FWD - Death traps with miss matched tires.

Messages
915
Location
Erie, PA
**This thread will only apply to people that drive in snow and ice*** Some people believe in being cheap and only putting snow tires on the drive axle as that is what was done in the old days when they were growing up. All they had primarily was RWD rear wheel drive beasts which no doubt was not an issue, you just had to plan your stops better and pump the brakes. And quite frankly the traction was limited anyways with tires of that era. Cars simple weighed a lot and people adapted and im sure lots of people crashed too. Fast forwarding directly to the point, I can reproduce it every time and cannot recover it very well. If you place 2 nice studded snow tires on the front axle of a FWD vehicle, and leave your all season tires on the rear, the back end will get loose on you when you let OFF the gas pedal. When you try to correct the issue or hit the brakes, it will make it worse. The only way to recover is to step hard on the gas and steer away to the direction you want it to recover. BUT.....if you are trying to slow down or stop for an intersection, this wont work either. So.....we know the answer is to buy 4 snow tires and the problem goes away, but my question is simple, with good skill is there a technique to recover this oversteer condition and still get the vehicle stopped? Or will a modern vehicle with ABS or stability control prevent this?
 
Messages
5,464
Location
Suburban Washington DC
Originally Posted by Fordiesel69
If you place 2 nice studded snow tires on the front axle of a FWD vehicle, and leave your all season tires on the rear, the back end will get loose on you when you let OFF the gas pedal. When you try to correct the issue or hit the brakes, it will make it worse. The only way to recover is to step hard on the gas and steer away to the direction you want it to recover.
How about, just not driving too fast for the conditions that cause you to lose control to begin with? Then you will be fine with all season tires all around.
 
Messages
2,055
Location
missouri
Just apply your rear emergency brake and let t skid freely and counter-steer. Great fun. Mismatched is NOT unsafe. Excess speed and poor skills are. Rod
 
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3,873
Location
Somewhere in the US
Originally Posted by Fordiesel69
……. but my question is simple, with good skill is there a technique to recover this oversteer condition and still get the vehicle stopped? Or will a modern vehicle with ABS or stability control prevent this?
The answer is to prevent the situation to begin with, but once the situation has gone too far, you can not recover, no matter how skillful the driver. So driving slow with smooth movements and sensing when you've gone too far. then backing off - by either reducing the steering input, reducing the braking input, or slowing down. I suspect that most ABS and stability control systems are preventative - that is they intervene early enough to prevent the situation - as best they can. There is an old adage about making things foolproof only encourages smarter fools. And remember, it isn't getting the vehicle stopped so much as it is making it go where you want it to go.
 
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17,085
Location
NH
Maybe my truck just sucks, but even with snow tires on all 4 and traction/VSC on, I can make it snap at will on slippery surfaces--and I have the small V8! So I'm going to to vote "if the surfaces are bad enough, along with the driver, then anything bad can happen" in terms of ABS/VSC/TC preventing loss of control. As far as driver skill, I dunno, I don't watch motor sports but those guys seem to wipe out on a regular basis. Makes me a bit dubious for the average joe to stay on top of the game and steer out of a situation. Heh, side note, at work I often walk around the parking lot, and I spied a Tundra in the parking lot with all terrains up front and all seasons out back. I had to double check on that one!
 
Messages
660
Location
Albany, NY
Originally Posted by supton
Maybe my truck just sucks, but even with snow tires on all 4 and traction/VSC on, I can make it snap at will on slippery surfaces--and I have the small V8! So I'm going to to vote "if the surfaces are bad enough, along with the driver, then anything bad can happen" in terms of ABS/VSC/TC preventing loss of control. As far as driver skill, I dunno, I don't watch motor sports but those guys seem to wipe out on a regular basis. Makes me a bit dubious for the average joe to stay on top of the game and steer out of a situation. Heh, side note, at work I often walk around the parking lot, and I spied a Tundra in the parking lot with all terrains up front and all seasons out back. I had to double check on that one!
The Lexus GS is actually very similar to your truck (there is even a GS460 and all models share the same trans with the truck). It is AWD with a planetary TC. I can't say ABS in the snow inspires confidence. I can stop better with the parking brake sometimes. The VSC seems pretty good though if you slip around a turn.
 
