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Prius 2008 Winter Tires

I had terrible issues driving in the snow /ice last month. The car literally would not move forward. I bought 4 new Michelin Tires (Weatherwise II) but am thinking I should put on Snow Tires. Does anyone know if I can put them on the front only since the car is FWD?

Also - any recommendations on which tire to choose?

Putting on 2 winter tires on a FWD borders on treacherous. Getting going the rear tires don’t do much, however stopping and cornering you need the rear traction to keep the vehicle from spinning out.

You hit the brakes with 2 winters on a FWD on snow/ice the rear end will swing around making recovery especially difficult. Also in a wintery corner the front will stay planted and the rear will simply slide out easily.

Hopefully that makes sense. The best part of 4 winter tires beyond getting moving is superior control you have in bad conditions.

You want to have winter tyres on all four tyres.

Look at it this way.  Snow and ice can cause two problems.  One, as you have noted, is the no go, because you don't go.  The other is no stop. 

No go is an inconvenience, but you get a second chance.  The no stop means you can end up in the ditch or worse.  

 Having winter tyres on just two wheels will likely give you a less safe ride than having all seasons tyres on all four wheels.

Winter tires are what you need, but you need FOUR, not just two. You want equal traction at all four corners.

Less traction on the back can easily lead to a spin. Spins are bad news. You want four winter tires to avoid this.

As for recommendations, check out the reviews and test results on Tire Rack’s web site.

As you have found out, the Prius totally sucks as a winter car, with worse than usual traction, regardless of having four new tires. Snow tires will help you, but you need four of them. Mismatched tires can cause handling difficulties even in the best of conditions, and increasing your ability to accelerate can create a false sense of security, possibly leading you to do something that will cause you to spin out of control, thanks in part to the lower level of traction offered by the all-season tires in the back of the car. Two snow tires on the front will help you go, but will not help much in the stopping or steering departments, which are, as others have noted, dangerous rather than inconvenient. I will take getting stuck in my driveway over spinning out of control on the Interstate any day.

This is NOT the first person here who says they are having problems with the Prius in snow. I usually recommend just good all-season tires for fwd vehicles, but if this vehicle is having a problem…then it sounds like it should have good winter tires.

Beyond Prius, many new cars with low profile wider all-seasons fall on their face in the winter. It is becoming more common that cars even entry level are equipped out of the box in this manner.

No more 60+ series running on 14" or even 15" rims. Now its 40-55 series on a 17"+ rim.

What’s With Cars That People Have To Buy Special Tires For In Order To Drive In The Winter ? Is It A function Of Poor Car Design Or Poor Driver Skills Or Both ?

I though these Prius cars sold at a premium price for a little car. You’d think that it would come equipped or designed for practical, safe use in all weather conditions. If they’re really that poor then maybe a recall is in order.

"I had terrible issues driving in the snow /ice last month. The car literally would not move forward. "

What gives ?


If you are considering only 2 winter tires, please watch the video first. No other way to word it.

People have been using both car design and sticky tires to cover up poor driving skills for a long, long, long time.

Some people have no concept of being able to feather a throttle in order to get traction from the drive tires in winter weather conditions. Hence the reason why there was first FWD cars. Then when that didn’t work, they started selling AWD cars. Then when that didn’t work, they started selling brake actuated traction control systems. And now, to remove the poor driver from the equation, they now have the traction control work together with throttle control.

So, all the drivers do now is stomp on the gas pedal, and the car does all the thinking for them. It applies the brakes to the spinning tire, modulates the throttle to keep the rpms low enough, and most likely shifts into second gear if the owner was smart enough to push the Snow/Winter setting button for their transmission.

Give them the winter tires, and that means the computers have to work just a little less hard to get the driver up to their desired speed, right before they plunge head first into the biggest ditch available.


I respectfully disagree. I own a 2004 Prius and have been driving through snowy Vermont Winters for years. The keys are good Winter tires, using the “B” setting when necessary to slow the car without using the brakes, disabling traction control when conditions merit this, and just plain common sense driving. This year I am using a set of Nokian Hakkapeliitta R’s - they’ve been terrific!