Obviously a complete set of new, matching, high quality tyres is always the preferred fitment for any vehicle.
Having said that, Better Tyres has tended to accept the conventional wisdom that mixed sets of tyres were a serviceable proposition provided they were Wof compliant. i.e. that the tyres on each axle were the same size, construction and same pattern type.
But we are becoming aware of instances of mismatched tyres causing problems on late model vehicles with traction and stability control; mismatched both in terms of different patterns and brands and tread depths. Such situations have caused handling problems and error messages in modern vehicles, especially in 4wds. In every instance, fitment of a matching set of tyres with the same tread depth has resolved the problem.
Mixing brands/patterns of mud terrain tyres is a big no, no. Differences in compound, technology, pattern and tread depth can cause serious and unpredictable on road behavior. Always fit mud terrain tyres in sets of 4 and rotate them regularly to maintain even wear.
Anecdotal reports suggest these instances of problems with mismatched tyres are causing some concern in official circles and it has been suggested future Wof regulation amendments may make it mandatory to fit sets of brand, size, tread depth and pattern matching tyres. Given that many vehicles in New Zealand operate on mixed sets of tyres, such a development would cause quite an upheaval over its first year at least equal to the shift to one year warrants of fitness.
Regardless, it should be acknowledged that a matched set of tyres is best. Identical tyres of the same size, construction, brand and tread pattern will ensure optimal control and stability of your vehicle and facilitate regular rotation of your tyres for longer life and even wear.
In the future, consumers will increasingly have to consider fitting a pair or even a full set of tyres when even just one tyre is being replaced so as to ensure the vehicles traction and handling remain at optimum levels even if that entails discarding tyres with say 50% tread.
Ok, we are not suggesting this change is imminent, but we do think it will happen in the future and that owners of some new vehicles and mud tyre equipped 4wds need to consider all of this now. For sure, the latest stability and traction control systems on some new vehicles have proven highly intolerant of mismatched tyres and as these vehicles become more common on the roads, the need for changes in Wof tyre regulations will become more pressing.