I have an all wheel drive 2004 Santa Fe. Do I need to replace all 4 tires or can I just replace the front ones. My mechanic tells me that I have to replace all four or I will mess up the transfer case.
You might want to consult the owner’s manual about this. Many AWD vehicles require four matching tires to avoid damage. Subarus are particularly sensitive to this.
I can tell you this firsthand; the cost of damage to the drive train from NOT having matching tires makes the price of two more tires look like pocket change.
Been there, done that. Never again.
By the way, if you decide to buy just two tires, they should be mounted on the REAR, not the front. Counterintuitive, I know, but correct.
I believe your Santa Fe does require the same size (wear) on all four wheels. I suggest you take a look in your owner’s manual, it should be in there. Not doing so on a car that needs it can be very expensive.
BTW if you don’t have your Owner’s Manual, I suggest buying one (search on the Internet) as there is a lot of important information in them Information you need.
Do you have the owner’s manual? It will tell you whether or not you have to replace all 4 tires at once. Some AWD systems don’t need to have 4 identical tires (e.g. my '99 Honda CR-V), but I can’t speak for your Santa Fe. Your manual should tell you.