2 new tires; Put on front of rear?

I have a front wheel drive Chevrolet Prizm. I am replacing at least 2 tires, but probably only 2 due to low recent business volume and cash flow. So, when talking to FireStone (when I had the car in for other things. I’m not buying them @ Firestone b/c they’re too pricey for the products they sell), they said I should put the 2 new ones on the back. My car is front wheel drive and due to the new tires having (presumably) the best traction, wouldn’t they be best on the front? Where should I have them put the 2 new tires? Thanks

Tire manufacturers now believe (and many require) that the new tires go on the rear, so the Firestone guys are correct in this regard. Rotate your best old tires to the front.

Your car has about 60% of its weight in the front and 40% in the back, resulting in 50% more weight on the front tires than the rear resulting in more traction. Current thinking is that you should put the best tires on the rear to help offset this traction advantage and provide better balance.

This topic is under controversy. Front tires still wear faster than the rear ones do, just as they’ve always done. By always insisting the best tires remain on the rear axle you give up the traditional advantage of tire rotation to ensure even wear. You would then forever be replacing your tires in pairs rather than sets of four.

It is true the tire manufacturers have demonstrated there may be a greater tendency to skid with new tires on the front rather than the rear, but they have only been able to show this using extremely well-worn tires of the rear axle. So if you have good rubber on all four corners it really doesn’t which set, front or rear, is newer. Not in terms of traction, anyway.

So the tire manufacturers (on the advice of their legal division) are currently suggesting that the new pair go on the rear. But the tire stores still recommend regular rotation. You can’t have it both ways; go figure!

Steve–The OP already told us in her original thread (wobbling wheel after hitting curb) that she has bald tires. So, in this case, she would indeed have “extremely well-worn tires” on the rear axle if she did as she wished. As everyone has correctly stated, the Firestone store is following the protocol of all major tire companies, and I hope that the OP has the faith necessary to accept that the tire companies are more knowledgeable than she and we are, regarding traction and loss of traction.

I have to admit that while I’ve seen films of the wet track testing done at the Michelin Test Track on this subject, with only 50% of the tread removed (they skim it off on one of those truing machines), I too have had reservations. Especially with the advent of ABS. I’m wondering what if any effect ABS would have on the testing.

But I have to go with the available data at this point even if it feels weird.

It’s a CYA issue. FWD cars tend to “push”, that is understeer. If you put the new tires on the front, they tend to REALLY push. By putting the new ones on the back, handling problems are minimized, “come-backs” are minimized, law-suits are minimized and tire sales are maximized…

So Caddyman, where do you mount the new pair on your car(s)?

By the way, I’m not a “she”, by any means… Trust me on this fact as when I went to the restroom 3 minutes ago, although there was no question, I confirmed that in fact, I am a man! So, where you get the “she”, I have no clue, but I am a man, not a woman or girl. Thank you! Simple and hopefully innocent mistake, but I am a guy. I will probably let 'em put the 2 new ones where they want, but since I’ll probably be going to a different place than planned, I will probably now be getting 4 tires, not just 2. However, the advice and opinions given here, were highly valuable as that anybody should question a salesmans (which is basically a live commercial on legs) given opinions/advice in “why?”. So, I appreciate all your thoughts, but if I get 4, it doesn’t matter and if I get two, well, I firmly believe the manufacturer probably knows a slight (ton more) than I do, about tires!

Forgot to mention, he probably didn’t read my last post! Not everyone goes through every post, only the ones they find interesting. Knowing I just got off work, I had no reason to go through every post and I basically never do. However, I am sure that there are people with an encyclopedias worth of knowledge, that do go through every post! Those are the true “mentors of the group”, but we have to be selective about who those people truly are! I am not one of them as I don’t know a ton about the mechanical aspect of cars! However, I do study them through sources like Car and Driver, MotorTrend, etc! But, those have nothing to do with the mechanical aspect of a car! Lastly, the most important magazine I read would have to be Consumer Reports because, Consumer Reports has true, proven, knowledge of a cars reliability. Due to this fact, it is a good source to use before ever buying a car! That’s just one more reason though (that I don’t know much about the mechanical aspect of a car), why I don’t read every post, because I just can’t truthfully help on most of them and if I felt like I could, I would probably be wrong!

Wouldn’t better tread on the front tires with a FWD car REDUCE understeer?

I agree with Jad, wouldn’t it?

If you ask it here, they go on the rear.

Street Tires deliver their BEST traction when they are almost bald, on dry pavement that is…Brand new “All Season Radials” will understeer considerably worse on the front of a FWD automobile than say the same tire half worn…

On simply wet pavement, the difference is less noticeable since most people slow down anyway…On icy or snow-packed roads, the new tires will of course have a better grip. So the safe bet is to put the new ones on the BACK, insuring that the handling will be safe and predictable, with little tendency to “spin out”…BUT, say the existing pair had 2/3 of the tread remaining, then I think you could get away with putting the new ones on the front without any problems. If it turns out the car drives “squirrelly”, you can always rotate them to correct the problem.

As for myself, I always buy my tires 4 at a time and I spend a considerable amount of time making the purchase, doing my homework. I do most of my driving at high speed on dry roads, so I shop for tires made for that purpose. They are usually labeled “Touring/Performance”.

Well, you’ve got it right about where not to buy tires, but you should have no doubt that Firestone has it wrong about where to put new tires. Definetly put the new tires on the front even if you have to rotate the tires with the most tread (Before buying new tires)on the back. On your front wheel drive the front tires do the powering and steering - the rear tires are just along for the ride. You should never have to buy four new tires at a time unless you have a four wheel drive car.

Beefy, it is not just Firestone. Every manufacturer and authority recommend putting the best tyres on the back. Times and cars and tyres have changed. I will put my faith in the hands of those groups (manufacturers and government) that have test tracks and who study accident statics, rather than follow the buba theory of putting them on the front.

Here are a couple if interesting links:



Joe has it Beefy…Two cars with abs trac control etc…they still can’t make up for the traction difference between front and rear. If safety is a concern, and you can come up with the cash flow…4 tires anew and rotate faithfully. In the long run, it’s actually cheaper. Remember too, with inferior tires on front, which you’ll have to do, you’re loosing most of your braking. A loose-loose if you don’t replace all four`. Best on rear if you must,still a safety compromise IMO.

Beefy, you write well but always seem to be so “redneckish” and uninformed. I think you’re a plant just to stir the pot, entertaining as well.