Published: Thursday, September 22, 2011
Tire Safety Tip You Might Not Have Known About
Michael Nischan, CDS, CCSP, is a Risk Control & Safety Consultant with the McCart Group in Atlanta. He offers excellent advice to keep you safer on the road...
It’s always best to replace worn tires well before you end up with “racing slicks,” but sometimes you may find yourself needing to replace only two tires instead of four. So the question is, if you must replace only two tires at a time, do the new tires go on the front or rear axle?
The answer may surprise you… according to Michelin, new tires should always go on the rear axle, never on the front. Michelin says this general rule of thumb is the same for passenger cars, light trucks and SUV’s, and for all drive systems, whether front-wheel, rear-wheel, all-wheel and four-wheel drive alike.
According to Michelin, new tires grip the road more effectively and evacuate standing water more efficiently than worn tires, and this becomes especially important when traveling and braking on wet surfaces. If the front tires have more tread than the rear, the rear will lose their grip and begin hydroplaning first, creating a difficult situation for even a seasoned driver to control.
This is much less likely to occur when the new tires are mounted on the rear. If there is any loss of control from hydroplaning of the front tires, the driver is more likely to feel it in the steering wheel early enough to make the necessary corrections in speed and/or steering to remain in control of the car.
Be sure to review your vehicle owner’s manual to determine what your tire rotation guidelines are. If you rotate them at proper intervals, you may generally need to have all four tires replaced at the same time due to even tire wear. If you have a staggered wheel combination (rear tires wider than the front tires), never let a tire shop put the wider rear wheels on the front – that will adversely affect handling and may result in loss of vehicle control.
Finally, visit the Tire Industry Association at www.tiresafety.com to see a video titled “Passenger Tire Replacement.” The video will begin playing shortly after the page loads.