I know we have previously posted about this matter, but we keep hearing with increasing frequency about problems arising from non matched tyres and feel obliged to raise the matter again; this problem is not going to simply go away.
In Germany for instance, anecdotal reports suggest that nearly all vehicles have matching sets of tyres. i.e. all 4 tyres are the same brand, pattern and size. It seems many Germans would be mortified at the notion that a vehicle could have different tyres on every corner. Well, things are a bit different in New Zealand, many vehicles have different tyres front and rear etc and a significant number have 4 different tyres. Tell many Kiwis they have to throw away their tyres and buy new ones that match, and they will think you are mad!
While this is not totally desirable, it can be 100% WOF compliant and probably does not matter much on a 1300 cc Toyota Corolla. But we now have a situation where some highly sophisticated vehicles arriving in the marketplace are highly intolerant of tyres that do not match.
We have heard horror stories about a differential on a late model Volvo which blew at a cost of many thousands of dollars because the tread on three tyres was 2 mm and one was 8mm, where warning lights have been triggered by unmatched tyres and where a 4wd’s handling was compromised due to it having been fitted with tarmac tyres at the rear and all terrains in front even though they were all the same size.
The learning point here is that we Kiwi’s need to work on being less cavalier about tyre safety and our vehicles requirements; this will become exponentially more important as more technically challenging vehicles arrive in the market place.
In the medium term, it is highly likely that the WOF regulations will be amended to require matching sets of tyres. In the future we may always have to replace tyres in two’s or even 4’s.