Winter drivinng: FWD and RWD with snow tires vs. AWD with all-season tires - what people who have done the tests say

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R. Mark Clayton wrote:


After that 'rare' remark about new fresh snow a couple messages back, I was thinking the same thing. Glad you caught yourself. I've been in that 'rare' stuff more times than I can remember. And the others are right. It's just like gravel. You'll stop (slightly) shorter when you can pile up a little wedge of the stuff in front of the wheels. ABS just lets you roll on. As for steering, there's not enough traction to steer in that stuff anyway. -- C.R. Krieger (Been there; done that)
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And a FWD car with snow tires is better than a RWD with snows, and an AWD or 4wd with snows is better still.
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Elmo P. Shagnasty wrote:

I can not agree with your first assertion. Contrary to popular modern thought, FWD is not inherently better than RWD in the snow. It depends on the individual vehicle to a great extent. There are advantages and disadvantages to each configuration in the snow and it generally comes down to whatever the driver is most comfortable with. Many less skilled drivers prefer FWD over RWD because they are uncomfortable when (not if) the rear end breaks lose in a corner. But that very capability can be useful in some situations.
Yes, a 4WD or AWD vehicle *with* winter tires would be the best set-up.
--
-Fred W

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On acceleration only. For turning and stopping, they are all equal.
4WD does tend to make people overdrive their ability to stop.

Mine has "1", "2", "3", "4", and "5". What is this "snow mode" of which you speak?
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Auto boxes only. Normal is economy, with snow or sport on a separate switch. Mike.
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wrote:

Well, in my admittedly limited experience with an '02 manual gearbox IS300, when they tell you that the standard 17" performance tires should not be used in virtually any kind of snow at all, you ought to believe them. I've gotten that car stuck in 4 inches of snow, with clear road less than 3 feet away, and I couldn't even get the car to move 3 feet until I just got out and shoveled the 3 feet of snow. At one point I ran 4 dedicated winter tires on it (Blizzak LM22 on 16" rims), and using the snow settings, turning off traction control, and working the manual gearbox, I could barely make it through 5 inches of snow.
I finally gave up, and just kept the performance tires on the IS year-round. I bought a used 2-door RAV4 with a manual gearbox and locking center differential, put 4 big-ass snow tires on it, and only drive it in the snow and when I need to haul dirty cargo, and maybe once a week just to keep a charge on the battery. I think I put around 1,000 miles a year on that car, but it's very handy on days like today. I can easily bulldoze through plowed-up walls of snow that are 3 feet high and 6 feet wide.
--


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"GRL" wrote

Is it the issue that's currently on the stands? I looked through it but didn't see it. Not sure which issue it was, but it said "to be displayed on the stands until March 21."
Pete
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If you area subscriber, you have it. Don't know if it is on the stands, yet.

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One thing to add and reinforce. The driver is the key factor that makes or brakes that 30% advantage. Case in point when I was a teenage need for speed type I had a sweet '82 Trans-Am that I thought snow tires would help on. On Super Bowl Sunday 1996 I got it stuck 6 times the same day!!! After that I would tell people my Trans-Am would get stuck on an ice-cube. Of course years later when I got older I realized you don't have to slam the gas and redline during every takeoff in the snow. So no matter how good you think tires are and you may think tires are the reason person X with Y tires and X wheel drive is stuck, their is a very good chance driving skill has a lot to do with it. Doh!
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trwbmw wrote:

True. And another point to consider is that modern winter tires are a completely different animal from the "snow" tires of days gone by (in a better way). The rubber compounds have come a long way in recent years and modern tires utilize advanced siping to gain traction in ice that were not around back "in the day".
--
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