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BEST 2 TIRES ON THE REAR


CAZM

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I find that many of the smaller shops I wholesale tires to are not putting the best 2 tires on the rear. When they only install 2 tires. This also includes doing tire rotations the best tires need to stay on the rear as well. I'm curious to know how many of you are unaware of this?

 

The reasoning for this is that you have the weight of the engine on the front 2 tires for traction, and hardly any weight on the rear therefore you want the tires with the best traction in the rear. The way I sell this to the customer is by telling them when you see a car in the ditch what way normally goes in first the rear. This is because of the lack of traction in the rear and the rear end is trying to pass you up in slippery or wet conditions. After I explain it that way. The customer normally gives up on insisting the new tires go on the front. And most of the time they will go with 4 new tires instead of 2.

 

I do remember a video Michelin had on this. I think if you searched best tires on rear you could find it. In fact I remember Michelin and a tire dealership getting sued after a accident after the dealership put 2 new tires on the front.

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I am constantly educating my customers that the BEST 2 TIRES go on the rear. I have never used the weight f the engine theory but I will definitely add it. I currently tell them that the best 2 tire go on the rear because they don't want the rear to spin out and come around the front. After they hear that comment 99.9% of them agree.

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This would apply only to front wheel drive vehicle. This is why we highly recommend only 4 snow tires on FWD vehicles and sell the point pretty hard. Unless there are unmatched tires or drastic difference in wear we don't give any priority during rotations. If there are unmatched sets or drastic wear we looks for the cause and sell the repair and the best solution to obtaining a matched tire set.

 

I see your point though and am quite surprised at how many shops I see putting two snow tires on the front of a FWD vehicle. Even modern traction control systems can't make up for massive differences in available traction.

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Continental tire sent me to their test track in Uvalde TX to prove this theory. They had a circle track with a wet patch to simulate a highway off ramp. The front drive VW spun out every time when the 2/32" tires were on the back. Proof without a doubt the best tires should go on the rear. Fast forward to the real world of upstate NY and bald tires on the front means no traction in the snow, so we try to sell all 4. Put 2 snow tires on the rear of a fwd car and I guarantee your customer will think somethings wrong with you.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The video being referenced has been taken down. I used to have it bookmarked even though I do not sell tires.

The reasons I have read, heard and been told is we will drive to the capability of the front tires, they steer and stop. Acceleration ability is not so important. If the tires with the best tread/traction are on the front then you will be able to stop and steer at higher speeds but the tires with the worst traction which then would be on the rear would not be able to handle the speed and lateral forces (from steering). But if the worst tires were on the front, then you would drive according to them, not the the best tires and therefore you would never exceed the ability of the rear tires to track through a corner or curve or braking event. Of course that is only assuming you are not driving to fast for conditions anyway. And that applies to front wheel, rear wheel or all wheel drive vehicles equally. Or at least that is what I was told by very knowledgeable (20+ years experience each) tire guys.

 

The video I viewed on youboob had a white and a blue Taurus, a circular pad and a wet section. Each trip around the 'skid pad' was at increasing speeds until the car lost control. With the 50% worn tires on the front the car eventually oversteered and slid off the track forward. The drive wheels are irrelevant. As the car with the 50% worn tires on the rear loses control it spirals off the skid pad, yes basically backwards. Again, the drive wheels are irrelevant.

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  • 1 month later...

Continental tire sent me to their test track in Uvalde TX to prove this theory. They had a circle track with a wet patch to simulate a highway off ramp. The front drive VW spun out every time when the 2/32" tires were on the back. Proof without a doubt the best tires should go on the rear. Fast forward to the real world of upstate NY and bald tires on the front means no traction in the snow, so we try to sell all 4. Put 2 snow tires on the rear of a fwd car and I guarantee your customer will think somethings wrong with you.

 

I like it when people ask me for 2 snow tires for their FWD cars and wonder why I wont do it, then I give them a little of my bondurant racing school knowledge and see a glazed look in their eye. So I rephrase it, you have a 30k car and its -40 out everything gets brittle if you go in to a snow bank you will be needing bumpers at a minimum and if you damage your radiator your going to sit there in the cold. Oh yeah and 10 miles out of town you have no cell service and the next town it 90 miles away or 350 miles good luck.

