As the technology under the hood of our vehicles has become more and more complex, we have been presented with more opportunities to customize. Mixing and matching components of our cars has become quite popular. The term “after-market” is now part of normal conversation. Not only do drivers switch out sound systems and wheel rims, but many of them find that the tires on their vehicle can be customized as well. This brings us to an important question, should you use different sized tires on your vehicle? Is it safe to mix tire sizes?
Using tires that do not meet manufacture specifications is generally accepted by automobile experts to be an unsafe practice. Most repair shops and tire stores will not even install tires that do not meet the proper specifications. This is because you run a higher risk of having an accident because of the incorrect tire size.
There is a reason that your vehicle’s manufacturer has specified certain tires to be used. Your vehicle was created with a certain type of tire in mind – therefore, to get the maximum life out of your car it is best to stick to these specifications.
Mixing tire sizes on a vehicle that you drive daily is a very unsafe practice. This is mostly because different sizes will cause your tires’ tread to wear very unevenly. If your tires are not the same height or width, then they will not touch the road in exactly the same way.
Uneven tread wear can become unsafe very quickly. Not only will it cause your vehicle to pull to the left or the right, but it can also increase the chances of sliding off of the road during sharp turns. Uneven tread may also decrease stopping power and make your car skid a longer distance when you step on the break.
Mixing tire sizes is often done because one or two tires have worn out before the others. There are many ways to avoid this problem. The first is to stay on top of your tire rotation. Rotating the tires of your car will help all of the tread wear out evenly.
You should also replace all four tires at once, or at least replace front tires together and back tires together. If you find that three of your tires need to be replaced, consider keeping the fourth tire as a spare and then replacing all four. Another great way to ensure that your tires wear at the same speed is to purchase all four new tires from the same manufacturer and of the same brand.
At some point there may come a time when you are forced to mix tire sizes. Always consider this a temporary solution rather than a permanent one. As soon as you are in a position to replace the mis-sized tire, you should do so immediately. Treat the mis-sized tire as if it were a spare or a ” doughnut” tire. Drive slowly and carefully while it is on your car.