To mix or not to mix your tyres? | Continental tyres

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Mixing tyres

Mixing tyres

To mix or not to mix your tyres?

In this section, you’ll learn the critical information about mixing tyres on your vehicle. Primarily, you should avoid mixing different tyre brands and different tread patterns. There are rare exceptions for approved mixed-tyre fittings, but in general, manufacturers do not recommend tyre mixing at all.

For optimal safety and performance, Continental recommends fitting the same tyres to every wheel position on your car, so drivers should have the same brand, size, tread pattern, load index and speed rating on the front and rear tyres.

As a bare minimum, tyres must conform to recommendations concerning size, load index and speed rating as provided by the vehicle manufacturer. It’s a legal requirement in many countries.

Driving a car with a set of tyres with mismatched size, construction, load index or speed rating can pose a danger to you and other road users. It’s always best to follow the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications or consult a qualified tyre specialist.

The benefits of tyre rotation

Rotating tyres is a proven strategy to maximise tyre service life and tyre wear.

The vehicle manufacturer will have custom guidance for the optimal rotation pattern and frequency. The rotation pattern depends on whether you have symmetrical, asymmetrical or directional tyres. If there are no special considerations, our recommendation is to rotate the wheels axle-wise between the front and the back on a regular basis.

Regarding timing, an excellent opportunity is the seasonal switching between summer tyres and winter tyres. Alternatively, tyre rotation at mileage intervals between 3,000 and 6,000 miles is also effective.

If you notice signs of uneven tyre wear, however, consider rotating them even more frequently. And ask your friendly local tyre retailer to check for any wheel misalignment or other mechanical problem. They can make the necessary corrections.

Full-size spare tyres of the same size and construction as the regular tyres should also feature in your tyre rotation. Before incorporating the spare, however, don’t forget to check and adjust its inflation pressure.

Speaking of air pressure, you should also adjust the air pressure according to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation for the new wheel position, as the specific pressures for the front tyres and rear tyres may differ.

Rotated tyres can also affect the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), if your car is equipped with it. Consult the owner’s manual or a qualified service professional to make the proper adjustments and recalibrate the system.

Can you mix different tyre brands and tread patterns on your vehicle?

First and foremost, our guidance is to fit the same tyres on all wheel positions of your vehicle.

However, if mixing becomes unavoidable due to a lack of availability or budget constraints, then it’s possible to mix tyre brands and tread patterns – but only so long as drivers fit a pair of tyres with the same tread patterns and brands across the same axle. That means installing a pair of identical tyres on the rear axle, or a pair of identical tyres to the front.

It may also be possible to mix tyres with a different load index and speed rating if the load index and speed symbols are higher than the minimum threshold recommended by the vehicle manufacturer (extra load vs. standard load). In these instances, fit the higher-rated tyres to the rear axle.

Mixing tyres with different tread depths

If you are replacing only two tyres on your vehicle, the new tyres will probably have a deeper tread depth than the older tyres.

Mixing different tread depths is generally permissible. The tyre industry recommends fitting the new tyres onto the rear axle. This will provide greater grip to the rear axle and mitigate any potential oversteer condition or loss of vehicle stability on slippery surfaces.

There can be exceptions, however. Some car manufacturers will recommend fitting the new tyres to the front axle, for example, if the car is a front-wheel drive. Consult your vehicle manufacturer’s handbook or a tyre specialist for further information.

Approved tyre mixtures

Some vehicles are factory-fitted with tyres of different sizes between the rear and front axles. These tyre mixtures are specific to the car and will require special considerations when the time comes to replace them. Always follow the recommendations of the vehicle manufacturer.

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