Discussion in 'Surf and Snow' started by bassman88, Jan 10, 2019.
Anyone drives in the snow with a FWD? I’m thinking of trading my FWD or a 4x4 SUV.
I've driven in snow with front wheel drive, rear wheel drive and 4 wheel drive. They all do fine if driven within their limits. I've seen plenty of 4 wheelers slide off the road because they think the 4wd will somehow make them immune to the conditions. I saw a Toyota 4 runner that slide off the road into a ditch and I stopped in my old Mazda MPV and offered to tow him out. He declined. I was in 4 wheel low with the center differential locked and that ice felt like dry pavement to me!
I currently have a front wheel drive honda and a 4 wheel drive trailblazer.
Thanks for the feedback. I was actually looking at the Toyota 4runners TRD off-road. I’ll keep my current car for now.
I think Mark said it all when he wrote about exceeding the vehicles' capabilities in the existing conditions...are some vehicles better than others?....you bet they are, and a toyota 4runner trd would be a good one if the driver stayed within its' limits....however, I too have seen my share of these vehicles in a ditch, along with many others....the drivetrain will do little to help you if you enter a curve/corner that has iced over and momentum overrules your tires' grip as you continue on the path you entered...in my opinion, tires are more important and I have two sets for each vehicle....the winter tires make a huge difference in stopping and cornering over their fair weather partners on the same vehicle...but they only go so far in overcoming ice....snow itself gives you some traction but quickly becomes ice through traffic compressing it, temperatures dropping quickly, or possibly the storm started with sleet/freezing rain and it lurks beneath...
And BLACK ICE, forget about it....definitely the worst possible condition next to a WHITE OUT...
But you asked about drivetrain so here is my experience:
Rear wheel drive.....the worst, especially without winter tires...inclines become slip and slides...one of the funniest scenes I've witnessed was a cherry late 60's, early 70's camaro trying to get up a grade on a city street...fishtail, bang, hit the curb, gain a couple of feet, fishtail, bang, hit the curb, gain a couple of feet, fishtail.............he's still probably out there....painfull.....
I gotta mention I had a lot of fun doing donuts in empty snow covered parking lots in my F150 2wd
FWD....good to get traction by pulling with weight over drive....not my favorite in cornering because of weight distribution vs momentum...also, the majority I've driven have some degree of torque steer which makes for exciting times figuring out which way you are headed when traction is made...fortunately, if you can minimize the torque by starting in 2nd, you can overcome this...
AWD...I've had different types....I prefer 40/60 rwd being the 60...you get hurt on fuel mileage being in 4wd all the time, but you have a lot of traction, all the time, in all kinds of weather....
AWD with RWD when not slipping....close 2nd to above
AWD with FWD when not slipping....still a little torque steer
4x4....I have a rust free Dodge diesel that I will not subject to winter salt....with the right tires it could be the best....all the small time snowplowers use them, but they are rust buckets...it stays in the driveway
Okay Bassman, that's all I have and probably more than you wanted....
My experiences have been mainly in the Chicago area and points between here and Socal, including the Rockies (lots of attention needed to be made in any weather)....I see that you are in the San Gabriel Valley...would you be thinking of heading to Big Bear?...if you are going to the mountains I suggest you wait until the roads have been made fully passable...that you check forecasts so you don't get caught in really bad weather once you are up there... buy the best chains for your car and do some dry runs putting them on before it becomes mandatory and your fingers are frozen....you don't want to slide off the mountain!!
My son talked his Socal wife into a TRD Tundra 4x4 blah, blah, blah by saying " and we can go get our own Christmas tree"...he kept saying it over and over...funny, until the fuel bills started rolling in at 4-5 bucks a gallon....nice truck though, and FAST (for a truck)...
One last thought....Brakes....the only condition I like ABS in, is in ice....
Any car with chains (really just cable, but are still called chains) will get up to big bear in most all conditions except the very very worst. If you are really concerned, going up 38 instead of 18 is typically better in bad weather, it’s longer but an easier drive.
You guys nailed it. Yes I’m primarily going to Big Bear, but may make a trip to Lake Tahoe/Mammoth MT. I didn’t realize there was a difference between awd and 4x4, hence looking at the 4Runner 4x4.
