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Old 11-04-2013, 06:35 AM
 
Location: Providence, RI.
29 posts, read 36,410 times
Reputation: 10

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Good morning everyone!
I have quick question for everyone who lives in MA or RI.
I will be traveling from Providence to Logan in middle of December (the weekend before Christmas), and since this will be my first time driving in the NE winter, I have a couple of questions hoping everyone can help me out with.

I recently moved to RI from CA, and I have a 2WD (RWD) Jeep. Yes, when one buys a Jeep, he should always buy a 4WD. I get that. But having a 4WD in Los Angeles is overkill, unless you are outdoorsy and your weekend outings goes beyond the local mall/supermarket. I've always wanted a Jeep Liberty, so I saved every cent I made, and got myself a 2wd since it's all I could afford at the time.

I will be driving to Logan the week before Christmas (flying back to LA for work), and I'm stressing out that if a snow storm hits, I will not be able to go on the road since I do not have a FWD or AWD/4WD. My wife could probably drive me (she has a FWD), but I leave at 740AM during the week, and she has to work in Providence.

So I'm here for everyone's advise.

I've asked around, relatives, friends, dealerships, and the RI Forum, and some of the response I've gotten are:

1. Having a RWD in NE winter is a death wish, I will have no traction, and I will pretty much be screwed if I do not have a FWD or 4WD/AWD (from a local dealership's service manager, had a feeling he was trying to get me to buy a new car);
2. Major streets get plowed pretty quickly and frequently, so I should be okay if I just keep my all-season tires, and watch my speed and distance from other cars;
3. Get snow tires;
4. Put 100-200 lbs of kitty litter in the back of my car to add weight to the rear wheels. The kitty litter will also come in handy if I need to put it under my tires for traction.

I can't afford to get rid of my car or get a dedicated winter car, so I have to find the most efficient and safe way to keep my Jeep.

Any advise will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
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Old 11-04-2013, 07:01 AM
 
8,711 posts, read 8,913,183 times
Reputation: 12186
I drove a Mustang GT for many winters in Boston. It can be done.

Usually, the bad road conditions are during the storm. If you can stay off the road during a storm, you will miss 90% of any road conditions that would be treacherous for RWD. The roads are usually clear within a day or so unless a very major storm. But most often, within a day you are down to bare pavement on the majority of roads.

You will get occasional light flurries which make the road a little slick, but that leads me to my next point

GOOD TIRES. If you can swing it, a second set of rims with snow tires will make life so much better.

Southern NE doesn't get hit as hard as northern NE. You should be fine. I live in metro Boston and traded the car in for an AWD vehicle. I use the AWD for its intended purpose maybe 5 days a year. The other times..it's just a waste of gas.
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Old 11-04-2013, 07:25 AM
 
3,581 posts, read 3,666,022 times
Reputation: 2590
Quote:
Originally Posted by mklee176 View Post
Good morning everyone!
I have quick question for everyone who lives in MA or RI.
I will be traveling from Providence to Logan in middle of December (the weekend before Christmas), and since this will be my first time driving in the NE winter, I have a couple of questions hoping everyone can help me out with.

I recently moved to RI from CA, and I have a 2WD (RWD) Jeep. Yes, when one buys a Jeep, he should always buy a 4WD. I get that. But having a 4WD in Los Angeles is overkill, unless you are outdoorsy and your weekend outings goes beyond the local mall/supermarket. I've always wanted a Jeep Liberty, so I saved every cent I made, and got myself a 2wd since it's all I could afford at the time.

I will be driving to Logan the week before Christmas (flying back to LA for work), and I'm stressing out that if a snow storm hits, I will not be able to go on the road since I do not have a FWD or AWD/4WD. My wife could probably drive me (she has a FWD), but I leave at 740AM during the week, and she has to work in Providence.

So I'm here for everyone's advise.

I've asked around, relatives, friends, dealerships, and the RI Forum, and some of the response I've gotten are:

1. Having a RWD in NE winter is a death wish, I will have no traction, and I will pretty much be screwed if I do not have a FWD or 4WD/AWD (from a local dealership's service manager, had a feeling he was trying to get me to buy a new car);
2. Major streets get plowed pretty quickly and frequently, so I should be okay if I just keep my all-season tires, and watch my speed and distance from other cars;
3. Get snow tires;
4. Put 100-200 lbs of kitty litter in the back of my car to add weight to the rear wheels. The kitty litter will also come in handy if I need to put it under my tires for traction.

I can't afford to get rid of my car or get a dedicated winter car, so I have to find the most efficient and safe way to keep my Jeep.

Any advise will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
1. I think saying it's a death wish is a bit of a stretch. Unless you're going to be up in the mountains, or take every chance you get to drive when it's snowing pretty bad out, you should just fine.
2. That is correct. Massachusetts does a good job of clearing the streets, especially the main roads and the freeways. If there is snow on the ground, you want to leave extra space between yourself and the car in front of you. Similar to when it's raining out.
3. I've never had snow tires and never had too many issues. I have all seasons on my car and they have served me well. If you want to spring for them, snow tires will help. I just have never seen a justification for the added cost.
4. I think putting up to 200 lbs of kitty litter in your car may be a bit overboard. You could easily get away with less than 50 lbs.


