2011 Toyota Corolla with terrible winter traction

Hello everyone. A little help please. I bought a 2011 Toyota Corolla brand new and the last several winters in the snow the traction has been terrible. Even at very slow speeds, it is difficult to get the car going and keep it straight on snowy roads. I have a 2007 Corolla also that was boughjt new and never had these similar issues with that car. The current tires on the 2011 car are Bridgestone Insignia SE with about 20k miles on them. But even with less miles, traction has always been an issue. Very scary to drive out here in the snowbelt of Cleveland, Ohio. I am wondering if it is the brand of tire that is the problem.

Thank you.

We also have a 2007 Corolla, and we have excellent traction with Michelin X-ICE winter tires. It’s winter 5 months of the year here and the winter tires come off late April. My wife’s 2012 Mazda3 also has these tires.

There are many very good winter tires available. So this coming fall Google the TireRack and you will get good reports on how each brand fares.

Other friends have later model Corollas and all have good winter tires and have no prblems with traction.

Your brand of tires is likely the culprit.


I was just surprised that Toyota would put such a crap tire on a new car.

Yes, traction is all in the tires and some are much better than others…This fall put a set of Winter Tires on the 2011…It’s not the brand so much as the tread design…

They are not bad tires. You are using them in the wrong application. You need winter tires, and no auto manufacturer will put those on as standard issue. The Bridgestone Insignia SE tires are all season tires.

Are there any other differences between the 07 and the 11 besides the tires? Auto vs manual transmission? ESB/ABS vs no ESB/ABS? Any dash warning lights? Edit: I guess one thing, you could do an experiment and swap the tires between the two cars and see if the traction problem follows the tires or not.

Look under “surveys”:


A cheap tire and not rated well in winter driving.

Thank you INSIGHTFUL, that is what I was suspecting the problem was.

Shame on you Toyota!! I am starting to lose the faith.

Which tires you get are usually part of the option package. It may be to get the other stuff you wanted, you got less expensive tires. When I purchased my Corolla I had the same problem, the tires that came with it, they performed reasonably well on dry and wet roads, didn’t try them on snow, but they didn’t last nearly as many miles as when I switched to 4 Michelins. The Michelins lasted probably 2.5 times the number of miles as the tires that came with the car new. Just one of those things when you buy a new car.

Yes George, things are not the way they used to be when I was a lot younger. I would just expect decent tires on a $19,000 car. But I will look into Michelins. Lesson learned once again. Never to old to be schooled.

Read the consumer reviews for that tire in the attached link and the problem will become obvious.
You simply need better tires. I’d recommend using the site in the attached link as a tool to select them.

There is nothing inherently wrong with the tires that came with your car.
Standard tires on new cars may be good or bad but being a poor winter tire doesn’t mean they are crappy. They could be excellent handling, economy and mileage. All season tires can’t be good in snow and good at everything else. They are a compromise. If you want the best winter traction, put snow tires on separate rims and rotate them on for winter. If you do this, you will pay less in tires over the life of the car and maximize winter performance. Even a moderately priced basic snow tire will give you winter traction that makes most all season tires seem poor by comparison. You need not spend an arm and a leg on winter tires to get very good over all performance. Altimax by General tire is one example of moderately priced winter tires. There are many others

So the Insignias are Good to Excellent in EVERY category but winter traction. What do you expect ? Somehow, people buy a car with all season tires and expect them to do everything. Unless you want to pay a lot of money for the car itself, an Eco car will have Eco tires that are a compromise and being good to excellent in all but two categories is pretty darn good. You can just look at the tread and tell they are probably lacking in winter traction. Guess what, ALL SEASON tires will all suffer a big drop in winter traction at 20 k miles regardless of their initial rating. You want good winter traction for the life of the tire…get dedicated winter tires and wear the all seasons on separate rims down to the legal limit and not worry about their winter traction. That’s how you save money with winter tires.

You are mistaking good or bad tires with having good winter traction ratings. The tires that came with your car could be much better in rain then one they might choose with good winter traction but poor wear and rain performance. Even with good winter traction, they may loose most of it by the time they are half worn which most all season tires do. You gain little and have to buy tires much more frequently then having dedicated winter tires you rotate on each fall and off in the spring. Take more of an active roll in your car’s traction and you will be safe and save money to boot with winter tires on rims.

An excellent suggestion all around Dag. I agree.

The tires on new cars are much better than they were years ago. On a couple of cars we bought in the 80"s we replaced the factory tires much sooner than we needed to just because they did not perform as well as we expected. Just because your tires do not handle snow does not mean Toyota put poor tires on the vehicle on purpose. Dagosa is correct, all season tires can not be good at all conditions.

The Continental ProContacts that came with my 2010 Cobalt were round and quiet. Adequate as a commuter tire. Reasonable traction the first two winters I had it, the last winter with 30k the traction was terrible.

After my daughter had a blow out at 65 mph on the Garden State Parkway due to construction debris (which she handled well) I replaced all four tires with Goodyear ComforTreds. Much better tire in dry, wet, or snow conditions. I’ve also heard good things about Michelin Defender tires.

Ed B.

Some of the problem might be the two cars use different SIZE tires. The newer cars come with very low profile tires which have poor traction on snow and ice unless you buy a set of winter tires…

“things are not the way they used to be when I was a lot younger. I would just expect decent tires on a $19,000 car.”

@cardud–The “good old days” weren’t always so good.
When my father bought his new '66 Galaxie 500, it came equipped with BF Goodrich Silvertown tires, which looked nice but which were totally worn out by 16k miles!

Even as a teenager, I was a bug on car maintenance, and I personally kept the tires properly inflated, and made sure that my father paid for an alignment shortly after he bought the car, so poor maintenance can be ruled out in the case of these prematurely evenly worn-out tires. Those tires–like most OEM tires both then and now–were selected by the car manufacturer mostly because of their low price and their soft ride.

Fast forward to 2010, when I bought my current vehicle, a 2011 Subaru Outback Limited 3.6R. On the Outback.org website, many people were griping about the poor quality of the OEM Continental tires–chiefly because they didn’t seem to “hold” their balance, but there were other complaints as well. I wanted to form my own opinion about the tires, and I decided that they were…okay. Not great, but…okay. Then, I too found out that–unlike any other tires that I ever owned–these Continentals did indeed seem to “lose” their balance, and I wound up having to re-balance them every year.

Finally, even though there was still ~5/32 of tread remaining, I decided to treat myself to a set of Michelin’s new Defender tires, and…What a difference!
In addition to having a smoother ride and better steering response, the Michelin Defenders are quieter and provide a slight boost in gas mileage, as compared to the OEM Continentals. And, in winter conditions, the Michelins provide better traction than the Continentals ever had.

The difference between OEM-quality tires and high-quality replacement tires can be substantial. So can the price differential, but…you get what you pay for, and I have learned to not pinch pennies when it comes to tires.

@VDCdriver‌ They still make the BF Goodrich Silvertown tires, and wow, they are expensive!


I’m sure there are quite a few differences from the originals, though.