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Tire Talk: Best tires on the back is best plan for all cars

Rotate the tires more often and all four will run out of tread at about the same time. Yes, two of them will have slightly more tread, but the difference will not be great.

You have often stated in your column ‘the industry standard for mounting just two new tires is: “best tires on the back.”

I think you have to make an exception when you are dealing with a front-wheel-drive vehicle, since the front tires will inevitably wear out faster.

When it comes to rotating your new set of tires for the first time, the front tires will have less tread on them.

Adhering to your theory, the front tires would wear out prematurely because they were never allowed to be mounted on the rear axle.

I have been maximizing the life of my tires for many years by rotating them at regular intervals. In fact, if there are two best tires, I will put them on the front, and then rotate accordingly after that.

The goal here is to make sure all four tires wear out at the same time.

I understand the logic behind the emergency braking scenario, but in my 35 years behind the wheel, I have yet to find myself in that predicament.

Thanks for your thoughtful email. But “best tires on back” is mandated by all tire companies and is enforced at major tire shop chains. The rule came about because of FWD so to give those cars an exemption is counter to the safety issues here.

FWD has so much weight on the front already, and then add a forward weight transfer of up to 75 per cent of the vehicle?s weight under an emergency stop, and you have the rear tires scrabbling to get any grip. In this scenario, the car inevitably spins.

Take the scenario of going into a wet curve too fast in a FWD.

Using the best tires on the front, here’ what happens: If the car is at the traction limit, the front tires (more tread depth) can just hang on and get around the curve. The rear tires (lower tread depth) don?t have as much grip as the front. The car will over-steer, the tail comes out and the car spins.

Same scenario with best tires on rear (more tread depth): If the car goes into the corner at the traction limit of the front tires, the rears have no problem following, so no control issues. If the car goes into the turn too fast, the driver will sense it, lift off the gas and the weight transfers to the front. Grip is regained, the car tracks around the corner and rear grip is no problem.

You say you have never found yourself in a driving emergency ? that’s good. But if you ever do, you may only get one chance to regain control before the crash. Why not give yourself the best odds possible?

Rotate the tires more often and all four will run out of tread at about the same time. Yes, two of them will have slightly more tread, but the difference will not be great.

I, too, like to wear out tires equally and buy four. But I also like stopping and turning.

Tire Talk: Best tires on the back is best plan for all cars

I have a 2012 BMW 328i Sport Line with 18-inch Pirelli all-season tires. I?m interested in all-weather tires. What is the longevity of these tires compared with all-season tires, given that most driving is in summer conditions? What brands do you recommend?

The only brand of all-weather tires that will work for you is the Nokian WR 2 or WR 3. The generation 3 tire is improved, but may not be available in your required sizes. But the generation 2 tire is fine.

Just be aware that Nokian?s size selection in run-flats is limited. You may end up with regular tires instead of run-flats. To me that?s a blessing, but it is an inconvenience if you get a puncture. If you don?t mind carrying a couple of cans of tire sealant and a compressor, then I?d go for it.

The latest-generation Nokian is rated at 500 tread-wear rating. That is usually about 80,000 km. But Kal Tire (the distributor) realistically guarantees a tread life of 50,000 km if the tires are rotated on a proper maintenance schedule.

Email tire questions to thetireguy_1@hotmail.com. Mail volume prevents personal replies.

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