3 old tires, and 1 new one - potential to damage my transaxle?

Hello, I have a 2006 Toyota Rav 4 with 56K miles. I have a screw in one of my tires, and when I brought it in to my local tire shop, they said my tires were too bald to repair it. I have a spare (full-size) on where the damaged tire was. The person at the tire shop told me that if I left things the way they are (3 older tires, and 1 newer spare) that I could damage my transaxle which would cost $6000 to repair. Is this true? Thanks in advance for your help.

Deb King

Bristol, CT

Is it all wheel drive or front wheel drive? Which axle is the spare on? Are the other 3 tires nearly bald, too?

So change the four original tires and put the full-size spare back in the trunk. Rocketman

I think that the quoted dollar amount for that repair is very much inflated, but what was stated about the damage that will be caused by mismatched tires is true–as long as this RAV is an AWD model.
If it is FWD, there is no problem with mismatched tires.

If you would like to confirm this, all you have to do is to open your glove compartment, take out the Owner’s Manual, and read the information on this topic.
If you want to be dollar wise, rather than penny foolish, you will buy a new set of tires.

(Editorial Comment: Exactly what do people think is actually contained in an Owner’s Manual since so few people seem to read these incredibly valuable little books that sit, unused, in glove compartments?)

The owner’s manual should have information about the importance of matching tires. On some AWD vehicles this is critical and damage can occur if the tires are not all very close in circumference.

If the damaged tire was bald aren’t the other three bald, too?

I would suspect that since the spare is full-size, it’s an AWD.

If your tires are that bald a tire shop will not repair, save up and replace the four tires as a matched set. Price shop using internet like tirerack.com and local installer and call multiple tire places. You can get good bargains in tires.

Just think of the flat as a push in the right direction.

If you mount the spare wheel on the rear of vehicle you likely will incur very little if any damage to the AWD. Basically a RAV4 for better or worse is a glorified FWD vehicle that kicks on rear wheels when it sense the need to kick the rear wheels. AWD here works on differential in wheel speed and that single tire will emmitt an oddball parameter. The question is it enough to kick on the AWD more, who knows.

If your Rav is AWD you need all four tyres to match. Otherwise you need the two front close to each other and the two back tyres close to each other with the best two on the back ( Yes the best on the back, it is a safety issue.)

If they are as bad as it appears, none should be used on the car and they all should be replaced. If you have bald tyres on the front you can hydroplane in the rain and if you have old tyres on the back you can loose control in an emergency stop and end up looking where you were and not where you are going.

Tyres are important for safe driving.