Tire replacment and alignment

Took my 2002 Kia Sedona mini van in this past weekend to have it checked out do to the vibration in the steering wheel and sever left turn in my front end when I let go of the steering wheel. Luckily I found out that it just needs an alignment really bad and 4 new tires as all four have issues. None of the four are in “dangerous” condition but need to be replaced. Problem is the cost to replace all 4 and due the alignment is outside of my budget. I can do the front two and the alignment this coming weekend and replace the other two next month. My question is will not replacing the back two impact on the alignment?

No. It won’t affect the alignment. Put the first two new ones on the back, though, especially if you live in a cold climate where you might see some snowy weather. Then do the front next month. Ask the shop to choose your two best tires to leave on the front until you get to them.

cigroller is correct. Better tires belong on the back. If the front end loses traction first, most drivers can recover from that. If the back end loses traction first, the car will go into a spin and very likely crash.

Even if it’s front wheel drive?


It may be counterintuitive, but all of the major tire companies specify that the best tires (in this case, the new ones) should be mounted on the rear. They have come to this conclusion after years of test-track simulations, in wet and slippery conditions. In fact, many tire shops will refuse to put the new tires on the front as a result of the tire companies’ proviso.

Interesting because when I spoke with the shop on Sat and told them I would probably only go with two this month and two next month he said the best idea with it being front wheel drive and the shimmy in the wheel would be to do the alignment and put the two new ones on the front.

None of us on this website is able to actually inspect your vehicle and the tires, so if you are at a well-trusted, reputable shop with real professionals in it, then you should follow their advice.

That said, if you do have a remaining front end issue that may still be present after an alignment, why subject brand new tires to that condition? If you get a bad wear pattern going on a tire, it is usually not possible to undo it.

As for the general rule of better tires on the rear, in order to maintain control of a vehicle you need to control both the front and the rear. Ask yourself what you have up front to maintain control of the car. You have: a steering wheel, brake pedal, accelerator (which is what makes FWD handy), and a whole bunch of engine/transmission weight sitting over the tires. What do you have in the rear to maintain control? Tire tread. Period.

That is why I said “many tire shops”.

It is always possible to find a tire shop that refuses to follow tire manufacturer guidelines, just as you can probably find a doctor who prescribes medications improperly. However, that does not make that doctor–or that tire shop–correct.

they said the van is in good working order, I took it in and had them do a full inspection on the front end and such because I feared from how it was handling that there was something else wrong. After inspecting my van fully they said they saw nothing wrong outside of bad tires and a needed alignment. I trust this place as they have good reviews on line and I have taken my car to them before and only gotten great service. This time they could have come out and said you need X,Y and Z to get the issue resolved and I would have believed them, so I believe them when they say it’s just tires and alignment.

You will always find people who disagree with “conventional wisdom” - and tires seems to be an area where people can have very strong opinions with very little knowledge.

That said, it can be (and has been) easily demonstrated that new tires should go on the rear.

Advice for the OP? Get the alignment first. Then follow up with new tires as you can - rear ones first. Don’t go too long between steps - a couple of months at the most. And don’t be surprised if the problem doesn’t get fixed until the last pair of tires is installed. It sounds like the alignment screwed up the tires and they are the source of the pull - and while replacing the tires fixes the problem, the alignment is what caused the problem in the first place.

The alignment will take care of the severe pull to the left. It might take care of the shimmy too, but most likely uneven tire wear means the vibration could be a tire problem. Have the current tires balanced again and then evaluate the vibration.

Sometimes a badly cupped tire will be noisy but not produce much of a vibration you can feel. Rotating the current front tires to the back after the balancing can also help. All 4 tires might be getting low on tread, but likely only 1 tire is the source of the vibration. If the offending tire is on a rear wheel you might be OK with it for a while longer.

My dad, who is 96 and grew up in the depression says I should just put on quality “used” tires. He says if you look around you can always find a place that sells good quality “used” tires and almost half of what new tires cost. Right now I am looking at about $69 per tire new and I find it hard to believe I could find “quality” used tires for about $30-40 dollars.

Yes, you “could” find decent-quality used tires for $30-40.
Or, what looks to the naked eye like “quality” could have a damaged carcass as a result of having been jammed into curbs. The problem is that you can’t tell by looking at the tire, and that is why I would hesitate to buy used tires.

However, if it is a choice between the current, very badly worn tires and used tires, I guess that you should opt for used ones.

None of the tires I presently have are badly worn in the sense of loss of tred. All four still have quality tread, but are not rolling smoothly due to the horrible out of alignment my car is in. IF you looked at my tires you wouldn’t think there is anything wrong with them, which is why I am not a fan of buying used tires outside of for a spare tire because of this, my dad did not agree with that view.

With all due respect, I recall that your father wanted to repair a leak in his brake hydraulic system with…duct tape (?)…or plumber’s putty (?) or some other absolutely inappropriate & dangerous way of dealing with a brake fluid leak. Based on his choice of repair methods, it does not surprise me at all to hear that your father disagrees with you on the issue of used tires.

(For everyone else’s benefit, the issue of inappropriate brake hydraulic system repair was posted under one of Bertrand’s other identities. I believe that he has had 3 identities in this forum–for reasons that I don’t understand.)

Yep that was my dad, he actually finally had them fixed professionally and the state where we live keeps giving him a drivers license and he drives. He believes everything has a second life and see’s no reason in buying “new” when you can buy used and get it cheaper.

Over the years, the cost to make tires has gone down - and so has the price. The idea that used tires are a bargain is still prevalent in many people’s minds. The truth is that many people selling used tires are not to be trusted. They are working the margins of the business - here today, somewhere else tomorrow. These folks will sell anything to make a buck.

Don’t get me wrong - there are bargains there, but you have to go through a whole bunch of rocks to find the gems.

If you don’t know what to look for in a used tire, then it would be best to avoid them.

Forty something years ago, I used to buy used tires. At that time I could get a cheap retread for about $6-7, a quality retread for about $13, a cheap new tire for around $16 or a quality used tire for $1 per 1/32’’ tread, or about $6 for a tire with half its tread remaining.

The retreads, either cheap or quality would not hold up to my driving style and the cheap new tires would not last very long and had no grip on the road. The tier place let me pick through the used tires so I always managed to get top of the line matching tires with no defects or prior puncture repairs, I knew what to look for.

Today, no chance, no way would I get a used tire. I’m not rich, but I can afford decent new tires and I take care of them. While I haven’t checked any used tire inventories lately, I got away for using used tires as the quality of used tires seemed to deteriorate and the good ones were getting very rare. Most good tire shops won’t even sell used tires any more.

At one time, I did get some good deals at a new car dealership, people would buy a new car but did not like the tires that came on them so would buy new tires they liked. I could get the “takeoffs” for about half price or less. Don’t see those anymore either.

I don’t see any issue with getting a used tire to use as a spare. I see no reason to have a brand new tire on the spare. As for “used” tire shops, you see them all over the place here in Indy, in some areas they are on 2 out of the 4 corners of certain streets.