Yes, it is possible to change only one tire, but only when the other three tires have most of their treads intact. The reason four tires must be similar is because it will lend uniformity in handling and overall vehicle performance, which encompasses activities such as cornering, braking and accelerating. You wouldn’t want your tires to start skidding if you are accelerating in an emergency, would you?
When is it necessary to change a tire?
The tread depth is an easy determiner of whether your vehicle’s tire needs replacement or not. If it goes below the recommended level in your state, you are likely to face major problems in wet conditions, where the vehicle could start hydroplaning. The greater problem would be when your vehicle is unable to stop in time due to low tread depth.
If your tires haven’t been rotated for a really long time and you don’t remember when this was last done, it could lead to heavy damage on the front tires. These tires carry the weight of the car and are also responsible for steering it, which means that they may need to be replaced.
Before you decide to embark on a trip, it is always a good idea to inspect the condition of your tires and change them if necessary. An alignment check is an absolute must, even if you got it done a couple of months ago.
Purchase in pairs
As mentioned earlier, you will not be purchasing only one tire in 99% of the cases. You will find that most tire shops sell you pairs of tires for safety purposes. This may be necessary if warranties are applicable only on two tires and not one. If three tires are already in bad condition, then ensure that you purchase all four and do not try to save money on the last one.
Some people think that in a FWD (Front Wheel Drive) vehicle, it is a good idea to install the new tires at the back instead of the front; with FWD you should put the new tires at the front. However, the minority argues the above point by stating that while front wheel skids can be controlled, it is virtually impossible to control a rear wheel slide, unless you are well trained to do so.
Do not purchase secondhand tires
You might be lured by secondhand tire shops on the Internet which sell used tires at very low rates. Although they might seem tempting, buying them would simply mean that you are compromising on the safety and performance of your vehicle. They will not last even half as long as new tires, even if they aren’t very old. You will also see a noticeable difference in its diameter as compared to the new tires, with the former tires being thinner.
Why did one tire wear out faster? If you are thinking about replacing just the one tire, it’s a good idea to find out why this tire got worn out the fastest amongst them all. If this has not happened due to weather conditions or due to very large potholes you may have bigger problems a few years down the road.