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Buying New Tires - 2 or 4 ?
Old 06-22-2013, 12:39 PM   #1
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Buying New Tires - 2 or 4 ?

I inherited my mom's old Lexus LS 400 and it has been neglected, sitting sad and alone in my dad's garage the past 3 years since my mom passed. He takes it out occasionally on short runs but it really has been mostly stored away collecting dust. I drove it a couple of times maybe 10 years ago but since I am currently between cars, I started driving it last week and Dag-Gone if it is not a nice car! From day 1 when it left the lot she was very meticulous about her car, having it maintained at the dealership and having it fully detailed every month so it is pretty much like new in apprearance at least. It floats down the road as quietly and smoothly as if their is not even an engine in front of you, I swear it's like sitting in your favorite recliner going down the highway, LOL I can't believe this thing is 15 years old!

Anyway, I have been seriously thinking of making it my main car for the time being but it's going to need some regular maintenance and is also going to need new tires. The front has maybe 5K miles left on them and the rears probably have 15K.

My question is, should I go ahead and replace them all at once? or just do the front for now and do the rear next year sometime? I will probably not drive it more than 10K miles over the next year or so...

What would be the downside to replacing only 2 tires versus doing them all at once?

Edited to Add: Is Costco the best place to change tires? I used to use Sam's club but since joining Costco my Sam's club membership has lapsed.
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Old 06-22-2013, 12:47 PM   #2
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I inherited my mom's old Lexus LS 400 and it has been neglected, sitting sad and alone in my dad's garage the past 3 years since my mom passed. He takes it out occasionally on short runs but it really has been mostly stored away collecting dust. I drove it a couple of times maybe 10 years ago but since I am currently between cars, I started driving it last week and Dag-Gone if it is not a nice car! From day 1 when it left the lot she was very meticulous about her car, having it maintained at the dealership and having it fully detailed every month so it is pretty much like new in apprearance at least. It floats down the road as quietly and smoothly as if their is not even an engine in front of you, I swear it's like sitting in your favorite recliner going down the highway, LOL I can't believe this thing is 15 years old!

Anyway, I have been seriously thinking of making it my main car for the time being but it's going to need some regular maintenance and is also going to need new tires. The front has maybe 5K miles left on them and the rears probably have 15K.

My question is, should I go ahead and replace them all at once? or just do the front for now and do the rear next year sometime? I will probably not drive it more than 10K miles over the next year or so...

What would be the downside to replacing only 2 tires versus doing them all at once?
Have the tires been rotated on schedule? Assuming the car is front-wheel drive, the front tires will wear considerably faster than the rear ones. I'd rotate those rear tires to the front and get as many miles as possible out of them, even out the wear, and replace all four at once when they all wear out.

If the car hasn't been driven much, be sure to check the sidewalls (inner-side and outer-side) for cracking/rot. For cars that sit, that often spells the end of the tire before the tread wears out.

Edited to add: I see that the 1998 LS 400 is rear-wheel drive. So, the tire wear wil be a lot closer to even on the front and back. Still, the condition of the sidewalls (and the age of the tires) might be the key determinant on the 2 vs 4 question.
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Old 06-22-2013, 12:52 PM   #3
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How old are the tires? If they are more than 7 or 8 years old they are probably dangerous and all need replacing. If they are the original tires (yikes!), drive immediately - but very slowly and carefully - to the tire shop.

BTW, this will give you info on how to tell the date of manufacture: Tire Tech Information - Determining the Age of a Tire
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Old 06-22-2013, 12:54 PM   #4
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I took them by the discounttire store near my dads house when I picked up the car and they told me they didn't look cracked or rotted. They did however tell me that it was not a good idea to change only 2 tires. I wasn't sure how much of that was them just trying to sell 4 tires vs 2 tires, or if there was a lot of truth to it. I asked my dad and he told me there was no reason to change either of them anytime soon, but he is the kind who squeezes a nickle till the buffalo farts so I take what he says with a grain of salt in regards to this. He has a newer car that my mom talked him into buy about 5 years ago but he prefers to drove around in his old 89 nissan truck as it gets better gas mileage.... and the tires on that thing could be original for all I know.
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Old 06-22-2013, 12:54 PM   #5
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One of the questions I would ask is how old are the tires

If tires sit, they still age... if they are over 7 years, I would replace them all...


