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Old 08-14-2007, 12:14 PM
 
Location: Reston, VA
957 posts, read 4,322,005 times
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Are today's rear-wheel drive cars more sure-footed when driving on snow? Not the combination rear-wheel & all-wheel drive type of cars.

Used to be a time when mustangs, camaros, etc., with rear-wheel drive would have a hard time getting traction in the snow. Is that still the case or has today's technology made driving something like a rear-wheel Cadillac CTS a safe proposition in the snow for an ordinary driver?

Many thanks!
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Old 08-14-2007, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Phoenix metro
20,004 posts, read 74,916,887 times
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Traction control, stability control, ABS, etc have made cars much more suitable for winter driving than they used to be. Add to that major advances in winter tire capabilities and you shouldnt have a problem. Id still rather drive a front-driver than a rear driver in the snow, but many, many folks out here get by with RWD cars just fine.

My friend threw a set of Blizzaks on his RWD RX-8 and gets by AOK.
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Old 08-14-2007, 12:40 PM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,478 posts, read 57,360,535 times
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I have been driving all manner of cars in New England for about four decades. The best, by a lot, snow car I have ever had is my Subaru Legacy Wagon with four Cooper snow tires. Next best was the pair of SAAB 99s with four snow tires. Then there was the VW Beetle set up for snow driving. The worst was a Chevy pick up with nearly bald summer tires (don’t ask why I was driving this thing on snow but it involved a spring snow storm in the White Mountains and a “need” to get somewhere) and no load in the back. The thing would barely move and scared you when it did. Besides the Subaru, the most fun is my RWD ’82 Toyota (for sale BTW) with snow tires and 150 lbs of sand in the trunk. Amazingly quick and can be recovered from really spectacular skids.

For somebody that has not developed the driving skills needed for poor traction conditions I recommend an all wheel drive with traction control first, a front wheel drive w/TC second and a pickup/SUV never.

If you really want to learn how to drive in the slipperies contact (Google) Tim O’Neil driving school outside Littleton, NH.
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Old 08-14-2007, 01:42 PM
 
Location: Phoenix metro
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Find an empty parking lot or quiet industrial streets and teach yourself the way to control a car in the snow, the e-brake is a wonderful tool to do lurid powerslides. Ill have to upload some of my videos of me and my buddies drifting in the snow, its a blast and an excellent way to learn car control.
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Old 08-14-2007, 05:45 PM
 
11,518 posts, read 50,698,315 times
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I drove MB & Peugeot diesels for many years in Colorado's mountains, and commuted West during the winter, too. I also used a '72 BMW 2002. I've cruised past many stuck cars on the Eisenhower Tunnel approaches in Colorado with an old 220D at 35-40 mph (which was almost as fast as it would go when it was dry pavement on the climbs, too).

I never got stuck in snow or ice with these cars when equipped with snow tires. All-Season M&S rated tires weren't adequate; the difference with the high quality snow tires was dramatic. I can recall a number of times when I did lose traction and slipped around a bit, but none of these cars had enough horsepower to get into serious trouble on bad road conditions. There were a handfull of times when it was prudent to put the chains (or later, cable chains) on these cars ... mostly in deep snow conditions on a back road up to a friend's cabin or something similar; it was probably a better choice to not try to do this to frequently.

But, after many successful miles with this type of set-up, I'd have to say I wouldn't go back to them after using an Audi 4000CS Quattro and my current Subaru Wagons (AWD). Far superior control, braking, handling and ease of driving whether it's snow or black ice conditions, or lots of slush on the road.
These cars simply make it easy to drive with confidence in adverse conditions ... and to defensively drive to avoid the folks who aren't set up for those times. I use All-Season tires most of the time, but switch over to real snow tires for the worst of the winter driving season ... as a manufacturer's rep, I depend upon getting to my clients all year 'round.
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Old 08-14-2007, 09:57 PM
 
Location: Fairbanks Alaska
1,677 posts, read 6,231,814 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve-o View Post
Traction control, stability control, ABS, etc have made cars much more suitable for winter driving than they used to be. Add to that major advances in winter tire capabilities and you shouldnt have a problem. Id still rather drive a front-driver than a rear driver in the snow, but many, many folks out here get by with RWD cars just fine.

My friend threw a set of Blizzaks on his RWD RX-8 and gets by AOK.
If you choos a rear wheel drive make sure it has some sort of limited slip diffrential. For winter driving on icy roads, Blizzaks are #1, note they are a soft rubber so don't run them year round. My son had a 2004 mustang up here and was doing ok, but swithed to the blizzaks and made all the difference. Traction control on his car was nice, but it works by applin g the brakes. Not really a big deal unless your stomping on the gas for a real good reason and need to go now, even if you spin a bit.

Front wheel drives work well because the weight is over the drive tires, and over the tires that do like 70% of the breaking.

If you live in hilly our mountainous country I would shy away from RWD, then they have been around since day one
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Old 08-14-2007, 11:30 PM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
404 posts, read 655,833 times
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I read a book called 365 Ways To Save Gas, and it said to go with front wheel drive over 4wd or awd even for snow. You may need sandbags in the trunk of rear wheel drive cars because still all the weight is in front with the engine.

The book is more about how you drive, but had a chapter on buying cars and different types of equipment. The book is pretty good, but I already drive the way that is suggested. It was just something I picked up delivering pizza.

The basics are use a light foot, and try not to stop or slow your momentum. Keep a good space between you and the car in front of you and pay attention to what the cars are ahead of you are doing to prevent burning gas by using the brakes and sudden stops.
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Old 08-15-2007, 11:15 AM
 
Location: Reston, VA
957 posts, read 4,322,005 times
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Thanks to all for the input! I can't keep up with all the new fangled things that are being done to cars nowadays. Looks like the rear-wheel drive cars are not the best things to be driving in snow for the ordinary driver.

Will have to keep Blizzak tires in mind - I've never heard of them; but then again, here in Northern, VA, we just get nuisance snows (not enough to shut down offices, but just enough to stretch a morning commute into five hours).

Thanks, folks!
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Old 08-16-2007, 06:27 AM
 
Location: LEAVING CD
22,974 posts, read 25,747,891 times
Reputation: 15629
One thing to keep in mind, almost all the police cars here are rear drive cars. They either run studs or studless winter tires and I haven't seen a whole lot of them in a ditch yet. I have tried the studless winter tires and I think they work great!!!
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Old 08-16-2007, 09:09 AM
 
5,653 posts, read 18,697,802 times
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DH drives a used squad crown vic w/interceptor. Unstoppable with snow tires in the winter, but it isn't THAT bad without them unless you have really slippery snow.
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