Can you get away with replacing 2 tires on a 4×4 Jeep?

A friend of mine is getting me a new set of tires for an old 70's Jeep full-time 4 wheel drive. A long time ago, I was told to replace all 4 tires at the same time with the extra same tread. He found 2 good like-new tires, and he's looking for 2 more tires that are also in really good shape. They are all the same size, but could this potentially harm the drivetrain if they aren't all the same tread and wear?

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5 Responses to Can you get away with replacing 2 tires on a 4×4 Jeep?

  1. Rod Knocker May 17, 2009 at 8:27 am #

    Make sure the tires are all the same size IE: 31×10.5×15
    As long as they are the same size, a bit of difference in the tread wear will not hurt your Jeep.
    I drive a 4X4 and had a blow out amonth orr so ago out in the desert. I am running 37×12.5×17 tires on my F350. One is a mud terrain and the other 3 are allterrainss. I still use my four wheel drive and have not hurt my transfer case at all. I actually pulled a race truck down the course going 50 or so mph with a mis matched tire in 4 wheel drive and did not have a problem. After that I pulled a Class 5 off the course. I will use it again this weekend to pull people out.

  2. dale b May 17, 2009 at 8:27 am #

    As long as they are the same size, it will be fine. I'd put like treaded tires on the same axle. Wear makes such a minute difference, it shouldn't be a factor. I hope this helps. Good luck.

  3. Puzzled May 17, 2009 at 8:27 am #


  4. tech_ed May 17, 2009 at 8:27 am #

    What's most important is that the diameter and circumference must be exact!
    If even one tire is even a slight bit off, it will damage the transfer case when in 4wd. You can tell this is happening when you hear a kinda growl coming from under your seat…Tread pattern isn't as important, but pay careful attention, some tires have a unidirectional tread, meaning that they can only be installed one way…
    web/gadget guru

  5. Ashlee May 17, 2009 at 8:27 am #

    As tech_ed already stated it is not the tread that makes the difference, its the size (circumference and diameter) and here is way it is so important…..

    If you have a 205/75 X 16 size tire it is rotating at 717 revs per mile but…
    a 195/75 X16 size tire will rotate at 732 revs per mile, that that is with only a 10mm difference. That difference might not seems like much but your transfer case (depending on the type) might sense that as a constantly "slipping" wheel and cause it to wear faster than usual.

    I have a full time 4×4 and I always change them as a set, why risk the price of a transfer case change or other problems that might occur instead of buying a couple of tires.