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    1. #1

      Better Tires Up Front

      Hi Everyone,

      I know conventional wisdom these days says to put the better tires in the rear of the car to avoid oversteer situations. My fronts are wearing very quickly, though and my rears still have a good amount of 'meat' on them. Would it be a terrible idea to move my worn fronts to the rear and the good rears to the front in hopes of getting a lot more miles out of the tire? Obviously being careful in the rain / slippery conditions...

      The inside edge of the fronts is getting quite worn and it doesn't seem to happen on the rears. I'll probably get an alignment after doing that to get the minimum amount of toe possible.

      Seems like everyone wants to give these cars more oversteer (or less understeer) with bigger rear sway bars anyways!
      2007 Volvo S40 T5 AWD Geartronic - Passion Red

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    3. #2
      I've had the same problem with my car. I figured the rears would wear faster due the the caster angle out back, the front doesn't seem to have that bad of an angle but front tires seem to wear so much faster. I've debated caster plates but if I end up going with coilovers, it would be a little redundant.

    4. #3
      Member EngTech's Avatar
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      A Blow Out on the Front is Way Worst then the Rear .. especially on a Curve ..

      Tires are $600-1000.00 Rotate as needed in My Book .

      Hydro Plane is a Larger Problem for most . .
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    6. #4
      If only the inside edge are wearing on the fronts, just flip the tire. So the inside is on the outside of the front.


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    7. #5
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      Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that FWD and FWD bias AWD cars tend to put WAY more strain on the front tires as they have braking, steering, and acceleration duties. Shouldn't the better tires be up front?
      2006 V50 T5 AWD M66

    8. #6
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      That's the conventional thought but nowadays it's considered standard to put new tires on the rear to keep the rear end tracking during high speed turns in slippery conditions. Logically that could happen but not nearly as often as hydro planing during braking with bald front tires. I've argued time and time again with tire shops... Imo put the good tires up front, just makes more sense


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    9. #7
      Member T501's Avatar
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      It seems counter intuitive but there's a reason why it's recommended to put good tires on the rear.

      I wouldn't want a tire with below 4/32" tread on the rear.
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    10. #8
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      Ok, let me ask you this: what happens more often - rapid, sequential high speed lane changes in standing 2-3" of water, or braking in both and dry conditions? I admit that the under steer condition is safer, if you are making high speed maneuvers in heavy rain conditions, but that doesn't happen nearly as often as you needing to brake in limited traction situations. Pick your poison.
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    11. #9
      Member T501's Avatar
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      I live in south Florida, it rains a lot!
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    12. #10
      Member T501's Avatar
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      It's true though that both methods have pros and cons but the bottom line is that all of the steering ability in the world will not get your back end straight once you've lost it, no matter the cause. Therefore, best tires in the rear.
      '01 S60 T5 GT 177K+ miles OWNED SINCE DAY ONE - Bilstein Sport + TME, ipd sway bar + endlinks, UR chassis braces (upper F+R), Powerslot /Akebono pads, Snabb Intake, HD coils, iMIV Original engine, transmission replaced at 79k miles
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    13. #11
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      Lets redefine the parameters a bit. LRRH isn't talking about putting new tires on the car, simply doing a rotation because he has excess inner wear. All these videos & advise are skewed toward the extreme. New tires in front, worn (2/32 ?) in back. I'm guessing his average tread depth is actually pretty close. No harm in rotating. I've done the 2 snow tires in front, that IS dangerous.

      I'll probably get an alignment after doing that to get the minimum amount of toe possible.
      Inner wear is likely from too little toe-in. Don't skew the toe in this manner. Make sure your Lower control arms & tie rods are in good condition & then set the toe to spec.
      Last edited by pczeilon; 03-20-2017 at 12:09 PM. Reason: Spelling
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    14. #12
      Member T501's Avatar
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      Yeah I agree with that. As long as the tires going on the back have 4/32 or better, you are good to rotate.
      '01 S60 T5 GT 177K+ miles OWNED SINCE DAY ONE - Bilstein Sport + TME, ipd sway bar + endlinks, UR chassis braces (upper F+R), Powerslot /Akebono pads, Snabb Intake, HD coils, iMIV Original engine, transmission replaced at 79k miles
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      Quote Originally Posted by pczeilon View Post
      I've done the 2 snow tires in front, that IS dangerous.
      Another data point: Volvo says to put chains on the front of your P1 AWD only in the case of a heavy snowfall. Since snow/ice is the most limited traction situation possible, why would they say that? Braking my friends, braking.
      2005 V50 T5 AWD M66

    16. #14
      Sounds like this is quite a point of contention! I have seen videos like that, but figured that with some extraordinarily careful driving in slippery conditions it should be okay. The tires that I'd like to be on the back have over 5/32 of tread depth left, and the ones to go on the front have nearly 7/32. I'll keep a close eye on the rear tires keeping in mind that 4/32 may be the point that they should no longer be there.

