Sometimes mixing brands and models on your car is unavoidable. While having a completely matching set is advisable, often you can only use alternative tires to replace your current tires.
But, is mixing tire models and brands a good idea? Let's see!
Can You Mix Different Tire Brands on the Same Car?
Yes, you can mix different tire brands on the same car, as long as you follow a few simple guidelines. Obviously, completely versatile tire models should not be used on one vehicle, and car manufacturers often do not recommend this practice. Yet, it is still possible.
Do All Four Tires Need to Match?
No, the four tires on your vehicle do not need to exactly match. However, mounting identical tires on the front and rear axles respectively will help to improve the vehicle's performance. As long as the two tires on the same axle are similar enough, there should be no issues.
Do You Need Identical Tires on the Same Axle?
Yes, it is advisable to use identical tires on one axle. Whether that is the rear axle or front axle, the best practice is to keep the two tires as close as possible in regard to tire performance categories, tread depths, and tread patterns. In this manner, you can mix tire brands on your car.
Front and Rear Axle Tires: Do They Need to Match?
There is no straightforward way to answer this, as it greatly depends on the wheel drive of the vehicle.
Four-wheel-drive vehicles need all four tires to match! This is because the vehicle transmits the driving forces equally between the four wheels' positions. Therefore, all four tires play a role in the vehicle's performance.
However, with rear- or front-wheel-drive vehicles it differs. With such vehicles, the majority of the driving forces are concentrated on one tire pair - either the front tires or the rear tires.
For this reason, the tires mounted on one axle should match as close as possible. Choose equivalent tires, even if you decide to mix brands. Even if only two tires are matching, you can still make sure all four mounted on the vehicle are wearing evenly.
Frequently tire rotation will place the tires onto a new wheel position which helps with their wear characteristics. Therefore, rotate tires at 5,000 mileage intervals to increase their service life.
Should You Mix Tires?
Well, yes and no.
You can mix tires and brands on your vehicle, as long as you follow some baseline rules. New tires should not be mounted with worn-out ones, for example.
However, the minimalistic details between different tire models are sometimes tricky to follow. It is important to know your tires to correctly mix tires. A tire size guide might be the best place to start your learning curve.
Tires With Different Tread Depth
Tire wear is a big component when deciding on mixing tires. Maybe you have worn tires on the front axle, but the rear tires are still good, and switching only two tires seems reasonable.
Well, when it is done correctly, it is possible as long as the vehicle's tires wear evenly. Generally speaking, different tread depths can be mounted on the same vehicle as long as the variety of the remaining tread depth is not more than 2/32" between the tires. Any more than that can ruin the vehicle's handling.
Rotate tires frequently to equalize tire wear on all four tires.
Different Tire Performance Categories
Leading vehicle manufacturers do not recommend mixing versatile performance tires on the vehicle. This is due to the fact that alternative tires do not offer the same traction and driving durability.
Do not mix tires in this manner. Be sure to mount the same tires on all four of the vehicle's wheel positions. Even if the tires are not identical, they should still offer the same performing and handling capabilities.
Tires With Different Load Index
Load index and speed rating are two important performance capabilities that each tire has to offer. But as long as you are reasonable when mixing tires on your car it won't cause an issue.
Tire or vehicle manufacturer recommendations do not suggest mounting tires with different load index and speed rating markings. However, as long as the difference is not too much, they will be able to safely perform.
In other words, tires with similar load indexes will offer almost identical load capacity. Therefore, as long as the load index is close enough, they will offer a safer performance.
Tires With Different Speed Ratings
As long as the difference is not too big, speed ratings can be mixed. However, be reasonable when doing so. Keep in mind the tires' capabilities. They are marked with a speed rating for a reason!
H- and V-rated tires can be mixed since the difference between them is only 19 mph. Yet, W and T speed-rated models should not be mounted on the same vehicle. When speed ratings are mixed, be sure that you don't drive above the weaker tire's speed durability.
Staggered Tire Sizes
Unless your vehicle is a staggered one that requires differently sized tires on the front and rear axles, do not mix tire sizes. Mount the same size on all four tires, even if they are not the same tire brand.
If a vehicle's tires are too small or too large, they will hinder its performance. Larger sizes will cause the tire to rub against the vehicle when cornering, while smaller tires will not provide the performing durability necessary. Therefore, avoid mixing tires in this manner.
Tires for Versatile Seasons
If restoring poor weather traction is one of your main concerns, do not use various weather tires on your vehicle's different wheel positions. Summer, all season, and winter tires are not matching tires.
In other words, even if you do not use the same brand on your vehicle, their weather capabilities should be identical. You should not mix winter tires with summer or all season tires, as they will ruin the car's traction and performance.
Run-flat and Non-run-flat Tires
Do NOT mix run-flat tires and standard tires!
Run-flat models are manufactured with a heavier internal structure, which is able to offer limited, temporary performance in case of air pressure loss. Even if they are the same size as traditional tires, they will not offer the same performance capabilities.
Mixing run-flat tires with regular tires can ruin the vehicle's handling balance and overall controllability.
Tire Mixture Exceptions
Tires With Different Tread Patterns
Each vehicle manufacturer recommends mounting tires with similar tread patterns on your car. This is to ensure vehicle stability throughout its performance.
There is a right and wrong way to go about mixing tread patterns. Obviously, the main tread design needs to be similar. Symmetric, asymmetric, and directional tread designs should not be mixed on the car. Yet, as long as the main pattern is the same, the difference between their small tread details will not create a big issue.
As we have mentioned before, some vehicles require different tire sizes on their rear and front axles. However, finding the exact match for two versatile tire sizes can be challenging.
Therefore, if you follow the previously mentioned guidelines for tread pattern, tread depth, etc. Priority Tire's tire rack might just have the perfect new tires for you.
Bonus: Spare Tires
If you use donut tires as replacement tires, they can only be used for a limited time period. However, a full-sized spare can be used as long as it is similar to your other tires. Using replacement tires reduces the possibility of the vehicle getting stranded on the road, therefore, even if it is not identical, it will work.