I am trying to figure out what I want to do with my 09 compass (2wd) for snow tires. We get some really nasty winters out where I live but the compass wont be driven far in the winter if its bad since I also have a Liberty 4x4.
I am trying to decide if I should just put snow tires on the front or all 4 corners and if I should stud them or not. This is the first non 4x4 I've had so I'm not sure what to do with it.
Definitely get four tires! While the rear end does not contribute to the cause in this case, since we are talking about a front wheel drive vehicle, having said rear end follow the rest of the vehicle and not swing out in every curve and turn is a good thing. Having braking capability on all four wheels is a good thing, too.
Studded winter tires have superior traction, especially on ice. They are - perhaps somewhat counter-intuitively - especially useful if you don't get proper winter weather in your area. Studless tires can do allright in snow, but when you have just plain asphalt that sometimes gets a sheet of ice on it, studs are the way to go. (Thus, folks in Lapland are happy with studless tires while people in Helsinki listen to their tire studs clatter against bare dry asphalt a lot of the time.)
It's a Jeep Patriot thing. You wouldn't understand.
Manufacturers say buy 4 tires for the reasons already discussed. About 25 years ago my FWD car slid off the road because I had 2 winter tires on the front and All Season tires on the rear. For the Patriot I bought studless Michelin Xice I2 and they work but I probably could have gotten by with Firestone Winterforce with studs for less money. Our neighbor is having good luck with the Canadian Tire Nordic winter tires which can be studded. Rapid tread wearout with these soft rubber studless tires is a tradeoff with the noisy studded tires. I bought aftermarket steel wheels without TPMS sensors and will find out first hand in November if I can tolerate the warning light and bells.
Sell it and get a 4X4!! Seriously, I bought some 17" steelies and put some Toyo Observe G02 Plus same size as original mags. Works great in the snow, but mine is AWD. For the warning without the sensors, not a big deal, you get a ding when starting and a little yellow warning light stays on, you barely notice it.
I just bought it brand new a few months ago. I decided not to go 4x4 as we just wanted a cheap little reliable car. My fiance drives it 99% of the time and does not go out in bad weather. I have the 4x4 liberty and if there is bad weather I drive her to work (regardless of if her vehicle is 4x4 or not).
I own a Subaru Forester (yeah, not a Patriot, but similar), I have Bridgestone Blizzaks and they grip snow and most ice like mad, they're excellent snow tires. Bought my four tires on four steel rims for $500 on Craigslist. Other snow tires that are worth their price are Hakkapeliittas.
I've got an '07 Compass FWD. I drove for several winters on the OEM Firestones and it wasn't too bad. Last fall, I got the Goodyear Nordics (studdable, but I didn't get the studs), and I really noticed the difference. (better)
My Compass came with 17" wheels, but for the winter tires I went with 16" steel rims and 215/65R16 tires. Total cost Canadian Tire (not on sale) for 4 rims, tires, balancing, installation, Nitrogen fill and GST = $800.
I live near Edmonton, Alberta so we get more snow than ice. I lived through a couple of winters in Gagetown and the studded tires would have been great.
Bottom line: get winter tires all round, studs recommended in the maritimes due to the rain/ice problems.