Should the best tires be on the front or the back of my rear wheel drive econoline van?
I thought it was common sense that you would want the best tires on the front because that is where the steering and most of the breaking takes place.
The last 2 times I took my van into the Valvoline Quick Lube place for an oil change, the guy there told me that I should rotate my tires so that the best ones are on the rear. The first time they told me this I argued with the guy and told him that steering and breaking were more important than acceleration. He didn't buy my argument and said that the National Highway and Safety Institute (or something like that) recommends that the best tires be on the rear in all rear wheel drive vehicles, but he didn't remember why. I said "no-thanks" and just left it at that. Then I went in for another oil change today and a different guy again told me the same thing and I looked over at the garage bay next to the one my van was in and there was another econoline van just like mine that they were doing this to. They rotated the guy's nearly bald tires to the front and put his better ones in the back.
To me, this doesn't seem like a safe thing they are telling people to do, but what do I know, I am not a highly trained oil change monkey like they are.
If they are that bad, put new one's on!
From a racing standpoint, having better (newer, or better, which ever) tired on the front vs the back will certainly make the car handle way different.
I'm not sure with vans, but I think most street vehicles do 75% or more of their braking with the front tires vs the rear, and that % is probably closer to 95%.
I'd rather be able to steer and stop vs plow straight ahead. The downside of that is the rear of the vehicle can get a bit washy when driving, and if the worse tires are on the rear, and those are the drive wheels it's even more apt to slide around a bit... but that just makes them more fun to drive I think!
"If you call that hard work, a koalas life would look heroic."
I used to think, and rembering hearing from others put the best up front,
but in the last year or so I have read articles that say put your best
tires in the back, so the rear of your vehicle does not pass you.
I thought the point of rotating tires was so that you really wouldnt have a better pair....that they should all wear evenly.
Anyhow.... being a poor person who has driven vehicles with some bad tires.... Id say you want the better tires up front where they can stop the vehicle better.
Should rotate tires every 8,000 miles, allows them to wear even. Some tire dealers will offer free rotation and balance when you buy new tires.
On a motor cycle 75% breaking is on the front. There is also hydroplaning to consider where the front tire would need the advantage.
A pilot once told me that a tire hydroplanes at 9 times the square of the tire pressure. I wonder if that's true.
Tracers work both ways.
Agreed, best tires in front. For the budget conscience, everyone else buy new tires.
Tire rotation for a service truck:
Back tires wear faster with the weight. So I always buy new front tires when the back are worn out, and put new tires on the front.
Po-mans lesson: Used tires 'blowout', unless you can read the date-codes on them and do not run tires over about 8 years old,... do not buy used tires never-mind the condition of the tread. If you must, rear blowouts are less dangerous in my opinion because you can still steer okay.
The suggestion to put the better tires on the rear is because the rear of a car has a tendency to become the front during hard braking on ice, especially if you are turning. Having better tires on the back lessens the chance of spinning out.
The long wheelbase and heavy rear weight of a service van probably negates the need to put the better tires on back.
On the rear. That way the rear doesn't go out from you on hard cornering. If on the front, they could grip well while the rear doesn't leaving you spinning.
Although I agree steering and braking are important, how can you steer when you CANNOT get traction to get out of the snow, when stuck in MN....
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I agree getting stuck sucks, but usually you can find people to help push you out of the parking lot or whatever when it happens. It is better than sliding into someone at a stop sign because you can't stop in time.
Originally Posted by cehs
Also, I like when I can punch the gas at just the right time on an icy road and spin around a corner (or into a tight parking space on the street) really quickly.
The proper rotation pattern for a rear wheel drive truck using 4 identical tires is the rearward cross pattern.
This helps round out any cupping or uneven wear usually associated with vans and trucks which usually are well loaded with a rear weight bias.
Right Rear tire moves to the Right Front position.
Left Rear tire moves to the Left Front position.
Left Front tire moves to the Right Rear position.
Right Front tire moves to the Left Rear position.
Another solution to prevent uneven wear to the front tires is to buy tires with a continuous rib rather than individual tread blocks.
These should not be used where snow may be encountered.
Keeping correct tire pressure will also go a long way towards prolonging the life of your tires.
The correct pressure is found on the label usually inside one of the door edges or glove box.
Use this as a starting point and check tires frquently for uneven wear. If the tires are wearing more near the center of the tread you are overinflated while if they are wearing out more along the inside and outside edges the tires are underinflated.
I would be inclined to put the better tires on the front, for the same reasons you gave. Since winter is coming, buy two new ones and put them on the back for traction.
Originally Posted by ammoniadog
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RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist
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