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#4491677 - 08/18/17 08:25 AM Rotating Less Worn Tires to Front - FWD Vehicle
TWG1572 Offline


Registered: 12/18/07
Posts: 558
Loc: Madison, Wisconsin
My wife abuses tires. Over the 15 years I've known her, her car has consistently gotten 1/2 the life out of tires that mine has. This is across multiple vehicles in this time. I've grown to accept this, and just know we are buying tires more frequently for her. She's also independent, and handles getting the maintenance done on her vehicles, which works for me.

She comes home last night and tells me that her front tires on her AWD Rav4 are 4/32 and the backs are 7/32. These are General Altimax RT tires. The shop is recommending that she needs to start considering buying 2 new tires, and move the rear ones to the front.

I understand the reasons behind that recommendation. What I'm curious about is whether the difference in tread depths is material enough to warrant a new tire purchase, or if I could rotate them and be ok.

In the scheme of things, tires are cheap. So if there is a risk/concern to rotating the existing tires, I'll buy new ones. If not, I'll rotate and get a few more miles out of the set. What do you think?


Edited by TWG1572 (08/18/17 08:26 AM)

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#4491685 - 08/18/17 08:34 AM Re: Rotating Less Worn Tires to Front - FWD Vehicle [Re: TWG1572]
Kira Offline


Registered: 08/19/10
Posts: 5214
Loc: Champlain/Hudson Valley
I always heard to put the lousy tires on front. This way, if one goes out whilst driving you have your hands on the steering wheel and thus, more control. I doubt your tires are that bad.

Have you been rotating them all along? Sounds like not.

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#4491687 - 08/18/17 08:35 AM Re: Rotating Less Worn Tires to Front - FWD Vehicle [Re: TWG1572]
Claud Offline


Registered: 02/11/14
Posts: 593
Loc: Margate England
I think the shop is offering sound advice. At 4/32 the rears are nearing time for replacement, I'm guessing you get plenty of rain in Wisconsin?.
Of course, the tire shop want to sell you new tires, but I don't think they are trying to get you to replace them unnecessarily.

Claud.

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#4491688 - 08/18/17 08:36 AM Re: Rotating Less Worn Tires to Front - FWD Vehicle [Re: TWG1572]
Virtus_Probi Offline


Registered: 06/25/15
Posts: 3970
Loc: New England
My take would be to rotate the backs to the front now and get her a new full set of tires just before snow season. You probably don't want her running on really thin tread in a WI winter, and I suppose there might be a concern about hydroplaning those 4/32 tires on the rear in heavy rain even before that if she is very aggressive in her driving habits. I would be very concerned about where those tires that are now at 7/32 would be this coming winter if you only replace the 4/32 now...get some more miles out of what you have before the snow and ice and save up for 4 tires in November or so.

I am hard on tires, too, and unlikely to change in that respect anytime soon. I am going to hazard a guess that she has a V6 RAV4 (RAV6)? I remember I would pretty regularly chirp the front tires on my '06 RAV6 from a stop, doesn't happen with my Subaru due to the different AWD system.
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#4491689 - 08/18/17 08:36 AM Re: Rotating Less Worn Tires to Front - FWD Vehicle [Re: TWG1572]
mightymousetech Offline


Registered: 04/03/17
Posts: 1444
Loc: Ontario, Canada
I would rotate them. And in the future, rotate them more often.
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#4491695 - 08/18/17 08:41 AM Re: Rotating Less Worn Tires to Front - FWD Vehicle [Re: Kira]
Virtus_Probi Offline


Registered: 06/25/15
Posts: 3970
Loc: New England
Originally Posted By: Kira
I always heard to put the lousy tires on front. This way, if one goes out whilst driving you have your hands on the steering wheel and thus, more control. I doubt your tires are that bad.

Have you been rotating them all along? Sounds like not.


