does one need all 4 winter tires?

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Equip all four. You can't turn or stop as well with all season tires. Having winter tires on the rear only helps you get going. That's not generally when traction is most critical -- you want to be able to STOP more than you want to be able to go.
 
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I know quite a few people that have done it on pickups in the winter. It will go ... stopping and turning are another thing. Guess it's better than nothing if 2 is all you can afford
 
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I put 2 Nitto winter tires on the rear of my 2011 Ford Crown Vic the last week of November every year along with two 50 lb barbell plates in the trunk. The car is a tank in the snow with this combo. Never a problem. FWD cars need winter tires on all four wheels. Not RWD cars!
 
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Yes, use dedicated winter tires at all 4 corners. If you use them in the rear only, you will see what you're going to hit in the windshield. If you use them in the front only, you will see what you're going to hit in the rear-view mirror.
 
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Originally Posted By: A_Harman
If you use them in the rear only, you will see what you're going to hit in the windshield. If you use them in the front only, you will see what you're going to hit in the rear-view mirror.
Sounds like fun!
 
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Originally Posted By: A_Harman
Yes, use dedicated winter tires at all 4 corners. If you use them in the rear only, you will see what you're going to hit in the windshield. If you use them in the front only, you will see what you're going to hit in the rear-view mirror.
I respectfully disagree! I have been driving Crown Vics for the last 28 years as a Police Officer. We only put snow tires on the rear wheels. Never a problem ever using this method.
 
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Originally Posted By: RISUPERCREWMAN
Originally Posted By: A_Harman
Yes, use dedicated winter tires at all 4 corners. If you use them in the rear only, you will see what you're going to hit in the windshield. If you use them in the front only, you will see what you're going to hit in the rear-view mirror.
I respectfully disagree! I have been driving Crown Vics for the last 28 years as a Police Officer. We only put snow tires on the rear wheels. Never a problem ever using this method.
FWD cars are far superior in winter. Every RWD I have driven including a crown vic with sandbags in the trunk and winters all around still were terrible in winter. Why wouldnt you put winters on the front too? Its definitely going to be better than all seasons. I remember being in a mustang, not a winter car...id put winters all around. Peace of mind is worth a couple hundred bucks.
 
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Originally Posted By: hardcore302
Or can you just use two winter tires on the rear of a rwd car?
Do you want to stop the vehicle at any time while driving it. If so then you'll want winter rubber on all corners.
 
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Originally Posted By: RISUPERCREWMAN
I put 2 Nitto winter tires on the rear of my 2011 Ford Crown Vic the last week of November every year along with two 50 lb barbell plates in the trunk. The car is a tank in the snow with this combo. Never a problem. FWD cars need winter tires on all four wheels. Not RWD cars!
You've got it backwards bud. Fwd uses the fronts to propel the vehicle and does approx 70% of the vehicles braking,so a fwd can get away with only snows up front. A rwd vehicle moves the vehicle with the rear tires,so traction is important. And since a vehicle does most of its braking with the fronts traction is also important.
 
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If drive like you are supposed to drive in winter you can put snow tires on the rear only. I've never put snow tires on the front of a rear drive 2wd anything. This goes right along with putting the new tires on the rear instead of the front. You can explain until the moon turns green, I don't believe it.
 
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Without snow tires on the front you loose steering and braking potential. That being said I only use all season in the winter but with good tread depth and FWD. Two snow tires are better than none I suppose but with snow tires only on the rear of a RWD vehicle you will be able to accelerate very well but not stop as equally well. Also all seasons don't bite very well in turns with snow on the ground. In any event the driver should not exceed the potential of the rubber under foot. I can get by just fine with good all seasons, but stopping and turning are eventful when going anything over 30 mph.
 
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The only time I would ever run 2 winter tires is on the rear of a RWD car. Its not as good as 4 but doesnt dangerously unbalance the driving 2 winter tires on the front of a fwd is bad because when you brake the front grips so good you spin the back out into a 180 or 360.
 
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Need. No. Preferred, yes. Drove many rear wheel drive trucks with snows in the rear only through the years. As other noted, helps the "go" factor, but steering and stopping not so much.
 
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Originally Posted By: hardcore302
Or can you just use two winter tires on the rear of a rwd car?
I have run 2 winter tires on both FWD and RWD cars... the FWD car was borderline undriveable at any speed above about 20 mph... I was young and dumb and thought the monster oversteer was fun , until it almost killed me on the highway... lesson learned. On the RWD car , you can get away with it. The only problem is that if your front tires are really poor, you can get yourself moving along pretty good, and now comes the turning and stopping part... maybe...! You won't crash by being stuck, but you might if you can't turn or stop. Kind of the same as all seasons on an AWD car. You can get going just fine, but then find out how slick the roads REALLY are when you come to that first turn... 4 winters are best, because all 4 of your tires are doing SOMETHING, fronts turning and braking, which are kind of important, and rears accelerating, and to lesser degree braking as well, also important... !
 
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4 or zero. With RWD winters only in the back can be lethal, because it gets easier to accelerate but braking performance is still poor. It can be very nasty surprise for someone else who's using the car but does not know how it behaves.
 
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If you're running studs you don't want them on the front, PERIOD. If you run studs on the back of a RWD & add weight to the trunk, & use common sense such as downshifting before hills & taking it slow you'll be fine. On a FWD I go all 4 tires with studless tires such as Blizzaks or Conti Winter Contacts-the back end will get frisky on ice if you only run winters on the front, even if you're careful. There's no substitute for experience, though!
 
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I wonder you can compromise and get just three. Works in politics, why not here?
 
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