Do you have to replace all four tires on AWD?
Replacing one tire on AWD can cause damage
If you own a vehicle with all-wheel-drive (AWD) and have an unrepairable flat tire, the tire shop will tell you that you have to replace all four tires on AWD. They’re right—well, kinda. Installing a single brand new tire on an AWD vehicle with 3 worn tires can destroy the AWD unit. The difference in diameters means that the new tire rotate less than the other three and that forces the AWD unit to constantly compensate. AWD units are designed to compensate for different wheel rotation speeds in turns and when changing lanes. But when they have to compensate 100% of the time, they overheat and, ah, they croak. So, that’s why tire shops try to sell you four new tires.
Tire shaving can save you a bundle
BUT, there is another option. If you want to buy tires locally, find a tire specialty shop that does tire “truing” or “tire shaving.” They’ll take the new tires and shave off some of the new tread so it matches the tread depth of your other tires. Sure, you’ll lose some of that brand new tread that you just paid good money for. But you’ll also get the rest of the life out of the remaining three tires. Can’t find a shop in your area that does that? Go to discounttire.com. They’ll explain how to measure the circumference of your current tires and then they’ll shave one down for you.
© 2012 Rick Muscoplat