Poor traction query

my kid drives 03 FWD vue. has firestone destination LE tires. 55% tread front and 45% tread rear. drove it last winter and it was ok, traction wise. we rotated tires about 2 months ago. and now roads are horrible. been 0-10F this past week. kid has had vue for 2 yrs so they drove it last winter. says the rear is really loose on curves. long thread about jeep liberty and poor traction. due to weight issues. think a bit more weight in rear will help? tires are ok and popular in our area. i see lots of trucks with them.

I’m confused…you asking about the Jeep Liberty or the Vue??

If you’re asking about the Vue…then do NOT add weight to the rear. It’s a FWD vehicle. Adding weight to the rear will make matters worse.

The Liberty is RWD…so adding weight to the rear will help.

Many tires lose much of their traction as they wear, and–more than likely–these Firestones are in that category. This gives you only a couple of options–to drive much more slowly in low traction situations and/or to get new tires with much better winter traction.

I would suggest checking winter traction ratings on the Tire Rack website, as some so-called all-season tires (such as the Bridgestone RE-92 and RE-92A) are essentially useless on winter road surfaces.

Also–adding additional weight in the rear is probably not a good idea with a FWD vehicle.

well, for a slightly nose heavy fwd suv to exhibit a loose rear end seems to indicate the rear has a poor traction situation due to weight issues and perhaps less than ideal tread depths on tires. would rotating tires front/back do ANY better? like 5% better?

I looked up that particular tire’s ratings, and it’s a medium rated all season tire. With half its tread worn off, it may not be enough for slippery roads. Let me suggest a set of good new winter rubber.

And kudos to your son for being aware and talking with you about the situation. A tip of the hat to him.

Snow tires will help for sure

I worked with a guy that had one of those and he complained about the poor traction in the winter all the time. I think its a characteristic. I might carefully try a little weight in the back to see how it handles if it is too light in the rear end but suspect new tires are the answer.

Has wheel alignment been checked lately?

You have the better tires on the front, the more worn tires on the rear. That, combined with them being worn and it being fwd, will make it handle the way you describe. I’d either get a new set of all season tires that are good in snow, or a set of good winter tires (if snow/ice is common where you live). Either will be much cheaper than dealing with a crash.

You should not need more weight in the back because SUVs are known for having enough weight. They are so well weighted that the rear wheel drive SUVs are kings of the city streets, unlike pickups without weight in the back. I always had to stop and shift to 4WD in my pickup when there was slush on an uphill run.

I have had good looking tires that were five years old that “worked great last year” but couldn’t get me up a hill this year. I believe that the problem is a tire issue.

I’m not sure what the original tread depth was, but anything under about 6/32 on an all-season tire generally means noticeably poorer traction in snow. I’d toss these tires now (even though they’d have some life left if it were summer) and get all-season tires with good snow performance or winter tires.

What the bleep. Kid drives 2 miles to work. And hit a curb at lunch today. Sez tire is going down. Sure, $700 for new tires.

Just make sure nothing else was damaged. I skidded into a curb on ice years ago, replaced the bent rim, then found out later a control arm was also bent. I found out by it breaking…(young and foolish)…

You asked what the problem was, and the general consensus is that the current tires at their current wear level has insufficient traction. There’s no free solution for this. It is, however, a serious safety issue. If he hits an off ramp in slippery weather with his current poor rear end traction, the damages could be far worse than $700. Your son could be seriously injured. Is your son’s safety worth $700?

+1 to what texases and mountainbike stated.

Just yesterday, after a snowfall of only ~ 1 inch, a friend of mine took a turn just a bit too fast and wound up hitting the curb. The result is a bent lower control arm and a blown strut. And, since replacing just one front strut on a 55k+ mile vehicle is not a good idea, his little skid cost him 2 struts, in addition to a lower control arm & an alignment.

Next week, he will replace his tires, which look…okay…but have clearly lost much of their original traction.

In the case of Stoveguyys’s son, the only solution is…
new tires…
learning to drive more slowly in low traction situations.

I have made this statement several times. All season tires may have decent winter traction…for a while. But they loose it quickly long before they reach the wear bars. You could buy winter tires, then put these all season tires back on in the spring. Get steel rims for the change over. I did it with my kid’s car. If you don’t think your area warrants the investment, your alternative is to not let them drive in bad weather. Your choice. Otherwise, it gets real expensive replacing all season tires long before you really have to.
Sorry, but there is NO SUCH THING AS AN ALL SEASON TIRE THAT HAS GOOD SNOW TRACTION FOR VERY MUCH OF IT’s LIFE. If there were such a thing as all seasons that were good in snow for much of their life, they WOULDN’T SELL SNOW TIRES. There is no comparison !

It’s really too bad that tire tests only test new tires. The performance of all tires can vary greatly as they wear in different ways. When fwd cars start handling poorly, often it’s the tire imbalance for tread wear. Read Tire Rack on the subject. That’s why you rotate tires ! Adding extra weight to the rear of a fwd car is, sorry, not good advice. DON’T do it. Weight is taken off the front wheels with every passenger or load you put in back regardless and you could have real problems going with passengers, load in the back and your added weight. If you can’t get snow tires, at least get tires with the same wear and ROTATE THEM. You will at least avoid the problem at higher speeds on rain soaked roads. The poor handling in snow is telling you some thing about your tire selection and maintenance and how poor cars are when tire traction decreases on the roads it travels.

Just to give a very good example of how NOT to drive in winter conditions, take a look at this video from Wisconsin, where DOT cameras recently captured this avoidable pile-up on a highway.

Perhaps just as scary as the extreme speed of some of the vehicles is the fact that many of the crash victims chose to exit their cars and stand in the roadway, in the path of more skidding vehicles!

Looks to me that the two cars that enter the frame at 00:15-17 were stupidly racing; the second one already out of control.
The pickup in the left lane might have been with them too.
About 00:23 a cluster of cars going too fast (probably egged on by the 2-3 racers) come up and things get ugly.
Beginning at 3:06 another cluster of vehicles going way too fast add to the melee.

You wonder about the common sense of keeping your speed down and keeping your distance. Note that those big trucks anticpated the slowdown and did not run into anything. The news showed this crash taking place in Germantown, Wisconsin. Certainly a city that gets lots of winter.

You make my point about all season tires. Your friends tires " look" OK, but they just don’t cut it. He could loose nearly 50% of the wear in those tires and need replacing them for better snow traction. Dedicated snow tires will give good snow traction for the same number of miles. So, you keep both longer. Snow tires start off with much deeper and better designed tread. Most people put their snows on in NE in late November and keep them on for less hen five months. You put more miles on your car on the all seasons yet your friend as to change them more often for shorter driving season. Do the gazintas. It pays to have winter tires. Now, to mount them on separate steel rims, it still pays, but the payback is longer…about 8 years. But meantime, you are safer.