Yes, the rear.
Your car is built with inherent understeer. To preserve what the
engineers built in, put the sticker tires in the rear and let the fronts
slide similar to what everyone expects.
If you put the stickier ones in front, the fronts will track but the
rears will slide. In other words, the rear of the car will arrive at
the scene of the accident first--called oversteer. You don't want that.
You're not used to it, and the car isn't designed for it.
Budget restraints? Put 'em on the rear. But really dump the fast food
and Starbucks for a few months and put the money toward another pair of
matching winter tires (or Nokian WR).
They seem to happen more often than we ever thought they would. :^)
In my experience (and there are a lot of people here that will disagree
with this), I would prefer to have the snows on the drive/steer tires.
With tires with good tread on the rear (budget restraints taken into
I've been in western NY in the winter. They know how to take care of
the roads up there. It's not such a big deal.
Although, sometimes mother nature does overwhelm thing--at which point,
you just stay home.
Thank God and the Baby Jesus, that they discovered "chemicals".
30 years ago or so, I drove through Fort Worth after an 'Old Fashion Texas
Ice Storm' had hit, with a front wheel drive car that had never gotten
stuck in a Canadian winter. I got stuck with it in Fort Worth. I could not
believe it... stuck in Texas, in the winter.
To get unstuck I had to find a 'grassy knoll' to dig down through to get the
copious quantities of dirt needed for spreading under the tires. I had to
chisel through 3" of frozen slush, with a large screwdriver and a machine
hammer, and then dig out about 2 shovelfuls of dirt for traction.
Changing lanes on the Interstate was like driving over two greasy 4"
Ha!... I'll see your Buffalo NY with a Watertown NY, and raise you
an Oswego NY (Oswego NY... possibly the only place in the east that
can look like the Donner Pass after a blizzard).
Odyssey with decent all season tires goes through the white stuff
nicely, and over the tall white stuff just fine.
My 92 Civic Si, though, required that I shovel the driveway at least a
little bit once the snow got so high that I couldn't plow through it.
But a CRV? Even in western NY, it works great year round without hassle.
Some people have to overthink things in order to feel comfortable.
Well Seth, I want to know what kind of Accord you have that can do
that! My friend has a 2008 Accord with an Automatic transmission. He
has driven it and I have also, and as soon as there was 3+ inches of
snow on the ground watch out! It was horrible in the snow and ice
especially if there were small inclines. It would be fine up to 3
inches and the tires had only 22,000 miles on them at the time we
One of the reasons I bought the CRV is I feel safe in it, plus it has
a lot of room for grocery shopping, carrying the kids and carrying
large items, and its practical and versatile. I also like it because
it is reported to be very good in deeper snow, up to 12" I heard.
By and large, it's a marketing thing.
AWD was strictly an Audi thing until a series of events occurred in the
auto marketing world in the 90s, starting with people buying the
truck-based SUV that was originally designed for people doing weekend
rock crawling and going deep into the nasty parts of the woods and
whatnot for recreation.
People started buying these SUVs to haul their families around because
"station wagons and minivans just scream MOM! or FAMILY! way too much, I
need something DIFFERENT!". The auto mfrs responded by assuming the
customers wanted 4WD, then the whole thing transmogrified into people
buying car based tall wagons where all the wheels were driven--but the
mfrs made them AWD with no complicated buttons or levers or controls,
replacing the 4WD systems that made the driver think about what he was
doing and where the levers and gearshift had to be for any given
In essence, you bought a Civic station wagon. But the whole "we must
drive all wheels" carried over from the original days when the actual
form that people bought happened to be driving all the wheels in some
fashion or another.
You can get through the snow just fine with an Accord, and even better
if you equip that Accord with snow tires. The snow tire equipped
Accord, in fact, will do it BETTER than your all-season tire CRV.
AWD weighs more and causes you to spend more gas to drive it around. It
also requires more maintenance. Why get AWD? Because you got suckered
into it. The front wheel drive CRV would get you everywhere you need to
go in any weather you're going to encounter and choose to drive in,
Unless one lives in an area that receives a lot of miserable weather
conditions pretty much year round, 4WD is an expense that is
unnecessary. AWD can be fun to drive, if you have places where you can
unleash the vehicle to run as it is able to do, unfettered by the worry
of making a purchase of a ticket to the Policeman's Ball. :^)
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