      Thanks for the info regarding toe calibration, pczeilon.
      2007 Volvo S40 T5 AWD Geartronic - Passion Red

    17. #15
      Junior Member ieatglue's Avatar
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      On my S80 V8 AWD, the fronts wore down to 4/32, while the backs wore only to 9/32. Definitely FWD bias Haldex system
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    18. #16
      Member LloydDobler's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by T501 View Post
      It's true though that both methods have pros and cons but the bottom line is that all of the steering ability in the world will not get your back end straight once you've lost it, no matter the cause. Therefore, best tires in the rear.
      I disagree with this, not sure where the info comes from. I grew up driving RWD cars and I've lost rear traction countless times, especially in snow, usually on purpose, and good driving skills are usually all that's needed to recover the car. Cars don't just break loose and then do a 180. I'd be interested in hearing more counterpoint though, never afraid to learn. And it's true that FWD cars have different dynamics. My first time doing an e-brake slide in the snow in a FWD car, I left the clutch out and did a very hard 180, but only because the engine was braking the front wheels. Now I either stay on throttle or clutch in and countersteer for fun rear slides that are easily recovered. And PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT. Don't wait for an emergency to find out how your car handles when out of control. Go play, it's fun and if you do it safely away from other traffic, it won't be a learning situation ending in metal on metal.

      My gut opinion is that the current trend of "put the best tires on the back" is a combination of "dumb drivers can't recover skids especially in automatic FWD cars where engine braking will apply resistance to the front wheels, often causing spinouts" and "if we keep good tires on the rear then people who don't rotate often enough will burn through tires a lot faster and we'll make more money".

      I'm not normally a conspiracy theorist but to me the dumbing down combined with laziness of the modern driver turns this into a legitimate safety issue that the tire shops can then capitalize on.

      The answer is rotate your tires often so they don't wear too unevenly. Rotate by flipping them on the rim if you get corner wear. Too much corner wear means you need an alignment or repair.
      Last edited by LloydDobler; Yesterday at 01:29 AM.
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    19. #17
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      Quote Originally Posted by LloydDobler View Post
      The answer is rotate your tires often so they don't wear too unevenly. Rotate by flipping them on the rim if you get corner wear. Too much corner wear means you need an alignment or repair.
      Agree completely! Did 5 months on my set, swapped them over X way, another 5 months and whole set is nice and evenly worn, ready for full new set of tires. Never had any issues with it, and have been doing so in my previous FWD volvo for years aswell. Plus, not sure if its personal preferences or just because I also grew up on RWD+snowy winters, I much more prefer my car oversteering than understeering. Now I live in country where you have roundabout every few KMs, and let me tell you - understeering front going towards the curb on wet roundabout is much more dangerous IMHO than oversteering rear IF YOU KNOW how to handle it. Atleast OS gives you fighting chance to compensate for it, while when your front is understeering you can only lift your gas-foot and prey its enough to gain back traction (or pull handbrake if situation allows, but thats rare).
      just my 2 eurocents
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    20. #18
      I was in Las Vegas at the time this rule was instituted. It was supposedly because some Big O Tire's was sued for putting them on the front after someone requested they put them on the rear and got into a wreck. They won the lawsuit to the tunes of millions of dollars. Since then it has been a trend in the industry to put them on the rears to avoid the same situation.

