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Motorists get their tyres “back to front”!

24 May 2007

Most drivers think that new tyres should be fitted to the front wheels... A car tyre is often a distress purchase, but even when replacing one in the course of normal vehicle maintenance, it has long been believed that the new tyres should be fitted on the front wheels. Research by TyreSafe, Britain’s foremost tyre safety organisation, has indicated that over 50% of motorists believe this to be the case and 30% of motorists did not know.

However, recent demonstrations have indicated that it is more beneficial to fit the new rubber to the rear wheels, regardless of whether the vehicle is front or rear wheel drive. Industry research suggests that if the new tyres are fitted to the rear wheels, water on the road surface is better dispersed, which improves straight line braking ability. Conversely, if the rear track is fitted with part worn tyres, the car often has a dangerous tendency to oversteer.

As the majority of the cars on the road are front wheel drive, it seems to make sense to have the new tyres up front. The demonstrations also showed that there is often a greater loss of control when a rear tyre suffers a puncture, so in fact it makes greater sense to fit the fresh, less vulnerable rubber to the rear wheels.

Rear tyres are subject to relatively low wear rates as well, meaning that the new tyres will have a longer lifespan on the back rims. Fitting new tyres to the rear and moving part worn rubber to the front each time also means that the rear tyres will be less prone to age-related deterioration from prolonged exposure.

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