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I have a 2004 V6 Touareg which I took to the VW dealer for the fuel flange recall campaign. The dealer's courtesy inspection uncovered a non-repairable nail puncture in the driver's side front tire. I had suspected a slow leak in that tire. The dealer says the tread depth is 7/32" on all four tires. Due to the difference in tread wear of a new tire, dealer says I have to replace all four tires or risk damaging the AWD mechanisms.

Do I have to replace all four tires, or can I just replace the two in the front? The tires were replaced in Sept. 2017, and seems to have excessive tread wear for just driving 8K in a year and a half. This is an old, but very low mileage car. I am going to get a second opinion on the remaining tread depth.
 

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All 4 tires must be within 2mm, if not the transfer case and AWD system can be damaged. Your options are 4 new tires or if there is a tire shop in your area with the ability to shave a new tire to match your existing tires at 7/32. If this is a possibility you need to buy the same brand and tread pattern. If it were me I’d buy 4 new and sell the others in your local classifieds


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The transfer case mechanism is designed to handle a certain amount of mismatch in the rolling distance (the front wheels ALWAYS travel further than the rears). For the VWs, the engineers didn't allow much 'slack' or cushion. The transfer case can handle SOME slippage but not very much. Therefore it is ALWAYS important for all four tires to have very close to the same circumference. That means the same manufacturer AND model and size of tire.

The alternative is to ALWAYS drive on gravel roads and NEVER on pavement. [Anyone who has driven a 4WD rig with a locked transfer case on gravel and then tried to turn circles on pavement and forgot to unlock the transfer case know what I mean!]
 

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Thank you for the quick replies and explanations. I guess I have to bite the bullet and replace all four tires. I also appreciate the suggestion from @mtnride to try selling the three good tires!
 

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1 more thought for your consideration since you’ve decided to buy new shoes. I run all terrain tires 265/70/R17 and because I want a full size spare for off-road emergencies, I have 5 tires and rotate the 5th in every 2000 miles which keeps tread wear surprisingly close. Make sure you get a 4 wheel alignment with the shoes



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Whoa!

What is the tread depth of the new tire which MUST be the same size, same make, same model, same tread pattern?

Let me explain further.

I work in mm which means that given there are 25.4 to the inch, each mm is slightly more than a 32th. 1/32th is 0.79 mm.

Typically a new road biased tire has 8 or maybe 9 mm of tread.

Off road tires' tread when new can be 10 -12 mm.

Now there must be no more than 2 mm tread depth difference between tires on the same axle and no more than 3 mm tread depth difference between the front and rear axles.

So, from the looks of things, you may only need TWO new tires of the same make, model, etc......

There are companies that still do vulcanised repairs that may fix the tire your garage cannot repair with a simple glued plug.

Personally I would get two new tires (of the same make,model, etc.....) and, at the least , keep the one good one at the back of my garage as a future spare should another tire get damaged beyond repair.
 
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