      True Story: I was heading south on US95 and I hit the I-15S interchange which I took usually at around 75mph. My rear end with those new tires swung out and I nearly pulled a Fast and Furious with my rear bumper cover. This was after I had specifically told them I want them on the front but they told me they would only install them on the rear. To this day, (over 10 years later), my first stop is to the house after a tire change to swap the tires out from the rear where they installed them to the fronts.
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    21. #19
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      Quote Originally Posted by avenger09123 View Post
      I was in Las Vegas at the time this rule was instituted. It was supposedly because some Big O Tire's was sued for putting them on the front after someone requested they put them on the rear and got into a wreck. They won the lawsuit to the tunes of millions of dollars. Since then it has been a trend in the industry to put them on the rears to avoid the same situation.
      Thank God someone brought this up - okay, for decades and decades and decades (50+ years) the thought was that front tires do braking and steering (aka tire with most exerting force applied to it), therefore, put your best grip there. Fast forward to (IDK), mid 2000's: tire manufacturers (and only tire manufacturers) decide that now you put new tires on the rear. So what changed? The above lawsuit.
      2005 V50 T5 AWD M66

    22. #20
      Thanks for the input, guys. I rotated my tires yesterday evening. Living in snowy-winter Ontario, I have taken every opportunity to play with the 'oversteer capabilities' of my car in safe environments. The stability control (even with spin control off) is pretty obtrusive, but highly effective under power. I think all of the warning videos and articles on tire sales sites really got to me and steered me away from my common sense. I will definitely be cautious in the wet, and cautious in general until I get a feel for how the vehicle dynamics have been affected by the change.

      While the Michelin Pilot HX MXM4's that came on the car are pretty good, I'm thinking about getting a full set of Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ at later on this year. Previous owner clearly wasn't good about rotating the tires, but now that I have complete control over it I will be rotating regularly to maintain even tread depth and wear.
      2007 Volvo S40 T5 AWD Geartronic - Passion Red

    23. #21
      Member T501's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by LloydDobler View Post
      I disagree with this, not sure where the info comes from. I grew up driving RWD cars and I've lost rear traction countless times, especially in snow, usually on purpose, and good driving skills are usually all that's needed to recover the car. Cars don't just break loose and then do a 180. I'd be interested in hearing more counterpoint though, never afraid to learn. And it's true that FWD cars have different dynamics. My first time doing an e-brake slide in the snow in a FWD car, I left the clutch out and did a very hard 180, but only because the engine was braking the front wheels. Now I either stay on throttle or clutch in and countersteer for fun rear slides that are easily recovered. And PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT. Don't wait for an emergency to find out how your car handles when out of control. Go play, it's fun and if you do it safely away from other traffic, it won't be a learning situation ending in metal on metal.

      My gut opinion is that the current trend of "put the best tires on the back" is a combination of "dumb drivers can't recover skids especially in automatic FWD cars where engine braking will apply resistance to the front wheels, often causing spinouts" and "if we keep good tires on the rear then people who don't rotate often enough will burn through tires a lot faster and we'll make more money".

      I'm not normally a conspiracy theorist but to me the dumbing down combined with laziness of the modern driver turns this into a legitimate safety issue that the tire shops can then capitalize on.

      The answer is rotate your tires often so they don't wear too unevenly. Rotate by flipping them on the rim if you get corner wear. Too much corner wear means you need an alignment or repair.
      My statement is based mostly in logic and physics. Only grip(friction) from the rear tires can keep the rear of the car following the front without spinning out. No matter what you do with the steering wheel or what the front tires are capable of, you can only recover the rear end if the rear tire's friction overcomes the momentum of the rear. In our cars especially, where about 65% of the weight is up front, the rear wants to swing around the front on a turn. The only thing keeping it from doing so is the friction from the rear tires.

      I'm not against rotating the tires, or even putting the lesser tires on the rear as long as they are not past 4/32".

      Also, in my original statement I meant once you've lost the rear you will only regain it by regaining the friction of the rear tires. So even if you do recover by corrective steering it's still ultimately the friction of the rear tires that allowed you to be able to recover. In other words if there's almost no friction coming from the rear tires you will not be able to get it back just because your front tires are good.
      Last edited by T501; Yesterday at 10:05 PM.
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    24. #22
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      Quote Originally Posted by T501 View Post
      Also, in my original statement I meant once you've lost the rear you will only regain it by regaining the friction of the rear tires. So even if you do recover by corrective steering it's still ultimately the friction of the rear tires that allowed you to be able to recover. In other words if there's almost no friction coming from the rear tires you will not be able to get it back just because your front tires are good.
      That actually is not 100% correct. Especially on FWD cars, if your rear is trying to oversteer, having front tyres with good grip allows you to compensate for oversteer using opposite lock AND pulling power of front tyres. So basically while your rear is trying to spin around, if you have good grip on front tyres and you floor it while countersteering, it will help to get back your car to straight line. Have been practicing it for years on FWD cars during winters, very often on front tyres being M+S, rear being summer tyres or badly worn ones. I can assure you, that combination DOES allow you to fight oversteering much better than having good tyres on the back and front ones going to understeer. Then you really can do nothing until friction of front wheels allow you to do anything.
      Have not much experience in proper 50/50 quattro so I cant say much about it, but on our Haldex AWDs where most power is still on front axle, I would use the same principals and put better tyres on front in any given conditions.
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    25. #23
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      It still friction from the rear tires that ultimately allows you to regain control of the rear, no matter how you go about correcting.

