Misc. tire questions (hyundai accent hatchback 2002)

Okay, so I have a 2002 Hyundai Accent Hatchback. I love this car. I bought it used (with 4,000 miles on it) in 2003. It came with Michelin tires. I figured I probably need new tires (circa 49,000 miles on it), so I asked the dealer to check 'em. They said the front two were good, they should be moved to the back, and put two new ones on the front.

Here are my questions – Should I just get four new tires? Is it okay to just get two? Can I have two different brands? I’m looking at Toyo tires for the new ones. Is it okay to move the front ones to the back?

Thanks in advance for any help.

Hi there, fellow Accent owner!

I am not an expert, but am sharing my experience here due to the fact that we own the same car. Mine is a 96.

It has always been my experience that I need to replace all 4 tires. That could just be them upselling to me cuz I am female. However, one thing strikes me in your explanation. Why did they tell you you should move the good tires from the front to replace the bad ones in the back? Shouldn’t you just be able to replace the 2 in the rear? Maybe it’s something I don’t understand about tires. As I said, I am no expert.

I hope that helps a bit.

You can buy just two if you want to, but the new ones should always be mounted on the REAR of the vehicle. This seems counter-intuitive, but it’s safer that way. You don’t want the rear end to have less traction than the front, because the car will be prone to spinning in slippery conditions. I purchases a set of Toyo tires a few years ago, to replace the original Michelins on my Acura, and I have been very happy with them. It’s OK to mix brands, but make sure the tires at each end of the car match. Two the same on front, and two the same at the rear.

Yes 2 tires is fine on a two wheel drive car. Some all-wheel drive cars must have all replaced at the same time. But yours is fine. To make a correction though, your car is front wheel drive, and your new should go on the FRONT.

Front wheel drive cars do everything on the front, so that’s where the most tread should be. REAR wheel drive cars should have the most tread on the back for traction.

That’s a good plan if you don’t mind stopping facing the direction you just came from. Always, always put the better tires on the back if you are only replacing two. You are better off to replace all four anyway. I would be very careful with this “dealer” if he’s recommending putting the new ones on the front.

that doesn’t make since! your driving wheels wear down faster from tire slip. if you put new tires on the rear of a front wheel drive, when would you rotate?? if the car is in danger of ‘coming around’, those tires are worn out too and also should be replaced. but they aren’t worn out. if they have sufficient tread, they have sufficient tread. it won’t ‘spin around’. you need the most traction on the wheels moving the car. on ‘front’ wheel drive, thats the front!!

i’m kinda lost with ya’lls logic

Drive on ice or snow then you will understand.

Better still, drop by you local tire store and ask them where they install new tires. It’s all about braking, which has nothing to do with which wheels are driving.

For nearly a century folks were smart enough to put the better tires in the front. This is especially true when nearly everyone went to front wheel drive. Then they would rotate for even wear.

The modern trend is to insist the better tires go in the rear, lest you turn your car into an uncontrollable skidding machine. Of course, the tire shop will still insist you need regular rotation every 5000 miles. Hah! Go figure.

Well there again, all your braking is done up front!.. So your suggesting to just burn down your front tires and only rotate when its time to replace the fronts with new? Does having traction in the rain ‘or snow’ with your steering wheel that decides which direction your going not have any relevance? “I can’t steer but atleast I’m not spinning out.” I’m still not following the logic…

Maybe we’re just seeing a difference of the best placement in ice and snow, neither of which we get down here.

At the age of your current tires, You can replace them all. I just put a set of Hero tires on an Echo and we intend to run them through the winter. If you have a Sams Club membership, they will give you an extended coverage plan for as long as you are a paid member. Some other places may do it too. I got the Heros at a VIP parts store. Four tires at a time is the best deal unless it never snows or freezes where you live. If it rains heavily, the extra tread depth is helpful on the smaller tires. Many tire dealers that aren’t named after a big tire company have the cheaper brand of tires. I replaced my tires on the truck with Wrangler AT, at Sams Club. I changed them earlier than “worn out” because I will probably sell the truck in three years and I wanted to be the one who gets the most benefit out of the tires. I’ll have them for three years instead of just two. Why buy gifts for strangers?

In the old days of rear wheel drive we put the best tyres on the back.  Fast forward to front wheel drive and confusion.  The tyre companies and car manufacturers did their homework and found out that the best tyres should be on the back to provide safer conditions under emergency situations, the ones that involve you safety and life. Many people have not gotten out of the 70's and can't understand.  

Really it is better to have control than to have traction. If you want control put the best tyres on the back.

The following is from the official Goodyear site.

When buying just two new tires, should they be put on the front or rear?

When radial tires are used with bias or bias belted tires on the same car, the radials must always be placed on the rear axle. Never mix radial and bias-ply tires on the same axle. When you select a pair of replacement tires in the same size and construction as those on the car, we recommend you put them on the rear axle. A single new tire should be paired on the rear axle with the tire having the most tread depth of the other three.

The theory behind putting the best tire in the rear on FWD cars is thus. A tyoical FWD car has about a 60/40 weight distribution. That means that the front wheels have about 50% more weight on them. More when braking. That added gives the front wheels a significant traction advantage over the rear wheels. Putting the better tires on the rear helps balance the traction front vs. rear. Putting them o the front makes the difference in traction even worse.

Tests at the Michelin Proving Grounds on wet pavement have proven this to be true.

wow – thanks to everyone for the replies and feedback. I will go to the tire place and see what they say. Their pretty inexpensive, so maybe I should just get four new ones, since they’re all about five years old.

This has probably actually left you more puzzled than anything. Safest bet is, buy four tires as your thinking, and get them rotated every other oil change. Then you’ll never deal with wondering where the ones with more tread should go.

I agree that it is best to keep all four tires pretty even and to replace them all at once (hence the recommendations to frequently rotate them, especially on FWD). On RWD cars (I don’t do FWD), I don’t bother with tire rotation because the fronts and rears tend to wear at about the same rate, and I replace all four while they still have a decent amount of tread left.

If I had to replace just two, they would definitely go on the back (of any car) to maximize stability while braking in low traction conditions (including rain). I do not want my car’s rear passing it’s front if I have to brake in a corner.