Posted 25 October 2013 - 01:02 PM
Essentially, yes, but you're talking minimal wear over such a short term.
Here's the thing. When driving down the highway for hours at a time, you generally have to turn the wheel one way or the other just slightly to go against the road crown, otherwise you end up in the ditch, right?
During that whole time, the left and right front tires will be spinning at just ever so slightly different speeds. The end result is a very small amount of wear on the transfer clutch pack.
But do this for a few hundred thousand miles and that small amount of wear adds up.
Now think about driving down a curvy country road. Every curve the wheels need to spin at different speeds, which causes wear, which still takes a few hundred thousand miles typically to cause a problem, but the parts still wear.
Vehicles that have been driven with mismatched tire sizes and treads have accelerated this type of wear, but for the most part they've made it to 150k or more miles before it becomes a major issue.
With vastly different tire sizes the wear accelerates to a point where early failure occurs. But the car still needs to be driven several thousand miles to get to that point. A difference in how far left vs right a vehicle can turn will make a minimal, if any at all, impact on longevity of the transfer pack. You're not turning that much tighter than normal on a constant basis. And it's during times when the clutch pack is doing the lest work (pulling into a parking space).
If you're just driving down the road, you're not turning any tighter than you normally would to make the corners and curves you drive every day anyway. Even though you have the ability to make a sharper left or right turn, you're not using that ability during your normal driving.