Why Front-Wheel Drive and All-Season Tires Aren't Enough in Snow and on Ice

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 by Doc Horvath

Ice rink testingWhen front-wheel drive cars first became popular, most drivers found that having the weight of the engine directly over the wheels that put the power down to the ground resulted in better traction and steering response. The added sense of security that results from the better grip of front-wheel drive often makes drivers feel that a dedicated winter / snow tire is not necessary, but our most recent test proved otherwise.

We headed over to a local ice skating rink and tested 2012 Honda Civic EX sedans with all-season tires against dedicated winter / snow tires for acceleration, braking and cornering capabilities. During our tests, we found that while straight-line acceleration was improved just slightly with a set of dedicated winter / snow tires, their specialized rubber compound makes a world of difference when it comes to stopping and turning.

While all-season tires are designed to offer good traction in a wide variety of driving conditions, they can't deliver the excellent traction in slush, snow and on ice that dedicated winter / snow tires can.

To see the difference a set of winter tires can make, watch "Are Front-Wheel Drive and All-Season Tires Enough for Winter Driving?"

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