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I have a 2011 Ford Focus, and while the car itself is good quality, I have now ruined two tires in three months by merely driving over a screw.

Ford offers no road hazard on their tires, so I am pretty annoyed with Ford.

Both Costco and Discount Tires advise me I should either replace all 4 tires, or at least replace 2 tires. They also tell me that the replacement tires should be of the same speed rating.

  • I can go to Ford and get ONE other tissue thin breaks on sight good for two month Hankook Optimo no road hazard OEM tire for $135.
  • I can go to Discount and get TWO Yokohamas with road hazard for $100 a piece magically costing $280 total by the time they are installed.
  • And both Discount and Costco will sell me 4 tires with road hazard for about $550.

Discount will sell me ONE Yokohama Avid (touring s I think), but they advise against it. The Ford service rep offers no advice.

I am very tempted to get the one Yokohama, because of the road hazard, and I am trying to determine what the impact of having one different tire amongst three really is.

Thank you.

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Basically the same root question: mechanics.stackexchange.com/questions/905/… –  jzd May 18 '11 at 21:09
    
For what it's worth, everyone complains about "performance characteristics" of having one good tire and one worn, but no study is ever cited. It was fine when two tires were junk, but one that's junk is somehow worse? Possibly, but where's the pudding? I want the proof, not endless speculations. –  Kato Jun 15 '13 at 18:21

4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The answer is NO. It is never a good idea to replace a single tire, because each tire has different performance characteristics. You may not notice it during day-to-day driving, but any non-ordinary actions, such as swerving to avoid an accident, turning or braking in a rain storm, etc you may suddenly find the car doing something completely unexpected. Also, check with your insurance company - they may decide that because the car was "improperly maintained" that your coverage would not be good in the case of an accident with mis-matched tires.

Personally, I would not drive with different tires on the front and back. Even similar tires will have different behaviors.

A simple screw puncture should be repairable, however, unless you continued to drive on the flat.

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I'm in a similar situation and I simply don't have the money to buy 3 new tires. I wonder if it's better to put the new tires on the drives or would it matter? –  Parker May 18 '11 at 20:19
    
" Also, check with your insurance company - they may decide that because the car was "improperly maintained" that your coverage would not be good in the case of an accident with mis-matched tires." -- That's notable. And scary. –  Jerry May 18 '11 at 20:24
4  
I have never heard of any insurance company anywhere using the you have different brand tires no coverage for you argument. The only imaginable way that could hold water is if you replaced the tire with a different sized tire altogether, but even then the improperly maintained argument would be iffy at best. –  stoj May 23 '11 at 12:20
    
I know this is old but this answer is so bad, and has so many upvotes that it has single handedly made me reconsider contributing to the site. You are regurgitating sales pitch. Do you seriously think that having one tyre of the same brand but with 8000 fewer miles on the car is so unsafe that all of the tyres need replacing? Do you really think it'll make a bigger difference than the couple of psi difference between tyres you correct when checking tyres pressures? Do you know that some people rotate tyres at a similar interval and also rotate their spare? –  kahbou Mar 13 '12 at 3:35
    
@kahbou: I wouldn't have a problem with one new, replacement tire of the same size & type. What I don't think is safe is having one tire that was different, and personally I would never have different types of tires on the front & back. It's not a sales pitch, but experience from years of driving, including at times beaters that had different tires on them. –  chris Mar 13 '12 at 11:54

The real answer is yes and no. It's perfectly safe to drive four completely separate tires as long as tires on the same axle are the same size. It's probably a good idea to get tires with the same tread life so that they wear evenly.

As far as the performance that Chris was talking about goes, the tires have an addition property between them. So if one had NO traction you'd have 50% performance, but if one was a snow tire and the other was summer you'd drive just fine in non-snowy conditions.

In my opinion, get matching tires per axle to save yourself from looking like an idiot.

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I ended up gritting my teeth, going back to Ford and buying another OEM, no road hazard tire. The car has less than 8000 miles on it, the tires claim to be 80,000 mile tires, so I will assume that there is no significant difference in tread life. But the new tire shares the same axle as the old new tire replaced just six weeks earlier. However. However, I did specify white walls, so I still look like an idiot. –  Jerry May 28 '11 at 7:01

If you've just driven over a screw you ought to be able to get the tyre repaired. I've had it done before and they basically glue a rubber plug into the hole.

As others have said, it's not usually a good idea to have mismatched tyres. The rules will vary depending where you are, but some countries (particularly France) won't allow mismatched tyres across the same axle. The UK allows them, but they must all be the same size and speed rating. Obviously I don't know what the rules are in the US or whether it varies from state to state. Mismatch between axles is less of a problem (my car has different size tyres between front and back axles as standard), but best avoided if you can. Most tyre dealers here will insist on fitting new tyres to the back axle if only two are being replaced.

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The first time, it literally was just a screw, smack in the middle of the tread, looked easy to fix or plug, but the dealer insisted the tire wasn't repairable. I was dubious then in part because the tire held air pretty well. The second time, it was actually a more of a bolt and I knew it was probably not repairable. –  Jerry May 19 '11 at 17:22
    
I think the lesson here is to avoid the dealer if possible. A decent tire shop should have been able to fix the tire. –  chris May 19 '11 at 22:02
    
Chris, absolutely. The car was basically brand new at the time of the first flat, and they eagerly told me to bring it by, and I naively assumed they had road hazard on the tires -- doesn't everybody? It took the dealer about 5 hours to actually repair it -- they told me they had the tire in stock, then they didn't then I went to work, then I left work early. Incompetence from every corner. –  Jerry May 23 '11 at 1:54

Not recommended to just replace one, but unless you're pushing 9/10s of the capability of your car, you'd probably never notice the difference. When I was working construction, nobody would do full set or even axle set replacements. When you're having tires destroyed as fast as happens from all the loose nails lost at construction sites, it's foolish to replace all of them each time. At a minimum you end up with mismatched tread wear, and more typically you end up with a different brand as the make/model/size that one buys never seems to be available even just a couple months later. Sigh.

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