preferable to change all four all-wheel-drive tires at the same time.
  2. A new tire is actually larger than a similar-sized tire of the same brand, kind, and size that is halfway through its tread life.
  3. Consider the following scenario: two horses of uneven size are galloping at the same time.
  4. Over the course of the race, the smaller horse will need to take more steps and work harder in order to stay up.
  5. A larger tire (one with higher tread depth) goes a greater distance in a single rotation than a smaller tire of the same size and weight.
  6. Tires with less tread depth will rotate more times per mile than tires with more tread depth.
  7. is the source of this information.
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In comparison to a tire with 8/32 tread depth, a tire with 11/32 tread depth travels 11 feet farther.

First and foremost, a variation in tire diameter of less than half an inch between the front and rear tires on your AWD vehicle might cause problems with the powertrain, which is comprised of the components of the vehicle that transmit power to propel the vehicle forward.

Second, if the two tires on one axle are spinning at a quicker rate than the others, your car’s electronics may interpret this as sliding and place you in the incorrect gear.

This is what permits the AWD system to function properly in slippery conditions, by directing power to the wheel(s) with the best traction at any given time.

That is not recommended since driving in that mode on a paved road or at high speeds might cause harm to your vehicle.

To determine whether or not two of your tires need to be changed (Hint: apply the penny test to find out), it’s vitally critical to consult your vehicle’s owner’s handbook to see if changing all four of your AWD tires at the same time is a good idea.

Alternatively, phone your local vehicle dealer and inquire about the servicing department for your particular make and model.

Any good tire dealer will do what the automobile manufacturer instructs them to do.

Also, if you believe that two of your tires still have some tread life left in them, have a tire professional utilize a tread depth tester to correctly assess the tread depth.

Even a tenth of a percentage point difference is significant.

Always match tires in terms of brand, size, and type in order to reduce deviations.

When comparing front and rear tires, make sure that the difference in tread depth is no greater than 3/32nds of an inch between the two. If this is the case, you have an issue with the difference in tire circumference. Replace all four tires on your vehicle. You can read the entire article here:

Do I really need to replace all four tires at the same time?

What you get as a response to this query is entirely dependent on your automobile. The vast majority of automobiles on the road today have front-wheel drive, with only a few exceptions being rear-wheel drive. It is not always necessary to replace all four tires at the same time in this situation. It is usually adequate to have two at a time. All-wheel-drive systems, on the other hand, are becoming increasingly common, and they do necessitate the replacement of all four tires at the same time.

  1. The differential and the computer work together in cars equipped with all-wheel drive systems, such as Subarus, Audis, and Lamborghinis, so that they can transfer the appropriate amount of power to each wheel while maintaining maximum control.
  2. If you continue to drive in this manner for an extended period of time, the drivetrain will be damaged.
  3. According to Dominick Infante, National Manager of Product Communications for Subaru, it’s fine if the tires have only a couple thousand miles on them and one of them has to be replaced.
  4. Maintaining your tires is important for any vehicle, but it is especially important for AWD cars since it ensures that the tread wears uniformly and that the powertrain isn’t put under any unnecessary pressure.
  5. The original publication date was August 17, 2010.

Replace Tires FAQs

The replacement of all four tires on an all-wheel-drive (AWD) vehicle is suggested when the vehicle is first purchased. This is due to the fact that in these vehicles, the computer and differential work together to deliver torque to each wheel, allowing for the most possible control. Due to the fact that one tire is of a different size than the others, and one tire is fresh while the others are old in comparison, the computer will make an incorrect reading, placing pressure on the differential.

If you have a front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive automobile and you have a flat tire, depending on how much wear is left on the other tires, you may be able to replace simply the flat tire.

Should I replace two or four tires?

When it comes to all-wheel-drive cars, you should change all four tires at the same time.

If you have a two-wheel drive and don’t intend to replace all four tires, it’s preferable to replace them in pairs, either the two front tires or the two rear tires, depending on which tire(s) has to be replaced.

Do all my tires have to be the same brand?

