Because a new set of tyres can often exceed RM1,000 especially if they’re huge 18 inch ones fitted on the Lancer GT, sometimes we tend to only change only a pair at a time and wait for the other pair to really wear out.
I did a short survey with the people on my instant messaging list and almost everyone said they’d either change the pair that is more worn out, or change the ones at the front because the car is front wheel drive – unless the rears are for some reason more worn out. It’s actually rather natural for the front tyres to wear out faster on a front wheel drive car – some of you throttle happy people may be wheel-spinning a little if you’re at the front of the queue at the traffic lights. The front tyres have to handle more work than the rear tyres in a front wheel drive car – both steering and acceleration.
But in reality, even if the front is more worn out than the rear, the correct thing to do is the put your less worn out rear tyres at the front axle and put new tyres at the rear axle – if you only want to change a pair of tyres and not all four. Of course, it’s always better to change all four.
This is because when the front has more grip than the rear, the rear will lose traction before the front of the vehicle during a corner on a wet or slippery road. You will oversteer and fishtail because of hydroplaning. As you know, once the rear starts sliding its quite hard to recover unless you’re a very experienced driver. It’s also better for the driver who has been used to more grip at the rear than the front all this while before the tyre change to get used to the new grip levels if you put the new tyres at the rear.
If the front tyres hydroplane, it is easier to correct than if the rear tyres hydroplane because what will happen is understeer, and understeer can be corrected relatively easier by easing off the throttle.
So be safe – always ensure the rear tyres have better or equal grip. For even tyre wearing, it’s recommended you rotate your tyres, but that’s a story for another time.