Should I fit new tyres to the front or rear?

As the majority of cars on the road are front wheel drive most drivers find that they need to replace the front tyres much sooner than the tyres fitted to the rear.  Front tyres tend to wear out more quickly for a number of reasons:

  • The front wheels are usually the ‘driving wheels’ and therefore undergo more traction, steering, cornering & braking forces
  • extra weight of the engine and transmission components are the front of the vehicle will cause front tyres to wear more quickly.

Many drivers believe that new tyres should be fitted to the front of their vehicle and we can understand why they’d come to this conclusion, it seems a logical assumption, as you’d think that new tyres on the driving wheels would be safer for you and your passengers.

If it’s time to replace one or more of the tyres on your vehicle, you may be wondering where they should be fitted. There continue to be debates about whether new tyres should be fitted to the front or rear of the vehicle – let’s take a look at which we recommend as the right choice, and why.

Fitting new tyres to the front

Why is fitting new tyres to the front is not recommended

A tyres ability to grip on the road surface is directly linked to how well it can clear surface water so that the tyre tread can make good contact with the road surface. The grooves in tyre tread are purposely designed to channel away & disperse water on the road to ensure grip is maintained and prevent aquaplaning.

When a tyre has low tread and is worn, it loses the ability to channel away this surface water as quickly or as fully as necessary which is why worn tyres provide much less grip, especially on wet roads.

If this happens then a build up of water between the vehicle and the road surface can cause the vehicle to ‘aquaplane’ which is a very dangerous scenario that could easily lead to an accident.

If you have new tyres on the front of your vehicle and worn tyres with less tread remain on the rear this could lead to the rear tyres ‘aquaplaning’. If the rear of your vehicle loses traction this is a very dangerous situation & extremely hard to control. It’s likely this would result in an oversteer which is very difficult to correct & the vehicle could begin to slide. This would be very virtually impossible for any driver to control and could potentially result in the vehicle spinning and crashing.

Fitting new tyres to the rear

Why it’s safer to have new tyres fitted to the rear

We would always recommend that for optimum safety, drivers should have their newest tyres fitted to the rear of their vehicle. This will ensure that have greater grip on the rear axle and should prevent any potential oversteer or loss of vehicle stability on slippery surfaces.

Numerous tests have been carried out within the tyre industry that have shown that it is easier to control the front wheels of a vehicle than those at the rear. Having more tread and therefore greater grip on the rear would prevent oversteer & loss of control in wet conditions.

If new tyres were fitted to the rear of the vehicle, if in wet conditions the lower tread, older tyres on the front begin to aquaplane this would cause an understeer which is much easier to control than an oversteer and far less dangerous. The vehicle would be likely to continue in a straight line, even if you are trying to steer right or left. This situation would be easier to control and by easing off of the accelerator and braking lightly, most drivers would soon regain control of the vehicle.

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