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Here is my situation:

  • 2012 Honda Civic EX, 1.8L with P205/55R16 tires recommended
  • Three (both front, and left passenger) tires are OEM Continental ContiProContact P205/55R16 89H with about 20,000 mixed highway/city miles, average speeds 20 - 65 MPH
  • One (right passenger) tire is a brand new Michelin Primacy MXV4 P205/55R16 89H with about 60 miles on it. I had a local tire shop mount and balance it. I had to get a new tire because the OEM right passenger tire had run over a large bolt, which I had professionally plugged and patched, but the tire would leak air and trigger the TPMS about every 6 - 12 days.

Are there any significant disadvantages to running with tires of different brands, provided that each tire has the exact same dimensions, pressure recommendation, speed rating, etc?

I think the Primacy tire is definitely higher quality: it has much better ratings for road noise, comfort, and durability. But I am unsure if it is a safety, control, performance, or reliability issue to run with tires from different manufacturers, where one tire is different in its tread patterns than the rest (aside from tread patterns and perceived hardness of the rubber, the Primacy tire is essentially the same as the others.)

If someone identifies a real problem with this configuration, I will probably replace my OEM tires with all the same as the Primacy tire before my dealership recommends that I replace my OEM tires due to the treads wearing out. But if this is a fundamentally sound configuration, and the only drawback is that my tires will have different wear levels due to the difference in mileage, then I will run with my current configuration and tolerate the inferior road noise of the OEM tires.

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Don't forget to check you country regulations, at least here in Russia it is against the code to have different tires on same axis. –  Krom Stern Jan 18 '13 at 10:19

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Depends on who you ask. Any tire shop will say yes, it affects handling and braking. And it will.

But to what degree? Not much. If the tread life of all the tires are similar, the ratings similar, etc. you can reduce this. Still, the different tread patterns will cause different handling. In the rain perhaps one tire will be less effective than the others at clearing out water.

Significant? Probably not. I wouldn't worry about it. The different tread pattern would bother me more as a cosmetic defect than any probably undetectable change in handling.

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Here's what i would recomend, move the Michelin over to the spare tire and put the spare on the vehicle in its place for it is usually the same brand as whats on each corner from the factory

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My spare is just that -- a spare, emergency tire -- it's not meant for continuous use. It definitely isn't the same model of tire as the original 4. –  allquixotic Jan 19 '13 at 1:23

A lot of this depends on where and how you are driving - for normal street driving I wouldn't be too worried. There'll be a slight grip imbalance at the back which might affect braking slightly (but keep in mind that the front wheels are contributing about 70% to the overall braking effort) and there's going to be a slight difference in grip between either side of the car. To be honest, if you do notice that during street driving you might want to slow down closer to legal speeds :).

If you Autocross or track the car, it's an entirely different ballgame. In that case, you will want to replace at least the other rear tire as you depend much more on balanced grip.

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Good info, but I never do anything but use the car on reasonably well-maintained, legal, public asphalt roads to get from point A to point B. I usually go the speed limit or just a few mph over. –  allquixotic Jan 18 '13 at 14:48

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