Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Where do new tires go?

My mechanic told me that, for a front-wheel drive car like mine, I should put the new pair of tires I was purchasing on the rear. I asked, shouldn’t they be on the front, so that I get the maximum amount of traction in the snow (I live in Buffalo, NY)? He said no, you need the traction on the rear so that, when making a turn, the rear is less inclined to skid out to the side and send the car into a spin. What do you think?

Your mechanic is correct.
He is following the guidelines of all the major tire manufacturers.

see you tube front wheel drive stability test

"He said no, you need the traction on the rear so that, when making a turn, the rear is less inclined to skid out to the side and send the car into a spin. What do you think?“
He’s wrong on dry pavement. You’ll have less traction on the rear on dry pavement if the difference is great. Do what you can financially afford, but the safest is 4 new and rotate to keep withing 2/32”.

Do what your owner’s manual says. If it is like mine, it will not say, meaning that the placement is not overly critical. When you rotate in 8000 miles as you must, the new tires will go to the front and they will be near new as tires wear very slowly now.

New on the rear gets you out of the door and if you crash, the lawyers can’t use new on the rear against your mechanic as it may be slightly better than new on the front. The people who rotate your tires can’t be held accountable as they are following what the owner’s manual says to do as a lawyer may not stand a chance against a large car or tire company.

Slow for corners as your experience and road conditions require and you will be fine as long as your worn tires are not down to the wear bars. That is what wear bars are for, to indicate when a tire must be replaced for safety. If they are not safe before the wear bars, then the wear bars should show up sooner.

This is an often repeated topic with most people taking refuge in the conventional, new on the rear and conveniently ignoring rotation in 8000 miles.

look up for complete discussion by car talk …

There have been numerous discussions on this topic in this forum.

While I support the argument that new tires should be placed in the rear, there are many knowledgeable and skilled mechanics who frequent this forum and whose input I greatly respect. Many of them have differing opinions on this question.

Most Front Wheel Drive Vehicles handle poorly…Replacing just two tires makes them handle MORE poorly. By putting the new ones on the rear, the change in handling is minimized…

BUT, in the hands of a SKILLED DRIVER, someone who recognizes the handling limitations of the car, having the new tires on the front in places like Buffalo makes sense…

Most drivers never approach the limit of traction during normal driving, so they are completely unaware of any handling shortcomings built into their car.

Again, buy four tires and keep them rotated so they wear evenly and you will never have this problem…Once you buy just two tires, you lock yourself into driving a poor handling car forever, as you will ALWAYS be replacing just two tires…

Your mechanic is correct. You want the most “grip” in the rear because you don’t want the vehicle to “jack knife” when you stop suddenly. If the best grip was in the front of the vehicle then the rear would tend to keep going which would create a jack knife scenario. The simple physics in all of this is “inertia”. An object in motion will tend to stay in motion until an exterbal force acts on it. Those forces in this instance would be braking.

How does 1/4 tread left on front ,newer tires rear and .95 G on a 40ft radius skid pad equal poor handling

Harvey…talk to Nascar. They have a list that’s a mile long. If you run a front wheel drive vehicle on their tracks it must be converted to rear wheel drive. I like front wheel drive myself but I know their limitations. Nascar did not ban them without good reason.

VERY few FWD cars can pull .95G except when they hit a wall…

Magazine test cars can do it after the cars have been tricked out with “handling packages” and “optional” tires and wheels. But Joe & Jane Six-pack don’t know what a skid-pad is…They just want to put their new Good-Year “Vivas” on the front…

If you remember to slow down before turning on snow and ice, you may never have a problem anyway. If your other tires aren’t bad in snow and ice, you will be OK. If you’re in Buffalo, you might think about four dedicated Winter tires. Given infinite storage space and money, we could do anything.

Caddyman you mean like these guys ( ) the top point scorer here says you can run anything on the front but the right rear is the most important tire. They are near as fast as the rwd and only running stock 4s

d52levy, check out this video and decide for yourself. If this doesn’t convince you new tires should go on the rear, nothing will.

Thank you for all the replies, especially Whitey and his video. I’m convinced. I’ll take a bus. :wink: