AWD Tire Replacement

Okay, I’ve had differing opinions on this one. I have an AWD car with 29k miles. One tire needs replacement. If I replace just one tire, will that damage the AWD?

In AWD systems…riding with different height tires CAN damage the AWD system. It’s recommended to replace ALL 4 tires at the same time. Some tire places won’t replace just 1 tire on an AWD system.

Usually it will. There are some parallel universes where it never does. What was that stargate address?

Tom and Ray once advised somebody to find a very similar used tire if just one of them is bad. I guess the challange is to find one.

The only other option I’m aware of, besides the used tire route, is to have a matching new tire cut down (google “tire shaving” in your area) to match the diameter of the old tires, if you can find a tire store that does that. How much tread is left, anyway? What kind of a vehicle?

I’ve seen transfer cases trashed on Explorers with mis-matched tires. Don’t know what system you have.

I thought Explorers had 4wd??

Options available.

If these are OEM tires, and you really, really like their performance (which I haven’t for our Subarus), then I would try an identical used tire or tire shaving. I usually use this as an opportunity to get tires I want with desired performance characteristics.

The answer to your question is sitting in your glove compartment. Just take out the Owner’s Manual and read the information provided by the car’s manufacturer.

Despite all of the well-meaning advice contained in the other responses, the only opinion that really matters is that of the vehicle manufacturer.

I had the same issue with my Subaru. Did a bunch of checking around, the Dealer, friends, car experts, ended up replacing all of them. Preserving my warranty was the main issue

Not always. A relative needed to replace a damaged tire on a 2006 Equinox this week. Was told by the tire stores that they had to replace all four tires. They went to a dealship and was told the same thing. Interestingly, this relative had a friend that works at the GM proving ground in Milford, MI. That person talked directly to the head engineer for AWD vehicles and he laughed! The AWD system is designed to continue normal operations within a tolerance of the tread depth. In other words, AWD functionality would only begin to be compromised if the tire was practically bald! However, when replacing the tire it should be the same brand and size. Forget the shaving stuff. While the tire stores have a corporate policy to replace all four tires, some dealerships will replace them one at a time. A dealership close to the proving grounds said they would replace one tire, no problem. The relative had the proving ground guy call the service department of the dealership he had gone to and the dealer immediately reversed position and replaced the tire. Seems to me that the “tire” people, and possibly some dealers, are more interested in selling tires than providing the correct solution to a common problem.