Tire replacement for car with AWD

I have a Nissan Pathfinder with AWD and before that a Murano with AWD, when the tires started to need replacement, I was told I had to replace all 4 at once otherwise I would ruin the transfer case or worse yet the CVT. I rotate my tires when required, but for budgetary reasons want to only replace one pair at a time. Is this really true?

You will likely get somewhat differing opinions on this issue, but what any of us in this forum might say is not important. The only opinion that really matters is the information provided by the folks who designed and manufactured your vehicle.

I suggest that you take a look at what the Owner’s Manual states regarding this issue.

Transfer case repair or CVT repair compared to price of 4 tires. Why take the chance?

In slippery conditions, your car will handle most predictably if all tires have the same traction, so there’s also a minor safety issue here too.

If you are able to replace one pair without damage, make sure the new tires go in back, also for safety reasons. Most tire shops these days will enforce that, but it’s worth mentioning here anyway.

You should replace all 4 tires or risk expensive damage to the differentials.

If you’ve been rotating the tires, then even the best 2 are close to the end, right? And if the best 2 are pretty worn, you definitely could damage the AWD system. I’d replace all 4.

Generic answer is replace all four. However Nissan specific answer ask on a vehicle specific forum or Nissan themselves. Answer varies between makes and even models within. Subaru automatic replace while others more liberal as awd engages part time not full time like Audi and subaru.

Some AWD systems are very sensitive to different tire sizes. It should be spelled out clearly in your owners manual.

The only way I would trust an ‘it’s ok to replace 2’ answer is if it came directly from Nissan, in the owner’s manual or some other company source. And part-time AWD engages when there’s a difference in tire speed, something guaranteed with different-sized tires, so it could be a problem.

Just an FYI:

When it comes to AWD, some vehicle manufacturers put tire replacement notes in their owners manuals and some don’t - AND WORSE - some don’t put in notes that should. I truly do not understand this, but it seen enough owners manuals to conclude that this is an area frequently neglected by vehicle manufacturers. Updates and factually correct information don’t seem to find their way into owners manuals on a timely basis.

At least Nissan’s customer service telephone number should be in the owner’s manual. @Stanzie, you might also look at their site on line and see if you can email or chat with a Nissan representative.

I strongly agree with those saying to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation, which is likely in your owners’ manual. The manufacturer knows your vehicle’s needs better than anybody else on the planet… including us.