If I replace only two tires of a FWD car with snow tires, should they go in
front or back? The other tires are all season tires.
I used to think they should go in front, because braking, steering, and
acceleration all use the front wheels. However, a friend went to a tire
store and they put the snow tires in the back.
What is the reason for that?
If you have great tires up front and bald ones in back, you run a greater
risk the rear swinging around during hard breaking. Personally, I've never
actually seen anything remotely like that happen when I've run with just
snow tires up front.
Put crappy tires up front and you won't be able to start moving in the
first place in snow and you'll risk skidding off-road during cornering.
Better advice is to get four snow tires. It won't cost much
in the long run as you'll avoid wear on your summer tires.
That's partially right. The theory behind it is an imbalance of traction
exists if you have better tires on the front OR the back. If there is an
imbalance of traction, it is better to have less traction on the front
tires. The reason is, if the front tires lose grip, it is usually easier to
recover from that situation before it causes major paperwork. So if the
tire shop puts the new tires on the FRONT, there is a possible liability
situation. Basically, they put the new tires on the rear as there is less
chance that they will get sued that way.
Unfortunately, the imbalance of traction theory (why they put the good tires
on the back) is only valid if the vehicle is being driven by an incompetent
driver. That is, a COMPETENT driver can handle an imbalance of traction
easily and safely, regardless of where the good tires are installed. You
know who you are. Just rotate the tires yourself when you get home.
Get a car with anti-lock brakes and put the snow tires on the front.
When I lived in the frozen north I always put the best tires on the drive wheels
during the winter, whether front drive or rear drive.
My view is that hitting the guardrail with the rear end (oversteer) is
no worse than hitting the guardrail with the front end (understeer).
It also COMPLETELY disregards the fact that different cars start out
with very different tendencies in the first place. The irony here is
that front-drive cars usually understeer like dumptrucks to begin with
(understeer==front loses traction before the rear) so getting the rear
end a little more free generally will bring a FWD car much closer to
neutral balance. Putting the less grippy tires on the front just
aggravates the car's inherent tendency to understeer.
Assuming this is a front wheel and not four wheel drive car, you would
want to put tires designed for maximum traction on the drive wheels.
If your friend has a car with rear wheel drive then the tire store was
correct to put the tires on the rear. If he has a car with front wheel
drive the tire shop screwed up big time.
This car has no reason to be on the road with other drivers until it
has all four tires studded..
If in question, this driver/owner should check with their respective
Posting a question like this is like - Hey! can I take a chance on
your life by being too cheap?
The best tires should ALWAYS be put on the rear, no matter if the car
is RWD, FWD or AWD.
The theory is that you need to have the best grip during braking in
the rear to reduce the risk of having the rear wheels lock up and spin
the car around.
It is illegal in some countries (sweden comes to mind) to mix studded
and unstudded tires on a vehicle. In sweden you must have the same
type of tires (studded/unstudded) on both car and trailer if you're
pulling a trailer.
No. A car that normally understeers can still lock its rears first if
there's a problem in the brake proportioning system. Oversteer and rear
wheel lockup are different and un-related issues. If the rear wheels
lock first, its not going to matter HOW good the tires on the back are,
short of hot racing slicks with the consistency of chewing gum.
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