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Is It Safe To Run Only 2 Winter Tires On Any Vehicle?

Jan 11, 2013

One common question we get asked during the winter season is
whether you need four winter tires, or if you can run with just two. The fact
is that installing two winter tires on any vehicle can be quite dangerous,
especially on a front wheel drive vehicle.

If a rear-wheel drive vehicle has two snow tires installed
in the rear, you’ll definitely be able to get moving a lot easier. But what
happens when you need to steer, or stop? Most of your braking comes from the
front of the vehicle.

If a front-wheel drive vehicle has winter tires installed
only on the front, it is very easy for the rear of the car to lose traction
going around a corner, or under braking, which can lead to oversteer, also
known as fishtailing. Winter tires are so much more capable than all season
tires that it is not a good idea to install only a pair.

This leads to another issue, which is four-wheel drive. Of
course, four-wheel drive will help any vehicle, regardless of tires, to get
moving more easily in bad road conditions because you have twice as many tires providing
forward traction. However once you stop accelerating, and start to coast, or
brake, or turn, Four-wheel drive is not doing much for you. This is why having
four winter tires on the vehicle is highly recommended.

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