If you’re only replacing one tire, make sure it’s the same type, size, and tread pattern as the other tires on your car to avoid confusion later. A different brand or model will have bigger variances in traction and number of rotations per mile than the others, which may cause that new tire to wear out more quickly than the others and cause that new tire to wear out sooner.

Lots More Information

  • Dominick Infante is the author of this work. Subaru of America’s National Manager of Product Communications. Interview with the author. conducted the survey on August 3, 2010. Cars with four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive tires that are the same size. (Saturday, July 29, 2010)

Do I Need to Replace More Than One Tire at a Time?

CARS.COM is a website dedicated to automobiles. If the other tires still retain the majority of their tread, it is safe to replace only one tire at a time. While it used to be that a pair of “snow tires” would be mounted to the drive wheels of a vehicle solely for winter use, today we recognize that a vehicle should have four matching tires, whether they are front tires or rear tires: they should be of the same type and model and, yes, even the same degree of wear. The explanation for this is straightforward: It is balanced and predictable to drive a car with four tires that perform the same way under all conditions – whether accelerating, braking, or turning Traction characteristics can be affected if any of these elements varies at one or more wheels, resulting in an uneven performance when any of these factors diverge.

  • Tread depth is measured in 32nds of an inch, and most new tires have 10/32 to 12/32 (5/16 to 3/8) of an inch of tread depth on them, depending on the manufacturer.
  • There are certain exceptions to this rule, though.
  • One that has lost just a few 32nds of tread depth will spin at a higher rate than the fresh one, and the difference might cause an AWD system to engage on dry pavement, resulting in the system being damaged.
  • The same rules apply whether the vehicle is front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive.
  • Aside from that, it will result in the performance of one tire being superior or worse to the others in terms of acceleration, braking, and cornering grip, which might have an impact on the vehicle’s behavior.
  • If the tread on the old tires is considerably worn, however, it is advisable to replace all four of them at the same time.
  • For a price, some tire retailers may remove some tread depth off the tires using a specific machine.
  • Even higher variances in traction and number of rotations per mile will be seen across various brands or models of tires; in addition, they are likely to wear at a different rate.
  • Whether you opt to replace a single tire or a set of tires, tire experts recommend that the new rubber be installed in the back of the vehicle.
  • It’s the last thing you want to be doing in the pouring rain while you’re trying to recover from a spin.
  • Editors and reviewers at are prohibited from accepting gifts or free vacations from automobile manufacturers, in accordance with the company’s long-standing ethical code.

The Editorial department is completely separate from the advertising, sales, and sponsored content divisions of

AWD Tire Replacement Myth: Shall You Change All Four Tires?

Tsukasa Azuma is the author of this piece. Comments received since the last update on December 24, 20200 When it comes time to replace one or two worn out tires on an all-wheel-drive (AWD) vehicle, it is normal practice to replace all of the tires on the vehicle. Is this merely a myth about AWD tire change, or does it have some basis in reality? Is there a set of rules for replacing all-wheel-drive tires that must be followed?

What Are The Rules For All Wheel Drive Tire Replacement?

Rear-wheel-drive and front-wheel-drive automobiles do not require the replacement of all four tires at the same time. AWD vehicles, on the other hand, require balanced traction at all four corners. Mismatched tires on an all-wheel-drive vehicle can cause harm to a variety of components. In all-wheel-drive vehicles, the tires on the front axle often wear out faster than the tires on the rear axle. Many factors might contribute to this, including improper tire rotation, aggressive driving, driving with under-inflated tires, and misalignment of the tires or wheels.

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When the front ones become worn out, the typical replacement practice is to replace them all at once.

Driving with mismatched tires is not recommended since the worn out tires rotate at a higher rate than the good ones, resulting in catastrophic mechanical damage.


  • The Secrets of Restoring a Tire’s Sidewall
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The AWD Tire Replacement Myth, Or Truth?

