Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Should the best tires kept on the rear for my minvan?

I had my last 2 oil changes with tire rotation service done in a nearby Merchant’s Tire & Auto Centers in Apex, NC. I suspected they didn’t rotate my tire the first time, but because I didn’t mark my tires, I don’t have a prove. The second time, I marked the tire and find out they didn’t rotate my tire when I get my car back.

When I ask the reason, the service manager there told me they were helping me to get the best traction for safety by keeping the best tire in the rear for my minvan. Is his claim true? Or is he just trying to cover up his fault? I thought all front wheel drive cars should have the best tires in the front to keep the best traction for safety.

Now I really suspect they used the same reason for not doing tire rotation the first time, because now at only little above 20k miles, my Nissan 2008 Quest has one pair of tire with near 2-3/32 of treat leave and the other pair still have around 7-8/32.

If this is their fault, what should I do and where should I file my complaints?

Thank you.

Yes. The best tires should always be on the rear. I completely missed the 2/32 part of your post. You need to replace those tires because hydroplaning is a real possibility. The new tires will need to go on the rear.

The best tires belong on the back on any type of car. If the back end loses traction, the car will spin out and the average driver will almost certainly crash. If the front end loses traction, the average driver can often recover safely. Most tire shops follow this rule for liability reasons.

If the tires didn’t match the first time, then you’re not rotating the tires enough (or perhaps you’re not keeping them properly inflated).

As for your current tires, although 2/32 is usually the legal limit, most people consider anything near that to be somewhat unsafe in the rain and completely unsafe in the snow.

Once you get into this situation with non-matching tires, it’s a pain to get out. Your first choice is to replace all four tires, even though two of them still have some life left. Your second choice is to get two new tires and have them shaved to match the others. Your third choice is to stop rotation and keep replacing tires in pairs from now on, with the new ones always going in the back, but you can get some tire noise when the tires that have always been in the back are suddenly moved to the front.

Keep best on rear with FWD.

Why? If you have more stopping power on the front and less on the rear in slippery conditions you will stop faster on the front and the rear end can come swinging around causing loss of control. This imbalance is especially pronounced in slippery winter conditions.

Thank you. But now I am confused. For FWD cars, the front tires always wear down faster then rear ones. If keeping the best tires on the rear is right, then should I stop tire rotation at all?

Rotating tires evens their wear, and then there won’t be a “best” pair of tires. They will all be approximately equal, which is the desired situation.

Even traction all around.

That’s why tires should be rotated.

If you rotate them often enough, the difference won’t be significant and you can consider all tires as matching. I probably should have clarified that from the start.

There is a significant difference between 7/32 and 2/32, on the other hand.

Best tyres on the front and you have to hit the brakes, the front tends to stay where it is but the back is not kept from sliding around until it is in the front and you have little or no control.

[b]  Best in the back![/b]

The theory about keeping the best tires on teh rear for better traction is true.

Most vehicles today have roughly 60% of their weight inn the front and 40% in the rear. That means that the front tires have about 50% more weight on them. More weight means more traction. Add to that the fact that when braking weight transfers to the front, exascerbating the difference.

Putting the tires with the best traction, the new ones, on the front would exascerbate the difference even more. Putting the better tires on the rear tends to compensate for the difference.

The critical place that this makes a difference is in curves, like off ramps and on ramps. Having the least traction on the rear can cause you to lose traction there and spin out an a speed that your senses are telling you should be perfectly safe. Most of your sense of traction comes, after all, from the steering wheel.

Test at tire “proving grounds” have proven the theory valid. I’ve seen the tapes.

Now, why the heck do you keep going back to a place that you suspect is cheating you? You have no recourse regarding what has or has not been done, but you do have the option of going elsewhere. I would.

They should have informed you the first time that your tread was down that far in the fronts. Being a tire store and NOT trying to sell you tires is almost unheard of. Check out, find a pair of tires you’d like put on your car(preferably the same tires that’s on the rear), then print out the webpage and take it into the shop and ask if they’ll meet or beat that price for you or throw in free lifetime rotations for the tires