Perhaps in your experience as a driver, you might have wondered whether your pair of tyres that are in better condition, should be mounted on the front, or the rear axle of your car. If so, you’re not the only one!
Many drivers believe that new tyres should be fitted to the front of their vehicle and we can understand why they’d come to this conclusion, it seems a logical assumption, as you’d think that new tyres on the driving wheels would be safer for you and your passengers.
We’ll tell you why...
Most vehicles are equipped with the same size tyre at every wheel position. Ideally, all of these tyres should also be of the same type and design, have the same tread depth, and be inflated to the pressures specified by the vehicle placard or owner’s manual. This combination best retains the handling balance engineered into the vehicle by its manufacturer.
However, due to a front-wheel-drive vehicle’s front tyres' responsibility for transmitting acceleration, steering, and most of the braking forces, it’s normal for them to wear faster than rear tyres. Therefore, if your tyres aren’t rotated regularly, they will typically wear out in pairs rather than in sets. And if the tyres aren’t rotated at all, likely the rear tyres will still have about half of their original tread depth remaining when the front tyres are completely worn out.
Since the front tyres of a passenger car usually wear out faster, the dealers might tend to replace the worn-out front tyres with new ones.
We believe that for experiencing the best ride and handling, it is advised to have all four tyres as the same ones and in the same condition. This can be achieved by periodic tyre maintenance including proper tyre rotation. However, if you need to change only two tyres, you should put both of the new Bridgestone tyres on the same axle as it minimises the difference in handling between the right and left sides of the vehicle and minimises the pull while driving or while applying brakes.
However, if it is rainy season or you drive on wet roads very frequently, the new tyres should be in the rear position and the partially worn-out tyres should be moved to the front. New tyres on the rear axle help the driver to maintain control on wet roads since the tyres with deeper tread are better at resisting hydroplaning.
Hydroplaning occurs when the tyre cannot process enough water through its tread design to maintain effective contact with the road. In moderate to heavy rain, water can pool up in road ruts, depressions, and pockets adjacent to pavement expansion joints. At higher speeds, the standing water often found in these pools challenges a tyre’s ability to resist hydroplaning.
If the rear tyres have significantly less tread depth compared to the front tyres, the rear tyres will begin to hydroplane and lose traction on wet roads before the front tyres and vehicle start sliding even if you try to quickly release the acceleration pedal in order to slow down and this may make it more difficult for the driver to regain the control causing a complete spin out casing Oversteer.
On the other hand, if the front tyres have significantly less tread depth than the rear tyres, the front tyres will begin to hydroplane and lose traction on wet roads before the rear tyres. While this will cause the vehicle to understeer as the vehicle wants to continue driving straight ahead, understeer is relatively easy to control because releasing the acceleration pedal will slow down the vehicle and helps the driver to maintain control.
The essential thing: Keeping a check on the tyre wear For your safety and optimum performance, make sure to have enough tread on all tyres of your car and replace them when the tread wear indicators are exposed. In any case, never use the tyres which are worn beyond the treadwear exposure. The use of even one such tyre is a big safety risk.
One important note though: The above tips are for car tyres. For buses, always make sure the best tyres are always at the front (Called steer axle). The reason is that in the rear (Or drive axle) each side has a set of two tyres. In an unfortunate case of any one tyre damage or burst in the rear, another one from the pair can manage the balance.
In the case of trucks, the front and rear tread designs are quite different and hence it is not possible to rotate between front and rear.