As a result, it appears that the myth of the AWD tire replacement is not true at all. The cars’ tires do not all need to be replaced at the same time, but some of them need. Some individuals may consider retaining the tires that still have some tread life on them because replacing all four tires can be rather expensive. However, this is not recommended. However, because of the mechanical damage caused by the worn out tires, saving a little money may result in more expensive repairs in the long run.

  • It helps to prevent slippage while also increasing wheel control.
  • Driving with mismatched tires for an extended period of time might cause the powertrain to become worn down.
  • Tires of the same size must have the same measurements.
  • To learn more, please visit this page.

Can You Replace Just 2 Tires On An All Wheel Drive Car?

Although changing all four tires on an AWD vehicle is the safest choice, replacing only two tires on a front-wheel-drive vehicle may also be an alternative. When the tires have only a few thousand miles on them and the ones on the front axle are in need of replacement, it is possible to do so. It is also possible to save money by replacing the damaged tire with a new one that has been shaved to match the other tires.

There are certain firms that will cut the tread depth of a tire to make it match the tread depth of the others for a nominal cost. Shaving a tire, on the other hand, will violate the tire’s tread-wear warranty.

Replacing Tires on All-Wheel Drive Vehicles

Replace your tires in sets of four for all cars, but this is especially crucial for all-wheel-drive vehicles because of the increased traction they provide. To avoid changes in the outer diameter of each tire, all four tires should be of the same brand, tread design, size, construction, and tread depth to prevent variations in the outside diameter of each tire. Transfer cases and internal computers in all-wheel-drive (AWD) cars work together to deliver power to each wheel, which is accomplished through the transfer case and internal computer.

Consequently, the amount of power that the internal computer provides to each tire is determined by how much power your AWD car need to travel down the road.

The measurements from an AWD computer will change if the outer diameters are uneven due to a variety of factors such as tire sizes, tread patterns, or tread depths.

As a result, the powertrain (computer, transmission, and transfer case) must be continually readjusted, resulting in the drivetrain performing more work than necessary and finally failing.

Here’s Why Your AWD Vehicle Needs Four Tires When One Is Damaged

In the event that you have damaged one tire on your all-wheel-drive car and have taken it to a repair shop or tire shop, do not be startled if you are told that you require four new tires rather than just one to replace the damaged tire. The most common explanation for this is a problem with your all-wheel-drive system. Read this related article: Here’s Why Your Tire Can’t Be Fixed When one of your tires is damaged, you’ll need four new tires for several reasons. Normal wear is one of the most obvious reasons why you can require four new tires when you only have one damaged one when you take your car to the shop.

  1. Every tire is equipped with wear bars.
  2. A mechanic can also measure the tread depth with the use of a tread depth tool.
  3. Second, when one of your tires is damaged, you’ll need four new tires.
  4. Transfer cases and differentials are used in all-wheel drive cars to transmit power from the front to the rear and from side to side.
  5. The differentials and transfer case attempt to compensate for this by rotating one tire slightly slower than the other tire with more tread in order to match the rotation speed of the tire with more tread.
  6. In this case, rather than merely replacing the damaged and unrepairable tire, it is necessary to replace all four tires.
  7. If you need to change a tire, see your owner’s handbook for information on how many tires you will require.
  8. What Do the Experts Have to Say About Replacing Four Tires Rather Than One?

A larger than 1/4″ difference in diameter between two tires on the driven axle of a 2WD vehicle or between the four tires on an AWD vehicle will overburden the mechanical and or electronic differential that connects the two tires – some manufacturers, like Porsche, are even stricter at 3/32″, so the definitive answer is always to consult your owner’s manual.

  1. In light of the fact that the problem is that one new tire has higher tread depth than the remaining three worn tires, Tire Rack has devised a solution.
  2. You may be able to save money by only purchasing one new tire.
  3. Also, obtain complete size, brand and model information from the current tires before contacting Tire Rack.
  4. When it comes to automobile maintenance and repair, tires are one of the most expensive components to replace or fix.
  5. John Gorehamhas been a member of the New England Motor Press Association for many years and is a recovering engineer.
  6. Following the completion of his mechanical engineering degree at Northeastern University, John went on to work with automotive component makers, the semiconductor business, and the biotechnology sector.

