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Should I put tire chains on all four wheels of my front wheel drive car?

I have a front wheel drive 2005 Pontiac Vibe. I am shopping for tire chains for this winter. This will be my first time buying them (after getting stuck last winter). Anyway, the web sites I am looking at say to put chains on all four wheels and claim "this is especially important for front wheel drive vehicles". But my car’s owner manual just says to put chains on the front wheels.
So what’s the deal? Are the retailers just trying to sell me more chains? Or is there a reason chains are needed on the back tires?

Its very important that all four wheels have the same traction characteristics or you will be doing doughnuts the first time you apply brakes on a low traction surface. This is the same reason why no tire shop in the country will install only two snow tires on the front of your front wheel drive. After a few hefty lawsuits, the tire makers and tire installers have learned this lesson the hard way.

arrow3 Responses

  1. Sayswho
    60 mos ago

    The only reason to put chains on a tire is to improve traction on the driving wheels. I can’t see a reason for putting them on the trailing/rear wheels on a front wheel drive vehicle unless they prehaps aid in stopping.

    BTW, did the vender give you a reason for this? I would ask them and see what they have to say……

    Have you considered a set of modern snow tires? In the case of tires, a full set is usually recommended.
    References :

  2. Tony m
    60 mos ago

    Only your fronts need to be chained.
    References :

  3. pbleek
    60 mos ago

    Its very important that all four wheels have the same traction characteristics or you will be doing doughnuts the first time you apply brakes on a low traction surface. This is the same reason why no tire shop in the country will install only two snow tires on the front of your front wheel drive. After a few hefty lawsuits, the tire makers and tire installers have learned this lesson the hard way.
    References :

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