Snow Tire Mismatch?

Hi there,

I have 3 snow tires - the 4th had sidewall damage last year and wasn’t salvageable. I have waited too long into the season to find a 4th match and that snow tire isn’t available. So, my question is, can I buy another brand of snow tire of the same size and studless, or do they all need to be the same tire?



You did not reveal the make/model of the vehicle or the number of odometer miles on the 3 “old” winter tires, so the possible answers vary from…

This is not a good idea because of the different coefficient of friction between different brands of winter tires, and the potential to put your vehicle into a spin


This is a very bad idea, due to the expensive mechanical problems that will result from mis-matched tires.

If you will tell us about the vehicle in question, we can tell you which of the above answers is applicable in your case, but you have to bear in mind that it is not a good idea in any event

At the very least buy 2.

Sorry - more info:

Car is a 2008 Toyota Prius

The tires are:

Yokohama Ig20s 185/65 R15 that were used for one season for roughly 2,000 to 3,000 miles in total - I didn’t drive much in the winter, and it was a particularly snowy year in MA so I ended up using public transport most of the time.

Since the Prius is a FWD, rather than an AWD vehicle, the good news is that you won’t cause any mechanical damage with mis-matched tires. However, there will still be a difference in the coefficient of traction from one brand of winter tire to another.

As Mike suggests, it would be a good idea to buy two of the new winter tires, and they should be placed on the rear. Even if this is not as good as 4 tires of the same make and model, it is definitely better than a 3 + 1 approach.

Replace in pairs.