Skip to main content

Do you have a flat tire? At Road Speed Solutions, we are happy to replace your tire and get you back on the road within minutes.

The question remains, must you replace all four tires if you have one bad tire? This comprehensive guide reveals the truth about tire change services. We have detailed the safety and economic factors influencing tire change decisions. Gain tire expert insight and make informed tire change decisions. 

The Concept of Tire Tread and How it Impacts Your Safety

Understanding Tire Tread Basics

A tread is the part that makes contact with the road. Looking at different tire types, you will realize different tread patterns. Vehicle manufacturers use different tread patterns for different vehicles. There are three common categories of tire treads.

The symmetrical tread pattern is good for smooth driving and high stability.

Directional treads are best for snow tires. They protect your vehicle against aquaplaning. They also provide superior traction at high speeds.

Asymmetrical tread patterns provide high-curve stability and perfect traction in wet conditions.

Avoid mismatched tires for your safety and that of other road users. Tire professionals advise against mixing tire tread patterns. They bring differences in tire performance.   

The Relationship Between Tire Tread and Vehicle Stability

Traction is a significant factor determining a vehicle’s stability and performance. The tread depth of your tires plays a massive role in this. Tires with deep treads drive on challenging terrains better than lower-tread tires.

Thicker treads mean your vehicle has an excellent grip on the road. This translates to improved stability.   

Safety Implications of Worn-Out Tires

Tires can lose traction way before their treads wear out. Worn tires are hazardous to you and other road users. They can skid in wet conditions and cause accidents.

Bald tires are the ones that are worn-out flat. These cannot channel water from underneath the treads when driving on a wet road. This results in hydroplaning, where tires no longer respond to the steering wheel. A recent study by NHTSA shows that cars with worn tires are likely to crash. 

Check Out How To Change A Flat Tire Like A Boss:

The Impact of Replacing One Tire Vs. All Four

Potential Risks of Replacing Only One Tire

If you have a flat tire, replacing only one presents differences in tire performance. You risk losing traction, handling, and driving comfort. When you replace one tire, you have varied tire tread depths. The new tire accelerates, breaks, and negotiates corners differently than the old tires.

Even if you get the exact tire model, you will still have performance and stability problems. Also, your vehicle’s electronic systems may not work well with uneven tires. This poses potential risks of accidents when these parts fail.  

The Advantages of Replacing All Four Tires

Most modern vehicle manufacturers recommend changing all four tires when one goes down. All the tires should be uniform for the best performance. Uneven tires may cause other parts to malfunction.

The advantages of changing all four tires include enhanced safety and comfort. Driving with uniform tires also improves the stability and performance of your vehicle. These benefits also remind you of the essence of tire rotation. Rotation is a vital tire maintenance service that minimizes uneven tire wear.    

Is it Economical to Replace All Tires if One is Bad?

Analyzing the Cost-Benefit of Single Tire Replacement

Cost may be the only advantage of changing one tire instead of all four. But you can only count this as a benefit when the single tire change does not affect other areas.

You can change a single tire if your mechanic confirms it will not impact tire diameters. This is economical as it is cheaper to buy one than four tires.   

Long-Term Savings and Benefits of Full Tire Replacement

There are two ways you can save money when you replace all four tires instead of one. The first one is the discounts attached to sets of four wheels. Tire manufacturers usually offer discounts and offers such as Buy 3 Get 1 Free deal.

The second financial benefit of replacing all four tires is long-term. When you replace all four tires, you drive with matching tires. This improves the stability and performance of your vehicle. It also keeps your car from developing more tire-related problems.     

Guidelines for When to Replace One Tire or All Tires

Indicators to Replace a Single Tire

You can replace only one tire without affecting your vehicle’s performance and stability. But this is only applicable if the new and old tires have subtle differences in tread depth. You can also replace a single tire if you have a tire blowout. This can happen for many reasons, leaving the other three in perfect condition.  

Signs Your Car Needs a Complete Tire Change

The easiest test to determine whether you need a set of four new tires is using the Lincoln Cent. If you place the penny in the tread groove with Lincoln’s head facing down, seeing the top of his head means you need a set.

Other signs include bulging tires, cracked sidewalls, and slow tire pressure leaks. If your car shakes as you drive in addition to these signs, you may need a complete tire change. Poor traction in wet conditions is another sign that your four tires need a change.

Also, you need four new tires if the current tires are old and you missed rotation schedules. One sign of uneven tire wear should send you straight to the tire shop for a new set of four.    

FAQs About Tire Replacement

Is It a Bad Idea to Purchase Only One New Tire?

Replacing a single tire may result in performance problems. Your car may experience acceleration, braking, and cornering challenges. This is because your replacement tire’s tread depth differs from the rest of the tires’.

Is It Safe to Replace One Tire on an All-Wheel Drive Vehicle?

Today’s all-wheel-drive vehicles need proper tire maintenance. This includes regular Rearward Cross Tire Rotation to avoid uneven tire wear. If you fail to rotate your tires, you risk experiencing unbalanced tire wear.

Replacing a single tire may confuse your vehicle’s computer system. Since you have different tire diameters, the system may think you are losing traction. Even if you buy the same type of tire, their tread depths will still differ.

Do You Replace Your Car Tires in Pairs or One at a Time?

If you cannot replace the tires in fours, it is better to replace them in pairs. If you are replacing the rear axle tires, you replace both. Driven tires always wear faster than non-driven tires.

Do I Need to Replace the TPMS when I Replace My Tires?

You can use your Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems with several sets of tires. If the system does not show signs of failure, you do not have to replace the TPMS when you replace your tires.

Is a Wheel Alignment Required when Replacing a Single Tire?

Wheel alignment is not necessary when you replace only a single tire. But it is important as it ensures the new tire aligns well with the rest of the tires and the road.

Summing it Up

Whether to replace only a single tire or all four depends on the state of your current tires. Is it time to replace your tires? Contact Road Speed Solutions for fast and reliable tire change services. Our skilled tire technicians will arrive at your location in less than 35 minutes.

Agustin is part of the team at Road Speed Solutions, a reliable and efficient roadside assistance business with over a decade of experience in New Jersey.

What sets Road Speed Solution apart is the team's commitment to giving back to the community, regularly donating to local charities and supporting small businesses. Choose Roadside Speed Solutions for prompt, trustworthy roadside assistance services.