Things you should have in your car:

A good scraper
A good brush to dust off your car
A small collapsible shovel
A pair of waterproof gloves
A small amount (10-15 lbs) of kitty litter

I think you'll be fine. December sees some snow, but we don't typically get our biggest snow storms until January and February.
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Old 11-04-2013, 07:40 AM
 
Location: Providence, RI.
29 posts, read 36,410 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonMike7 View Post
I drove a Mustang GT for many winters in Boston. It can be done.

Usually, the bad road conditions are during the storm. If you can stay off the road during a storm, you will miss 90% of any road conditions that would be treacherous for RWD. The roads are usually clear within a day or so unless a very major storm. But most often, within a day you are down to bare pavement on the majority of roads.

You will get occasional light flurries which make the road a little slick, but that leads me to my next point

GOOD TIRES. If you can swing it, a second set of rims with snow tires will make life so much better.

Southern NE doesn't get hit as hard as northern NE. You should be fine. I live in metro Boston and traded the car in for an AWD vehicle. I use the AWD for its intended purpose maybe 5 days a year. The other times..it's just a waste of gas.
Thanks BosonMike7!
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Old 11-04-2013, 07:41 AM
 
Location: Providence, RI.
29 posts, read 36,410 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by TAM88 View Post
1. I think saying it's a death wish is a bit of a stretch. Unless you're going to be up in the mountains, or take every chance you get to drive when it's snowing pretty bad out, you should just fine.
2. That is correct. Massachusetts does a good job of clearing the streets, especially the main roads and the freeways. If there is snow on the ground, you want to leave extra space between yourself and the car in front of you. Similar to when it's raining out.
3. I've never had snow tires and never had too many issues. I have all seasons on my car and they have served me well. If you want to spring for them, snow tires will help. I just have never seen a justification for the added cost.
4. I think putting up to 200 lbs of kitty litter in your car may be a bit overboard. You could easily get away with less than 50 lbs.


Things you should have in your car:

A good scraper
A good brush to dust off your car
A small collapsible shovel
A pair of waterproof gloves
A small amount (10-15 lbs) of kitty litter

I think you'll be fine. December sees some snow, but we don't typically get our biggest snow storms until January and February.
Great advice!
I will definitely have those items in my car, sort of a winter kit.
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Old 11-04-2013, 11:54 AM
 
1,097 posts, read 1,404,844 times
Reputation: 1442
1. It's certainly harder, especially if you have no snow driving experience. It certainly is not anything close to impossible assuming you have tires that work. (If you can't move, it is impossible. More a problem with sports cars that have fat rear tires.)

2+3. For this trip? You'd probably be fine. It doesn't snow very much in December anyway, and if your flight isn't being canceled....it probably isn't that much snow on the roads either. More generally though, you do definitely need snows with RWD if you're expecting to ever be driving in actual snow, unless you were going to go for chains or something.

4. It'll help you move. The issue though, is the more weight you put in the back, the less the weight is over the front wheels, which means worse braking and steering. It's a necessary tradeoff to be able to move, but it's something you have to keep in mind. There is such thing as too much weight. Also, you need to make sure it's fastened down or in there snugly. If the bags are sliding around the trunk it'll also screw things up.
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:41 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts
7,064 posts, read 10,810,797 times
Reputation: 5604
If the roads are that bad chances are flights will be delayed.

Could you look into taking the train?
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:22 PM
 
Location: Providence, RI.
29 posts, read 36,410 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaseyB View Post
If the roads are that bad chances are flights will be delayed.

Could you look into taking the train?
I haven't, my flight leaves at 720AM, so I'd probably need to be there by no later than 520. So, from Providence, I'm guess the train ride is about 1-2 hours...I'm not sure if there's an outbound train at 330AM. Or is there?
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Old 11-04-2013, 04:40 PM
 
1,097 posts, read 1,404,844 times
Reputation: 1442
Quote:
Originally Posted by mklee176 View Post
I haven't, my flight leaves at 720AM, so I'd probably need to be there by no later than 520. So, from Providence, I'm guess the train ride is about 1-2 hours...I'm not sure if there's an outbound train at 330AM. Or is there?
Train is about 1:10. Still, the earliest one will get you in at 6:20AM to South Station, and you'd still need the Silver Line to get to your terminal, you'd be unlikely to make your flight.
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Old 11-04-2013, 05:16 PM
 
2,769 posts, read 2,210,048 times
Reputation: 2174
If it's snowing that badly your flight will be cancelled and you won't have to make the drive. Regardless, the key to driving in the snow is to go slower than normal, be patient, and leave plenty of extra time.
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