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Best snow vehicle?

Nov. 24, 2020, 2:51 p.m.
Posts: 2002
Joined: May 2, 2004

I had a 4x4 pick up until 2 years ago. In 4x4 it was perfectly fine with nothing in the back, in rwd it was like you described, good for donuts.

I think it's pretty critical to have weight out back in rwd only vehicles, I've driven a lot of rwd work vans and the difference full vs empty was very noticeable.


 Last edited by: Kevin26 on Nov. 24, 2020, 2:57 p.m., edited 3 times in total.
Nov. 24, 2020, 9:11 p.m.
Posts: 14699
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

I always have a canopy on  my  trucks which adds a little weight, you can add whatever you want , if you use a sheet of plywood for a bed protector then you always got a spare sheet of plywood

Dec. 6, 2020, 8:42 a.m.
Posts: 337
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

One thing is dislike about 4WD is that you have to switch into 4WD. I’ve been in situations where you think you’re on pavement in 2WD then start sliding on black ice. My Ridgeline is excellent in snow. It has great off road traction in summer too but it does not have ground clearance for real off roading.

Dec. 6, 2020, 6:06 p.m.
Posts: 38
Joined: April 1, 2010

I think the biggest thing you want on plowed snow is not weight, but contact pressure.  Check out the ultra-pizza-cutters on this guy.  They're probably something like 155s

You can increase contact pressure by increasing weight, but if things start to go sideways, extra weight makes it harder to recover.  That's why for the same tires:

50:50 weight distribution AWD > 50:50 4WD > 70:30 FWD > 70:30 4WD (like a pickup) > 70:30 RWD

(I rank AWD over 4WD for the no-need to shift based on suface grip that Andy mentioned, but if you're in snow 100% of the time, 4WD will actually handle more predictably)

My regular-cab short-box 4x4 Toyota Pickup handles like a chocolate lab puppy in the snow even though it's on 235/85R16 Tri-Peak Toyo M55s  due to little weight in the back, a Chinese Detroit Locker knock-off, and some suspect alignment numbers.

My Subaru on 205/55R16 Bridgestone All-Seasons will literally run rings around the Toyota until it gets high centered.  If I put some 155 winters on it I might almost get away with driving it like the Yaris above.  

If you're buying snow tires (and you should if you spend much time in the snow), I'd go narrower than the OEM summer/all season width (but you have to remember your dry cornering performance is going to drop)

Now, if you're talking >12" of uncompacted snow, nothing beats a 44 with single digit pressure except maybe something even bigger...

Dec. 8, 2020, 8:24 a.m.
Posts: 1042
Joined: Feb. 5, 2011

Posted by: WeTYC...

50:50 weight distribution AWD > 50:50 4WD > 70:30 FWD > 70:30 4WD (like a pickup) > 70:30 RWD

(I rank AWD over 4WD for the no-need to shift based on suface grip that Andy mentioned, but if you're in snow 100% of the time, 4WD will actually handle more predictably)

My regular-cab short-box 4x4 Toyota Pickup handles like a chocolate lab puppy in the snow even though it's on 235/85R16 Tri-Peak Toyo M55s  due to little weight in the back, a Chinese Detroit Locker knock-off, and some suspect alignment numbers.

My Subaru on 205/55R16 Bridgestone All-Seasons will literally run rings around the Toyota until it gets high centered.  If I put some 155 winters on it I might almost get away with driving it like the Yaris above.  

Thanks for this info - that's what I was looking to confirm since I've read similar things on the internet previously. For your Toyota pickup, do you think simply putting some additional weight in the back would drastically improve the snow performance? I'm still confused as to whether 4wd trucks are good snow vehicles or not. Some people say they are awesome but then lots of others seem to say the opposite.

Dec. 8, 2020, 8:51 a.m.
Posts: 778
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Posted by: Bull_Dozer

Posted by: WeTYC...

