Our reader needs two new tyres for their car and wants to know if they can mix tyre brands and replace the worn-out tyres with two new tyres that are from a different brand.
Why replace tyres with a different brand
It would be very convenient (although pretty expensive) if all four tyres on a car wore at an even rate. But they don’t. The likelihood is you’ll have to replace the front tyres some time before the rears wear out.
It’s always worth looking in the car’s user manual to see what tyres it was fitted with originally. Car makers often work with tyre suppliers to develop rubber specially for certain models. But time moves on and for cost or performance reasons you might decide to replace them with a different brand.
In addition to the premium brands with familiar names such as Bridgestone, Michelin and Continental, there are also a host of budget brands. These may not perform as well as more expensive tyres but if you’re looking to save money, it’s definitely worth buying a new tyre from a budget brand rather than a used or part-worn tyre.
Is it OK to replace tyres with a different brand?
If you want, you can have a different make of tyre on all four corners of the car. It is entirely legal and some cars do! However, it isn’t recommended.
Different tyres have very different performance characteristics. So if you have one tread pattern on one side and one on another, your car could end up feeling rather strange to drive. Performance could be affected too, particularly if one tyre is worn down nearly to the 1.6mm legal minimum tread depth and another is brand new with around 8mm of tread.
What should you do?
If you can afford it, the recommendation is to replace single tyres with a design that’s the same as the other tyre on that axle. That’s because, as above, you don’t want to have different tread patterns on the same axle if you can help it.
If you are replacing two tyres, the ideal is that they should both be the same brand and tread pattern. But they don’t have to be the same brand as the tyres on the other axle if you want to switch things up.
What about different tyre sizes?
Remarkably, it’s perfectly legal to have different tyre sizes between front and rear. In fact some cars leave the factory with different sizes of tyre on the front and rear.
What you definitely shouldn’t do
It’s illegal in the UK to fit crossply and radial ply tyres on the same axle. Luckily, nowadays you’ll struggle to find crossply tyres for sale.
It is also not recommended to put summer and winter tyres on the same car, let alone the same axle.
This is because they will have radically different grip properties depending on the weather. You could end up with one tyre gripping and the other not in an emergency, which would obviously be dangerous.
I’ve been writing about cars and motoring for more than 25 years. My career started on a long-departed classic car weekly magazine called AutoClassic. I’ve since pitched up at Autosport, Auto Express, the News of the World, Sunday Times and most recently the Daily Telegraph. When I’m not writing about cars and motoring, I’m probably doing some kind of sport or working in my garden.