You can follow John on TikTok@ToknCars, on Twitter, and on LinkedIn, where you can also see his professional qualifications.

Matching Tires on Four-Wheel Drive & All-Wheel Drive Vehicles

(Read the article in Spanish.) It is especially beneficial on loose or slippery conditions such as sand and dirt, as well as on wet, icy, or snow-covered roads, for four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive cars to be able to distribute the engine’s horsepower among their four tires. It is vital to understand, however, that in order to transfer this additional power, the driveline of a four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive vehicle mechanically joins the tires, allowing them to function in unison. In order to accommodate for temporary changes in wheel speeds when the vehicle rounds a curve or spins a tire, four-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive cars are fitted with extra differentials and/or viscous couplings.

” When you use “matching” tires, it implies that all four tires are the same brand, design, and tread depth as the other three.

In part, this is due to the fact that various diameter tires roll a varying number of times each mile as a result of the differences in circumference between them.

Let us take the case of two 225/45R17-sized tires, one brand new with its original tread depth of 10/32-inch and the other with just 8/32-inch of residual tread depth, as an illustration of how various tire diameters might arise from tires that have been worn to different tread depths.

The identical tire with 8/32-inch of remaining tread depth is determined to have 1/8-inch of remaining tread depth “the diameter of 24.84″, the circumference of 78.04”, and the number of times it rolls each mile are all smaller than the average While the difference of 1/8 is significant, “The difference in overall diameter may not appear to be significant; yet, the consequent 4 rotations per mile differential can put a constant strain on the tires and the vehicle’s driveline.

  • Obviously, the wider the disparity in the circumferences of the tires, the higher the resulting strain will be.
  • When you use “matching” tires, it implies that all four tires are the same brand, design, and tread depth as the other three.
  • Vehicles with all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive might have instant drivability issues if their tires are mismatched or their inflation levels are incorrect.
  • While driving, some all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive cars may have axle windup or binding, which can be dangerous.

Some four-wheel drive cars (either manual or electronic shift) equipped with a two-wheel drive mode may be unable to shift “on the fly” into 4×4 Auto or 4×4 High when traveling at high speeds on the highway.

Rotating Tires

Tire rotation is important because the front and rear tires of all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive vehicles perform different tasks when accelerating, braking, and cornering. It is also important to maintain equal treadwear on all of the vehicle’s tires in order to reduce the possibility of driveline stress. As soon as the vehicle’s initial tire rotation is completed, the matching road wheel and full-sized spare tire should be integrated into the vehicle’s tire rotation pattern. Because of this, all five of the vehicle’s tires will be able to share the task and wear at approximately the same pace.

It is possible that the spare tire will not match the tread depth of the four worn tires on the ground if it is not integrated into the vehicle’s tire rotation pattern when it is called into duty.

Replacing Pairs of Tires or Individual Tires

For drivers of four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive cars who are changing pairs or individual tires on their vehicles, there are a number of suggestions that have been made. The rolling radius and circumference of all tires should be the same for all vehicles, according to some car manufacturers, while others indicate that all tire circumferences should be within 1/4- to 1/2-inch of one another. Other car manufacturers recommend that all four tires be within 2/32-, 3/32-, or 4/32-inch of each other in terms of relative remaining tread depth, or within 30 percent of each other in terms of tread depth.

Before purchasing pairs or individual tires for all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive cars, drivers should consult their vehicle’s owner’s handbook or call the dealership’s service department to determine the unique specifications of their vehicle.

Matching Tires by Shaving Them to Maintain Equivalent Tire Tread Depths

In the event that one tire is required to be withdrawn from service while the other three tires have already worn down to two-thirds to one-half of their original tread depth, what should the driver do? It is possible to experience drivability issues or costly driveline damage with only changing one tire. The cost of replacing the other three partially worn tires, as well as the damaged tire, is much more than the original cost. In order to match the tread depth of the replacement tire to the tread depth of the partially worn tires that will remain on the vehicle, Tire Rack can remove tread rubber from a new tire on a specialized machine that operates as a tire lathe, which can be used to match the tread depth of a replacement tire to the tread depth of the partially worn tires that will remain on the vehicle.