I have read that the thicker tread goes on the back to keep the back end from coming around in slippery conditions and taking you totally out of control...the thought is oversteer is usually more dangerous than understeer? If you have a FWD drive and thin rubber in the front keeps you from getting going on slippery roads, that may be safer than thick rubber in the front getting you up to a speed where your thin rears are going to lose it and take you off the road or into a spin.
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#4491699 - 08/18/17 08:44 AM Re: Rotating Less Worn Tires to Front - FWD Vehicle [Re: TWG1572]
bioburner Offline


Registered: 09/19/16
Posts: 1418
Loc: Minnesota
I am with Virtus with his first post. Is what I do with the little Scion and just did last fall with the Xterra getting new pair of tires for the back to pull the Transit to TX and the fronts are now due and have a new pair sitting in the shop to rotate in for winter but hope to not see a flake. The Xterra can get 60k on a set of tires if properly rotated.


Edited by bioburner (08/18/17 08:46 AM)
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#4491703 - 08/18/17 08:50 AM Re: Rotating Less Worn Tires to Front - FWD Vehicle [Re: TWG1572]
rooflessVW Online   content


Registered: 12/24/11
Posts: 4037
Loc: North Carolina
Rotate them and start shopping for tires. It's easier and you can save yourself some money when you're not in a rush.
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#4491708 - 08/18/17 08:55 AM Re: Rotating Less Worn Tires to Front - FWD Vehicle [Re: Kira]
4WD Offline


Registered: 09/21/10
Posts: 6366
Loc: Texas
Michelin states best tires in rear ...

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#4491715 - 08/18/17 09:08 AM Re: Rotating Less Worn Tires to Front - FWD Vehicle [Re: TWG1572]
Gebo Offline


Registered: 09/18/02
Posts: 2079
Loc: VA
What about RWD? I'm assuming same as FWD?
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#4491721 - 08/18/17 09:14 AM Re: Rotating Less Worn Tires to Front - FWD Vehicle [Re: TWG1572]
Olas Offline


Registered: 12/11/13
Posts: 3933
Loc: Manchester, England
If she understands weight distribution then ask her if she wants a stable front end and a loose rear or vice-versa.
Or if she's unable to decide throw in the other option which is equal between all 4.
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#4491730 - 08/18/17 09:19 AM Re: Rotating Less Worn Tires to Front - FWD Vehicle [Re: TWG1572]
Claud Offline


Registered: 02/11/14
Posts: 593
Loc: Margate England
EVERY tire maker and accredited road safety engineer I have come across always recommend having the least worn tires on the rear. No matter if it is fwd, rwd, awd, or part time 4wd. All give the same reason; to reduce the risk of catastrophic oversteer.

Claud.

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#4491740 - 08/18/17 09:22 AM Re: Rotating Less Worn Tires to Front - FWD Vehicle [Re: Claud]
Olas Offline


Registered: 12/11/13
Posts: 3933
Loc: Manchester, England
Originally Posted By: Claud
EVERY tire maker and accredited road safety engineer I have come across always recommend having the least worn tires on the rear. No matter if it is fwd, rwd, awd, or part time 4wd. All give the same reason; to reduce the risk of catastrophic oversteer.

Claud.


Oversteer is a lot easier to control than understeer, and it's less scary when you can't see what's going to happen. So I prefer to have my grip at the front available to be used by engine, brakes and steering.
YMMV.
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#4491741 - 08/18/17 09:24 AM Re: Rotating Less Worn Tires to Front - FWD Vehicle [Re: TWG1572]
Olas Offline


Registered: 12/11/13
Posts: 3933
Loc: Manchester, England
Also, all the expensive parts of the car are at the front - a rear is much easier to rebuild/replace.
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#4491774 - 08/18/17 09:52 AM Re: Rotating Less Worn Tires to Front - FWD Vehicle [Re: TWG1572]
HerrStig Offline


Registered: 08/24/11
Posts: 9560
Loc: Boston, MA
I've always found a jittery rear is far more dangerous than a little "push" in the front. Folks who understand front wheel drive dynamics understand getting off the gas or brakes restores front wheel grip quite quickly. Not many race cars over the years have had oversteer built in except for a certain German make with the engine at the back. Dieter and the boys went to four wheel drive in a effort to control the throttle steer brougt about by the weight of the engine. It's why really fast rear engine Porsche products look like they have 55 gallon drums for rear tires.

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