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Buying tires for 4 wheel drive vehicle

I have a Honda CRV, all wheel drive. Do I need to buy 4 tires when replacing them or just 2?

I suggest you consult the owner’s manual about this. There may be a tolerance for difference in tire diameter or circumference. Some AWD vehicles are more sensitive than others. Since the AWD system on your CRV only works part time, you may be able to get away with buying two.

If you only buy two new tires, they should be mounted on the REAR of the vehicle, not the front. I know this is counterintuitive, but it’s the safe thing to do. Best tires ALWAYS go on the rear, regardless of drive configuration.

Yup, consult your owners manual.

But many tire shops might not go for doing only 2. What if the drive train fails? Would the shop be liable? Maybe - but it would be very easy to convince a judge.

And what if the published tire diameters off ever so slightly?

The absolute safe thing to do is to do all 4. That way you’ll know it was done right and you won’t have to worry about all the hassle of replacing a drivetrain.

When in doubt get 4.

CRV do not have real AWD. They are front wheel drives that occasionally/usually too late quick the rear wheels as needed. You can likely buy a new pair of tires but I highly advise sticking to same size/mode/brand. The owners manual if you have it will spell out the requirements if any.

But many tire shops might not go for doing only 2. What if the drive train fails? Would the shop be liable?

If you have the owner's manual with you, I doubt if there will be a problem.  If you don't and they refuse to do less than four, then thank them for being alert and knowledgeable.

Get 4 tires. Yes the awd in a CRV is not very good (it only transfers about 10% of the power to the rear wheels) you could potentially blow up your drivetrain. Putting anything short of 4 new tires on a awd vehicle will cause the center differential to blow up. It will not be in your owners manual. I work at a Costco tire shop and have seen this mistake made twice. We didnt do the work cause of this problem so the customers went elsewhere. A new center differential costs about $2500 for a Acura Mdx and a drivetrain for a Nissan Murano is $10000. That is from the appoligizing customers themselves. The cost of 4 tires is about $450. My math says be safe and go with the set of 4.

You can do a lot of damage to an AWD system in a very short time. It’s the cheapskate who pays the most.