1 or 2 new tires

How about this. Buy two new and put them on the front, rotate the existing fronts to the rear, and replace the existing 9 year old spare with the good existing 2 year old rear. Even if you need to get a full-sized rim for that tire, you’ll be doing yourself a big favor replacing that old spare. And find a shop that offers road hazard and lifetime balance and rotations with tire purchase. My shop doesn’t charge extra for that coverage and gives me great service to boot.

I think @BustedKnuckles plan is great. You’ll end up with the two new tires on the most important wheels, both pairs will match perfectly, and you’ll have a good spare. In a few years the back tires will be shot and you can do the same thing again. Either that or all four will be shot and you get the chance to have four matching tires.

The expert advice is that no matter which end of vehicle has drive wheels the purchase of only 2 new tires says put them on rear of vehicle. The OP has indicated they know this.

I had to be at a town 30 miles away for a meeting at 8:30 in the morning. The evening before I found I had a low right rear tire on my fwd Chevrolet Uplander. I pumped it up, but realized I had a problem. I got up early the next morning, pumped up the tire and went to a Big O tire store that opened at 7 a.m. and was less than a,mile from my house. The tire had a screw in it that was too close to the sidewall to be repaired. I bought a new Big O tire for that wheel. The other tires on the Uplander were Goodyear. I didn’t notice any difference in handling with mismatched tires on the back. I was going to return to Big O and buy a matching tire for the other rear wheel, but I delayed the purchase until. I needed
tires all around.

Thanks for all the comments.

Had one new tire replaced at Discount Tire yesterday. Same exact tire as all the others. Yes the tires with the most tread go on the rear and that’s where this one is. The other rear tire is 2/32 less than this new one and I’m pretty sure we will not notice a difference. In fact, I will be taking a 4 hour trip tomorrow and am certain to hit some storms. If I notice any difference in handling I will report it.

The one new Michelin with installation and tax was $150. In a couple years we will replace all 4 again.

Great …sounds like you make a good choice that is both economical and safe.

Sounds like you made a good choice.

On a related note, for about 10 years, my cars always had 4 different sized tires and with different tread depths. That was all in my younger years when I could not afford new tires, when I would install whatever free used tire I could find, and when I drove much faster then I do now.

I’m not advocating anyone do as I did, but I never had a problem.

I'm not advocating anyone do as I did, but I never had a problem.

I’d be surprised if anyone here can report to personally having handling problems with different tread depths.

Happy to report that I noticed no difference in handling with the one new tire on our car. Even on some windy mountain roads during a downpour in Arkansas.