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Questions & info about the Motor Vehicle Act. Mature discussion only.

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Old 10-21-2009, 08:09 PM   #1
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DriveSmartBC - 2 or 4 Winter Tires?

I began driving my own car in the mid-fifties and I always used winter tires on the rear only during the winter months. Based on about thirty years of experience, I feel that I am quite capable of managing winter driving with the traction arrangement I had for rear drive in the past. However, I am not interested in contravening any legislated law or regulation. Is there a law that requires me to have winter tires on all 4 wheels of my new rear wheel drive only pickup?

Based on my experience as a collision analyst, I can tell you that any vehicle will steer more predictably if the traction at each wheel is the same. Whether you choose to use four all season tires or four winter tires is up to you, but operating with two all season tires on one end and two winter tires on the other is an invitation to problems. Mixing tire types will affect both steering and braking.

Having different sets of tires on front and rear axles may cause one end of the vehicle to lose traction before the other in a turn. Depending on the conditions, this could include having four winter tires or four all season tires where the pairs have different tread patterns or traction characteristics.

In terms of braking, four all season tires may be good, two of each may be better, but the best is still four matched winter tires. Braking distances will also differ if the two winter tires of a mixed set are on the front instead of on the rear.

There are two rules in British Columbia regarding four matched tires on vehicles with four wheels. If the front tires are studded, the rear tires must be also, and tire types may not be mixed. All 4 must be radial ply or all 4 must be bias ply.

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Old 10-21-2009, 08:20 PM   #2
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Due to liability (and profit) reasons, 99.99% of tire shops will refuse to mount snowtires on a car unless they are doing all four wheels.

I have run in the snow with snowies on back and all seasons up front - it's suicide. You may have traction to accellerate, but your fronts will not have traction to turn or stop.
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Old 10-21-2009, 11:13 PM   #3
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Just do yourself a favor and put them on all four. id rather do that then have my front brakes wear out cause they are doing all the work
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Old 10-22-2009, 01:23 AM   #4
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Due to liability (and profit) reasons, 99.99% of tire shops will refuse to mount snowtires on a car unless they are doing all four wheels.

I have run in the snow with snowies on back and all seasons up front - it's suicide. You may have traction to accellerate, but your fronts will not have traction to turn or stop.
If its front wheel drive this is true,but you are more than welcome to only have snowies on the rear of a rear wheel drive vehicle at least that is my experiences .The rear wheels must always have the best traction i.e.if you are putting two new tires on a front wheel drive ,most reputable shops put them on the rear.
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Old 10-22-2009, 10:25 AM   #5
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i installed winter tires for the first time last year, damn, increased the car handling by at leasst 60% comparing with all-season.
I cant wait to put on my winter this year and climb that hill up in my neigborhood, i got few thumbs up last year because many of them are stuck on the side street. LOL
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Old 10-22-2009, 12:50 PM   #6
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I think they should make it mandatory for winter tires here like they do in Quebec. I use it every winter now for 3 winters in a row and never got stuck. Before that, I'd be sliding down the slightest hill on my all seasons. I remember when I first started driving and had all seasons in the snow, I'd stop at the bottom of the hill waiting for the traffic light at the top to turn green and then hope that I time it right so I won't have to stop anywhere in the middle or else I'll be stuck. Never had to worry about that again after discovering how good snow tires are.
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Old 10-22-2009, 03:58 PM   #7
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I think they should make it mandatory for winter tires here like they do in Quebec. I use it every winter now for 3 winters in a row and never got stuck. Before that, I'd be sliding down the slightest hill on my all seasons. I remember when I first started driving and had all seasons in the snow, I'd stop at the bottom of the hill waiting for the traffic light at the top to turn green and then hope that I time it right so I won't have to stop anywhere in the middle or else I'll be stuck. Never had to worry about that again after discovering how good snow tires are.
I fully agree. Dedicated ice radials are the shiz. Only those who have never run them disagree.
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Old 10-22-2009, 09:12 PM   #8
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Got my set mounted on wheels waiting for the temperature to drop enough to put htem on. It will be my first year on 4 good winter tires instead of 2 crappy winter tires w/ 2 "all seasons" Im excited.
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Old 10-22-2009, 09:28 PM   #9
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I think they should make it mandatory for winter tires here like they do in Quebec. I use it every winter now for 3 winters in a row and never got stuck. Before that, I'd be sliding down the slightest hill on my all seasons. I remember when I first started driving and had all seasons in the snow, I'd stop at the bottom of the hill waiting for the traffic light at the top to turn green and then hope that I time it right so I won't have to stop anywhere in the middle or else I'll be stuck. Never had to worry about that again after discovering how good snow tires are.
I agree to a certain extent, however we just don't have the long winters here. It's asking people a lot to drop a grand for a few days of snow.

That being said, I run Nokian WR tires, an all-weather, all-season tire with the mountain snowflake symbol. Not as good as a dedicated winter tire on ice, but a heck of a lot better than what passes for an "all-season" tire on most cars these days.
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Old 10-23-2009, 09:46 AM   #10
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common misconception of people is that if there is no snow, they don't need snow tires. below 7C (I believe) then your all season harden and you get not as good grip. Just cause it's -2 and there's no snow, you should still be using winter tires. What I find silly is people who don't get a second set of rims with the winter tires mounted. Over the long haul, it's better having the second set pre-mounted instead of going to the tire place and putting snows on your current rims and switching at the end of winter. I find it more convenient and you save on having to pay someone to unmount your tires, mount new ones and balance it whenever you switch from summer to winter tires and back.
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Old 10-23-2009, 10:00 AM   #11
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all seasons are garbage in the snow
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Old 11-04-2009, 10:41 PM   #12
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Winter tires FTW

I am originally from the east coast where it is normal for northern New Brunswick to get a annual snowfall of a good 12ft++. I am use to driving on the HWY with a couple inches of packed snow doing 80-100km/h in a 100km/h zone.

