Can I Just Change One Tire?
The good old days of mounting a pair of snow tires during the winter months are gone now. These days, you need to ensure that various factors like type, model, and degree of wear of all tires remain the same. Otherwise, you may experience trouble while driving your vehicle.
However, a lot of queries come up when it comes to changing the tires. One of the most significant concerns that almost everyone has regarding the replacement of tires is whether they can change just one tire or not.
The reason for this confusion is because experts recommend replacing all tires even when only one of them gets damaged. But you may spend some additional money if you replace all tires every time one of them gets in bad shape. So, what is the solution?
This query’s answer lies in the tread depth of the tires. Let’s first understand them.
Tire’s Tread Depth:
The rubber tire’s tread depth gets measured in 32nd parts of an inch. You can find that new tires usually have 10/32 to 12/32 inches of tread. When you start using the vehicle, this depth depreciates, reducing the overall diameter of the tire.
That means you will be creating a difference in your vehicle’s tires’ tread depth by replacing just the damaged one. This can imbalance their performance, causing trouble for you. A few problems you may encounter by changing only one tire are:
- AWD System Damage: The difference in diameter of the tires can cause an AWD system to catch up on the dry pavement. This can sometimes damage the system. That is why almost every all-wheel-drive vehicle manufacturer recommends changing all tires simultaneously. So, they can function correctly.
- False Signals: When the tread depth of a front/ rear-wheel-drive vehicle is worn out more than half, the wheels start spinning faster. So, if you replace just one of them, you create a difference in the revolution rate. This can send false signals to the antilock braking and traction control systems.
- Difference in Working: Acceleration and braking of your vehicle depend on its tires’ grip. Changing only one tire can create a difference in the hold. Hence, affecting the vehicle’s behavior.
What to Do:
The best solution is always to replace all four tires even when only one of them gets damaged. This will ensure that your vehicle works appropriately, and you don’t face any problems while driving it. However, you can even work with changing the axle’s two tires if you own a forward/ rear-wheel-drive vehicle.
When to Change a Single Tire:
There is one exception to this whole tire changing situation. You can go for a single tire replacement if none of the tires have worn out more than 4/32 of their tread depth. They can easily handle this much difference. So, it won’t be required to invest in all four new tires, but you must keep a few points in mind:
- The new tire should be shaved off its tread depth to match it to the older ones’ level. This will keep them balanced.
- The new tire should get mounted on the rear. This will help avoid hydroplaning, which can rotate the vehicle on a turn during the rainy season.