Can I mix tyres on my car?
Updated 10 Oct 2019
As much as drivers might want to, predicting the future isn’t possible (at least, not yet).
The curb impact that causes a tyre blowout and the sidewall screw puncture that can’t be fixed – you don’t know about them ahead of time.
So, when you’re faced with an unrepairable tyre or it’s simply time to change two worn-out tyres, it’s anyone’s guess if matching ones will be available on short order, or even if they’re still being manufactured!
Sometimes, sourcing the same tyres as you have on your car right now just isn’t possible, or it’s financially out of reach. What do you do? Can you mix tyre brands and tread patterns on your car or do they have to match?
Tyres Should Match
Generally speaking, it’s best to have the same tyres on all four wheels.
The same brand, same tread pattern, and definitely the same size.
Manufacturers specify in virtually every owner’s manual that a vehicle’s tyres should always match those installed as Original Equipment.
That’s intended to give you the best handling, control, and treadwear for your car’s intended purpose.
Not convinced? Here are a few scenarios.
You’ve replaced a blown tyre from a major brand name with a discount tyre.
Even though it’s the same size, the tread pattern is similar, and the speed rating is the same, you could encounter problems.
Different manufacturing processes and materials yield differing results.
The new tyre could wear out faster, might not perform the same in cold-weather situations, and may handle differently over bumps.
Mismatched Tread Pattern
You’re unable to match the same tyre model, but at least you’ve found the same brand, right?
That’s not always great either.
Among a tyre brand’s products, there’s a wide range of tread patterns for different uses.
One may be intended for light trucks while another is a snow tyre.
Others may be passenger-rated but with varying load ranges or speed ratings.
The danger with equipping a car with different tread patterns is mostly in handling.
The two tyres may grip differently on road surfaces which can lead to loss of control, especially in braking and cornering.
Mismatched Tread Depth
Should you need to replace one or more tyres but the remaining original is partially worn out, that can pose its own problems.
It’s especially the case when treadwear is greater than 50 per cent.
Driving a car with mismatched tread depths can lead, once again, to loss of control.
Imagine two new tyres on the front and two half-worn tyres on the rear.
Taking a corner in the rain when bitumen gets greasy, the front tyres hold the track they’re on while the rear tyres slip and slide.
You’re bound to end up off the road.
As well, the drivetrain in all-wheel-drive cars and SUVs can be damaged by using tyres with mismatched tread depth, and that’s an expensive chance you don’t want to take.
Whenever possible, replace tyres with the matching brand and tread pattern.
If you need to change one or more tyres and you don’t have the option for matching them up, temporarily use the closest tyre possible.
Your best bet? Replace your tyres with a complete set of four.
You can use AutoGuru to get a new set of tyres fitted on your car.
You’re just a few clicks away from getting quick quotes from local tyre specialists.
Jason is a Canadian automotive content writer with a background in the auto service industry, but he’s been hooked on cars and mechanics since childhood.
One of his first cars was an ’80 Mazda RX-7 that’s sorely missed to this day. A ’68 Ford Torino GT, a ’66 Ford Country Squire Woodie station wagon, and a ’96 Suzuki GSX-R 750 have spent time in his fleet of cars, bikes, and trucks over the past two decades.
Jason’s pride and joy is under construction – a turbocharged ’88 Mazda RX-7 convertible. Also on his resume is CASCAR official certification.