I've no experience driving a pickup truck in snow but have heard that
they provide terrible traction unless 4-WD is engaged. Assuming that
there are from 1" to 4" of snow, and assuming that all other things
are equal, e.g., tire tread, would you use a compact car with front
wheel drive, or a pickup with 4 WD engaged?? Thanks.
Nonsense. IMHO. Rumors might be true for some nose-heavy Detroit
big-iron; my recollections confirm them. OTOH, Nissan p/u-s I've owned
are very sure-footed. Well balanced. About 600,000 miles total use.
Various types of 4WD drive out there. Some pretty crude.
All rear wheel drive vehicles are terrible in snow. pickups are
particularly bad because they don't have much weight over the drive wheels.
But put it in 4wd and everything changes; ought to be much better than front
wheel drive cars.
And truck tires tend to have coarser tread than cars, which should help
You never drove a Corvair, a Sunbeam Imp or an original VW Beetle.
Actually many rear wheel drive front engine cars did very well. I
remember one winter my car was in the shop after a Greyhound bus hit it and
I had to rent. I had a Pinto (got stuck with half and inch of snow) and a
Toyota that did quite will with six or more inches of snow.
Today's trucks are all over the place with the why they handle in snow.
Some are good and some terrible.
Beetles were great in the snow, but if they were over a couple years old,
you had to drive with your head out the window to see, since the tubes that
fed the minimal heat to the windshield rotted out rapidly. Once the pan
started rotting as well, you could count on getting wet driving through
I always heard that, but after 180,000 miles and 16 years, I still had
my original heater boxes and not problems. I had replaced a few mufflers
however and the floor was rotting through in the back. I live in Ohio where
snow and salt are standard fare.
On Tue, 6 Feb 2007 17:25:36 -0500, "Joseph Meehan"
Ah memories. I had a 1960 Corvair and drove it up hill thru mud so
deep you wouldn't want to walk thru it. And thru flooded streets were
the water was about to come over the door sill. They were
We got five or six inches of new snow here in SW Ohio tonight. My '87
F150 did fine in it. No one seems to mention transmissions as a factor
in traction. Mine is a 4 speed. Open differential. Consequently, using
the engine to brake and staying in the highest gear possible make
stopping and starting a breeze compared to most FWD automatics I've
driven. Deep lug tires help too. But it's really all about two things.
1) Driving skill. 2) Knowing the capabilities of your vehicle and
staying within it's limits.
Amen, brother! I ran around in the mountains of Colorado
in my father's 2WD 1950-something International pickup
with no great problems.
Now try getting through some deeper snow in a 4WD with
one of the front wheel hubs disengaged...
Part of the problem is that the instincts that you learn
for handling a rear-wheel drive car in snow are wrong
for a front-wheel drive vehical.
The trouble with rear-wheel drive is that it
doesn't often come with rear-wheel steering.
So you can go, but you don't get to pick where.
The trouble with 4WD is that it convinces
people to be stupid.
4WD should be better. Just as important does either vehicle have antilock
brakes? I kind of like the challenge of driving in the snow if there are
few other drivers on the road. With lots of drivers on the road you will
definitely need to make some unanticipated stops and/or steer around some
idiot who spun out. With antilock brakes you can slam on the brakes and
steer at the same time which is virtually impossible to do with regular
You drive whatcha got. Either you can drive in snow or you can't. A
rear wheel drive is the most challenging, but a few pounds in the rear
evens things out a bit. I recommend play sand in bags. Limited slip
differential is a real plus, a 4 wheel drive without it is nearly even
with a 2 wheel drive with it. Anti-lock brakes are a plus, but if you
can modulate your braking, you can get by without it. The very most
important thing is tires. Deep self cleaning tread will do more than
all the driver assists in the world.
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