Winter Tires

Winter Tires

The beginning movement and acceleration of any vehicle in snow, ice, slush and similar cold weather conditions are highly dependent on the traction from the tires on the driving axle. The handling, cornering, and braking of a vehicle after it is in motion, especially in adverse weather conditions, are dependent on the traction from both the front and the rear tires. The rear tires of any vehicle must have comparable or higher traction capabilities than the front tires to maintain vehicle mobility and control. Winter driving is also dependent upon proper driving techniques. It is important to drive with care, not only on snow and ice, but also on dry and wet roads.

Winter/Snow Tire Application - It is always preferable to apply winter/snow tires to all wheel positions, including duals, to maintain vehicle mobility and control.

  • If winter/snow tires are applied to the front axle of a vehicle, winter/snow tires must also be installed on the rear axle. Do not apply winter/snow tires only to the front axle. This applies to all passenger and light truck vehicles including front-wheel-drive, 4WD, and AWD vehicles.
  • If winter/snow tires are installed on the rear axle of any vehicle, it is recommended (but not required) that they also be installed on the front axle.

Studded Winter/Snow Tire Application - Studded winter/snow tires have higher traction qualities under most winter weather conditions.

  • If studded winter/snow tires are installed on the front axle of any vehicle, studded winter/snow tires must also be installed on the rear axle. Do not apply studded winter/snow tires only to the front axle.
  • If studded winter/snow tires are installed on the rear axle of any vehicle, it is strongly recommended that they should also be installed on the front axle. Only if studded winter/snow tires are installed on all wheel positions of a vehicle will optimum handling characteristics be achieved.
  • Some states prohibit the use of studded tires and many states have seasonal limitations on their use. Before installing, check with state and local regulations.

It is generally acceptable to apply a winter/snow tire with a lower speed rating than the OE tire; however, the vehicle speed is to be restricted to that of the replacement tire.


Installing winter/snow tires (studded or unstudded) only on the front axle may cause the vehicle to experience adverse handling characteristics. This may result in an accident which could cause serious injury or death

For more information, see Cooper Service Bulletin # 114 "Application of Winter/Snow Tires and Studded Winter/Snow Tires".

If you have any questions, please contact your local tire retailer or Cooper Tire at 1-800-854-6288.

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