Dear Tom and Ray:
I have a 2004 Mazda Miata (with rear-wheel drive). Most companies advise me that I need to put snow tires on all four wheels. Is this true for my rearwheel drive Miata? Or is this true only for front-wheel-drive cars? – Mark
RAY: I understand why you’re suspicious, Mark. I mean, here’s a guy who sells tires for a living advising you to buy four tires instead of two tires. Sounds fishy, right?
TOM: But it IS better to put four snow tires on your car, whether it’s front-, rear- or allwheel drive. In the old days, we used to put only two snow tires on cars, which went on the driven wheels – the rear wheels, in your case. The idea was that the tires would help you get started and “go” in the snow. Makes sense, right?
RAY: Then people came to a funny realization. That it’s ALSO good to be able to “turn” and “stop” in the snow! That’s why four snow tires are better.
TOM: It’s also a little better to have four of the same tires when there’s no snow on the ground. Your handling will be more predictable, particularly in an emergency.
RAY: And many all-wheeldrive vehicles require you to have four identical tires in order to protect the differentials.
TOM: So if money is a serious issue, you CAN go with two snows. You won’t do any mechanical damage to your Miata. But when you’re sliding on packed snow into, or under, the tailgate of a Ford Expedition, you might wish you had sprung for the other two tires.
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Keep your car on the road and out of the repair shop by ordering Tom and Ray’s pamphlet “Ten Ways You May Be Ruining Your Car Without Even Knowing It!” Send $4.75 (check or money order) to Ruin, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL32853- 6475.
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Got a question about cars? Write to Click and Clack in care of this newspaper, or e-mail them by visiting the Car Talk Web site at www.cartalk.com.
(c) 2007 by Tom and Ray Magliozzi
and Doug Berman Distributed by King Features