      It's pretty simple really. What keeps your bike from sliding out from under you on a turn? Friction from the tires.
      Last edited by T501; Today at 10:41 AM.
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    26. #24
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      1. You need to change your tie rod ends and get an alignment.

      They are mounted on the back side of the hub so once we get wear your car TOEs OUT so thats why the inside edge is gone.
      Fix that before these destroy your next set of tires.

      2. I laugh out loud every time i see that rear end bull****.
      To me its like going out in a snow storm with really nice fluffy gloves and flip flops on your feet.
      Ask them then why not use snow chains on the rear tires when crossing a mountain pass... complete bull****.

      Say you coming down the highway all teh sudden brake lights come on, car in front of you dodges to the left and you see a stopped car in front of it.
      Option 1. Good tires on the rear. So you crank the wheel to the right nothing happens, you rear end the car and you total your car probably killing someone....
      Option 2. You got good tires on your steering therefore now able to countersteer and change lanes only to be left with trying to straighten the car out.

      I would take option 2 any day.

      Stopped by Discount Tire last summer to check on something... lady pulled in with a neon green VW beetle. bald tires down to the cords. they put 2 new tires on her rear axle and let her go. In a mean time it started to rain so first drops = most slippery situation... guess who i saw parked under a F150 just down the road... those rear tires really helped. Beetle was totaled. lady driver was fine but the moral of the story is dont listen to those idiots at the tire shop.

      At the end of the day when you damage your car you are feeding the economy, you are buying replacement parts, those parts have to be made by someone so you are creating jobs... the mechanic that has to fix your car gets to feed your family so its like a self feeding machine all they have to do is tell you that their way is the right way.
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    27. #25
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      Quote Originally Posted by V50R View Post
      1. You need to change your tie rod ends and get an alignment.

      They are mounted on the back side of the hub so once we get wear your car TOEs OUT so thats why the inside edge is gone.
      Fix that before these destroy your next set of tires.

      2. I laugh out loud every time i see that rear end bull****.
      To me its like going out in a snow storm with really nice fluffy gloves and flip flops on your feet.
      Ask them then why not use snow chains on the rear tires when crossing a mountain pass... complete bull****.

      Say you coming down the highway all teh sudden brake lights come on, car in front of you dodges to the left and you see a stopped car in front of it.
      Option 1. Good tires on the rear. So you crank the wheel to the right nothing happens, you rear end the car and you total your car probably killing someone....
      Option 2. You got good tires on your steering therefore now able to countersteer and change lanes only to be left with trying to straighten the car out.

      I would take option 2 any day.

      Stopped by Discount Tire last summer to check on something... lady pulled in with a neon green VW beetle. bald tires down to the cords. they put 2 new tires on her rear axle and let her go. In a mean time it started to rain so first drops = most slippery situation... guess who i saw parked under a F150 just down the road... those rear tires really helped. Beetle was totaled. lady driver was fine but the moral of the story is dont listen to those idiots at the tire shop.

      At the end of the day when you damage your car you are feeding the economy, you are buying replacement parts, those parts have to be made by someone so you are creating jobs... the mechanic that has to fix your car gets to feed your family so its like a self feeding machine all they have to do is tell you that their way is the right way.
      Ding-ding-ding!!! No where has anyone, ever explained to me the rationale for why we shouldn't be preparing for the most basic of driving conditions (braking and steering) vs. rapid high speed lane changes. Facts are, front wheels do about 70% of the braking and 100% of the steering. Yep, if you have really bald tires in the rear and do something even close-to-stupid that rear end is coming around on you (it's happens all the time with pickups, even with good tires on the rear). But, if you have bald tires on the front you're going to rear end someone at speed within the first 5 minutes of rain. Just a matter of statistics - I do a lot more stopping than sweeping high speed turns in rain so my choice is a clear one.
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    28. #26
      Junior Member V50R's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by mercdude View Post
      Ding-ding-ding!!! No where has anyone, ever explained to me the rationale for why we shouldn't be preparing for the most basic of driving conditions (braking and steering) vs. rapid high speed lane changes. Facts are, front wheels do about 70% of the braking and 100% of the steering. Yep, if you have really bald tires in the rear and do something even close-to-stupid that rear end is coming around on you (it's happens all the time with pickups, even with good tires on the rear). But, if you have bald tires on the front you're going to rear end someone at speed within the first 5 minutes of rain. Just a matter of statistics - I do a lot more stopping than sweeping high speed turns in rain so my choice is a clear one.

