Car Myth: You Can Replace Just One Tire

Flat tires aren’t fun. They come unexpected and leave you in a sticky situation, stuck on the side of the road installing a spare and running late. When the tire can’t be patched or repaired, you’ll be stuck buying a new tir)e.

But is it true that you can never replace just one tire?

The truth: it depends.

Tires are like shoes. Your vehicle performs best when it wears matching shoes.

There may be situations in which you can replace just one tire. If you bought a new set just last week and the rest of the tires are in like-new condition, then you may be able to purchase a single tire that matches the others and your car will perform normally.

But if your tires are worn, replacing just one tire can leave your car in mismatched shoes. You wouldn’t wear a tennis shoe and a dress shoe at the same time – your car is the same way.

Tread on your tire equals traction. If one tire is worn, it will slip and slide on roads when the other tire will grip and purchase. You’ll notice changes in the way your vehicle handles on the road.

If your uneven tires continue to drive, they can even cause more damage to other components. Your suspension, steering, brakes (especially anti-lock brakes) and more can be damaged by tires that don’t match.

Another critical component is the diameter of the tire. When one tire is even a slightly different size than the first, it can affect how your vehicle handles and trigger warning lights.

One driver replaced only one tire, purchased the same type of tire, but the new one was slightly smaller than the rest. After a few miles on the roads, the ABS light appeared on the dashboard. Because the tires were different diameters, the anti-lock brake system could not calibrate correctly and reported an error. Over time, this can cause more issues and damage.

If you have a flat tire, bring your vehicle into our auto repair shop and tire center. Our car care experts will help you know if your tire can be repaired or needs to be replaced, whether or not you need multiple tires, and which tires are best for your vehicle. Drop by our shop or call to schedule your next appointment: (719) 481-4393.