I am sorry if this question has been asked before I tried searching. My 05 civic which is a fwd has one tire on the back with very low tread unlike the other tires mounted on the car, is this going to damage any of the drive components or suspension components in the vehicle on the long run?

Likewise, in a rear wheel drivecar, is having two different treads on the font wheels going to cause extra stress on any components like the differential?

My understanding is that the non-driving wheels are just there for the ride and matching tread depth is not critical as driving wheels. Is that true?

  • How much of a difference in depth are you talking, full vs worn? Or a couple of 32s?
    – CharlieRB
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 19:36

1 Answer 1


You are exactly right. As long as the tires with the different tread depth is on the non-drive axle, no damage will occur to the differential of the vehicle.

You probably realize if you tried to run the mismatch on an AWD system, it would cause issues. Also, when on the driven axle, this will cause heating in the differential as it will always be adjusting. This is especially true if the differential is of the limited slip variety. This creates a huge amount of wear. A differential is made to work with small adjustments over short periods of time, not continually.

You can have a minimal amount of tread difference on the drive axle and still be in good shape. Each vehicle will have its own tolerance, so pay attention to your owner's manual.

  • @Paulster2 some vehicles are known to suffer catastrophic damage due to tyre mismatch : eg volvos with awd ...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 21:27

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