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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm thinking of putting winter tires on my 2WD Colorado, as last year I had a little trouble in snowy conditions. I'd like to buy only two, but tire manufacturers all recommend sets of four and won't even discuss the possibility of mismatched tires. Years ago, I drove a RWD hatchback which was terrible in snow until I started routinely using high-end winter tires on the rear only every winter. I never noticed a problem with doing this. Is there really a technical reason why I should not mix tires? Is it just marketing?
 

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If you mix the tires, you could induce a condition where your front end will plow more, or less depending on the configuration. This may lead to the truck not being stable, but if you are a good driver - and stay alert while driving (no distractions etc) you could likely adjust to it. Basically by having different tires on the truck it throws the truck out of balance. While the front does the steering and does a lot of the braking, the rear aids in stability and propulsion being this is only a 2wd truck. You could likely also get away with adding weight (sand bags) in the back of your truck (I have even seen some guys throw straw back there and soak it in water and let it freeze). Seemed to work well for them.
 

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I have no idea on the ramifications of different style tires on the front/back, and I assume the OP was planning to do this with similar size tires, so some of the concerns voices should be reduced.

When I have inquired about just buying two new tires on rare occasions, the tire shops always stated that the new tires had to be placed on the rear. The reason given is that if the tires start to slip, the front tires can be steered, the back tires cannot, so you want the best traction in the rear. This was supposed to be both rear and front wheel drive vehicles for this reasoning.

Using that logic, putting "winter" tires on the rear and leaving the all season tires on the front should be just fine, again assuming that these are same diameter tires.
 

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I'm thinking of putting winter tires on my 2WD Colorado, as last year I had a little trouble in snowy conditions. I'd like to buy only two, but tire manufacturers all recommend sets of four and won't even discuss the possibility of mismatched tires. Years ago, I drove a RWD hatchback which was terrible in snow until I started routinely using high-end winter tires on the rear
only every winter. I never noticed a problem with doing this. Is there really a technical reason why I should not mix tires? Is it just marketing?
You need a set of 4. I've ran Blizzaks just on the rear on a RWD and they didn't help me stopping. I ran them on a FWD, taking off was great but the ass end wanted to pass me in turns. I've run Blizzaks on all my 4x4s and the traction is unreal! Taking off from a dead stop on glare ice or snow is almost like driving with chains. Light no, fantastic traction. Deep snow(20"+) walks right through. Stops unbelievably fast even on ice...BUT because of the sick traction they have you have to put them on all 4 corners or you'll be in trouble.
 

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Ideally it is best to run all 4 tires the same.


In the real world while it may not work as well you will not be stranded if you don't.


People for decades only ran snow tires on the rear and you learn to adjust to it. The key is just to have decent tires and not run bald tires in the snow. Also keep them up to pressure so the snow will not pack in them.


Like AWD. It is best to have it but you will not be stranded if you don't have it as 75% of the vehicles don't have it and in the past almost never had it even with crappy bias ply tires.


Much of good winter driving is have good tread, keep pressures up and learn how to control a skid and don't over drive.

I see so many 4x4 suv's in the ditch because people just don't know how to drive.


We get heavy lake effect snow here and the first time is always the worst as people forget to back off. after the first snow it gets better fast as people get back to basics.


But back to your question the official answer it is always preferred and recommended by MFG to do all 4 tires the same be it snow or all season.


Note too the driving aids on todays cars will work better with all the same. The car is programed to have the anti locks or DSC to all work with the same tires. The car can adapt to it to a degree but these systems work best with all the same.


I always had two wheel drive truck till this one. I just tossed on a set of Goodyear Wranglers on Z/28 wheels for winter. Never had an issue. The limited slip was key. I used to push snow with the air dam going in my street and never got stuck.


I went 4x4 mostly for resale. At this point I may just drive my old Malibu just to keep the truck out of the salt for the first winter if I can.
 

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All four would be best, you may be susprised on the amount of traction you get. If you cant/wont do all four then put your 2 on the front for better control, braking and steering. Then get chains, cables or something similar for the rear if you need them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
... You could likely also get away with adding weight (sand bags) in the back of your truck (I have even seen some guys throw straw back there and soak it in water and let it freeze). Seemed to work well for them.
I have 200 lb of crushed rock in the back and room for another 200, and a shovel. I'm pretty sure I can get unstuck as long as I don't go into a ditch. Real winter tires are better, though. Without them, the Oregon State Police can make me chain up to go through a mountain pass when it's snowing. I should carry chains anyway, but they are inconvenient.

edit: Upon review, I see that while traction tires usually suffice, in severe conditions chains can be required anyway. I need to get them regardless.
 