I was going up 38 one time and they were stopping everyone in Angelus Oaks for chains. I had 4wd with mud/snow tires so I didn't to put chains on. I told them that I had them though and they wanted to see them. I pulled the bag from the back that has my emergency supplies, including chains. He asked if I always had that with me and I said yes. He said if everyone had that stuff he wouldn't have to be there. The road was mostly fine the rest of the way up and I felt sorry for the people who had to put chains on.
I sold my place up at Lake Arrowhead in 8/2017 but I'd been driving up Hwy18 for 28 years in all conditions. I still have pictures of me shoveling snow where the snow bank was 8' tall behind me.
If you want a functional car that is mountain friendly, Subaru’s are very very popular in Big Bear.
That's true pretty much in all ski areas. The locals like Subaru's... inexpensive for a 4wd and reliable. Once upon a time I had 2 Subaru's. They were great for the trips to Mammoth and Tahoe.
If you go up alot a dedicated snow tire set is the way to go, I have a set that I swap on one of my cars for Mammoth and big bear because chains are a pita. The grip is amazing with snowstires but again must be driven within the limit due to much softer sidewalls/rubber. LA people don't realize that a frozen tire is worthless and all seasons are not designed for sustained cold. I love seeing the Range Rovers headed to Mammoth and getting stuck in a driveway in the morning.
Regarding snow tires, do you rotate for the winter season or every time you head to the snow?
If I keep my fwd car and get snow tires, I’m assuming I still need chains aka cables?
Okay, I live in Crowley Lake, just South of Mammoth, wife works in Mammoth. I drive a Toyota Tacoma double cab 4X4 and the wife drives a Subaru Forester. Neither one of us have ever put chains on, in six years of living here 24/7.
My honest advise to you is to get a Subaru with their asymeytrical drive. There is a reason that all mountain communities are populated with Subarus. Their asymmetrical drive system works, and they have really good mileage to boot. Not the sexiest car on the road, but reliable, dependable and easy on gas.....insurance is reasonable as well. Just pick the model that works best for you!
Regarding snow tires, you only want them during the winter months. If you have a dedicated set, mounted on wheels, that really gets expensive, especially considering the tire pressure sensors. If not mounted on wheels, then you have the additional expense of dismounting and mounting the tires each time. Not exactly cheap.
My 2 cents worth.
I spent the first 21 years of my life in Pennsylvania. Only ever had FWD cars, and never had a problem. It doesn't matter what you drive as long as you take it slow and drive within your vehicles limits. Snow isn't the problem. It's the ICE that will get you, and it doesn't matter what type of vehicle you drive on ice they all are going to have the same results.
If you want just one set of everyday tires with a snow rating, look at the Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires. They are definitely quiet for snow rated tires. I had them on my Jeep and now my F-150. You will get about 55,000 miles on those tires. If you want a all season tire that will last longer but still handles good in the snow, the Goodyear Fortitude did good in the snow on my truck the first couple seasons. The in between for these 2 tires would be the Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure With Kevlar.
Subaru plus all weather tires and drive with care
I never chain up and zero problems in Big Bear
I put the tires on when I drive up and swap to street tires when I get back, takes about an 1 hr to swap. I mark the location and just rotate each time I put back on, I got really lucky and bought a full set used on craigslist (rims included) that a guy used for one season and moved to so cal. If you are interested let me know since I am selling the car. I would never drive these for extended periods because of handling characteristics (braking and cornering). Snow tires are designed with little slits in the treads that create suction on ice when the weigh of the car is transferred to the tires.
Mammoth does not really get consistent snow below the 203 so you need the traction for driving around town. I have had days of being escorted down the grade but it has been a long time. Big Bear is a different story and people go full tard driving up that hill in weather but they are conservative with where they set chain checks (typically Snow Valley), you can sneak up the 38 sometimes since the 18 is the crowded route.
I do agree that a Subaru is a superior solution since you can get past chain checks and actually handle the weather. I would have to pretend I was AWD (car is FWD but looks like a WRX) or drive up super early ahead of the chain checks.
Subaru makes cars these days that aren’t awd? Back when I had Subaru’s the whole line was awd. I had a 3 door... 0 to 60 in 15 minutes!
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