I bought a boat and the tires on the trailer looked great... the tires were 7 yo... when we took it for a long drive, both tires blew..... we probably would have blown three, but did not have another spare to put on the trailer so it was flat bed towed home...
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Old 06-22-2013, 12:56 PM   #6
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How old are the tires? If they are more than 7 or 8 years old they are probably dangerous and all need replacing. If they are the original tires (yikes!), drive immediately - but very slowly and carefully - to the tire shop.

BTW, this will give you info on how to tell the date of manufacture: Tire Tech Information - Determining the Age of a Tire
They were purchased in April of '07 at the dealership. Luckily I was able to get all her records from them.
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Old 06-22-2013, 01:12 PM   #7
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They were purchased in April of '07 at the dealership. Luckily I was able to get all her records from them.
So they are at least six years old and could be considerably older.

The date of mfg can be years prior to the date of purchase - I've seen 5 year old "new" tires sitting on a rack in a local Walmart. The only way to know for sure is to check the date codes.
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Old 06-22-2013, 01:14 PM   #8
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Swap out all 4 based on age.
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Old 06-22-2013, 01:16 PM   #9
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Swap out all 4 based on age.
That would be the safe way to go.
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Old 06-22-2013, 01:18 PM   #10
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I'd replace all 4 tires. That way you don't have the hassle of 2 trips to the tire store (10K miles apart) nor the need to worry about the tires in the interim. And you can keep enjoying the recliner-like ride.

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Old 06-22-2013, 04:42 PM   #11
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I would just go for all 4 as well. Driving a Subaru right now.....you don't have much choice with the AWD since they are supposed to be the same size. But when I think back on my younger days.....people almost always just bought a tire when they needed them.....often just one at a time and nobody that I know of thought anything about it.
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Old 06-22-2013, 05:10 PM   #12
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I also recommend replacing all 4 tires.
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Old 06-22-2013, 05:15 PM   #13
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I took them by the discounttire store
They are in business to sell you tires, of course they say you need 4 and not 2! On top of that, they will try to sell an alignment, when you may not need it. My 2003 vehicle has almost 120k on it and never had an alignment since I bought it brand new. I am only on the second set of tires. However, tires will dry-rot, so after about 7 years or so, they should be replaced.
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Old 06-22-2013, 05:18 PM   #14
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Swap out all 4 based on age.
Another vote for new rubber all around just on age alone.

And think about it: When is a good time to have a tire failure?
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Old 06-22-2013, 06:35 PM   #15
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......When is a good time to have a tire failure?
When the car is being stolen or carjacked? When you have loaned to to your pesky brother-in-law?
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Old 06-22-2013, 07:22 PM   #16
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I think you should get four new tires and enjoy driving your new vintage Lexus, courtesy of your thoughtful Mom!
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Old 06-22-2013, 08:01 PM   #17
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If you replace only two tires it can affect the car's handling. Worn tires may work better (or worse) in dry conditions but may be really bad in the rain. So you may find that your front end doesn't like to go where you tell it, or your rear end may like to swing out unexpectedly.
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Old 06-22-2013, 09:40 PM   #18
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Age, heat, usage, inflation and storage location are the variables.

Here's a good analysis:
Tire Tech Information - Tire Aging – Part #1
Website has a link to part #2
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Old 06-22-2013, 09:56 PM   #19
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Yeah....I understand all the reasons why you need to have perfectly balanced tires etc. BUT...we kept replacing one at a time in the ol' days.....I don't remember my car vibrating and driving itself into the ditch. Hmmmm....probably all the Republicans fault......
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:14 AM   #20
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If you only get 2 tires, their placement is important (front vs back) for proper traction during bad weather. I believe the ones with best traction should go on the back.

6 Common Tire Myths Debunked - Popular Mechanics
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