Is It Permissible to Mount Different Tyres on the Same Axle?
Many drivers tend to mount mismatched tyres on their vehicles trying to save some money. This is especially the case when only one tire becomes unserviceable. They may not know they endanger themselves and pedestrians and not just violate the rules. Therefore, before deciding what tires to mount on the axle, one should know some rules and restrictions in the current legislation.
What are the Limitations Regarding Tyres?
One of the main restrictions: in summer, from June to August, it is not allowed to drive on studded and winter tyres, and in winter, it is forbidden to drive without winter tires. But there are a lot of other rules regarding tire operation:
- All-season tyres cannot be used from December to February, if they are not accordingly marked: “M + S”, “M&S” or “M S”.
- Different models of tyres cannot be fitted onto the front and rear axle, because their characteristics can greatly vary. It is mostly the reason, why the wheels come loose, leading to loss of balance and excessive tire wear. Tyres with the same grip index but with different pattern may also lead to loss of control.
- Absolutely new tires cannot be combined with retreaded ones.
- The width of the front and rear tyres should not differ. Otherwise, the wider set shall be installed on the rear axle. If you fit them onto the front axle, the steering will be difficult.
Different Tyres on the Front and Rear Axle
Regarding mounting of tires on different axles of the car, there is the only limitation that excludes the use of studded and non-studded tires together. You must choose one of the options: either all tyres with studs, or all without. Car owner can get a penalty, if he combines such tires. This applies, even if there is one summer tyre among all winter tyres with studs or there is one studded tyre among summer tires.
All other cases of fitting different tyres in pairs onto the front and rear axle are not contrary to law. But there are several nuances to consider:
- Winter tyres on the front axle provide good controllability of all-wheel-drive vehicle on icy roads, but in case of summer tyres in the back, the rear part of the car becomes unsteady. Different tires on the axles can lead to drifts and other unsafe situations, since the load will be unevenly distributed on the wheels.
- Front and rear tires can be from different manufacturers. But your trips will be safer, if you choose tyres with the most similar characteristics and of the same type and brand.
Tyres with Different Tread on the Same Axle
Tyres with different tread patterns on the same axle are not permissible, as well as tires:
- with different frost resistance;
- with and without studs;
- of different design or size.
Fitting different tyres on the same axle is not allowed, as well as combinations of new tyres and:
- retreaded tyres (with new tread over worn one).
- tyres with newly cut pattern (with deepened grooves in the tread).
Is Mounting of Summer and Winter Tyres on the Same Axle Possible?
The law prohibits installation of different tyres on one axle. This rule also applies to winter and summer tires. The combination of winter tires on the left and summer tyres on the right and vice versa is not allowed.
Legislation does not limit the use of winter and summer tires on different axles (except for non-studded winter tyres at the front and ordinary summer tyres in the back), but it is still not advisable. Due to different tyre gripping characteristics, the behaviour of the vehicle on the road can be completely unpredictable. It is also worth using all tires for one season because their use during off-season accelerates tyre wear, leading to much earlier replacement than recommended by the manufacturer. Exceptions can be made only for cases when you need to get to the service station.
Regarding winter and summer tyres, the following options are allowed:
- Summer tyres in the back and non-studded winter tyres at the front.
- Summer tires at the front, winter tires – in the back, but only if they are non-studded.
What are the Consequences of Mounting Different Tyres on the Same Axle?
With different tyres on the same axle, the car becomes less controllable even at low speed. This is especially important for driving in icy or rainy conditions. The use of tires suitable for dry road together with aquaplaning resistant tyres provokes uncontrolled drifts of the car. The result of such driving is unpredictable and dangerous, especially when the vehicle develops great speed.
If an accident occurs, and the tyres of the car are different, then almost one hundred percent chance is that the driver will be found guilty of an accident. And a penalty for non-compliance with the wheel marking would be the most satisfactory outcome in this situation.
How to Use Tyres Properly?
The best solution would be to equip the car with a set of 4 tyres, which are completely identical and from the same manufacturer. If one of the tires cannot be restored, then you can try to find a tire with the same tread, but the best option would be to take 2 identical tyres and completely update the axle with one of the tires that became unserviceable. This will not only be cost-effective, but ensure excellent handling as well.