Specific features of 4x4s and their impact on tyres
The advantage of 4x4s (4WD and AWD) is that the engine power can be transmitted to each wheel independently. This means that if one of the wheels starts to slip, the other wheels continue to turn giving the vehicle the traction it requires to keep moving.
For this, 4x4 vehicles are equipped with special transmission components such as differentials and/or a viscous coupling unit. These components can support temporary differences in wheel rotation speeds. But, if they constantly have to manage different rotation speeds, this may cause premature and irreversible wear of certain mechanisms.
This is the case when the tyres on an all-terrain vehicle are not exactly the same size due to uneven wear and as such, constantly turn at slightly different speeds. Although the transmission is able to withstand a slight difference in wear between the two axles, as this difference increases more stress is placed on the transmission and it is likely to suffer.