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Tire Rack has provided a tire shaving service since its inception, which has mostly been utilized for prepping competition tires for usage on racetracks.

While shaving tires will provide similar tread depth to minimize driveline stress, they will also better match the traction and handling characteristics of the remaining old tires, which will improve the overall performance of the vehicle.

Some of the manufacturers that Tire Rack now supports have provided suggestions for matching the tires that are currently installed on their four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive automobiles. Additional recommendations from additional Original Equipment Vehicle Manufacturers are now being considered.

Audi As published in their vehicle owner’s manual, “rolling radius of all 4 tires must remain the same” or within 4/32-inch of each other in remaining tread depth.
Porsche Cayenne within 30% of the other tire on the same axle’s remaining treadwear.
Nissan GT-R when replacing less than four (4) tires, each tire continuing in service must have at least 6/32 inch (5 mm) of remaining tread depth.
Subaru Within 1/4-inch of tire circumference or about 2/32-inch of each other in remaining tread depth.

Tread Shaving Profiles

Tires often have circular profiles across their treads, which results in larger depths in the center of the tire and somewhat shallower depths on the shoulders of the tire. In order for one new tire to match the remaining tread depth of used tires that will continue in service on the vehicle, Tire Rack must first shave the tread of the new tire in order to retain the tread profile and relative depths that were present when the new tire was first molded. The circumferential groove, tie bar placement, and shoulder grooves in the shoulder section are all constructed with somewhat differing initial tread depths than the rest of the tire.

As illustrated in the images above, the tire’s circumferential groove has a starting tread depth of 10/32″, an 8/32″ tread depth where the tie bars lift up to stabilize the shoulder blocks circumferentially, and a 9/32″ tread depth in the lateral shoulder groove.

A somewhat more square cut is used on single tires that are being shaved to match existing tires, with the purpose of shaving the least amount of rubber off as possible in order to satisfy the customer’s required tread depth.

Must I Replace All 4 Tires on an All Wheel Drive (AWD) vehicle?

Is there anyone who can provide a definite response as to which choice I should choose? I know what you’re thinking: you need tires that match. Having said that, it is your vehicle, and you must make the decision. I’d want to see all four of them replaced. @Paulster2 also brings up an excellent point, namely that you could shave down a new one to match the old one. Let’s start with one of the more helpful passages from the Tire Rack article that you cite: In order to accommodate for temporary changes in wheel speeds when the vehicle rounds a curve or spins a tire, four-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive cars are fitted with extra differentials and/or viscous couplings.

  • What this implies is that a mismatched tire will not instantly cause your powertrain to malfunction.
  • You will be boiling your differential at highway straight line speeds, rather than handling the differing rotation rates in a relatively slow turn.
  • It’s great that there’s a light, but, to be honest, if you listen closely, you can hear the differential being overworked.
  • Please keep in mind that my car is a WRX with a manual gearbox.
  • In the end, the same reason why you shouldn’t tow an AWD vehicle is the same reason that you should match the tires on the vehicle (instead they should be flat-bedded).

Is one mismatched tire really so drastic? Of course not, that is not the case. It will wear out your differential, generate alarming noises, and have an impact on your driving performance. However, you are still responsible for making the decision.

What If I Replace Just One Tire?

A flat tire has occurred, however it is only one flat. The remainder of your tires are in reasonable condition. Isn’t it true that you just require one replacement tire? No, not at all! Although it may appear to be a basic fix, replacing one tire on your car instead of two or four can occasionally result in unanticipated (and undesirable) repercussions, according to the manufacturer. Find out what these repercussions are and what to keep in mind when it comes to replacing tires.

