Current Issue
Published on January 16, 2006

Mail Call, Jan. 16



Replacing two tires

What is the industry's feedback to the following question? When a customer purchases only two new tires, should the new ones always be placed on the rear axle? Is this correct?

Marcos Sisneros

Tire Center Supervisor

Costco Wholesale

Lancaster, Calif.

Editor's Note: Replacement Guidelines for Passenger and Light Truck Tires, published by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), recommend that when replacing two tires of the same size and construction as those on the vehicle, the two newer tires should be installed on the rear axle unless the new replacement tires are of a lower speed rating.

“Generally, new tires with a deeper tread will provide better grip and evacuate water more effectively, which is important as a driver approaches hydroplaning situations,” the guidelines state. “Placing greater traction on the rear axle on wet surfaces is necessary to prevent a possible oversteer condition and loss of vehicle stability.”

Regarding speed-rated tires, the guidelines recommend that “if the vehicle tire placard and/or owner's manual specifies speed-rated tires, the replacement tires must have the same or a higher speed rating to maintain vehicle speed capability.” However, if tires with different speed ratings are used (with the exception of snow tires), the guidelines recommend the lower speed-rated tires should always be placed on the front axle. “This is to prevent a potential oversteer condition,” the guidelines state.

To purchase a copy of the replacement tire guidelines, contact the RMA at (202) 682-4800 or go to its Web site:

Tough sale

One of the hardest sales for me to make is the four-tire sale when a customer says, “I only want two!”

Snow tires, high-performance tires, all-wheel/four-wheel drive…why won't tire or car manufacturers put it in writing clearly for the public? High-traction and high-performance tires are intended to be used in sets of four matching tires.

John Stickley

Sales consultant

Whitehall Tires for Less

Butler Tire Distributors Inc.


Feeling the pressure

Concerning tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS), what am I supposed to do?—The tire reads 44 psi and the sticker on the vehicle's door jam reads 28 psi.

What is the TPMS set for? What is the correct tire pressure?

There's another concern I haven't heard anything about. I had a female customer come in who had a flat-tire-inflating material in one of her tires.That stuff's got to be a killer—I'm sure it gums up the TPMS mechanism.

Tire and car makers should warn consumers that flat-tire-inflating materials shouldn't be used in tires that have TPMS.

Corey A. Collett


Fred's Tire & Auto

Yucca Valley, Calif.


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