Just a few days ago one of four nearly new tires developed a bubble on the sidewall. Thankfully, I purchased the roadside-whatever-the-heck when I bought them and got the replacement for the cost of shipping and had it mounted with decent haste – potential NJ turnpike crisis averted.
Now, I figure the other tires are at around 85-90% when this episode started. Is there a way to get the new tire to catch up with the others in terms of wear? Or should I leave well enough alone?
The short answer is to leave well enough alone, it’ll be fine. Well, that depends on if your vehicle has permanent, full time AWD?
Well then! It’s not a problem, mount the new tire on the front axle and let it wear to match. At your tread depth, that tire could be mounted at any location, even on a four-wheel-drive vehicle. The folks at Tire Rack go into further detail than I’d prefer to in this column, including shaving a street (not race) tire to keep someone from replacing all four tires when only one is truly bad. So all roads point to you being fine.
Which begs a few questions: how many people rotate tires as per owner’s manual requirements? As AWD becomes more prevalent in affordable CUVs and sedans, are we gonna see more problems with mismatched tires? If so, what mechanical failures should we be on the lookout for?
Send your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.