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Matching tires

My wife drive a Ford Escape SUV with rear wheel drive only. Last year she needed two new tires on the front to pass the state safety inspection.

I had the tire dealer replace them for her with the result she has two new Brand X on the front and two old Brand Y on the rear.

I am told that I must now replace the rear tires and that I must match them with the new Brand X on the front otherwise I’d crate an unsafe condition

I have an opportunity to buy two newbies for the rear at a good price, but am loath to be unsafe.

Can anyone help me out?

A couple of points
-The Escape is either front wheel drive or all wheel drive, not rear wheel drive
-New tires should be put on the rear, old tires moved to the front, for more stable handling
-You can have different brand/age tires, as long as they match on each axle, and they are the same size (if that’s what’s specified) and general type.

Who is telling you that you have to replace the old tires?

Who’s telling you this? It sounds like your wife has been driving with mis-matched tires for a year already. Have there been any problems?

Are you sure it’s RWD? I thought the Escape was FWD or 4WD. In any event, since the vehicle is 2WD it is NOT necessary for all four tires to match exactly. As long as they are the same size you should be fine. The tires should match across each axle, but they don’t have to match front-to-rear.

The only thing I’d argue with is putting the new tires on the front. If you don’t have four matching tires the newest pair should go on the REAR, not the front. This is true regardless of the drivetrain configuration.

If both sets of tires were the same types, such as all season with a standard (not low profile) tread width, I would not worry, since you SUV is rear drive only. For years people drove with snow tires on the back and standard tires on the front.

It’s not wise to mix today’s winter tires and regular summer tires on the same vehicle, since it will affect handling and tires wear.

ON All Wheel Drive vehicles, such as Subarus the tire size and amount of wear is critcal; you would need 4 new tires on such a vehicle.

Who is telling you you “must replace the rear tires”?

Thanx for your reply. My mistake, it’s a front wheel drive.

I was told the miss-matching tire story by a counterman at Mr. Tire so I was naturally suspicious of his info.

I was told that I needed new rear tires at the garage that does the safety inspection. He took me out to the shop and showed me the tread depth gauge and said “You’re good for a while longer, but to start checking tire prices.”