2 out of 4 tires need to go...but can I do it?

I was told that both side of my driver side tires are nearing the point where replacement was needed, but how do you do that as I was under the impression that you either had to change out the fronts or the backs. If you change out both tires on one side do the two new ones go in those spaces or do you put them on teh front and move the passanger side tire to the back?

I’d consider changing all 4.

You put the 2 new ones on the back. Move the next best 2 to the front.

If you have 4wd or All wheel drive, you need all 4 to be the same.

I have a 2002 Kia Sedona mini van, which I think is just front wheel drive which is why I thought you would put the best two on the front.

The other 2 tires are in great condition and don’t need to be replaced.

This issue has been discussed dozens of time here at cartalk.com. The best tires go on the back. (yes, even if you have front wheel drive.)

Okay…that is good to know. I would have told them to put the new ones on the front…

The best tires go in the back to keep the car from going into a spin if you lose traction. Most tire shops these days will insist on that.

However, it’s not normal for tires to wear in the way you described. Having you been rotating them on schedule? When was your last alignment? Did the tires wear evenly across the tread? I’m suspecting you might need an alignment to go along with the new tires.

I bought the van back in Aug of 2010 with the tires it has. All 4 tires are different makes and the two on the passanger side are in very good condition, the other two not so much. I had a 4 wheel alignment done back in Feb.

Driver front wheel has even wear and is just worn, the back driver side has some wear issues that I was told was due to lack of alignment, which I had done.

So, following the sage advice above…two new tires on the rear…the best of the others on the front…then what? At the first rotation, they’ll be the other way. So the only way, really, is to just replace all 4, right??

Since I stopped buying beaters and started buying cars that (I personally deem) are worthwhile, I’ve only bought 4 tires at a time. I also haven’t had one shredded yet by some unforeseen circumstance, and been faced with that quandary.

4 tires not in the budget at this time, maybe in another 6-8 months, but with winter coming would like to make sure the 2 bad ones are replaced.

Some tires are “directional” and have an arrow on the sideway to show the proper rolling direction for a car moving forward. If your two good tires are non-directional then just put them on the front and the new tires on the rear.

DN: Actually, my comments weren’t directed at you. really, it is good advice, and I’ve given it myself. I was just musing about it a bit. Every rotation scheme I’ve seen (excluding the 5-tire, spare included version) moves the rear wheels to the front and vice-versa. Obviously, for even wear and long life, it’s best to rotate your tires. I guess getting two more tires, not spending too much, making it a few months and then getting all four sometime down the road? Leqave them where they’re installed until then, I guess. I don’t have the answer, but none of them seem to be too cost effective (to me, anyway).

I haven’t even checked my spare, it’s “under” the car and I have never had to get it out but figure this might be a good time to get it out and check it.

…especially since it could be flat.
Do you really want to find out that the spare is flat on a cold, wet night?

Spare tires should be checked at least twice a year for proper inflation, otherwise you are likely to wind up with an unwanted surprise at an inconvenient time.

Going Against The Grain:
This Is Part Of The Reason That I Don’t Rotate (Revolve, Actually) Tires. Besides Being Totally Unnecessary On Our Vehicles (Tires Wear Evenly In Pairs). Try “Reading” What The Worn Tires Are Telling You After You’ve Been Switching Them Around, Should A Problem Develop.

I guess it’s necessary on some vehicles because they wear tires unevenly (poor design, poor maintenance), but I’ve not found that to be the case. I replace tires in pairs or all four.

Also, because of the weight/balance/handling of our cars I don’t put new tires on the rear-end. I put them on the front when the fronts wear out. In hundreds of thousands of miles this has never caused a problem and the best tread up front on the drive wheels is better for half the year’s foul driving conditions.

Here again, some cars have squirrelly handling and this may not work as well on those. I worked at a car dealer once (twice) and drove some kind of a Nissan and the back end tried passing the front end, even on dry roads.


I also feel any way you cut it, you may have some imbalance even doing it the way everyone rightfully suggests, even with a two wheel drive car. Some tire is going to have to rotate opposite the way it has. In a FWD car with extreme wear patterns in one direction on front, you can give it a shot but I would be prepared for a little vibration problem if you don’t replace all 4. But, you can get away with a lot if you don’t often drive in snow though. If your tires are original, spare is unused and you can buy one tire identical to it, why not and put a worn in as the spare…
From what I have read, if the tire tread differences are less then 2/32 inch, there is little to worry about.

BTW, it may be worth it to start taking corners a little slower .