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Tires should be replaced in pairs, and your best two tires of a widely varying set should be on the front axle. (And ideally, the tires on each axle should match).

If I were you, I'd buy two new, put them on the front, and then 7,000 miles later, I'd rotate the front set to the back and buy two new just like them for the front. After that, just rotate them every 7,000, until it's time for two new (either buy four at once, or buy two, wait 7,000 and buy the other two) Pretty cheap, and pretty easy. Tires are so important for vehicle safety that it really doesn't pay to go cheap on them or take chances with them, in my opinion.

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