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Old 06-22-2008, 10:47 PM
 
Location: Corona calif. going back to New Eng.
213 posts, read 445,164 times
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Questions--do drivers prefer 4-wheel drive or front wheel drive. Is all wheel drive like 4-wheel dr?
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Old 06-23-2008, 05:06 AM
 
Location: Back in NYS
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Default 4-Wheel drive or Front Wheel Drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by mosrto View Post
Questions--do drivers prefer 4-wheel drive or front wheel drive. Is all wheel drive like 4-wheel dr?
Mosrto - Both our cars are front-wheel drive and we haven't had any problems with snow tires on them.
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Old 06-23-2008, 05:52 AM
 
Location: ~~In my mind~~
2,111 posts, read 6,216,159 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mosrto View Post
Questions--do drivers prefer 4-wheel drive or front wheel drive. Is all wheel drive like 4-wheel dr?
I made you your own thread to discuss this topic. As it had nothing to do with the subject you had posted this question in. I also think if you do a search there are a lot of threads you will fidn regarding this question. I think I even asked this question too. Coming from So Cali, I have no idea what it is like to drive in the snow or what brand of tire is better, 4-wheel, front wheel, rear wheel... etc.
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Old 06-23-2008, 07:20 AM
 
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For most people, front wheel drive (FWD) works fine. Most vehicles today are such anyway with exception of BMW, Mercedes and a few others. FWD vehicles have most of their weight over the front driving wheels providing greater traction.

All wheel drive (AWD) and four wheel drive (4WD) vehicles do have advantages of traction over other types. AWD vehicles have the wheels engages at all times or will engage when traction is lost. Vehicles like Subaru's Outback have the wheels engage all the time, whereas ones like the Honda CRV will engage when the vehicle starts to loose traction. This has obvious advantages in both dry and wet conditions and can be driven with confidence in the slickest of conditions. 4WD vehicles, on the other hand, have a transfer case that needs to be engaged in order to place the vehicle in four wheel drive mode. Some models have a button on the dash to engage it or a manual lever on the floor to lock it in. These types are usually larger pick-ups and SUV's. For instance, my '99 Nissan Pathfinder has a manual lever on the floor that you shift to engage the front axle.

No matter what the vehicle, driving in snow can be tricky. I've done it all my life, most of it with two wheel drive vehicles. It just takes patience and confidence. The main thing is go slow!!!!!. If you drive beyond the vehicles capabilities, nothing can help it. Hope some of this helps!
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Old 06-23-2008, 08:28 AM
 
1,771 posts, read 4,358,028 times
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bryfry has it right- go slow. RWD, FWD, AWD, 4WD- none of them matter if you are driving too quickly for conditions. Know the road, know your vehicle, and know your abilities and drive accordingly.

AWD is obviously the most "user friendly" of the options. Remember though that while AWD may help you "go" no drive option is going to help you turn/stop better than another (unless we're talking accelerating while turning- but you really shouldn't be doing that in snowy weather).

Also be aware that UNLIKE in summer conditions narrower tires are better in snow because they can cut through the snow surface and touch the asphalt beneath more easily. This is why many snow-tire packages utilize narrower tires than stock.

Vehicle balance/tire choice are also key. I have a '99 Jeep Wrangler with 4wd and locking differentials and its AWFUL in the snow other than to go through real deep stuff very sowly. Why? It's tall, short-wheelbase, and tippy. By contrast my '06 Saab 9-5 with snow tires is AMAZING in the snow; it is low/well balanced, and most importantly has a ton of sophisticate sensors/electronics that use a combination of reduced power and individual wheel braking to keep the vehicle turning/stopping/accelerating the way I want it too (Electronic Stability Control & ABS)- even if I make small errors.

So, the lesson is- while an SUV may have amazing "go" capabilities; most cars tend to have better stop/turn capabilities. That's why the Subarus tend to be so popular around here I'm sure- best of both worlds. Also know that options like ABS and ESC (or whatever the manufacturer calls it) are worth it in snowy conditions; sure a "perfect" human can do it better and these systems won't save you from being an idiot- but they do help the "average" driver significantly.
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Old 06-23-2008, 08:48 AM
 
Location: Kensington NH
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Unless you are living up north or try to drive in bad storms before the plows can do anything a front wheel drive car will be fine. I have a 4wd pickup and only had to use the 4wd once and that was because I'm crazy and went out hunting in the worst storm of the winter.
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Old 06-23-2008, 11:22 AM
 
Location: Vermont
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I had exclusively driven Fwd drive cars before my current car, and with snow tires on, you can't go wrong. My current car has "real time 4WD" (basically it's 2wd and when the system detects slippage, the 4wd kicks in) and I really like it. Throw some snows on and you're good to go.
As the all the others have said, learn good winter driving skills (GO SLOW!), get some good snow tires, and you're ready to go!
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Old 06-23-2008, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Corona calif. going back to New Eng.
213 posts, read 445,164 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzet2262 View Post
I made you your own thread to discuss this topic. As it had nothing to do with the subject you had posted this question in. I also think if you do a search there are a lot of threads you will fidn regarding this question. I think I even asked this question too. Coming from So Cali, I have no idea what it is like to drive in the snow or what brand of tire is better, 4-wheel, front wheel, rear wheel... etc.
Thanx Suze
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Old 06-23-2008, 06:14 PM
 
Location: Madbury, New Hampshire
885 posts, read 2,330,529 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BF66389 View Post
Also be aware that UNLIKE in summer conditions narrower tires are better in snow because they can cut through the snow surface and touch the asphalt beneath more easily. This is why many snow-tire packages utilize narrower tires than stock.
I don't think this is right. You are advised to reduce tire pressure a little to improve grip - this flattens the contact portion of the tire, increasing the amount of tread that can get a grip on the snow. This also decreases the tendency to cut through the surface - which is exactly what happens when your tires start spin and you lose grip.

Snow tires have special tread patterns and either studs or rubber composition specifically designed for snow and ice. This means you can get a narrower tire (and wheel) and still get good grip but pay less (narrower/smaller = less $).
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Old 06-23-2008, 06:17 PM
 
Location: Madbury, New Hampshire
885 posts, read 2,330,529 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mosrto View Post
Questions--do drivers prefer 4-wheel drive or front wheel drive. Is all wheel drive like 4-wheel dr?
Note on AWD/4WD:

Fuel economy is around 10-20% worse in the AWD version of any car offering FWD/RWD and an AWD variant.
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