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Should New Tires Go on the Front or Back?

Updated: February 2021

According to Tire Review, new tires should always go in the back. Rear tires provide the vehicle stability, and if they have little tread, then stability is lost. Although new front tires will spread water and maintain traction, worn tires in the back will hydroplane and may cause the vehicle to spin out, says Tire Review. This is the same for vehicles with rear-, front- or all-wheel drive.

Ideally, you'd replace all four tires. But if only two need to be replaced, the new tires should go in the back, says Michelin.

closeup view of two tires.

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Do the Replacement Tires Need to Match Exactly?

New tires should be the same size and type as the current tires, according to Michelin. TireBuyer notes that having uniform tires allows for more even wear and tear.

Also, rotate your tires on a regular basis. According to Tire Rack, this helps them wear evenly instead of in pairs. That way, all four can be replaced at once when the time comes.

Is Tire Replacement Covered by Insurance?

Tire replacement may be covered by car insurance if they're damaged in a covered accident. But tire replacement due to normal wear and tear or lack of maintenance would not be covered by insurance.

When Tire Replacement is Covered

There are two types of tire damage that might be covered:

Slashed or stolen tires
Comprehensive coverage is designed to cover non-collision incidents, like theft or vandalism. If your policy includes comprehensive coverage, then replacement for a slashed or stolen tire may be covered.

Pothole or roadway damage
Collision coverage protects you against crashes on the road, including with another car or object in the road. You might be covered if you hit a pothole or roadway debris with collision coverage.

Flat tires
Flat tires may be covered by roadside assistance. Check your policy to see if it's included. It all boils down to the type of roadside plan you have. Patching a hole from a nail is typically not covered. Luckily, tire repairs are only about $20, according to Consumers' Checkbook.

When Tire Replacement Isn't Covered

Car insurance generally doesn't cover damage that happens over time. That's a maintenance issue and the vehicle owner would have to foot the costs. And as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reminds us, tire maintenance can prevent many an accident on the road. Fewer claims and a safer you.

Insurance varies from policy to policy and insurer to insurer. If you're ever unclear about what is and isn't covered by your auto policy, call your insurance company.

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Our pages are filled with helpful tips and information about the topics that most of us face in our everyday lives. We focus on safety and maintenance issues with regard to your home, auto, apartment, motorcycle, boat, small business, finances and more. Please recognize that a particular tip may not be effective in every circumstance and that taking preventive measures cannot guarantee any outcome. We encourage you to use your own good judgment about what's appropriate for you and your property and always consider safety.
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