Snow tires

We have a 2004 Mazda MPV that is front wheel drive. We are looking at getting new snow tires for it, and wondered if studded snow tires on the front is adequate, knowing the rear has M&S in great shape?? Our do we need 4 studded tires??

I’d get 4 good unstudded winter tires, check a recent Consumer Reports for a review. Don’t just get 2, you’ll have poor control.

You don’t need studded tires. In many states they’re illegal. In others they’re only legal during certain months. Studs were a true advantage in the days of bias ply tires, but modern radial ply siped winter tires are far superior to even our old studded bias ply snow tires.

I would get two of the same M&S tires that you have in the rear, so that your traction is balanced front to rear.

You need a set of 4 matched winter tires. The term “snow tires” went out just after Disco music died.

Studs are helpful if you frequently encounter severe icing conditions, but modern winter tires–such as the superb Michelin X-Ice–are actually quite effective on ice as well as snow, hence the term winter tire rather than snow tire.

Bear in mind that studded tires damage roadways, are illegal in many jurisdictions, and the studs will be worn out LONG before the tread of the winter tire is worn out. A set of 4 Michelin X-Ice tires will get you virtually anywhere in bad weather as long as you drive sanely.

Studs in the front “winter tires” with non studded “winter tires” on the back in a FWD vehicle is the question, yes? Not a good idea. The studs in the front will change the traction compared to the traction of the rear tires. On dry roads and wet roads the fronts will get a bit less traction due to the studs. On icey roads the fronts will have more traction. All this will lead to erratic handling just at the times when you need good handling.

Either get all 4 tires with studs or without studs. I’d have to drive a lot on roads with hardpack snow and ice on them to go with studs. Most of the roads I use are sanded and salted so the studs are less helpful.

Watch this video and decide for yourself to get 2 or 4

If you can afford it I suggest you buy 4 winter tires on 4 plain jane steel rims. Put them on in the Fall, off in the Spring, and run 4 regular tires on the original rims the rest of the year. This way you cut down the cost of change over, or do it yourself, and you cut down the possible damage from taking the tires off and on the rims, and cut down the chance of you neglecting to take the winter tires off in the spring.

Studded tires are a pain on clear roads; very loud, and not great traction. They are also illegal in some states and during most of the year. If you drive on snow covered roads all winter (secondary roads in rural areas) then try them, otherwise don’t do it.

Studded tires have been for years the ultimate in ice traction. We’ve used them for the past 25 years exclusively because of our hilly, ice/snow covered terrain. For the first time two years ago, we outfitted my wife’s RAV with unstudded winter snows. They have come a long way. I would now use and recommend the better rated non studded winter tires w/o reservation.