Out here when it snows people freak out and don't know what to do, back home when it snows we would say "sweet now we have some traction".

Last winter I hit some black ice on HWY 1 and went sideways at 100km/h. I straightened the car out and everyone stopped tailgating me after that lol. The reason for the black ice was because where the water runs off of an overpass, onto the HWY below, there was a small patch of ice. The roads beside that were only wet since the sun was up but the temp was around 4-5 degrees.

Just want to warn people to start watching out for black ice under overpasses here since the weather is starting to get pretty cool over night and in a few weeks i am sure we could very possibly have some black ice then.


Oh and anyone that puts winter tires on the rear and all seasons on the front of the RWD are idiots. Have fun rear ending people this winter
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Old 11-05-2009, 06:55 AM   #13
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I'm also originally from New Brunswick and Moncton gets 300 inches on an average winter also. The only time I have ever used tyre chains is in BC. No problem properly driving in a 2 foot snowfall out east but 3 inches here is completely different. It's greasy, slippery and they treads get filled full of snow, leaving very little control. I had to adjust my winter driving within a few feet of my first snowfall here. A prudent driver would expect ice in shaded areas with water runoff in the winter here. If I saw you loose control in front of me I would also have backed off.

Drivers here get very little experience in driving in winter conditions, unlike those who come from real snow areas. It shows in the driving we see. There is a reason they freak...it is terrifying to them as they do NOT know how to drive. Not a slam, just a statement of fact. They also refuse to identify danger signs, like black ice zones, compacted snow at stop signs, poor visibility, poor traction, iced up windshields and windows...and believe the ads for SUVs that tell them their BMW or Merc SUV is invulnerable and the laws of science & nature do not apply because they have 4 wheel drive. Some never learn, crash and blame the Govt for not removing 100% of all ice and snow from every inch of roadway, as it falls. They are usually the ones who spin out into a ditch as they scream past a snow plow.
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Old 11-05-2009, 08:21 AM   #14
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I got into a big coworker last year about his 4x4, apparently he can drive faster than 2wd vehicles in the snow because 4x4's can turn and stop faster in slippery conditions too
There was some survery done where they figured out if you used to go mess around in a parkinglot in the snow when you were younger you were 70% less likely to be in an accident due to losing control in adverse weather conditions or something like that (those are just random numbers, but it was something to that effect) you wouldnt happen to know where to find that info would you?
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Old 11-05-2009, 09:54 AM   #15
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^ I'd believe it. After driving a winter on just all seasons, a winter on some hardcore mud/snow/ice tires, and then a season with the hardcore winters on the front, allseasons on the rear (all FWD). Just driving around unless you lost control in all setups, most wouldn't know the difference. But from goofing around in parking lots a bit and testing my car, I know there's a HUGE difference. With all 4 winters, if the car started sliding, I could get enough grip to be able to drive out of it or stop most of the time. With the all seasons on all 4 or 2 and 2, once the rear end was out, it was gone. Even just a hard blip of the wheel and I was doing at least a 90 if not 180 when the car was on solid ice.
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Old 11-05-2009, 10:50 AM   #16
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[QUOTE=stevo911_;6668918] I got into a big coworker last year about his 4x4, apparently he can drive faster than 2wd vehicles in the snow because 4x4's can turn and stop faster in slippery conditions too


Your friend then would likely be related to the folks frequenting Mt Washington...95% of the idiots who crashed by going too fast were....you guessed it....4x4s...the bigger the tyres, the higher the lift, the louder the chopped exhaust...or the more they paid for the SUV...the more likely to crash.
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Old 11-05-2009, 11:03 AM   #17
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^ my favourites are the guys in trucks who end up wayyyy off the side of the road because instead of stopping when they hit the ditch, they thought they could drive themselves back onto the road or the ones who pass because they think you're going too slow, then are in the ditch around the next corner.
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Old 11-05-2009, 11:10 AM   #18
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The thing I hate the most about winter driving the most are people who don't know how to drive and have 4X4's thinking they are invincible. I had a lady cut me off in the snow before and fish tail like crazy. She ran a red light to make her left turn just as we were all starting to move and then fishtailed a bit in front of me. Then she slammed on her brakes cause she had to turn right and fishtailed some more. I think she learned her lesson cause she then slowed down gradually and turned at the next intersection. She had a Nissan Pathfinder or the Infinity version of it (can't remember).
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Old 11-05-2009, 11:58 AM   #19
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I have run in the snow with snowies on back and all seasons up front - it's suicide. You may have traction to accellerate, but your fronts will not have traction to turn or stop.
Well, yeah... obviously.

But having two snowies only on the front in a FWD car is MUCH better than having two snowies only on the back of a RWD car.

With the two snowies on the front of a FWD car, they are the tires that do accelerating, the stopping, and the turning.

Sure, of course it's still better to have winter tires on all four corners, but just two in the front on a FWD car isn't that bad at all.
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