Volvo XC70 AWD flat tire

I have a 2002 Volvo XC AWD. I got a flat in my front right tire and need a new one. The other three tires are in good shape and were put on 20,000 miles ago, in 2007 (they have a 50,000 mile life expectancy). The repair shop and a tire dealership told me I would have to replace all 4 tires because it is an AWD. When I look in my manual it states

“If only one or two tires are replaced, the new tire(s) must be identical to the tires with which the car was built, and must be mounted on the font axle only.”

My questions are:

a). Doesn’t the statement above prove that you can replace one tire at a time?

b) Being an 02 model I obviously have had a new set of tires and are not the same brand (the car came with Spirelli, I now have Nokians), when the manual says “identical” do they mean in size, tread, dimension, radius, etc… as the ones the car was built with and it does not refer to the same brand… or do they mean both identical in specifications and brand?

Based on what the Owner’s Manual states, if I were you, I would buy a duplicate (as to both brand and size) of the tire on the other front wheel, and I would have it “shaved” to match the circumference of the “old” tires.

Not every tire shop does this, but if you make a few phone calls, you can hopefully locate a shop that does do it. Some tire shops may even be willing to send the tire out for “shaving” if they do not do it themselves.

Incidentally, I applaud you for reading the Owner’s Manual. Based on the typical questions in this forum, you may be one of the few people who actually does refer to the manual!

Allow me to expand on VDCDriver’s very elegant post:

Tire size does not guarantee the same diameter - even within the same manufacturer. “Identical” - in the way the owners manual is worded - seems to mean EVERYTHING has to be the same, with the possible exception of tread depth.

However - as many have found out - fixing a vehicle that was broken after an odd tire has been used can be very expensive. It would be best to get an identical tire - size, brand, tire line, speed rating, etc., shaved to the same depth.

The important factor in matching tires is: the diameters must be matched very closely. How close? A fraction of an inch. The tire dealer can give you a more exact figure. Why so close? The very expensive differential gears and clutches will be damaged by tires, of different diameters, which roll a different distance in each revolution.
Some times, one can get a tire of the same brand, but, not the same “model”. The tire dealer can help you find the replacement tire of near the right diameter and have it shaved to size.

Purchase the same tire as the other one on front axle in model/make/size and place on front only. In reality your “AWD” Volvo is really a FWD car that kicks on the rears as needed by detected slip.