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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,

Sadly, construction debris in my neighborhood claimed my rear driver's side tire yesterday. The slash, completely through the tread nub, is too big to patch. The tires are 315/70/17 BFG AT KO2s, with 11/32" to 12/32" of tread left. At $300 a piece, this is gonna sting.

Questions - Can I safely get away with just replacing the two rear tires, or am I going to run into detrimental wear on the drivetrain when I engage the 4wd? I don't want to buy all four, but I'd far rather do that than cause drivetrain damage. Any thoughts are appreciated.
 

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4 new tires is cheaper than drive line repair later on. When I had my Pontiac G8 they'd give credit for the tread on the good tires.
 

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This thread makes me feel better about paying for Discount Tire's warranty..

I'm no tire expert, but I don't feel buying 2 tires for now will ruin your truck.
@Discount Tire care to chime in?
 

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The rule of thumb for 4x4 and AWD vehicles is that as long as the tires are all within 2/32nds of tread depth to each other (using the same size, model/brand and product code) then there likely won't be an issue. However, vehicle manufacturers do make their drive train tolerances readily available so it's best to replace all four(4) tires, unless otherwise stated b the vehicle manufacturer.
 

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Spec on those tires I think new is 15/32's" . With that said, we don't have an awd system, and technically you are not supposed to drive on surfaces that allow traction in 4wd...

In a perfect world where you don't use 4x4 on dry tractable surfaces, you would probably be ok. But it's not a perfect world. You may find yourself driving in crappy weather then coming up on a clear roadway, and could possibly cause drive-line bind between front and rear axles. Plus once you rotate who knows where the tires end up.
 

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The only time you will have a problem is when in 4WD and on hard surfaces. No impact in 2WD or on dirt, sand, snow, etc. with the difference. Often a damaged tire that could not be plugged would be OK with an inner tube added to the tire. Works with damaged rims as well to keep air in the tire.

On dry surfaces even with my tires all with the same amount of tread the drive train will bind and it becomes very obvious when making a turn at slow speed. When in snow and chains are mandatory I put them on the rear tires as there is not enough clearance for the front tires and so my rear wheels have a larger diameter than the front one and this has never been a problem.

It would be great if all 4WD or AWD vehicles would revert to 2WD when started (in the morning for example). With a transfer case shift lever I could tell at a glance if I was in 4WD but with solenoid controls it is a different matter on most vehicles.
 

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Why not buy one tire from tirerack and have them shave it down to 12/32 so it matches the others? Seems like the cheapest option by far, and you'll have four matching tires.
 

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Your front tires will normally wear faster than the rear tires, so when you rotate your tires, it is very common to have about 2-3/32" difference between front and back. And that is very normal and will not hurt anything.

I am not sure what your tires start out with, but if you assume 15/32, you are at 3-4/32" difference. That means if you put the new ones on the front and run them about 5-10K, the tires will be evened out and you can rotate normally from that point forward. That is what I would do. Put a new pair on the front, run them until they are close to even with the back, then rotate normally from that point forward.

And see if you can figure out where that debris came from so you can send them a bill!
 

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Replace the rears, do a few burnies, and could be good! Hahaha.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you all for the replies.

I bit the bullet and got a new set in the interests of caution, although it seems to be the consensus that two would have done fine. Since it seems that tire manufacturers recommend no more than 2/32" difference, and I'm about to install new gears and lockers (as soon as this *[email protected]!#! rotator cuff surgery heals) which I want to break-in correctly, I figured better safe than sorry. Or, given the cost of these tires, better safe than *more* sorry . . .

I figure if I can source another RockWarrior wheel, I can throw one of the old tires on it, and then begin rotating it into the mix when the new tires reach 11/32". Hopefully prevent this type of crisis next time?
 
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