Question about 1999 Ford Explorer

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Tire Replacement I have a 2006 Explorer XLT with 22k miles. I had a flat and the tire is shot. I am being told by a tire dealer I can not just replace one tire I must replace all 4 or I will ruin the transmission.

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  • denisemoilan Apr 13, 2009

    Just spoke to a Ford Dealer and they told me the tire dealer is correct. It needs four new tires or will void the warranty on the transmission and transfer case.

  • denisemoilan Apr 14, 2009

    Thanks everyone, no one seems to have a clear answer. Two different Ford dealers gave me conflicting advice. Wish I never bought this type of vehicle! Anyone know a good deal on 4 new or lightly used matching tires? p235/70/16.

  • James Huber
    James Huber May 11, 2010

    Here is some homework for all you people who dont beleive( including me ). Take a automatic 4wd put a tire that has a differance in diamiter, drive it around for a while and see how offten it goes into 4wd ( will need a nice scanner ofcourse ). I will have fun trying this one out.

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6 Answers

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  • Ford Master
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Mismatching tires on Four Wheel Drive and All Wheel Drive vehicles can cause damage to the front or rear differentials and or transfer cases. So when replacing tires on these vehicles it is recommended to replace all four tires at the same time. Any thing over ¼ of an inch difference in the tire height can cause problems. Limited Slip Differentials have clutches that are designed to engage if one wheel basically spins faster than the other to help maintain traction, so if one tire is smaller than the other the smaller tire will spin faster and the clutches will stay engaged all the time. This would cause damage to the differential in a short amount of time.
The Automatic Four Wheel Drive and the All Wheel Drive systems will also be effected by this. On the Automatic Four Wheel Drive system the on board computer reads the wheel speed sensors located at each wheel. If it sees a certain difference in wheel speeds it interprets this to be a loss of traction and engages the transfer case. If driven for prolong period of time on asphalt this will burn up the transfer case. All Wheel Drive system use what is called a Vicious Coupler. This is a unit inside the transfer case that has a special fluid inside it that when it heats up will engage the transfer case. If one wheel is spinning faster than the other then this will cause the coupler to engage and can cause damage if driven for prolong period of time. So if replacing tires on these vehicles do not try to replace two tires and get that extra mileage out of the other two. If you only replace one or two tires make sure to measure the circumference of the tires to make sure they are within ¼ inch. We had a vehicle in our shop once that had two tires replaced with same size and brand just the two older tires were three years older, and there was one inch difference in the height. Tires although they can be expensive are a lot cheaper than repairing or replacing the differential or transfer case.

Posted on Apr 13, 2009

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  • Chuck Martin
    Chuck Martin Apr 13, 2009

    To check this take a piece of chalk and make a mark on bottom of the tire and on the floor.Roll vehicle until mark comes all the way back to bottom and make another mark on the floor then measure the distance between marks.

    Have seen it to many times to count. Vehicle will have even the same brand and size and be a difference in circumference, If there is a 1/2 difference 4WD will engage or clutches in rear axle may stay engaged. That is why you never see a space saver tire in a vehicle with limited slip rear axles or 4WD.

  • Chuck Martin
    Chuck Martin Apr 13, 2009

    As I stated previously you can get by with one tire as long as someone actually measures the circumference of the tires with either the chalk method I described earlier or a tailor's tape and the measurements are no more than 1/2 inch difference.

    Ford actually has a Technical service bulletin out on this no. 08-21-11.

    Ford will not void your warranty if you don't replace all four tires but they may if the transfer case or differential gets damaged because you only replaced one tire and it was say 3/4 bigger in circumference than the other tires.

  • Chuck Martin
    Chuck Martin Apr 13, 2009

    Not trying to make a pi**ing contest, but to try and get you to understand the system. If it was just a standard 4WD where you were in actual 2WD until you flipped a switch or lever there would be no problem.

    But if it is an automatic 4WD or an All Wheel Drive then the circumference of the tire plays a KEY role in the activation of the system.In other words these two systems activate based on wheel speed automatically and not by a drivers command. If you drive a 4WD that is locked into 4WD for extended periods of time on asphalt it will eventually damage the transfer case and/or the front differential.
    It doesn't matter who made the vehicle.

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That is absolutely and totally wrong. They want your money. Go to another tire place and have them replace only the tire that is bad. If your other 3 tires are bald or mis-sized, replace them also but it will not affect the tranny.