50:50 weight distribution AWD > 50:50 4WD > 70:30 FWD > 70:30 4WD (like a pickup) > 70:30 RWD

(I rank AWD over 4WD for the no-need to shift based on suface grip that Andy mentioned, but if you're in snow 100% of the time, 4WD will actually handle more predictably)

My regular-cab short-box 4x4 Toyota Pickup handles like a chocolate lab puppy in the snow even though it's on 235/85R16 Tri-Peak Toyo M55s  due to little weight in the back, a Chinese Detroit Locker knock-off, and some suspect alignment numbers.

My Subaru on 205/55R16 Bridgestone All-Seasons will literally run rings around the Toyota until it gets high centered.  If I put some 155 winters on it I might almost get away with driving it like the Yaris above.  

Thanks for this info - that's what I was looking to confirm since I've read similar things on the internet previously. For your Toyota pickup, do you think simply putting some additional weight in the back would drastically improve the snow performance? I'm still confused as to whether 4wd trucks are good snow vehicles or not. Some people say they are awesome but then lots of others seem to say the opposite.

Some weight over the rear end will help for sure, how much exactly depends on the truck. For example a full size crew cab truck with an 8ft box would benefit from more weight that a compact extended cab truck with a 5ft box. There will be a slight drag on fuel economy, but not enough that it makes any sort of significant difference over the 3 or 4 months you might have weight back there. In a compact pick-up, three or four 50lb bags of sand near back of the bed or over the rear axle should be good, and if not you could add one or two more. If you're worried about the bags splitting open just buy a few buckets to put the sand in. The only real negative is that it cuts down on your payload capacity.

Dec. 9, 2020, 10:45 p.m.
Posts: 15479
Joined: May 29, 2004

The absolute best snow car ive ever owned was a 2001 toyota highlander. With winter tires (cooper m/s) it went absolutely everywhere in the north, never even suggested slipping or getting stuck.

Next best was a honda element

Current truck is a f150 that takes a little skill but still keeps moving forward.

Key is winter tires suited to your environment. I deal with ice, not slush so i dont worry too much about compound as i do about tread spacing and stud count. Cooper arctic claws with full stud  ftw

You guys down south probably want a heavily siped soft compound no matter what you drive

Dec. 10, 2020, 9:40 p.m.
Posts: 38
Joined: April 1, 2010

Posted by: syncro

Some weight over the rear end will help for sure, how much exactly depends on the truck. For example a full size crew cab truck with an 8ft box would benefit from more weight that a compact extended cab truck with a 5ft box. There will be a slight drag on fuel economy, but not enough that it makes any sort of significant difference over the 3 or 4 months you might have weight back there. In a compact pick-up, three or four 50lb bags of sand near back of the bed or over the rear axle should be good, and if not you could add one or two more. If you're worried about the bags splitting open just buy a few buckets to put the sand in. The only real negative is that it cuts down on your payload capacity.

Adding weight over the rear axle will help you get going and maybe improve braking a little.  It still won't make a pickup as good as something lighter wit better weight distribution and equal contact pressure.

On a related note, I forgot to mention the most important thing about driving in the snow:  Not every vehicle has 4 wheel drive, but everything has 4 wheel brakes.  4WD/AWD will help you get going and can help with cornering, 4WD/AWD doesn't do anything to help you stop!

Dec. 12, 2020, 1:27 p.m.
Posts: 62
Joined: Jan. 21, 2013

That's also making the assumption that AWD = AWD. The Subaru you mentioned has a great AWD system. 

My mom once bought a GMC Terrain and the AWD in it was so rudimentary I would have preferred the consistency of FWD. It would kick in and understeer very unpredictably, and generally sucked.

Dec. 31, 2020, 5:13 p.m.
Posts: 2771
Joined: May 23, 2006

https://youtu.be/0RiD7U1Jw6s

Jan. 4, 2021, 1:46 p.m.
Posts: 1158
Joined: March 18, 2017

I found my Xterra Off-Road to be a great snow vehicle. Especially when heading off the pavement. 

Chains sure help too.

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