Reasons to Avoid Replacing Only One Tire

It is normally advised that you change all four tires at the same time in order to get the best possible vehicle control, ride comfort, and road traction. Replacing one tire at a time might create complications down the road since the one tire will have a varied tread depth and, as a result, will have different accelerating, braking, and cornering characteristics than the other tires on the vehicle. Consider the following scenario: Consider the possibility that one of your running shoes developed a hole in the bottom.

Running with one brand new shoe and one old shoe would most likely feel uncomfortable and unstable, and it would be difficult to maintain balance.

Significant wear disparities across tires can have a severe influence on the overall performance and stability of the vehicle.

There are also explicit advice or prohibitions against replacing less than four tires from some vehicle manufacturers.

If YouMustReplace Only One or Two Tires

Perhaps you only have the resources to change one tire because of time and financial constraints. If your tire specialist has examined the current tread depth on your car’s remaining tires and the owner’s handbook, he or she may have concluded that changing one tire is acceptable in this situation. Whatever the cause, here’s how a tire replacement that involves only one or two tires is often carried out.

Front-Wheel Drive and Rear-Wheel Drive Vehicles

When changing a single tire, the new tire is paired with the tire on your vehicle that has the deepest tread depth, unless otherwise specified. The rear axle is then fitted with both tires, which is the last step. It is necessary to replace two tires when the vehicle is equipped with a rear-wheel drive system. Additionally, if only one or two tires need to be replaced, it is advised that the tires be mounted on the back of the vehicle to minimize hydroplaning in wet road conditions.

Four-Wheel Drive and All-Wheel Drive Vehicles

When it comes to four- and all-wheel drive cars, things are a little more complicated. It is possible for even the smallest changes in tire widths on an axle, or between tires on separate axles, to cause a malfunction in the drivetrain.

However, always consult your vehicle’s manufacturer’s guidelines for specific advise regarding your vehicle’s tires before replacing all four of them at the same time.

Staggered Fitment Vehicles

Vehicles with staggered fitment feature wheels that are of a varied size on the back and front of the automobile. Wider and/or higher wheels are often situated on the back of the vehicle, which provides better traction during acceleration while also providing a sportier visual appeal. Vehicles having staggered fitments include the INFINITI G35, Nissan 350X, Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger, and Ford Mustang, to name just a few examples. Following the instructions of the car manufacturer is always the best course of action when replacing one or two tires.

Recommendations That Don’t Fall Flat

It’s not always a smart idea to replace a single tire on your vehicle. Fortunately, thanks to Firestone Complete Auto Care’s range of economical tires and free installation services, you won’t have to worry about changing just one tire anymore! To help you keep firm control of your car, make an appointment with your trusted local tire specialists for repairs and replacements that are Fixed Right, Priced Right, and completed on Time!

replacing tires on AWD cars do you have to do all 4

Take this for what it’s worth: 1. The rates of rotation of the left and right tires on each axle differ. In order to accomplish this, each driving axle is equipped with a “differential.” The spider gear (four helical-cut gears) visible when the differential cover is removed allows the left and right wheels to rotate at various rates, with one side not spinning at all or even rotating backwards. You would not be able to turn a corner on paved roads without scraping your tires or sliding if you did not have differential gears.

The transfer case has a third differential when the vehicle is equipped with all-wheel drive (AWD).

If you still don’t trust me, open up the transfer case and have a look at the third differential.

That was effective in off-road situations (sand, snow, or mud).


On slippery roads, the greatest contemporary automobiles will “cruise control” at high speeds, continuously adjusting the difference between tires on the same axle and between the front and rear axles.

There is absolutely no reason to replace all four tires when only one tire is in need of replacement.

In order to accommodate the crown of the road, the quantity of debris on it, and the fact that all vehicles move left and right, it is necessary for each tire to spin independently and at its own pace.

Please feel free to disregard my advice.

Do any of you think that when a single tire breaks on an emergency vehicle, the entire set of six or ten tires is replaced?

You have complete freedom to do whatever you choose.

I know for a fact that replacing just one tire will not do any harm to a differential, transfer case, or gearbox in any manner shape or form. 7. Tire shaving is not only ludicrous, but it is also wasteful of resources. That’s the end of the narrative.

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