(rochester, new york)
Peoople are often concerned about matching tires.
We receive questions like " My wife bought a Nissan Ultima with mis-matched tires on the front. The dealer said is wasn't a big deal. I'm not sure I can trust him ... what do you think?"
The best answer really depends on what you consider to be "matching tires."
If your idea of matching tires is to have the exact same tire on a car that was installed when the car was purchased new, there is no great problem is changing from a Michelin to a Goodyear, or Yokohama, or whatever.
If you are concerned about one tire being a different brand or even a different tread design from others on the same vehicle, there is no great concern as long as all the tires are the same size.
A problem could occur if you have, for example a 195/70 R15 and a 205/50 R15 tire on different wheels. Because they are different sized tires, one is higher than the other and this could produce some difficulties in handling and performance.
You also might have an issue if you have a snow tire on one wheel and a summer tire on others. In this case, if the tires are all the same size, the greatest problem would be one of the wheel with the snow tire would be more noisey than the others. Or if all the tires were snow tires and you had one summer tire, there might be an issue with traction. Apart from these issues, it would be perfectly OK to use a different tread tire as a spare tire -- for temporary use.
The other issue that might come to light would be the tire's appearance. If one tire looks significantly different from another one, even if it is the same size and a compatible tread, you just might not like the way they look.
What it all boils down to is whether or not it is an important issue really depends on your expectations, what kind of driving you plan to do, and the budget you have available.
If I were buying a car, and I noticed mis-matched tires, I would at least try to use this as a reason to get the seller to shave something off of the price which is being asked.