Messages
10,593
Location
Cincinnati, OH, USA
I've only tried studs on the front of a FWD once, on my old beater ‘90 Civic wagon, and it was virtually uncontrollable on ice, back end would go sideways even without getting crazy. Studless snows are so much better for FWD cars, there's literally no comparison!
 
Originally Posted by atikovi
How about, just not driving too fast for the conditions that cause you to lose control to begin with? Then you will be fine with all season tires all around.
Says the guy who lives in DC not Erie where snowfall and bad roads are common and expected all winter every winter. The problem is the huge difference in traction from front to back changing the handling dynamics of the car. No help on other ways to recover the slide but some weight in the trunk might lessen it a little. You know the correct fix.
 
Messages
426
Location
Daytona Beach
Did you try putting the studded tires on the rear? Seems that stopping that back end might be more important. And I'm SURE you know to shift into neutral, Right. All the pictures of cars sliding proves that EVERYBODY knows how to do that. ( ;))
 
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3,317
Location
Parts Unknown
With a recent AWD rental car (front wheel biased), the car had fresh tires in the rear and nearly worn ones up front (because that's the best practice these days). In a plowed snow area, making a right hand turn (not going that fast), the rear stepped out... so, you would have to steer into the skid to correct, all while allowing the car to brush off speed. Something doesn't sound right if you're skidding on a FWD car when you release the gas pedal, since no power is going to the rear axle..but there can be minute weight shifts, especially if you release the gas pedal quickly, instead of slowly. Never happened to me with using chains with FWD.
 
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Messages
5,464
Location
Suburban Washington DC
Originally Posted by AZjeff
Originally Posted by atikovi
How about, just not driving too fast for the conditions that cause you to lose control to begin with? Then you will be fine with all season tires all around.
Says the guy who lives in DC not Erie where snowfall and bad roads are common and expected all winter every winter.
Plenty of snowfall around here, just not THIS year. [Linked Image from fototime.com]
 
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8,193
Location
Champlain/Hudson Valley
1) Road rally and dirt track techniques, while definable and reproduceable, simply won't be as instinctive as buttering a piece of bread....get real for a minute. 2) "When the back end kicks out put it in neutral and turn into the skid. Do this whilst applying the hand brake". Yeah, how many people have the savvy to remember all that, let alone do it in the correct order and to the correct degree? 3) That "slow down" thing is where you want your public service announcements. PERSONAL NOTE: Had studded snows on a 1970 Toyota Corona wagon (RWD). It was nice. I have 4 snows (non-studded) on my V70....highly recommended. I've driven my friend's Outlander with 4 studded snows in snowy conditions. It was sexy. All the time I see fools driving way too fast. It's nice to know what to do in an emergency but in the meantime, contain your aspirations and slow it down. NOTE: BITOG superstars are exempt from this as we know everything.
 
Messages
4,422
Location
Guilford, CT
This is exactly why Tire Rack recommends installing the 2 snow tires on the rear, even on front wheel drive cars. The same applies to all-season tires; for example if you're replacing only 2 tires and you'll have 2 brand new all-season tires and 2 half-worn all-seasons. The new all-seasons should go on the rear. https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/techpage.jsp?techid=52
Quote
Intuition suggests that since the front tires wore out first and because there is still about half of the tread remaining on the rear tires, the new tires should be installed on the front axle..... However, in this case, intuition isn't right...and following it can be downright dangerous. When tires are replaced in pairs in situations like these, the new tires should always be installed on the rear axle and the partially worn tires moved to the front. New tires on the rear axle help the driver more easily maintain control on wet roads since deeper treaded tires are better at resisting hydroplaning..... ...If the front tires have significantly less tread depth than the rear tires, the front tires will begin to hydroplane and lose traction on wet roads before the rear tires. While this will cause the vehicle to understeer (the vehicle wants to continue driving straight ahead), understeer is relatively easy to control because releasing the gas pedal will slow the vehicle and help the driver maintain control. However, if the front tires have significantly more tread depth than the rear tires, the rear tires will begin to hydroplane and lose traction on wet roads before the fronts. This will cause the vehicle to oversteer (the vehicle will want to spin). Oversteer is far more difficult to control and in addition to the initial distress felt when the rear of the car starts sliding, quickly releasing the gas pedal in an attempt to slow down may actually make it more difficult for the driver to regain control, possibly causing a complete spinout.
 

