4WD tires are one of the biggest investments to make in a 4×4 vehicle, as they are the only part that is in constant contact with the road. They are responsible for the vehicle’s braking, stability, fuel economy, handling, performance attributes and safety, so they must be kept in the best condition possible. There are several ways to tell when your 4WD tires need replacing, and you should check them regularly for signs of wear. But, do you know how often you have to change your 4WD tires?
The total weight of the car is not evenly distributed over the four tires of your car. Therefore, your car tires require regular rotation to maintain regular tread wear, so you get the most out of your car tires. For regular rotations, check your manufacturer’s rotation recommendations. Some tire manufacturers will not specify rotation recommendations for your 4WD tires, in such cases 4WD tires must be rotated every 4000 km. However, there is no set time frame for replacing your old 4WD tires, but replace them by determining the following aspects of your tires:
A. Check the tread depth. Tires are considered unroadworthy at a tread depth of 1.6 mm.
B. Irregular tire wear will trigger premature replacement
C. Tires have shallow grooves and channels
Changing one tire is almost never an option in 4WD vehicles. If you drive a 4WD vehicle part time, it is recommended that you change your tires in pairs. However, with a full-time 4WD vehicle, changing fewer than 4 tires is very dangerous for your vehicle’s drive train. This is one of the reasons why, 4WD vehicle manufacturers state that all four tires need to be replaced at the same time.
When to change your 4WD tires?
The tires don’t wear out evenly, but they do receive a tremendous amount of wear and tear. Check for these signs to know when your tires need to be replaced.
A. Tires are manufactured with wear markings. They are small blocks of rubber in the tread marked with arrows on the top sidewall of the tire to help you find them easily. Never wait to replace your tire until the marker is flush with the tread. When the tire marker is flush with the tread, it shows 1.6mm of tread remaining, which means your tires are not roadworthy. Replace when at least 2 mm of tread remains, which can be measured using a tread depth meter.
B. Signs of uneven wear should also be checked. Uneven wear can result from certain driving styles, vehicle problems such as not worn suspension or wheel alignment, or as a result of towing.
C. It is good to replace you 4WD tires those older than 5 years, even if they have sufficient footprint. Chemical transformations that occur in tire rubber can reduce performance and endanger driving safety.
If there are any signs of a potential problem with your car’s tires, or if it’s time to get new ones replaced, be sure to take your vehicle to the nearest retailer for service immediately.
Factors to consider when changing tires on a 4WD vehicle:
When you buy a 4WD vehicle, you are buying a vehicle that is engineered with some of the latest technology and safety features in it. These features will keep your vehicle under control even if your tires lose traction. For this new feature to work properly, the tires you replace for your 4WD vehicle must have the same tread depth, tread pattern and be from the same tire manufacturer. Inappropriate tread depth and tread pattern, and tires from different manufacturers can cause unwanted wear and overheating of driveway components resulting in them falling.
So, when you replace new 4WD tires for your vehicle, make sure they are of the same make, size and tread design. If you are replacing less than 4 tires, it is important to measure the remaining tire life to see if the tread depth is sufficient for the 4WD system to function properly. A number of 4WD vehicles allows the replacement of 2 tires if certain criteria are met. So, before changing the 4WD tires on your vehicle, make sure you read the owner’s manual to see the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations regarding tire replacement.
Choosing the right 4WD tires for your vehicle:
Choosing the right 4WD tires for your car is very important because they can handle a lot more conditions than regular passenger tires. Three different types of 4WD tires include Highway Terrian (H/T), All Terrian (A/T), and Mud Terrain (M/T). These three types of tires are able to function well in most off road conditions.
Highway Terrain tires are the tires that often come standard on your 4WD and are similar to regular passenger tires. This is a high-performance tire that combines all-season traction and ride comfort. However, the quality of good off-road tires is lacking due to the thickness of the tires and tread depth.
All-Terrain tires meet the needs of most 4WD vehicle owners. It can be considered as the best compromise between off road and on-road performance. It gains off-road traction easily with its decent ability to clear mud from the tread, making it a better choice compared to road tires. A/T tires also have the strength to withstand punctures from rocks and sticks.
Mud terrain tires provide better traction for vehicles that frequently go off-road. The deeper tread with larger cavities, along with puncture resistance gives the mud terrain tire the ability to ride the most serious off-road terrain with ease.
The ability of a 4WD vehicle to divide engine power between its 4 tires is especially useful when driving on wet and slippery surfaces such as dirt, sand and mud. So, to transfer this extra power, the 4WD vehicle’s driveline mechanically connects the tires to work in unison. To get the most out of your 4WD tires it is important to maintain even tread wear which can be obtained by rotating the tires every 4000 km. The owner’s manual also provides an indication of the manufacturer’s rotation as well as tire replacement specifications for your 4WD tires. Although, there is no set time frame for changing your car tires, it is recommended to replace them depending on the wear and tear of the tread, otherwise it may harm your vehicle’s drive train.
Jeff Williams is a mechanic from Sydney, Australia.