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200 pounds is about right.


In my Sonoma I use to carry a 190 pound main landing gear tire from the Space Shuttle in the bed.


If fit under the cover and did not slide around. I just pulled it out if I had to haul something.


I still have it in the garage for a conversation piece.


It was a ZQ8 so it was easy to load.


But 200 pounds is about right. Not too much to sag but not too little either.
 

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In the winter, I have always put on deeply treaded tires on the rear of my 2 wheel drive pickups (1996 S-10, 2005 Colorado, 2016 Colorado (the 2 Colorados had/have the locking differential)). Now I'm not using true "winter tires" as I have settled on General Grabber AT2 tires for the rear. I did use Firestone Winterforce one year on the S-10 but didn't notice much performance improvement over the General Grabber AT2. We don't get a whole lot of snow and ice and I do encounter mud/dirt while hunting which is why I went with the tire I did. If I lived where there was more snow, I might choose a winter specific tire although the Grabber AT2s have done really well in the snow I have encountered. Anyway, I have never had an issue with leaving the front tires as all season tires. Of course, I do drive carefully, slow down well in advance, etc. So it has worked for me.
 

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I have heard of some insurance companies putting up a fight in accidents with vehicles that only good winter tires on only two wheels. Their reasoning is something to do with it was the owner that didn't do proper maintenance.

With that said, local tire companies in my town won't install just two winter tires on vehicles unless the other axle has winters on already. I would personally rather have the winters on the front wheels so I can stop and steer.

Sent from my SM-G935W8 using Tapatalk
 

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Is it better to have all weather tires on all four corners? yeah, it is. Is it mandatory? No, absolutely not. I learned to drive in the mid 70's in up state New York. It snowed like hell up there. 4 wheel drive was not common. The only people that had that drove old pick ups and jeeps. All wheel drive cars were unheard of, and front drivers were new. Most people drove rear wheel drive vehicles. I drove a 1970 Torino Cobra. My dad drove a Dodge Van, and mom drove a AMC wagon. All rear wheel drivers. All of us had snows on the rears and regular tread on the front. None of us ever had any kind of problems from mixing treads like that. That's what everyone did in snow country. If you go to snow country today, that's what most people with RWD cars still do.

If you put a good all terrain tire on the back with some weight in the bed,I think you'll be fine.
 

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Wow, What a bunch of confusing / conflicting recommendations. People are confusing tire usage and traction on front wheel , 4x4, and rear wheel drive vehicles. Then they are making recommendations for your RWD 2WD Colorado. Winter tires are installed to allow better drive traction on snow and slush on the driving wheels. Many "Snow tires" actually have poorer traction on ice and wet pavement.

It is like chain installations for added traction. Chains (and winter tires) on all vehicles go on the drive wheels. I hear people will put chains all the way around but I have never see it done in practice. Even the all wheel drive trucks we drove in the military never had chains on the front wheels. Have you ever seen a semi tractor with chains. They install them on one set of rear axles even though most drive both rears. I have never seen them installed on the front non-drive wheels.

So watch the recommendations and judge for yourself.

Personally I have a 2WD Colorado that I run General AT2's on the rear ONLY for 4 months per year. (Dec 1 through Mar 31.)

Here is a sample of the snow we see around here. I have never been stuck or had a winter time accident.

Snow -

page forward or backward from there if you want to see more pictures.
 

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You're not saving any money by buying 2 tires vs 4. You're just putting the miles on your all season fronts instead of winter fronts, wearing them out that much sooner. Then you have to buy new front all seasons while your rear all season tires have fewer miles on them.

What's the point? Miles are miles, tires wear out. Without getting into the minutiae, you're either putting all the miles on one set of tires or spreading the miles across 2 sets, extending the life of both.

Gotta love these threads about penny pinching on our overpriced luxury trucks.
 

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You're not saving any money by buying 2 tires vs 4. You're just putting the miles on your all season fronts instead of winter fronts, wearing them out that much sooner. Then you have to buy new front all seasons while your rear all season tires have fewer miles on them.

