Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Phillip writes: I managed to curb scrub the right rear tire of my 2013 Honda Accord, putting a small tear into the sidewall. The dealer insists the tire must be replaced and not only that, its opposite number as well. This seems like “revenue enhancement” to me.
My reply: Absolutely not – at least, in the case of the right rear tire with the sidewall tear. That tire must be replaced. I am the farthest thing you’ll find from a sssssssaaaaaaaafety fetishist but this is a legitimate safety issue. Driving on a damaged tire that could explosively decompress at high speed is a kind of Russian Roulette and not worth the “savings” of – what – about $150 for a replacement tire? How much would it cost you if you wreck the car on account of that damaged tire?
Then other tire should probably also be replaced. Unless both tires were nearly new and had very little wear on them. In that case, it’d be okay to replace just the damaged tire with one of the same type. But otherwise, the other tire should become your spare tire. Toss it in the trunk – as a replacement for the crappy donut spare your car from the factory with.
But don’t continue driving on it with a brand-new tire on the opposite axle. Why?
Tread wear/depth differences from side-to-side can result in weird handling and may also result in faster wear of your other tires.
As a general rule, tires (on the same axle – i.e., front or rear) should be replaced in pairs.
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