Is it dangerous to put tires with the most tread on the front wheels? PDF Print E-mail

Yes. It has been researched and doucumented that tires with the most tread must go on the back of the vehicle to help maintain better control!

Note the tire safety information below, taken from, brought to you by The Brain Injury Law Group - No Charge Unless We Win.

Two Tires Done Wrong. New Tires must go on the Back.

The depth of tread on a tire directly impacts at what point a tire will begin to hydroplane.

FACT: Tires on the front will typically wear more than tires on the rear of a vehicle.

FACT: If the tires are rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles, the tires on the vehicle will have reasonably even tread.

FACT: Many people don't rotate their tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. Thus, when they have their tires looked at, the front tires have worn out and the back tires still have some tread life left on them. It is thus necessary to only replace the front tires.

FACT: If one pair of tires has more tread on them than the other pair, then the pair with less tread will begin to hydroplane with less water on the road surface than the other pair.

FACT: If the pair of tires which begin to hydroplane first is on the front of the vehicle, it is far easier to regain control of the vehicle. First, the driver will feel the skid in the steering when the skid begins. Second, the intuitive action of taking your foot off the accelerator and steering into the direction of the skid will prevent loss of control. When it is the back tires which begin to skid, it is much more difficult to control. The loss of control is much harder to detect because it isn’t felt in the steering wheel and the actions to control are counterintuitive (turning away from the direction of the skid).

Thus: Every tire manufacturer recommends that the new tires (or in a rotation situation) that the tires with the most tread be mounted on the rear.

  1. Many tire professionals still believe that the tires with the most tread should go on the front if it is a front-wheel drive vehicle.
  2. Many tire professionals believe that it makes a difference what season of the year it is.
  3. Many tire professionals will ask the customer for his or her preference. “Where do you want us to put the new tires?”
  4. Many tire professionals will simply rotate the more worn tires off the front of the vehicle to the back, even when the tires are not replaced. Prevention: Insist on putting your new tires on the rear.

Liability: If there has been a hydroplaning accident, it is imperative that the tires are examined by a forensics professional and that the service records of the vehicle be investigated. If new tires were purchased or installed on the front of the vehicle, we believe that the installer of these tires could be legally negligent and responsible for all injuries suffered in such accident.

New Tires must go on the Back. Tire Placement Myths?

Front Wheel Drive cars - This is a tricky situation, because it is natural to assume that the wheels that have to do the pulling (front wheel on front wheel drive car) should have the best traction. The natural assumption is the wrong one and the likely reason that the installation of two new tires is done wrong on so many front wheel drive cars.

All Wheel Drive vehicles - The rule is the same. Best tires on the back.

Snow Tires - The Rule is the most tread on the back. If you need snow tires in a front wheel drive, because those are the tires that do the pulling, then you must put snow tires on all four wheels. See manufacturers' recommendations below.

It makes a difference what season - This is likely a corollary of the front wheel drive/snow tire myth. Since people are most concerned about traction in the winter snow conditions, the argument for wanting the best traction on the wheels doing the pulling seems strongest. Yet, the front wheels slipping, even if it is the tires doing the pulling, is far less dangerous than losing control of the back end of a car. This is the reason that all tire manufacturers, say “best tires on the back. “ If you need better traction on the pulling tires, then get four new tires.

The blow out risk - Of course you'd rather have a blowout on the back as opposed to the front, but if you are going to have a blowout at highway speeds, the tread depth is not going to be the cause. It will be caused by something like a nail, a pot hole or other foreign object or hazard. If a nail goes into the tire, it doesn't matter if you have 4/32 or 14/32 of tread depth.  Further which is a greater likelihood of happening? A blowout or driving in rain on the interstate? Definitions: Oversteer - Oversteer (losing control of the rear wheels outside the path of travel) Understeer (losing control of the front wheels)

Tire Manufacturers' Recommendations. What the Manufacturers Say.

Goodyear: “When you select a pair of replacement tires in the same size and construction as those on the car, we recommend you put them on the rear axle.“

Bridgestone/Firestone: from the Replacement Manual: “Winter tires are best applied to all vehicle positions. If winter tires are applied to the front axle of any vehicle, they must also be installed on the rear. Do not apply winter tires to only the front axle --- this applies to all passenger cars and light trucks, including front wheel drive, 4x4 and all-wheel drive vehicles.“

Dunlap: “When you select a pair of replacement tires in the same size and construction as those on the car, we recommend you put them on the rear axle.”

Michelin: “A pair of new tires should go in back. See video.”

Other tire prevention tips:

BF Goodrich: “REPLACEMENT OF TWO (2) TIRES It is recommended that all four (4) tires are replaced at the same time. However, whenever only two tires are replaced, the new ones should be put on the rear. The new tires, with deeper tread, may provide better grip and water evacuation in wet driving conditions.”

Continental: "Winter tires should be used on all four wheel positions. Never put non-radial winter tires on the rear if radials are on the front, except when the vehicle has duals on the rear. On front-wheel-drive or performance vehicles, it may be advisable to install winter or all season tires on all wheel positions to maintain consistent handling in winter conditions."

Please note that while this is intended to outline general guidelines and considerations for tire placement, it is not all-inclusive.

IMPORTANT: Before replacing tires, ALWAYS refer to and follow the vehicle manufacturer's replacement tire restrictions and recommendations.

WARNING: Without tires on the rear axle which have comparable traction qualities to the tires on the front axle, the vehicle may experience adverse handling characteristics. This may result in loss of vehicle control, which could cause serious injury or death.

Two Tires Done Wrong. Legal Claims.

Hydroplaning wrecks can be among the most devastating on the road, especially as the risk of such accidents grow exponentially as speed increases. Spinal cord injuries, severe brain injuries and other disabling conditions are common. As stated in our video introduction, far too many of these cases are ignored because they involve one car wrecks or cases in which the most injured party is thought to be at fault. Often these cases are not pursued because there is not enough insurance to cover the catastrophic nature of the spinal cord or brain injuries.

Failing to properly investigate the tire installation facts in a hydroplaning or fishtailing wreck is a huge mistake. As stated in these pages, all manufacturers recommendations state that the new tires should go on the back. If new tires are installed on the front (the myth as to what should be done) the sellers or installers of such tires are clearly liable for all injuries. The facts of what should be done is so clear cut, that the defense of these cases if often quite meek.

While the legal community is just beginning to become aware as to the legal responsibility for such wrecks, there have been several large settlements against installers.

In a confidential California case, the plaintiff's vehicle lost control in a puddle of water, resulting in a rollover and rendering the plaintiff a quadriplegic. While all of the tires on the plaintiff's car had adequate tread, the defendant sold the plaintiff two new tires just before the accident, and installed them on the front. This was a violation of the defendant's company policy. The case settled for $8.5 million.

In a case against Costco and General Motors that settled for $10,000,000, Costco had installed the two new MIchelin tires on the front and the General Motors dealer had inspected the tires just before the accident and didn't detect the misplacement or was aware of the manufacturer's recommendations.

To win a legal case, it is essential that the tires be inspected while the vehicle is still available, so immediate action is best. If there are new tires on the front and not the back, a clear cut claim can be made.



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