Astro14

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12,311
Location
Virginia Beach
Originally Posted by atikovi
Originally Posted by Fordiesel69
If you place 2 nice studded snow tires on the front axle of a FWD vehicle, and leave your all season tires on the rear, the back end will get loose on you when you let OFF the gas pedal. When you try to correct the issue or hit the brakes, it will make it worse. The only way to recover is to step hard on the gas and steer away to the direction you want it to recover.
How about, just not driving too fast for the conditions that cause you to lose control to begin with? Then you will be fine with all season tires all around.
How about you wear your wingtips with leather soles in every weather condition? Just walk carefully, don't go too fast. Then you'll be fine. Sheesh. All seasons have far less traction than dedicated winter tires. They have twice the stopping distance. All seasons are worthless in heavy snow and on ice. Used to watch "flatlanders" crash all the time in Vermont. Fancy cars with AWD, Stability control, everything. But they had all season tires, so they couldn't stop. Or turn.
 
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1,927
Location
Cincinnati, USA
The answer is simple. Don't think in terms of "these FWD winter tires allow me to drive faster", rather think "these FWD winter tires allow me to not get stuck as easily". If you're going the same slow speed that you'd need to stay stable with all season tires on both axles, you have that on the rear wheels still no matter what you have on the FWD wheels. If the conditions are really hairy, particularly needing to go DOWN steep/icy hills, you need all 4 tires to be winter tires and even then, re-evaluate your true need to drive those roads. Even if it isn't you that loses control, it can easily be someone else that does then hits you. Can you recover from rear end loss? Sure, but you better have some space around you, and practice, and ability to stay calm in such situations which is where many people go wrong, panicking instead of driving their way out of it, but to be fair, in a variable traction environment, you won't know how much compensation is overcompensation till you get some traction and start changing course. If you think it's not safe to drive or are too impatient to drive slow enough for the conditions (or arguably the other vehicles on the road are doing this), don't drive unless the need outweighs the risk.
 
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Messages
5,191
Location
Atlanta,GA
Originally Posted by bullwinkle
I've only tried studs on the front of a FWD once, on my old beater ‘90 Civic wagon, and it was virtually uncontrollable on ice, back end would go sideways even without getting crazy. Studless snows are so much better for FWD cars, there's literally no comparison!
If you had studs or even snows on the rears they would've provided at least some rotational resistance to the rear wheels which might have reduced the degree of "tail out".
 
Messages
1,411
Location
Western Canada
On my Subaru and Mazda 2, both equipped with premium winter tires on all 4 wheels, a sudden lift of the throttle in mid corner on snowy roads will result in the back end stepping out. This is called weight transfer. The front tires get pressed down harder, the rears get less weight. Virtually every car will rotate to some degree when you do this. And if you aren't paying attention or panic and hit the brakes, you will spin. ( more weight transfer to the front ... even less grip at the rear ) I once put new winter tires on the front, with worn all seasons on the rear, on a FWD car. The car was a blast to drive ... up to about 20 mph. Past that and the car became increasingly UNDRIVEABLE, as the rears had so little grip compared to the fronts that the back end was completely unstable.
 
Originally Posted by CapriRacer
Originally Posted by Fordiesel69
……. but my question is simple, with good skill is there a technique to recover this oversteer condition and still get the vehicle stopped? Or will a modern vehicle with ABS or stability control prevent this?
The answer is to prevent the situation to begin with, but once the situation has gone too far, you can not recover, no matter how skillful the driver.
This above statement in spades !
 
Messages
44,671
Location
Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted by Astro14
Originally Posted by atikovi
Originally Posted by Fordiesel69
If you place 2 nice studded snow tires on the front axle of a FWD vehicle, and leave your all season tires on the rear, the back end will get loose on you when you let OFF the gas pedal. When you try to correct the issue or hit the brakes, it will make it worse. The only way to recover is to step hard on the gas and steer away to the direction you want it to recover.
How about, just not driving too fast for the conditions that cause you to lose control to begin with? Then you will be fine with all season tires all around.
How about you wear your wingtips with leather soles in every weather condition? Just walk carefully, don't go too fast. Then you'll be fine. Sheesh. All seasons have far less traction than dedicated winter tires. They have twice the stopping distance. All seasons are worthless in heavy snow and on ice. Used to watch "flatlanders" crash all the time in Vermont. Fancy cars with AWD, Stability control, everything. But they had all season tires, so they couldn't stop. Or turn.
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