Mixing Tire Tread Depths

If you have to use tires with different amounts of tread depth, there are important considerations to be aware of.

For the majority of vehicles, mixing tread depths will not cause any harm to the vehicle’s drive train. Mixing tread depths may affect how the vehcile handles, especially in bad weather, or when making an emergency stop.

You ideally want matching tires on the same axle (front or rear) to have the same amount of tread. Mixing tread depth on the same axle could lead to the vehicle pulling or drifting. If you are unable to get matching pairs of tread depth try to put the closest pair on the front axle. Another important safety recommendation is to have the best two tires installed on the rear of the vehicle. This helps prevent oversteer, or “fish tailing,” which could lead to a loss of vehicle control. This is especially true in wet and snowy conditions, but can also happen on a dry surface when braking.

Learn more about tread depth.

AWD/4WD Vehicles

It is important not to mix tires in any way on an AWD (all-wheel drive) or 4WD (four-wheel drive) vehicle. If you drive a 4WD or AWD vehicle, your tires should match in tread depth, brand, model, and size. Mixing tires in any way on an AWD/4WD vehicle can cause wear and/or damage to the vehicle's drive train.

Learn more about tire mixing.

Dual-Wheel Vehicles (Dually)

A dual wheel application, also called a dually, has four rear wheels most commonly on heavy-duty trucks and box-vans, for added weight carrying abilities. It is critical that all four rear tires be the same tread depth, size, and type. If tires are mixed on the rear axle, the difference between them can cause some of the tires to carry more of the load than others. This could lead to a tire becoming overloaded, which may lead to a tire failure. Our recommendation would be to have matching tire depths on all tires, but if you have to mix them on a dual application the front two tires may be the best choice.

If you need to replace your tires as soon as possible, we offer payment arrangements through our credit card — offered in partnership with Synchrony Financial.