Topic:need winning explaination on need for 4 winter tires
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T O P I C     R E V I E W
quizerWe have a 1993 Saturn SL2, which currently has four all-weather tires. Due to some scary slipping and sliding in snow and ice, I am trying to convince my husband to buy snow tires. Specifically, Blizzak MZ-L2 's by Bridgestone. I was told (by various tire dealers)that with such superior traction, I would need to get a full set of four. I am convinced. My husband says since the car is front wheel drive only, replacing only the front tires is what we should do. But I am very concerned that even though the rear doesn't have torque, it would need the same type of tire or you would get very bad handling. Hubby says that no matter what you do, the rear will slip and slide, because that is "what happens with front wheel drive cars". Could those with experience with snow tires and front wheel drive weigh in with their advice? We have never puchased snow tires before.
Brad4 is the correct answer when installing snow tires. It is old school to put the "traction" tires on the drive axil of the car. Though your husband is somewhat correct that the rear of a front drive vehicle will slip and slide it becomes a matter of how much and some predictability. Think about making a turn - intersection corner or freeway on/off ramp, your speed in adverse weather conditions (rain/snow/slush/ice/etc.) is usualy and to the greatest degree dependant on how much traction you feel. Going into the turn your first "read" or feel comes from the front end - it get's there first!, now all of a sudden the rear of the car enters the turn, weight transfer takes place... look out, rear tires don't have as much traction as the front - instant undesirable slide, or worse yet spin out.
Same theory also applies to non snow tires for the rest of the year... The traditional thought process is to always keep or install new or better tire on the front of a car, wrong answer, they always go on the rear. If you are going to loose traction it is better:
1 - to know about it before or as early as possible
2 - if you are going to loose traction would you rather spin out uncontrollably(back end of the car coming around) or just slide forward where you maintain visual contact with where you are going and the ability to adjust when speed slows enough to match the amount of traction.

Hope it helps and doesn't cause an "I told you so" or "who's right" like it would in my house.

BikorI ran snow tires on the front only on my Taurus and my Celebrity for a few years each. As I have said in an earlier posting, it's not bad for low-speed (under 30 mph) around-town driving. But as speed goes up, and when the road bends, you need something to hold the rear in place.

On both cars, in both cases while traveling 45 mph on fresh snow with a slippery base, a very minor course correction was all it took to send the car tail sliding all over the place, over and over again.

Additionally, while taking a corner at, say 10 mph, the tail would slide out, on several occassions.

Snow tires have gotten grippier in the last few years. An analogy to all-seasons on one end, winter tires on the other? Take a little square dish, put post-it note adhesive on one end, and butter on the other, and squirm it on a smooth table.

There is a review in on driving with only 2 snows in the front. You get a rear that grabs better in dry and wet, and a front that grabs better in icy, snowy, and you end up with handling that is less than all snows or all all-seasons.

I run 4 snow tires on both of my cars now. I have also found that four snow tires rides more smoothly and quietly than just 2 snow tires.

If cost is a factor in getting 4 tires, there are lots of inexpensive snow tires that will give you much improved snow and ice traction.

quizerThank you, Brad and Bikor, for two very helpful replies. I've passed them along. I'm not sure what tires we will or won't get, but I am quite sure that the idea of only two winter tires being needed has been retired, at least from active play. The time and thought that went into each reply was greatly appreciated!
tireman9I put a set of 4 Blizzak on my wife's 99 Cougar ( Front drive) and she loved em. Her only complaint was all the other cars on the road kept getting in her way and slowing her down.
Go with 4. < remove X to send e-mail

markGood explanations, wrong tires. Had Toyo observe G02 much better and most likely less expensive than blizzaks.
PlannermanI used to sell tires once upon a time. As I was explaining to one (unbeliving)customer the merits of 4 tires vs 2 only, a customer waiting in line gave us both his story of wrecking his brand new (seven days old) car due to losing control of the back end of his vehicle which only had all-seasons, while he had winter tires on the front end. About 2 weeks later, I put my father's car in the ditch when I hit a spot of ice, and was unable to recover the back end. He only had winter tires on the front end of his front wheel drive.

The only safe way to drive in the winter, IMO, is with four, good condition, winter tires.


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