      I think if we had better drivers ed in the US perhaps some of this car control wont be as scarry as it seems.

      Having had to certify for Tier 2 through Ford for my job i spent 8hrs on a road course with an instructor one on one and the enitre course consisted of traction and weight transfer. Once I started to think about what happens at each wheel i started to change my inputs and wohlllaaa bingo all the sudden full car control in the most of slippery situations.

      If you want to be smart about it just run new tires all around and rotate them frequently you will do just fine out there.

      Having said that im a bit of a wheel/tire hoarder, got sets for just about anything from dry to wet to snow. All my cars have a minimum of Summer and Winter set ups and i stay away from all seasons at all cost.
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    29. #27
      Honestly it depends on your driving style. If you like rear loose ends on turns, you are going to have to be able to catch it with the throttle in any condition. If you want it to understeer, then put them in the back. At the same time you shouldn't be creating any kind of understeer/oversteer condition by going too fast.

      What I do personally might not be the way you want to do it. I stopped rotating my tires after my car hit 100k miles. It cost too much to replace 4 tires at a time. The fronts wear out the quickest for me on the inside edge. I flip them after a season or 2 to wear them out evenly on both edges. The tire lasts longer. When it's time to replace them, I put the tears in front and put new ones in rear. They wear the least on the back. I also have my toe set to 0 front and rear to reduce wear even further.

      Another thing to note that I haven't seen mentioned is the build date of tires. Tires>5 years old and heat cycled tend to dry rot regardless of tread depth and usually aren't a good idea to be driving in the street. Ymmv


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    30. #28
      Member T501's Avatar
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      If you do get into a collision do you want to take the impact on the side of your car (no crumple zone) which is more likely to happen during over steer, or do you want to take it in the front (where the crumple zone is) which is most likely to happen in an under steer situation.

      Again, there shouldn't be bad tires on any part of the car front or rear but if pressed, worse tires go up front. If rotating tires where all tires >3/32" then you can put the more worn tires in the rear as long as they don't get below 4/32". 4/32" is the threshold where most tires lose most of their performance especially in the wet.

      I think I've spoken enough about this topic. Never meant to get into a debate about it, as far as I'm concerned there is no debate. Safe driving everyone!
      '01 S60 T5 GT 177K+ miles OWNED SINCE DAY ONE - Bilstein Sport + TME, ipd sway bar + endlinks, UR chassis braces (upper F+R), Powerslot /Akebono pads, Snabb Intake, HD coils, iMIV Original engine, transmission replaced at 79k miles
      Wife -'13 C30 T5 R-Design Dad - '98 S70 T5 160K + miles, Bilstein TCs, IPD HD rear springs, SAS delete Mom -'10 S80 V8 Executive Sis - '02 S80 T6 Backup car -'13 S60 T5

    31. #29
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      Quote Originally Posted by T501 View Post
      If you do get into a collision do you want to take the impact on the side of your car (no crumple zone) which is more likely to happen during over steer, or do you want to take it in the front (where the crumple zone is) which is most likely to happen in an under steer situation.
      You're assuming that all driving is in a high speed turn. Most urban driving (aside from highway interchanges) is in a straight line. Bald rear tires hardly make a difference in that condition, but bald front tires are deadly.

      But agreed, safe driving everyone - make sure all tires are in good shape.
      2005 V50 T5 AWD M66

    32. #30
      Member GRat9717's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by mercdude View Post
      make sure all tires are in good shape.
      My tires are square. I like the shape, but I dunno what to do...
      Garage Queen - 2010 C30 R-Design Vrooooooom
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    33. #31
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      Get out your chisel and make 'em round!
      2005 V50 T5 AWD M66

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