help! type44 squirrly on the road with front snow tires

Doyt W. Echelberger Doyt at NWOnline.Net
Fri Dec 13 13:39:31 EST 2002

At 12:53 PM 12/13/2002 -0500, you wrote:
>[ Picked text/plain from multipart/alternative ]
>In a message dated 12/11/02 11:35:38 PM Eastern Standard Time,
>benswann at writes:
> > OK, if not a quattro.  Definately not good to mix tires, and especially
> > sizes if it is a quattro.
> >
> > It sound like in this case, the combination is ok, especially if it
> > feels allright, but maybe your mom is picking up something you aren't
> > based on "her" driving style.
> >
> > I'd expect the snows to be making it handle squirrely, as they tend to
> > do that, IMO.
> >
> > Ben
> >
> >
>thanks..  but ive been getting conflicting answers on this..  its a front
>wheel drive automatic '86 5k NA.   some other lister said i needed all 4
>snows.   but why? the rear wheels are not traction wheels...?

.................I'd agree with the 4 snows lister. The other (unbalanced)
combination might be tolerable if the car just traveled in a straight line
and didn't have to ever turn or slow down or stop. Does the driver just do
drag strips?

Rear wheels provide traction in turning and stopping. Either way, both ends
of the car need to turn and stop pretty reliably the same way at the same
rate. And even slight changes in direction are influenced by the amount of
slippage the tires experience in exerting that traction. On wet or
icy/slushy surfaces, at a greater turn rate, the slippage will be
exaggerated by the momentum of the vehicle, and the better front traction
will act as a pivot to further unbalance the system. The extreme example
would be running slicks on the rear and Blizzaks or studded Hakkas on the
front. You could accelerate really well on ice, and you could turn the
front, but the rear would just get loose and swing you around. And you want
4 tires grabbing to stop, not just two. You want the rear to track the
front, so traction is a major factor. In addition, the front snows are
certain to be more like jello than the non-snow rears, so the jello fronts
will make steering squirrly to some degree, and the slipping rears will
just exaggerate the natural squirrlyness of the fronts. I think that might
be what the driver is noticing.
      Doyt   in wet and slippery wintertime Ohio   USA


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