Replacing a tire

Hi all,

I need to replace one of my tires, which tore recently when I was parking the car and didn’t notice a piece of iron jutting out from the ground. Since it’s only one tire that needs replacing, I wanted to know if the tire:

  1. Should be the same make as the other tires.
  2. Should be tube-type like the other tires.
  3. Should it have the same tread pattern as the other tires (I’m not sure if this is possible)

Will be most grateful for some advice. Thanks in advance.

What vehicle is this? Some all-wheel-drive (AWD) must have matching-diameter tires or the AWD mechanism will be damaged.

If your vehicle is not AWD, you will not have this problem. But it is still best to match the tread pattern as closely as possible

I think that jesmed1 covered it very well, and I agree that the only major concern would be if the OP’s car has AWD.

While it is not essential to have the exact same tread pattern on all 4 tires of a FWD or RWD car, the OP should be aware that handling/traction could be…unpredictable…with tires of differing tread patterns/brands/models.

Aside from wondering about the make and model of the vehicle, I also have to wonder…
Tube-type tires?

The tires on non AWD cars should be replaced in pairs with similar tread design and life as the others. Why in pairs ? For the exact same reason as AWD needs four. The front differential gears with tires of different size tread were on the same working axle differential will work much harder and wear out faster. So, if I were on a budget and going to replace just one tire, it would be on the rear of a fwd car and on the front of a rwd car. Then, over time, monitor the wear until they all were within 2/32 inch of each other if at all possible, then start rotating. By all means, try and get the same model/make tire as the others. So, you still have the matching tread wear problem but only on the front of fwd and on the rear of rwd.

Ideal world has all four tires closely matched in wear and tread design, regardless of the drive train. But for those on a budget, things aren’t always ideal and replacing all four tires on a two wheel drive car is often a compromise.

I’m really, really curious. Tube type?

"Should be tube-type like the other tires."
Your tires are “tube type”? Tubeless tires became standard equipment on all cars in 1955. How old is your car?

Speaking of your car, can you provide the year, make, model of the car, and mileage on the current tires… as well as the make, model, and size of the current tires?

I’m going to guess that your knowledge of tires isn’t extensive, so I’ve added a link to a site that should be valuable to you. You may find it interesting.

Assuming that you have a two wheel front or rear drive car, simply get a new tire with the same traction rating. The traction rating along with the treadwear and speed ratings are molded on the sidewall of a tire. Some might be aware of the different tread appearance of an alternate brand but most people will not notice. Save yourself from chasing after an identical tire unless it is easy to find at a reasonable price.

There is no need to be concerned with a new tire being slightly larger in diameter than your old tire on the axle equipped with the differential or the other axle for that matter. The new tire must, however, show the same size rating as the old tires. The difference in diameter might amount to 10 tire revolutions per mile. Your differential would easily see that and more when driving on a curving road with exactly equal diameter tires.

If four wheel or AWD, you might need to take more precautions with tire diameter but not always.

As I recall, when tubeless tires first came on the market, flats were occasionally repaired by adding a tube.

Year, make model of vehicle?? Tube type ??? Do you have a spare that matches the other tires?

My 1976 Fiat 128 had tubes. The great thing was I could change the tires myself with motorcycle tire irons.

my bet is this is on a trailer that is pulled. tube type??? whoa.

The difference in our reasoning is this. First, I have never heard a recommendation from a manufacturer, tire distributor, car forum that did not recommend equal diameter and tread wear on the same axle with the same rolling diameter. For one thing, for differences greater then 2/32 inch, the rolling circumference is now sufficient for pulling forces from one side to another to work, regardless of the safety aspect.

Second, and very conservatively, though the differential gears do work every time you turn a corner, for most people, well over 90% of the total mileage driven is nearly straight or very gradual with minor Imperceptive corrections with the differential gears working little if at all on cars set up well and as recommended. Any one with a locking part time truck 4wd understands under what conditions they can drive it engaged and gets that because that is when a center differential would have to work. With rolling diameters are substantially different because of wear greater ( then 3/32 inch recommended by Tire Rack on the same differential axle) , these gears which worked very little are now in constant motion and working, at least 90% more time wise then if the tires matched and the car set up as recommended. The only time they wouldn’t, would be when the turn matched the difference in rolling diameter influence. Obviously everything affects how they work, but you are adding a substantial amount of wear with that small difference alone.

It is the EXACT same reason why most AWD manufacturers recommend similar wear on all 4 wheels. If you are not keeping the car much longer, perhaps it is of no concern. But if you do, it definite becomes a long term wear item that is very expensive to fix. You’ll know when someone isn’t concerned. The differential in time will start talking.

Either replace in pair or all 4. Front wheel drive requires front tires match. Awd requires all 4 match.

If there’s a used tire place nearby you can try and find a replacement with similar tread depth as the other tire on the axle.

For either front or rear, it’s best to have them match each other, left and right. If the other tire is close to new, hasn’t been worn much, then just buying a new replacement tire of the exact same brand/model should be ok. If the other tire is definitely worn, me I’d buy two new tires. You can get very weird things happen in emergency situation when the tires don’t match left/right. The car designers probably don’t test (handling, braking, etc) for that situation either, they assume the tires match left to right.

And one other aspect that hasn’t been mentioned.

In emergency situations, odd tires tend to cause the vehicle to pivot around the odd tire - and the more different the tire is, the stronger this tendency. The problem is that you will not know how bad this is until you have an emergency - and then it is too late.

Good point ! In bio mechanics, it’s referred to as anchoring. You need a post or solid traction to turn off. That is why the rear wheels are more important for turning. The less balanced this traction is, the greater the tendency to skid. Imbalanced traction,one good and one fair, is worse then two fair tires, especially on the same axle.

People here are saying that the traction rating on tires as mandated by government is worthless. What about traction differences due to the weight of a driver only occupied car? Do road surfaces always have identical traction at all four wheels? Motorhomes typically do not weigh the same on both sides. Are pickup drivers warned about balancing the load to insure equal braking on both sides? Worry about mixing tire brands having equal traction ratings is inappropriate in my view.

Agree. All are factors. But in operating a car in an emergency or in difficult conditions, minimizing the number of factors is essential including poor loading. Because we can’t do one thing for safety sake, doesn’t mean we disregard everything else either.

Ha ha ha! Sorry people. I always forget to mention this in the beginning. Perhaps I should just make it part of my signature! I’m from India, where we’re still in the process of catching up to the rest of the capitalist world, ergo till a few years back cars were stilll sold with tube-type tyres and they’re still available in the market.

My car is a Hyundai Atos. It’s a hatchback, FWD, 2005 model. I’m not sure if it’s still being sold in the US. And my spare is as old and worn and with tubes as the rest of the tires.