Posted on Apr 13, 2009

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  • Ford Master
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As long as the tire is the same size and diameter as the old (regardless of who the tire maker is) it will not damage the trans, this person who told u this is 100% wrong. If you want a tire give me your old tire size and I will look up a correct tire for you

Posted on Apr 13, 2009

  • yadayada
    yadayada Apr 13, 2009

    what a load.

  • yadayada
    yadayada Apr 13, 2009

    I work at a dealer, 20 years now, diameter/aspect ratio is all that counts. Thanks for trying rating is unfair, info is correct, you are being taken for a ride.

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I always thought that was a BS line, but in one instance at the dealership I was working at, cust complaint was a weird feeling, binding, etc., in 4WD...Visual inspection showed all four tires were the same size and approx the same condition...After feeling the concern and being sure it was tires, we marked the floor/tires and moved the vehicle. Although the tires were the same size and condition, their rolling distance for one revolution was not EXACTLY the same...turns out tires were of different manufacturer. SDolution was to replace with four same branded tires, problem solved...I was somewhat on the fence about this condition, but now I will maintain four like tires on this type of vehicle....just my two cents...

Posted on Feb 04, 2015

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It would only be necessary to replace all four tires if your Explorer has an the AWD option. If it does not replacing a individual tire will not cause harm.

Posted on Feb 03, 2015

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  • Master
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Nonsense, ideally the tire should be the same size and brand/model, but if you can't readily get one, the same size and speed rating is fine!
The thief is trying to say that the slightest rotational speed difference will hurt the transmission, nonsense, that's what the differential is for! The wheels are constantly going different speeds around corners. Different sizes are too much for the ABS ssytem to deal with, but that's another story. Run from this crook and buy a tire somewhere else.

Posted on Apr 13, 2009

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  • Dave  C
    Dave C Apr 13, 2009

    If this were true, (I have to tell you, I'm having a hard time believing it), and it happened to me, I would be making a call to my lawyer.

    "We had a vehicle in our shop once that had two tires replaced
    with same size and brand just the two older tires were three years
    older, and there was one inch difference in the height."


  • Dave  C
    Dave C Apr 13, 2009

    I too have been in this business a long long time and have respect for chuck 943's knowledge, however, it's my opinion that he's being sold a line of bull from his source. It sounds like factory training. If a tire is the same size, it cannot effect the drive train unless there is a significant difference. Perhaps Ford is making faulty transmissions and transfer cases...Oh that has never happened has it, can you say;"Taurus" or for that matter, just for fun, go to carcomplaints.com and check out the single most problematic vehicle on the road today. Oh look, how shocking, it's the Ford Exploder.

    http://www.carcomplaints.com/

    In every category on the home page, the explorer is ranked the top piece of shot on the road.

    GM also had a perfect example of this factory' "head in the sand" denial process as well. From the mid nineties and up, GM was plagued with gasket failures for one reason or another. Astro vans were notorious for leaking intake manifolds. The coolant went into the oil and leaked on the outside also. The van would go into the shop sometime later when the owner finally decided to fix it. The intake would be removed and replaced, it's only held on with a handful of small 6mm bolts and the manifold is made of plastic so there was only so much torque you could apply to these. Job is done, vehicle leaves the shop. Sometime later, maybe even a year the van comes back with the rod bearings knocking like crazy. It needs an engine. This happenend in huge numbers. GM was getting a lot of greif over it. One day I go into work and get handed a TSB from the general, "Technicians have been over-torquing the little 6mm bolts that hold the plastic intake manifold on the block, this has been twisting the cast iron engine block and disturbing the alignment of the crankshaft and causing the rod bearings to fail"
    You can't make this stuff up, the techs were so busy laughing they couldn't even speak. But you just have to know that some poor bugger went home that night and took it to heart that GM wasn't just covering their a$$, and it all must be true.



  • Dave  C
    Dave C Apr 13, 2009

    Sorry Chuck, I'm not attacking you personally, more the factories for trying to foist this **** off on the public. If these drive trains are as sensitive as you suggest, then this is simply bad design to the extreme. What would Al Gore say? Uh, Mr. Gore we have to throw away 75% of all the perfectly good tires on the road today if they happen to be on an SUV that gets a unrepairable flat...do you think that might effect climate change? His head would explode, not that, that would be a bad thing. :-) Sorry again, really, it's not personal, but I just have to post this graph:






  • Dave  C
    Dave C Apr 14, 2009

    Just buy a new pair, put them on the front, take the best two of the three remaining and put them on the back, save the other one for a rainy day and you'll be perfectly fine. Every second oil change, rotate your tires front to back. Done

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