New Tires: Should I Place them on the Front or Rear?

Tire placement is an important part of car maintenance that can have a big effect on safety and performance. A lot of automobile experts have different opinions on whether new tires should be put on the front or back of a car.

Because safety is very important to us, we talked to experienced experts to get you a full report that answers all of your questions.

Understanding the Dynamics: Front vs. Rear Tire Placement

Where you put new tires on your car isn’t just a matter of taste; it’s a smart choice that requires knowing how your car works. Some people lose control of their steering when their front tire blows out, which could be risky. The back tires, on the other hand, are very important for keeping the car stable, especially in emergency situations or when the road is wet.

Front Tire Placement

Controlling the steering and preventing hydroplaning Some experts say that putting new tires on the front wheels is a good idea because the front wheels do most of the turning and stopping. With thicker treads, new tires offer better grip and resistance to hydroplaning, which is very important for staying in control when stopping hard or when the road is wet.

A professional said, “Well, there is some sense to the answer to that question.” Take a moment to think:

If a tire blows out on a front wheel, the car will lose its ability to turn and start to swerve in the direction of the flat tire very quickly. In the US, that would probably throw the car:

What will happen if the left front tire blows out? What will happen if the right front tire blows out? What about the back tires? It wasn’t nearly as bad as it sounds.

This is not good, but the steering is not badly affected.

You should put your best tires in front of the ones you already have. The front is on the left in the US and on the right in Japan and the UK.

Rear Tire Placement

People who want new tires on the back stress how important steadiness is. Oversteer can happen when the back of the car loses its grip and swings out. The rear tires help stop this. This is especially important when it’s wet, because worn-out back tires can make it impossible to control the car.

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The back tires have new ones.

A master said, “You should always put your best tires on the back.”

People have known for a long time that if the back wheel fails in any way, the car will spin out of control and the driver will lose control.

In the beginning, cars with automatic brakes only had brakes on the back wheels that didn’t move. In the early 1900s, if you pressed down on the mechanical brakes hard enough to lock the back wheels while the car was moving, it would go into a ditch, which was generally fatal.

When antilock brakes were first made, they usually only stopped the back wheels from locking up. You don’t want those wheels to lock up!

Rubber tires don’t float on top of water because the tread moves water away from the tire so it touches the road. If there is little to no tread, there is no way to get a grip on the ground if it is wet. In terms of controlling the car, this is just as bad as locking a wheel. The back end of the car “swaps ends” if it slides out and goes into the ditch or the opposite lane.

Expert Opinions and Best Practices

Racing Perspective

A racing expert says that skilled drivers can handle oversteer, but for the normal driver, it can be very scary. This expert says that people who drive cars with front-wheel drive should put new tires on the back so that the front tires don’t lock up when they try to brake quickly.

Response from an enthusiast: People have different thoughts on this, but if I only have to buy two tires, I always put the new ones on the front axle because

Stability in all directions: New tires have a bigger slip angle, which is the angle of rotation of the tire contact area compared to the wheel angle. If the rear axle’s slip angle is higher than the front axle’s, the vehicle is less stable in one way.

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How people act in bends: At high speeds on dry roads, all cars, even front-wheel drive ones, tend to oversteer a little. It goes down with the new tires on the front, but it goes up with them on the back. It’s hard for cars to turn when the front tires are worn out and the road is wet. What I like about the new tires on the front is that they make the car oversteer, which is better than the front axle losing all its grip.

New tires are better because they have larger grooves, which makes them less likely to aquaplane. Aquaplaning only happens in the front, never the back, because the back tires follow the path where the front tires have pushed off most of the water.

Stopping. Wet roads will be much easier to stop on with the new tires on the front, since the front wheels do 80 to 85% of the emergency stopping. There won’t be much of a change on a dry road, though it will take a little longer to stop with the used tires up front.

Put on. Because about 65% of the weight of a front-wheel-drive car is on the front axle, the front tires wear out much faster. So, since thread wear will be the same if the new tires are on the front, we don’t need to switch the wheels from the back to the front, as Tony Li wrote. Since the front tires will only need to be swapped out once, that will be it.

Directional Stability and Handling

Someone else in the field stresses how important it is to have directional stability and good handling in turns. New tires on the front axle make the vehicle more stable at high speeds and less likely to oversteer on dry roads.

Aquaplaning and Braking

When talking about aquaplaning resistance, one expert says that new tires are better at spreading water out, which is important because aquaplaning usually happens first on the front tires.

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Tire Wear and Replacement

When it comes to wear, front-wheel-drive cars’ tires tend to lose their grip faster. Putting new tires on the front can help even out tread wear, so you won’t have to rotate the tires as often.

Conclusion

Making a Well-Informed Choice Most experts in cars agree that there is no one answer that works for everyone. The choice you make should depend on the type of car you have, how you usually drive, and the road conditions. If you mostly drive on dry roads, getting new front tires might be the best choice. Putting new tires on the back might be safer, though, if you often drive in wet or slick weather.

An ex-Toyota and Hyundai Service agent said, “I worked as a service advisor for both Hyundai and Toyota for two years.” No matter where the drive wheels were, we were taught that the tires with the deepest tread should go on the back. For example, when the back tires had less tread depth than the front tires, the rear end would swing around during emergency maneuvers, and the driver would lose control. The following information comes from a well-known mechanics piece that does a great job of explaining it.

Myth: When you only need to replace two tires, you put the new ones on the front.

The truth is that the back tires keep the vehicle stable. If the vehicle is not stable, turning or stopping on a wet or damp surface could cause it to spin. Having new tires up front will make it easy for water to drain, but tires that are only half worn on the back will go surfing: In fact, the water will pull the worn-out back tires off the ground. The car will spin out so fast that you won’t even have time to say “Oh, fudge!” if you’re in a tight turn or on a road with a rise.

There’s no “even if” in this case. The tires with the most tread should be on the back of your car, truck, or SUV, whether it has front-, rear-, or all-wheel drive. Not sure?

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