There are many times when drivers consider mixing tyres on their car. For instance, they may feel they can achieve a better balance by mixing summer tyres and winter tyres, or even just mixing car tyres of different tread patterns or tread wear.

However, mixing tyres is never a good idea - but drivers often don’t know any better. To help you understand why it’s not a great idea to mix your tyres, we’ve compiled some of the most frequent questions about using different tyres on a car.

Close-up of different tread patterns

Can I use different tyres on one vehicle?

As a general rule of thumb, this is never recommended, unless your vehicle’s manufacturer allows you to do so. However, very few (if any) commercial, road-worthy vehicle manufacturers will allow this.

What should I do if I have to change two tyres?

You may find yourself in a situation where you have to change two tyres. For example, excessive wear on one particular axle may mean these tyres need to be replaced, while the ones on the other axle are still good to use.

In these situations, you should follow this advice:

  • The best solution is to buy the exact same tyre - i.e, of the same make and model.
  • If this is not possible - perhaps you are using products that have recently gone off the market - you should look for equivalent tyres from the same category that have the same parameters as the original ones.
  • A third option is to buy alternative tyres, but this should only be used as a temporary solution, specifically in emergency situations. Using tyres from different performance categories, especially those with a different tyre size or speed index, may greatly add to a vehicle’s instability. When driving in bad weather or other hazardous situations, this can make it much more challenging to safely control the vehicle.

Different car tyresAn example of mixing different tyres

When mixing tyres, which tyres should not be combined?

Where possible, you always want to match tyres with similar characteristics and properties. This means you should not combine:

  • Tyres with different tread patterns
  • Tyres of different sizes (unless this is specified by your car manufacturer)
  • Winter tyres, summer tyres and all season tyres
  • Run-flat tyres with normal tyres

Tyres play an important role in ensuring comfort and other driving properties for your vehicle, so it is best to drive on models that are identical in every respect. Aside from the make and model, this includes the size and tread depth.

Mixing different tread depths is sometimes permissible, however in the case of modern day high performance cars it is recommended to seek advice from your car dealership to ensure the mixing of tread pattern depths will not have a negative effect on the electronics and mechanical integrity of the car.

The tyre industry recommends that the new tyres should be fitted onto the rear axle

Placing greater grip on the rear axle is generally recommended to prevent a possible over steer condition and loss of vehicle stability on slippery surfaces. Some car manufacturers recommend installing the newest tyres on the front axle.

Just remember this one thing: if you do have to mix your tyres, it will change how your car behaves.