What's the point? Miles are miles, tires wear out. Without getting into the minutiae, you're either putting all the miles on one set of tires or spreading the miles across 2 sets, extending the life of both.

Gotta love these threads about penny pinching on our overpriced luxury trucks.
And where safety is a concern. Just buy 4 appropriate tires and rotate them out when the snow melts and temps rise. If you absolutely have to penny pinch then put the winter tires in the rear, especially in a truck with a light rear end. The biggest concern is reducing the chance of oversteer. Understeer plowing sucks but oversteer sucks worse. The problem is, as snow melts and temps rise above 40F or so, your all-season tires may provide more grip than the winter tires and truck will respond differently than it did with snow on the ground and freezing temps. Better to just run 4 matched tires and play it safe.


https://youtu.be/8cBSWEhimdA

https://youtu.be/rzB7hpWhqIA

https://youtu.be/K7xXDMkVFlE
 
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Here is the deal the 4 tires recommended is a general statement to do so for all applications.

The truth is 4 are better than two in most applications but that does not mean you will end up in a ditch.

Most RWD trucks do well with only two tires and if it understeers often has to do wit tire conditions or driving skill. Let’s face it some people drive better than others in slippery conditions.

Also the vehicles today correct most issues if you are not overdriving the truck.

The only car I has issues with in the Snow was a Fiero. The combination of Eagle GT tires and no weight in the nose tied to a short wheel base was like walking a tight rope on ice skates. As they claimed Pontiac built Excitment.

Even with that I still drove it for three winters and never did not get where I was going even when the snow would get under it and the nose would ramp up on it.

The secon worse vehicle was a CJ 5 in two wheel drive. Then add a plow and steel cap to make it more top heavy along with the shot wheel base.

One of the best cars was my moms old Malibu. Even on old bias snow tires in the back and poly glass tires in the front that thing with posi was like a tank.

So yes 4 will hold an advantage but two in most applications will not leave you in a ditch.

The truth also is some folks have good car control skills and some just don’t even if their life depends on it. Some admit it driving with a death grip on the wheel some just spinning out on a hill stopping the rest of us.
 

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Bottom line. . .

Putting snow tires just on the rear will affect handling, things like turn in, under steer , etc. How much depends on the specific tires.

And how much it will require the driver to adapt depends on the driver, road conditions and speed. In the upper central Midwest, many used to do this including me. It was not a good solution for ALL drivers since many did not know what to expect in handling changes.

Example:
Cruising down a snow packed road at even at a steady 45 to 55 MPH, you might find the rear of the vehicle wanting to swap with the front. Sort of a slow drift and this was just going straight down the road. Kind of fun actually. You could control the amount of drift by modulating the gas pedal. But all this told me was to slow down for the road conditions and adapt. This was dangerous for some and they might panic, over correct, or hit the brakes, and spin off into the ditch or hit a tree, a light pole or someone else.

One thing for sure. . .. this kind of thing required constant attention to driving . .. . not checking a text message on the cell, or playing with music selections on it or a USB drive.

I don't know that I generally trust driver's skills and habits to recommend snow tires just on the rear. All 4 wheels is definitely safer.
 

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Bottom line. . .

Putting snow tires just on the rear will affect handling, things like turn in, under steer , etc. How much depends on the specific tires.

And how much it will require the driver to adapt depends on the driver, road conditions and speed. In the upper central Midwest, many used to do this including me. It was not a good solution for ALL drivers since many did not know what to expect in handling changes.

Example:
Cruising down a snow packed road at even at a steady 45 to 55 MPH, you might find the rear of the vehicle wanting to swap with the front. Sort of a slow drift and this was just going straight down the road. Kind of fun actually. You could control the amount of drift by modulating the gas pedal. But all this told me was to slow down for the road conditions and adapt. This was dangerous for some and they might panic, over correct, or hit the brakes, and spin off into the ditch or hit a tree, a light pole or someone else.

One thing for sure. . .. this kind of thing required constant attention to driving . .. . not checking a text message on the cell, or playing with music selections on it or a USB drive.

I don't know that I generally trust driver's skills and habits to recommend snow tires just on the rear. All 4 wheels is definitely safer.
I agree and that is why I don't make a recomendation that will not work for the majority of drivers out there, good and bad, on the internet. If I was talking to Dale Jr. then I might say sure you can get away with snows just on the rear. For everyone else I'll stick to the safest option. :grin2:
 
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