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.