Does Tire Brand Matter? Is It OK to Have Mismatched Tires?

By Tire Agent Staff

May 05, 2022

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In this post, we answer common questions about replacement tires:

  • Can I put different tires on my car? (It depends on what you mean by different.)
  • What are OEM tires?
  • What are mismatched tires?
  • Do different tires on the front and back?
  • Do tire brands matter?

Different Tires: Does Different Tire Brand Matter On Car?

You probably didn't care too much about fashion when you were a kid. You were fine putting on the nearest shirt and pair of shorts, whether they matched or not. Garanimals made things so easy -- match the tags for no-brainer outfits. If only tires and cars came with Garanimal tags ... 

We get lots of questions about replacement tires, like, do you have to keep the same kind of tires that came on your car, and what are mismatched tires? What are OEM tires? And can you put different tire brands on a car?

You don't have to keep the exact tire that comes with your vehicle, but you should know a few things about mixing and matching tires.

OEM vs. Non-OEM Replacement Tires

Let's begin with defining OEM. It stands for original equipment manufacturer, which means when you buy your car, whatever comes with it is considered original equipment. OEM examples include the vehicle's sound system, brake pads, steering wheel, and, of course, tires and rims. Sometimes, they're referred to as "factory" or "stock" parts.

What Are OEM tires?

OEM tires are those specified by the automaker and installed on the vehicle when first purchased. They are the standard tires. 

Your car's manufacturer collaborates with tire companies to select tires that will meet various performance specifications for a brand-new vehicle. They choose tires that balance ride noise, handling, longevity, and fuel efficiency.

OEM tires are designed to provide the performance the manufacturer of your vehicle intended. Fitting a new set of OEM replacement tires when the original stock tires wear out is an ideal choice to help preserve a consistent driving experience and maintain those performance features as they came from the factory.

Why replace OEM tires with non-OEM tires?

When selecting an OEM tire, the automaker may prioritize one component of the tire's performance over another, depending on the vehicle. For example, it might prioritize how your car handles over fuel efficiency.

Non-OEM replacement tires allow you to select which attributes you want to prioritize -- for example, fuel efficiency over road noise reduction. 

What Is Meant by Mismatched Tires?

Mismatched tires could mean several things, such as different brands, different tire treads, and different tire sizes. Typically, the question of mismatching tires comes up when tires go bad. Do you have to replace one tire or all four?

It's not recommended that you have different tire brands on your vehicle

We recommend installing the same tires to each wheel position on your vehicle for optimum safety and performance. The front and rear tires should have the same brand, size, tread pattern, load index, and speed rating.

At the very least, tires must follow the vehicle manufacturer's guidelines for tire size, load index, and speed rating. In many countries, it is a legal requirement.

That's because driving a vehicle with mismatched tire sizes, load indexes, or speed ratings could put you and others on the road in danger. It's best to consult a trained tire professional or follow the car manufacturer's specifications.

So, yes, you can change your tire brand from OEM to other brands for replacement tires; however, it's best to have all four tires (and the spare) in matching size and tread type, as per manufacturer specifications.

Can you put different tire brands on the front and back? 

It's not recommended to mix tire brands. But if it's unavoidable because of budget limitations or availability, it can be done.

One critical element when mixing brands is to have the same brand and tread pattern across the same axle. Don't put 2 different tires on the same axle. That means having identical tires on the front axle and matching tires on the rear.

Can you put two different tread types on a vehicle?

To maintain the best control and stability, you should avoid mixing tires with different tread patterns, internal constructions, or sizes. Use identical tires on all of your vehicle's wheel positions. There are exceptions to this rule, usually with some sports cars; however, in general, don't mix tread types or tire and rim sizes on your car. 

And never mix all-season or summer tires with winter tires or run-flat tires with non-run-flat tires.

As always, for safety and performance questions, consult a tire professional when it's time to replace your wheels. It's always better to be safe than sorry.

Do Tire Brands Matter?

When it comes to replacement tires, it doesn't matter what brand you put on your vehicle, as long as it is the right size and tread type, which we cover in this guide to decoding tires. Brands can matter when it comes to warranties, quality, and other factors that matter to you, the buyer. That's why we make our tire search easy. Enter your vehicle make, model, and year and we'll match you with a variety of tires from our collection of 70+ tire brands.  

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