A good New Year to you Doctor, and your diesel team. I was reading Issue 319 about “choosing which rubber” to put on my four wheels and, whilst I would go along with putting a good brand, of the correct size and rating for my 2000 Audi A4 Avant TDI, I don’t believe in putting the new pair of tyres on the rear – they would go on the front! When I think of what the front wheels have to do: steer, drive, fulfil the majority of the braking effort, clear the water for the back wheels to follow in, and carry a high portion of the cars weight, especially when braking. Meanwhile, the back wheels just have to follow, transmit a bit of braking power, carry less than half the weight of the car plus whatever you take in the boot, and get the car around the corner, when the driver is driving in a sensible manner. A two to four millimetre tread depth on the back tyres should still be safe enough. As for the tread design, I believe in directional tyres. I had a pair of Dunlop tyres on the front and the noise was similar to the front bearings being shot, so I put them on the back (still noisy) and put Michelins on the front, which cured the front noise. (I’m pleased – but how does that relate to directional tyres? Doc) My spare is a Goodyear that can go on the left or right side, that came with the car from new, and is only currently on until a puncture is fixed; yes, it’s over thirteen years old and I believe is as good as new (it’s been kept in the dark and at the correct pressure), although some will definitely argue otherwise! I do about 10,000 miles per year now, I live quietly in Cape Town and we both (I mean the car and I) appear in the odd movie and advertising, so will let you know what mileage I get out of my front Michelins. That’s my opinion and I know it contradicts what has been said by the professionals, but in my book it is safer.
Sunny Cape Town.
A Happy New Year to you too, Sir, in sunny Seth Efrica! I’ve had other responses regarding which end of the car the “best” tyres should be fitted, e.g. when fitting two new tyres. The AA and Kwik Fit, for example, say to put them on the rear, in the belief that if you’re going to lose grip you are best trying to correct a front wheel skid than a rear wheel skid. I have myself previously questioned this supposed wisdom, and the real answer is to never let the tyres, either end, to get in a doubtful condition, nor drive in a manner that is likely to lose tyre grip at either end!
Manufacturers, including most of the Volkswagen Group apparently (see their current driver handbooks), rather cop out of all this by advising that you rotate your tyres regularly (front to rear and vice-versa, but not diagonally), whilst others disagree with tyre rotation, on the basis that front and rear tyres develop different wear profiles and are thus not best swapped over. Of course any front tyres that are excessively worn on the shoulders should not be put on the rear, but then they should not wear excessively on the shoulders anyway, if the tracking is as specified, and you drive sensibly. If you take time out to inspect the tyres on cars in supermarket car parks, you’ll have quite a shock, and it’s sad and worrying to see how many people apparently ignore tyre safety advice, and that the mad driver that we occasionally see is possibly running on near bald tyres. Maybe insurers should rule that badly worn tyres invalidate the insurance? I would have no argument with that.
So I don’t disagree with what you say, Stuart, but I do think you should replace that 13-year old spare! I changed the tyres on my wife’s car (I lie – a man changed them for me!), because I saw that they were seven years old, although still with 4mm plus of tread. Anyway, when they came off “the man” showed one to me, and the tread edge had started to separate from the carcass on the invisible inner side, so I was very pleased that I had dumped the dodgy old tyres. This is not quite the same as having an iffy spare, but it would be a choker if, when you next came to use it, you discovered that your Goodyear was faulty in some way, or went past after only a few miles! Doc