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When it comes time to buy tires, you may find that you don't need to replace the entire set. As long as safety isn't an issue, you may be able to replace them one or two at a time. If you only need to buy a single tire, remember to purchase one that matches the speed and load capacity of the other tires. If you need two, tell the mechanic you want the new tires mounted in the rear for maximum traction in wet conditions. Remember, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with excessively worn tires. If you have three badly worn tires chances are you should probably invest the extra money and commit to buying tires to replace all four. The money spent would be well worth the safety factor.
Have a ruler, or a penny? Check the tread depth on your tires. It's time to buy tires when the tires you're currently using have only 2/32 of an inch remaining tread depth.