Could different tires front and back cause rear differential failure in 2 days?

Hello, I recently had 2 new tires put on the back of my car (Nissan Murano) and the 2 that were in back were moved to front. 2 days later, my rear differential failed and thedealership is claing that it was the different tires in front and back. Is sucha thing possible in such a short amount of time. Oh - and a maximum of 40 miles were put on care in the 2 days.

It’s entirely possible. Are the new tires the correct size? If you can, post the tire size listed on the door jamb placard and the size(s) on the tire sidewall.

What is the difference in the tires?? Is this a AWD Murano??

I really can’t see how a differential went bad. Sure it’s the differential…not the transmisson/transfercase???

 65Acura:  Inasmuch as the rear diff allows differential movement between the two rear tires only, and doesn't even know what the front tires are doing, how could tires of different diameter front-to-rear cause a rear diff failure?  It could concievably cause transfer case failure in a 4WD, of course, because the T-case is what allows differential movement between the two axles, right?  Can you explain how Berger's tire configuration could cause rear diff failure?  Am I missing something here?

Googling transfercase and tire size you find lots of warnings from various manufacturers, even for same size tires but of different usage depths. Tire dealer wouldn’t sell me a replacement tire, only a full set, due to the potential transfer case disaster to be. To save money and transfer case, I remounted my snow tires prior to trade in, to allow time to make a deal, $50 vs. $500.

You need to get more info from the dealer - while it makes no sense for the rear differential to fail if the two rear tires were identical, the clutch pack that distributes power front to rear appears to be located at the rear differential. That might fail if tire were different front to rear (I don’t know), and its failure might cause a problem with the rear diff., or they may be talking about the clutch failing.

And a transfercase is NOT a differential.

Providing some actual info about the car might help in forumulating a guess.
How many miles on the car?
What were the symptoms?
Were these symptoms present to some degree before the tires were installed or not?
What was your reason for taking it to the dealer?


I don’t know if you’ve picked up on the fact that a lot of folks who post questions don’t know a lot about cars and the way they work.

For example, they might have an idea that there is a differential in cars and that it has something to do with the drivetrain. They might not know that AWD’s have both a front and a rear diff, and they might be clueless that there is something in the center that connects the front and the rears. Sometimes this is called a differential, sometimes it is called a vicous coupling, sometimes this is called a transfercase (even though all three of these are technically different), but the only thing they picked up while listening to the dealer’s explanation of what went wrong was “differential”, since that is something they can relate to.

The fact that a Murano comes in both FWD and AWD - and it wasn’t mention by the OP -should have been a clue that we can’t accept their explanation at face value.

Yes, my bad! I thought it read center differential! I was assuming it was an AWD model. Carry on…

Hi Mike,

In the world of AWD the equivalent of transfer case is mostly called a center differential. The center diff has the role of allowing some slippage between front and rear beyond driving the wheels.

Subaru as a car maker refers to it as center differential.


You may be right…but I can’t read minds…So I can only answer the question they post. If it’s missing information or they are mis-informed…there really isn’t much anyone can do about that. Trying to GUESS what they’re talking about could mean giving them completely wrong information. At least my information was correct based on the facts they gave us.

I agree…HOWEVER…the OP SAID…REAR DIFFERENTIAL…That’s something totally different.

I agree.

Some AWD systems actually house the clutch packs in the rear differential itself.

Basically no simple meaning behind AWD and how it works and the effectiveness thereof. I do know in my Subaru 5mt I get a center diff(no electronics) slitting torque 50/50 normally and a LSD on the rear. It works really well.

This car DOES have a center differential…

I’ll agree the OP could very well have mis-spoke…but as I said earlier…it’s IMPOSSIBLE to know what he said…

Famous Quote:

“You may believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what I said is not what I meant.”

Well all I have to say is that I know of a case at a neighboring tire shop where someone with a murano wanted to replace 1 blown out tire and leave the other 3. They decined to do the work but found another tire shop to do it. 2 weeks later they came back and appologized for yelling at them for not doing it. They needed an new drivetrain with a 10k price tag installed for puting 1 new tire on it.