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Here’s Why Only Fitting Two Winter Tires Is A Terrible Idea

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See how easily a car can spin in the snow with only two winter tires installed.

We recently learned why it’s never a good idea to rely on four-wheel drive instead of fitting winter tires when driving in treacherous snowy conditions. Now, British YouTube channel Tyre Reviews is back with another helpful video showing why you should always wrap all four wheels in grippy winter tires during the winter season.

When shopping for winter tires, some people may be tempted to save money by buying just two winter tires and fitting them to either the front and rear axle. But as this eye-opening video demonstrates, this is a terrible idea.

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Using a front-wheel drive BMW X1 SUV at Goodyear’s testing facility with winter tires fitted only to the front axle, the host shows that, while accelerating and straight-line braking are improved, you’ll lose control as soon as you turn the steering wheel. This is because having winter tires on a single axle creates a grip imbalance since the summer tires fitted to the X2’s rear axle have much less grip than the front tires.

It's scary to watch how easily the car spins out even at low speed, giving the driver no chance of recovering. It looks like a lot of fun in a closed test facility but this would be extremely dangerous on a public road – a simple lane change on a snowy highway could result in disaster. Braking, acceleration, and cornering was also markedly improved with a full set of winter tires installed.

A rear-wheel drive car with winter tires only fitted to the rear tires wouldn’t fare any better either, since you’ll have traction and braking in the rear but won’t be able to turn due to the lack of front grip. The message is clear, then. Don’t try to cut costs. Buy a full set of winter tires, because it could save your life.

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