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Hi, I have a 2001 Pathfinder LE. Have had some issues with tires being replaced one at a time, and as a result have a set with uneven wear (but still decent tread). When we last had them rotated my wife was told that we needed to replace all 4 b/c could harm the drivetrain in a 4x4. Is this true? Thanks.
 

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I have four of the same tire, just uneven wear on each pair, so I put the ones with more tread in the rear and the ones with less in the front to try and get the most out of them i can...however, if you are experience any shaking in one of the tires then you need to replace/rebalance those tires, a member on another forum just had some serious problems from nuts backing off of the bolt because of vibration in his steering components
 

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YES, but only in 4WD. The center differential is locked when in 4WD, so that forces the front and rear driveshaft to turn at the same speed. If there are smaller tires on the front and larger tires on the rear, this circumference difference will fight each other. The front differential will lose and become damaged (I've personally done this).

If you only drive with the 4WD in snow and ice, the drivetrain will last longer, but eventually something will give.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for everyone's responses. The tricky thing to figure out is what amount of treadwear difference is important. I currently have 2 tires that are fairly new, and 2 older ones. I would like to just replace the 2 older ones, but there will still be a difference between the 2 tires I would keep and the brand new tires.
 

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As long as the tires are the same size, you should be fine. It won't shorten the life of the drive train at all.
The only time it could damage the drive train is if you drive on dry pavement in 4WD (locked). The manual specifically states not to do that.
Four wheeling in dirt, mud, snow, ice, etc. provides enough transfer case slippage to not damage it unless you get rough with the SUV.
Snow and ice on pavement won't damage it either. Speed will damage it though. I believe the manual says below 50 or 60mph (locked).
Use the "Auto" setting (if equipped) if you're not sure.
 
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