 

Then they buy 4.

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We adhere to the following rule - Anything greater than a 2/32" tread depth differential requires the better tires to be on the rear.

This applies to front wheel drive, rear wheel drive and all wheel drive.

The front tires wear much faster than the rear on most vehicles.

If we all adopt a blanket statement that the "best" go on the rear then we would never be able to rotate tires on any vehicle.

The problem comes in when the front tread depth differential is greater than 2/32". This causes definite handling issues as noted in other posts.

 

Vehicle "A" - Front @ 6/32" and rear @ 9/32" The tires should not be rotated. Tread depth differentials are greater than 2/32" so best remain on rear.

Vehicle "B" - Front @ 6/32" and rear @ 7/32" The tires should be rotated since the tread depth differential is less than 2/32"

Vehicle "C" - Front @ 6/32" and rear @ 5/32" The tires should not be rotated. The tread depth differential is less than 2/32" so rotation not required.

 

All maintenance schedules require regular rotations to avoid tread depth differentials that would prevent a rotation.

If you follow the maintenance schedule for rotations you will always be able to rotate - the tread depth differential will never be an issue.

If you ignore timely rotations you may be put in a situation where you are unable to rotate due to exceeding the 2/32" tread depth differential rule.

Let this rule work for you - Rotations should be performed every 5-8K miles - Good for the tires - Good for the driver - Good for the repair shop.

 

Concerning snow tires - Front wheel and AWD - (4) snows. Rear wheel drive - (2) snows on the rear.

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Thanks for addressing this issue. When we are directed to put the best tires on the rear of a truck or even the trailer I think I may get out of the business. Until then I will continue my 45 year practice of not selling used tires for use on the front of a truck and putting the best matched pair of tires in the front of any vehicle. I have experienced blow out conditions in both front and rear tires and never lost control of my vehicle but for sure the front blowout tends to make the vehicles swerve somewhat in the direction of the blowout. When I first started driving we were limited to two lane highways will only a few inches between us and the oncoming vehicles. For sure I would like the best tire to be in the left front position just in case.

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I have read many stories that insurance companies put out that more accidents, whether FWD or RWD, are caused by poor rear tyre tread. We always put the newer tyres on the rear of the vehicle when only two are purchased.

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I believe you are opening yourself up to potential litigation by ignoring both the "Tire Industry" and Tire Manufacturers written policy of putting new tires on the rear. What can you point to when trying to justify putting new tires on the front? I was against this policy when it first came out, but seeing the videos and hearing the reasons from "industry experts" has changed my thinking on this subject. Having Cali BAR come out with this in writing leads me to feel that our chances of losing a suit by putting tires on the rear is very slim. Our chances of losing a suit by putting new tires on the front are very high. You choose the devil you want to dance with.

On a similar thought, Who installs just 2 snow tires?

Russ

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  • 4 weeks later...

With such varied responses to this topic it is clear that as an industry we fail to have proper guidance. Both sides can't be correct. I follow the theory that new go to the rear but obviously my competitors views on this subject may be as varied as the members who responded to this topic. Is it good to have the public receiving drastically different guidlines on a subject as simple as a tire rotation. Some customers will ask "is that a law?" And I respond by saying it is our policy based on information that we have gathered. A customer could go to shop "A" and receive a tire rotation based on best on rear and then drive down the street to another shop and be told that the tires need to be rotated so the best are on the front. This makes us look like we have no clue as to when to rotate tires never mind perform other tasks that are much more involved. Is that the feeling we want customers to have of our ability. Reading these posts and looking on the Internet allows me to believe that we can possibly expect one of us to be receiving a subpoena to defend ourselves for an improper tire rotation at some point of our career. We need proper direction from a reputable source that we can all follow so we have one unified stance on the matter as opposed to contradicting eachother thereby causing customer mistrust and confusion. Until this information is supplied I for one will continue to put the best tires on the rear.

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We have been putting the best two of for tyres on the rear of the vehicle for a while now. Our research has shown this to be correct. I would print out some literature to educate the public. It doesn't matter what other shops do. Stand your ground and educate.

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