For a sports team to be successful, it needs every member of that team to work in tandem with one another for the collective good. If there is one very talented individual who doesn’t co-operate with the other team members, the collective will not function properly and will fall short of what it set out to do.
The same principle can be applied to fixing tyres on your car. You might have one tyre that is from a different manufacturer or comes with a different tread pattern to the others on the vehicle, and while there is nothing wrong with the tyre per se, its lack of uniformity with the others could easily compromise the vehicle’s performance.
While the basic principle in both these scenarios is the same, the consequences could be far graver in the latter instance. If a sports team loses, it’s obviously frustrating for everyone involved and for the team’s fans, but it gets put aside and lessons are learned from it before the next game. If mismatched tyres create an inconsistency that leads to the driver losing control of the vehicle, it could lead to a fatal accident.
Think of it this way – if you were going for a job interview, you wouldn’t take liberties with the formality of your attire. You’ll ensure that you are suitably dressed for the occasion, even if it means purchasing expensive clothes for it. If you suspected that one or more of your car’s tyres were mismatching, would you just as readily invest in proper replacements?
Tyre mismatching is something that could happen gradually over time without the driver noticing if the treads on a car’s tyres were inconsistent. Tyres on your front axle will wear quicker than those on the back, as the front tyres carry out greater work. That is why tyre rotation is highly recommended so that all four tyres will mature with equilibrium. This should be done every 6,000 miles or every six months, whichever comes first.
When changing tyres on your car, it’s recommended that you change all of them to ensure consistency. Motorists will often change only one tyre on their vehicle, which could potentially cause mismatching. It can seem impractical, though, to jettison three matching, fully functioning tyres, so there are ways in which you could possibly replace just one tyre without compromising the balance of the vehicle. The most ideal of these is to purchase tyres with the same specification as what’s already on your vehicle so that the transition will be seamless.
Another option is to fit tyres in the same performance category with the same characteristics as those on the vehicle. If you need to get going immediately, though, you could just fit the spare tyre to your car, but this is only meant as a short-term measure to complete a journey. Once you’ve reached your destination, the spare should be detached and returned to its stowaway.
The infographic below from First Aid Wheels outlines the dangers of mixing tyres and advises on how this can be avoided. Even if you have mismatched tyres on your car and you don’t get into an accident, it could still affect the performance of the vehicle. For instance, it could put your drivetrain under avoidable duress and hamper the vehicle’s ability to reach optimum traction levels. It could also lead to annoying vibrations and deafening road noise, so don’t take a chance on mixing tyres. Make sure they are consistent throughout the vehicle and check them regularly in case of damage or wear and tear that you hadn’t previously noticed.