CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Seeking Tire Advice

Hi,

I just got a 2009 Mitsubishi Galant with about 20,000 miles. Three of the tires are the original Yokohamas that came on it with alot of tread left. However, the front passenger tire is an oddball - an Ensign with a different tread pattern. It also has alot of treadwear left.

Am I correct in thinking that I should not be driving around with one odd tire? I am debating whether or not to get all new tires, or maybe just replace the front two?

I hate to throw out perfectly good tires…at the same time, I do not want to do any damage to the car.

Any suggestions?

I would rotate the tires, putting the oddball on the rear, and drive the car until all 4 need to be replaced. If you have $450 burning a hole in your pocket, replace all four. If you just buy 2, you will ALWAYS be driving on mismatched tires…So keep what you have or buy 4 new ones.

Since this car is FWD, rather than AWD, you can get away with replacing just two tires, rather than 4. However, the difference in traction between the new tires and the old ones can produce some tricky handling characteristics, particularly when driving in rain or snow. As a result, you will be safer if you replace all 4.

Related to this issue, if you replace just two tires, the new ones are supposed to go on the REAR wheels, with the old ones moved to the front. This is the standard practice advocated by all of the major tire manufacturers. A reputable tire dealer will follow that dictate, but some tire dealers do not, unfortunately.