There position is that on very wet roads, the older tires a tthe rear would cause spins. But, if you might travel in snow, assuming Front Wheel Drive, wouldn’t you want the new tires there? How do you feel about that Advice

Personally, I think if the tread on the other tires is so low as to make this an issue, you should be buying 4 tires, not 2.

This advice is correct, and most all shops will refuse to put new tires on the front.

As texases stated, the advice is valid, and is actually the standard recommendation from all major tire companies.

This is not exactly a new development, and has been the policy of the major tire makers for quite a few years.

For years they recommended putting the best tires on the front, but in the past several years tire manufacturers have changed their views on this. I still usually keep my best tires on the front for steering and traction. I’ve never had any problem with the rear skidding and if one end of the car is going to go into a skid I’d rather it be the rear than the front. As long as you have control of the front end rear skids can be steered out of. If you lose control of the front end (steering) there’s no way to control any part of the car.

Yeah, I’ve been converted. I don’t like it but the new ones should go on the back.

I still prefer the new ones on the front, but accept them on the back if the shop insists. Lots of shops have “best on the rear” as shop policy and I’m too tired to fight.

I’ve seen the films, I can quote the theory by heart, but I still like the best in front.

An average driver can recover from understeer if the front tires lose traction. An average driver will go into a spin and very likely crash if the rear tires lose traction. Is that important to you? It is to me.

In 40+ years of driving in winter weather I’ve never had the problem. But I agree with the theory of putting the best tires on the rear. I’m just set in my ways.

Yeah, the tire manufacturers insist nowadays that new tires be mounted on the rear. But many of us still cling to the old-fashioned 20th-century wisdom. Better tires on the front, rotate for even wear, and replace in sets of four.

So if you like to drive aggressively in downpours, or go charging into the esses, you might do marginally better with your best tires on the rear axle.

If the shop insists on mounting the new pair on the rear, show up in six months for your free rotation.

That’s my plan.

That is not old fashioned, I remember championing against new tires on front and being chastised for the belief new tires should go on the rear. It was based on my 1972 car shop experience, #1, if you have a tire with less tread prone to a blowout due to road debris, you would rather have a blow out in the rear. More braking power is in the front than the rear, so the better tread in the rear due to engine weight in the front and you need the extra traction in the rear. I think me and busted knuckles, does his wife drive the postal route in the mountains? were the only ones standing up to much abuse for putting new on the rear. Eggs are good, eggs are bad, etc. etc. see you all agian soon when the philosophy changes again.

Not to continue this but I’ve had blow outs (or quick flats in any case) in the rear and it was smooth as silk. No control problem at all. Can’t say I ever had one in the front though.

Simple math. The % of people killed in accidents related to tire ware is much higher on cars with the better tyres on the front.

The best tyres on the front will help you get through the snow and ice.

The best tyres on the back will help you stay on the road and avoid accidents.

If not getting stuck is more important to you than avoiding an accident, then put the best on the front.

Well said Mr. Meehan.

Per the usual, my opinion is at odds with the majority on this for several reasons.
One is that I prefer new ones on the front because the main issue is hydroplaning on wet roadways. With the deeper tread depth on the front the car is less prone to skating and those front tires cut a trail through the water for the worn rears to follow.

If worn tires are on the front, traction is lost, and the car goes skidding the tread depth on the rear is not going to mean much when the tires are sliding sideways over wet pavement.

For a long time I used to commute about 160 miles a day (190 or so when heavy rains closed a flood prone section of highway) so I got pretty attuned to how various cars and tires were handling and my opinion is based on that.
I’m in agreement with shadowfax that if tread depth is even an issue a set of 4 is much better.

“Per the usual, my opinion is at odds with the majority on this for several reasons.”

I don't think we differ other than the driving conditions we encounter. 

On roads with standing water, then you are safer with the better tyres on the front.  However if you are on snow or ice covered roads, you are safer the other way around.

Of course if you keep four good tyres on all the time (rotate the tyres) you are the most safe. 

I guess I have to wonder about the idea of having two better tyres, as they all should be in good condition.  If any tyre is questionable, it is time to make some changes so you have FOUR GOOD tyres.   They are all important. Looking back over my older messages, I plead guilty to failing to emphasis the importance of "FOUR" good tyres and if there is a meaningful difference between the tyres on your car, it is time for a change. 

New tyres are cheaper than medical cost.

A couple of thoughts:

Front tires clearing a path for the rear tires? Only in a straight line and only if the tracks are the same. Turn a corner and the rear tires cut their own path - and personally, I think this a much more risky condition and that’s the one that is usually demonstrated on the videos on the subject.

I tend to be driven by data, and I haven’t found evidence (like videos!) showing new tires on the front are better - BUT - I have found plenty of videos showing the oppositie.

I could make the point that if the rear tires are not following the path of the front tires in a turn this would likely mean a sharp turn (90 degree intersection) but in a normal sweeping curve the rear should be on or nearly on the path of the fronts.

Regarding snow and ice that could also depend on whether the vehicle is FWD or RWD.
Traction would better with new on the back of a RWD but worn tires on on the front of a FWD may not work well at all.

Traction is normally not a problem or something I worry about except on rain covered roadways. If the roads are snow/ice packed then I’m usually going slow enough that speed is not an issue. Ice can be a problem here but on ice even brand new tires all the way around will slide in a heartbeat even at a snail’s pace.

I suspect we will be asked this question over and over again at regular intervals. I plan to save my reply so next time I can simply use cut-and-paste. (Better tires go up front.)