Mixing types of tires

I have a 2005 toyota Matrix with front wheel drive. My front tires are bald but my rear tires are still in pretty good shape (I did the penny test). I want to get a better brand of tires that were put on there originally but i can only afford 2. is ity ok to mix brands of tires? Will it cause a problem?

Generally speaking, mixing tire brands is not a good idea, even on a 2wd vehicle. But, in your case, anything is preferable to driving with bald tires. Those bald tires are a safety hazard and you are subject to being ticketed for failure to maintain your vehicle/defective equipment if a police officer sees the condition of the tires. Even if you are not ticketed, this safety hazard poses a risk to other motorists who are driving near you, and it would be irresponsible of you to continue to drive your car with those bald tires.

I urge you to have the “pretty good” rear tires moved to the front and to have new tires placed on the rear, a.s.a.p. This is in accordance with the protocol of all tire manufacturers, who recommend that the better tires be placed on the rear on a vehicle with front wheel drive, like yours.

By all means, replace that bald pair and do so with whatever brand you wish. It should not cause a problem if front and rear tires have the same general properties.

Well mixing can cause handling problems under emergency conditions.  The rule to reduce that is to make sure you keep the best tires on the rear.  Yes I said the best on the rear.  In the event of an emergency condition, you want to keep the back from loosing traction and swinging around to the front.  You will have a far better chance of driving out of trouble with the best tyres on the back.

Now for future reference.  There is a procedure called tyre rotation that keeps the wear about even.  That way don't don't have either problem.

There’s no doubt that there’s always something new to learn. I have driven 1.6+ million KM in my driving career and always kept the best rubber on the front (hydroplaning and all that) I am absolutely amazed to hear that the best goes to the rear. I guess my thought process ran in that direction because the very act of rotation automatically puts the best rubber up front.
In my case the rule never affected me much anyway because I always rotate the tires and discard them well before the wear markers show.

The issue applies to FWD cars and pronounces itself in slippery conditions(ice/snow/slush) or an emergency maneuverer (braking suddenly) where FWD cars have a tendancy to lick out the rear end. You want your best tires on the rear to keep this kicking out from happening.

If your driving career involved commercial trucks, you have a different set of rules. For commercial trucks, the DOT says that minimum tread depth for steering tires is 4/32", while the minimum tread depth for all other tires is 2/32". Knowing that, many professional drivers apply the same rule to their cars. The new thinking with cars is that if you are in a skid, you can turn the front wheels into the skid to regain traction in the front, while having more traction in the tires that don’t turn will help you regain control of the car. So, with a car, if you have a choice between better traction in the front or in the rear, having it in the rear might actually help you regain control after you have lost it. This holds true whether the car is front wheel drive or rear wheel drive.

If you only have the money for two tires, you should be fine. Just replace two now and the other two as soon as you can afford to. As long as you drive sensibly, you should be fine.

I too recommend that you get the two bald tires replaced with two new tires that are as close to the originals as you can. And, as VDC said, the new tires should go on the rear. In a typical FWD car the weight distribution is about 60% front, 40% rear, meaning that the fronts has 50% more weight on them, meaning more traction. Putting the new tires on the rear is intended to help offset that imbalace in traction.

the 5th video pertains to FWD vehicles. While it may not be related to your question, it does show why the new ones should be on the rear.