It’s not wise to have different levels of grip from axle to axle

If you think that you only really need winter tires on the driven axle of your vehicle, since it does all the pulling or pushing, then think again. Doing something like that can pose a serious safety hazard. Different grip levels for the front and rear can result in a very unsafe handling experience on snow, and the vehicle can go into a snap oversteer maneuver, careening into oncoming traffic.

Is It Important to Have Winter Tires?

This video by Tyre Reviews uses a front-wheel drive BMW X1 to illustrate what happens when you only have winter tires on the front wheels.

The result is a car in which you can’t really control since it just wants to oversteer all the time, even with the electronic stability and traction aids enabled.

And, don’t think the oversteer is subtle and that you can correct it if you have skill - based on how the front-driven X1 behaves in this video, having this tire combo turns any car you may have, even if it’s a new and modern one with plenty of safety gadgets, into a deathtrap (on snow).

Here's Why It's Important to Have Four, Matching Winter Tires
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You really want even grip on all four corners because even if in this front-wheel-drive car, the front tires do both the job of putting power down and steering (and most of the braking too), but when you start to turn into a corner, the grip you have on the rear end starts to become important, and if it’s far-far lower than on the front, the front will dig in, pull the rear around, and cause a spin.

To a lesser extent, this is true in any condition, not just winter and on snow. It is recommendable to have matching tires all around, in order to keep things stable and predictable when you start approaching the grip limit.

Further reading

2016 BMW X1 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the2018 BMW X1.

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