Fitting Quality tyres – How to reduce the threat of aquaplaning

What you believe about fitting quality tyres is probably wrong

If you’ve ever found yourself caught in the rain or on a wet road and having to apply the brakes, you’ll know the fear that aquaplaning can cause. And rightly so, too. An aquaplaning accident can be devastating. Spinal injuries are common outcomes, as is brain damage. The most common reason for loss of control on wet roads is poor quality tyres or wrongly fitted tyres.

But do you know the correct way of fitting new tyres?

The myths of fitting new tyres

All of the followings are myths surrounding fitting new tyres:

  • It’s natural to think that on front wheel drive vehicles, new tyres should be fitted on the front. After all, that where all the power, grip, and steering happens.
  • Most people want the best grip on the axle that provides the drive. Unfortunately, in wet conditions or on slippery roads, it’s more dangerous to have the back end skidding than the front.
  • Blowouts are more manageable if they happen on the rear. This might be true, but blowouts generally don’t happen because of a lack of tread. They are usually caused by something on the road. Also, what is most likely: a blowout or aquaplaning?

If you follow these myths of fitting new tyres, you’d fit the best tread at the front every time. You’d be wrong to do so.

Now for the facts

  • Front tyres wear more quickly than rear tyres, so rotating every few thousand kilometres helps even out wear of tyre tread.
  • Most of us don’t rotate tyres, and so the front tyres wear first. We then replace these like-for-like.
  • The tyres with least tread will begin aquaplaning first.
  • It is easier to control an aquaplaning vehicle when it is the front tyres that have begun to aquaplane first.

What the manufacturers of quality tyres say

It’s natural to think that the tyres with the most wear should be replaced like-for-like, but all the major tyre manufacturers warn against doing so. Here’s what a few of them say:

Goodyear: “When radial tires are used with bias or bias-belted tires on the same car, the radials must always be placed on the rear axle. Never mix radial and bias-ply tires on the same axle. When you select a pair of replacement tires in the same size and construction as those on the car, we recommend you put them on the rear axle. A single new tire should be paired on the rear axle with the tire having the most tread depth of the other three.”

Bridgestone: “If winter tires are applied to the front axle of any vehicle, they must also be installed on the rear. Do not apply winter tires to only the front axle — this applies to all passenger cars and light trucks, including front wheel drive, 4×4 and all-wheel drive vehicles.“

Dunlop: “Put new tyres on the rear axle: for better traction and stability when you drive.”

Michelin: “A pair of new tyres should go in back.”

Wherever your vehicle needs new tyres, always insist on tyre rotation and the new tyres to be fitted to the rear axle. It might cost a few dollars more, but it could just save your life.

To benefit from a great service and safe fitting call Darra on 3333 5510. Our guarantee is your safety.

Yours in family and fleet safety,

Kevin and the team

About the Author

Kevin has been at the forefront of the tyre industry for over 20 years. Kevin's speciality is in industrial and commercial tyres including the management and upkeep of fleets. Kevin has worked with vehicles his whole career from painting, mechanical, suspension and panel beating he has also spent time in the Australia Army as a driver. He has driven all size of vehicles throughout his career so understands the demands placed on drivers.