Tips and advice about winter tyres - Can you get away with only fitting winter tyres at the front ?
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Can you get away with only fitting winter tyres at the front ?

Your winter tyres Barry

Fitting winter tyres on your vehicle as the cold season begins is a good safety measure. However, it is important to fit them in a way that ensures the vehicle remains fully controllable in difficult conditions.

Skidding on snow sign Is fitting winter tyres just at the front or the back enough to ensure maximum safety ? - Copyright © : iStockphoto.com/rezulteo.com

Front or rear-wheel drive?

Most vehicles sold today are equipped with front-wheel drive. This means that the engine power is transmitted only to the front axle, and the rear wheels are therefore not powered. This means that the front wheels move the vehicle forward and drive it. If you have a front-wheel drive vehicle you should make sure you fit your snow chains on the front axle as a priority, but we do not recommend fitting only two winter tyres

 

At the front or the rear? Quite simply both

Technically, fitting winter tyres on a front-wheel drive vehicle offers good drivability when the road surface deteriorates in cold conditions, especially on snow. They also allow you to maintain sufficient steering power on bends... as long as you also have winter tyres fitted at the rear. This is because the dynamic behaviour of an automobile puts a great deal of stress on the rear axle. The front-wheels may allow you to steer the vehicle – but just imagine negotiating a bend in a car with snow tyres only fitted at the front when the road is covered in snow. There is no problem as you start the turn, however the rear of your vehicle is highly likely to skid off at an angle that might cause the car to completely spin out of control if the speed and the conditions are not favourable to the car holding the road.

The rear axle has a natural tendency to skid. This is why it is absolutely essential to fit four winter tyres on your vehicle, even on a front-wheel drive: those fitted on the front axle allow you to maintain drivability and steering control, while those fitted at the rear ensure good control of the vehicle in bends. No other solution ensures a high level of safety in winter, especially when dealing with snow and ice. With winter tyres fitted only to the front axle, your vehicle becomes a potential danger as its behaviour and balance are both affected. This is all the more true on both on surfaces with reduced grip.

See also

>> See the video report Why you should fit four winter tyres