Two New Tires: Put the Best in Back

new tireDear Tracy,
I recently parked in a spot that had some broken glass I did not notice, and now I have to replace my two front tires. Since the rear tires are still in good shape, and my budget is tight, I am only going to replace the damaged tires.

I was planning on putting the two new tires put on the front of my car because it is a front wheel drive car, and it seems like the better tires should be in the front. Is this true?
Eric C.

Dear Eric,
Sorry to hear about your mishap, Eric! I have had this happen, too, and it’s very frustrating.

Regardless of the type of car you have, your two new tires should go in the back. This is because the driving stability that enables you to control your steeling and braking is provided by the rear tires. Installing  the tires with the best tread in the back will help you maintain better control on wet roads and avoid the dangers of hydroplaning.

Hydroplaning occurs when tires lose contact with the road due to the tire’s inability to channel water through tread patterns. As front tires hydroplane, the vehicle tends to under steer and remain straight. But when rear tire hydroplaning happens, the vehicle tends to oversteer, or spin. Under steering can be can be controlled to a large degree by releasing the gas pedal and slowing down. In the case of over steering, it is a lot harder to resume control. This is why it is important to have the better tread on the rear tires.

Once you have your new tires installed, makes sure to stay on schedule with regular rotation and alignment checks, and always keep them properly inflated.