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I have a Honda Civic 2005 Value Package. The tires are worn out. I have moved to a location where there is heavy snow in winter. Are All-Weather Tires helpful or should I buy winter tires in winter and summer tires in summer?

Is it okay if I buy two winter tires (back) and two summer tires(front)?

This is my first car and I do not have good experience in selecting tires.

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Not an answer, but if you go with 2 sets of tires. I would suggest getting studded winter tires. They may not do much in fresh snow, but they have saved my bacon several times on ice and snow/ice compact. It all depends what kind of weather you have though. –  Wulfhart Jul 1 '11 at 19:02
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5 Answers 5

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Winter tires in Winter and Summer tires in Summer. With very rare exception the "All-Season" tires are really only very good for 3-Seasons, or for places where the roads are always kept clear in the Winter.

Do all 4. Having a mix of Winter/Summer tires will adversely affect handling and braking.

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The tread compound used in most all-season tires is not intended driving in freezing temperatures. So if you are driving where its expected to freeze, you need tires designed for the cold. –  chris Jun 24 '11 at 21:23
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Inverse is true for Winter tires run in the Summer. The heat can really do them in. Plus they're typically not speed rated (due to heat issues). –  Brian Knoblauch Aug 29 '12 at 18:31
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I've now found 1 particular Winter tire that's also called "Summer capable" and have used them with great success on the Wife's car all year round, and on my rally car for Winter only. –  Brian Knoblauch Jan 23 at 17:16
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I've spoke at length about the benefit of winter specific tires here in Minnesota to my friends far more than they cared to hear.

Every single person who has driven one of my vehicles in the winter has come to me afterwards and said quite literally, "I was clueless; I had no idea it makes so much difference."

It really does make huge difference, and you are substantially safer in the winter on winter tires.

Do not mix and match.

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Winter tires on the rear and summer tires on the front will create a dangerous situation. Your front tires are responsible for steering and the majority of your braking power, additionally on your vehicle the front wheels are the drive wheels. Flipping that around (summer tires on the rear) would leave the rear end likely to slide out on you in a corner.

If you can afford it separate sets of summer and winter tires are the best option. If that's out of your price range you would be better off getting 4 all season tires than trying to make it through the winter with summer tires or with only one pair of winter tires and one pair of summer tires.

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Your civic is front wheel drive, which means your front wheels do both steering, braking and pulling the car forward. If you have to prioritize between the wheels. These should always have the best tires.

Of course this means you might get a dangerous "feel" of good grip when pressing the throttle and braking. This may make you over confident in situations like approaching a sharp turn, which makes your car spin out with the rear first.

If safety is more important than your economy, then you get one set of summer and one set of winter! Remember, even if you have to buy two sets of tires, one set of allyear tires will wear out twice as fast!

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Are All-Weather Tires helpful?

Very - I use all-season tires myself. That's primarily a budget constraint combined with the fact that Rhode Island gets serious snow rarely. All-wheel drive + all-season tires + careful driving = acceptable.

or should I buy winter tires in winter and summer tires in summer?.

It depends on your specific situation. My previous car (97 Integra) was a similar platform to what you're using now. I was fairly happy in that car using all-weather tires on all four wheels until I got stuck in a parking lot (high-centered on a tiny lump of snow) next to my brother in law with his all-wheel drive WRX. I chose to ditch the car rather than upgrade the tires.

Admittedly not the most economically-motivated choice ever but I've been satisfied in the long run....

If you are driving in deep snow on a regular basis (i.e., Wisconsin vs. Rhode Island), I would recommend that you invest in good winter tires.

Is it okay if I buy two winter tires (back) and two summer tires(front)?

No. Absolutely not. Please don't do that.

Remember, your front wheels in the Civic are responsible for all acceleration, most of the braking and all of the steering. If you put summer tires on the fronts and drive in the snow, it's like buttering your feet before you try to walk across a frozen lake.

Picture a clover-leaf exit ramp on your way home from work in the winter: you turn off into a fixed radius turn and hit a patch of ice from the snow melt earlier in the day. Your steering will immediately go away (summer tires can't handle ice or snow at all). Worse, your braking will be terrible in the front, so there's no chance of transferring weight to the front to get you around the turn. Absolute best case: you'll understeer into the outside guard rail, hopefully without serious injury.

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