Last week while getting a pair of tires put on the truck, I learned something new. I had always been taught that new tires should go on the front, if you’re only getting two and not a whole set. But the store manager at the tire place recommended I put the new set on the back and rotate the used back ones to the front. I was a little dubious but came home and did my research.
Recent guidelines indicate that new tires should go in the back, on any type of vehicle. Popular Mechanics explains why: In dry, clear weather it really doesn’t make much difference. But if the road is wet, the new, full-treaded tires are less likely to lose traction than the partially worn ones. If you come to a wet curve, the full-treaded tires on the rear will stay behind you, preventing fishtailing. If the rear tires have less tread, there is a greater chance that they will slip, putting your rear bumper into the ditch. If the front tires skid, there is still the chance you might go off the road — but at least it will be headfirst, where the seatbelts and airbags offer more protection (from PM, Feb 2008).
So my new mnemonic device to help me remember is “Best in the Back”. Drive safely everyone!