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Do Most AWD Cars Have A Tendency To "Snowplow?"

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by jumpnblues, Nov 25, 2020.

  1. jumpnblues

    jumpnblues Friend of Leo's

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    Our 2015 AWD Buick Enclave has a tendency to plow straight ahead when attempting to turn a snow covered corner. Do most AWD cars do this or is it a characteristic of AWD Buick Enclaves?
     
  2. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've never noticed understeer like that when driving an AWD vehicle in snow.
     
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  3. DesmoDog

    DesmoDog Tele-Afflicted

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    No, AWD cars do not universally understeer in snow. Assuming they have tires that work in snow. And you aren't going 90mph into a decreasing radius turn.

    Tires make a huge difference.

    EDIT: Braking while trying to turn doesn't help either.
     
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  4. Allan Allan

    Allan Allan Tele-Holic

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    Slow down.
     
  5. HotRodSteve

    HotRodSteve Poster Extraordinaire

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    My Subaru goes where I steer it in the snow unless I'm driving too fast for the conditions. Good tires are very important in the snow. (Says Captain Obvious.)
     
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  6. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    I’ve had BMW’s w’ AWD for 15 years and they don’t snowplow. With stability control engaged, they the car goes exactly where it’s pointed. Brakes actually help with directional stability. One thing you can’t do in the snow is stop on a dime. Antilock brakes and stability help, but it’s still not like dry pavement. I live in NY. High speed summer only tires don’t have good grip in snow and ice. I use all weather tires year round. I don’t feel a performance downgrade in warm weather because the adhesion limit has always been way beyond my fear point.
     
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  7. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    Most production cars are designed to plow or understeer when they let go, whether they're AWD, FWD or RWD. There are exceptions when you get to performance cars.
     
  8. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Afflicted

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    My 2018 Buick Regal wagon has AWD with “torque vectoring”. If the car senses an under steer, or push, it will send power to the wheel that is needed to keep the car pointed in the preferred direction as long as possible.

    The Regal TourX was really a world car, though, made in Germany by Opel with an Aisin 8 speed, the GKN Twinster rear differential and a 250hp/295lb-ft torque 2.0L Turbo made in Tonawanda, NY (20 minutes from my house). Too bad production/imports only lasted 3 years.

    I know the Envision has a similar drivetrain, I’m surprised if the Enclave doesn’t.
     
  9. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    AWD cars do not turn or brake any better in snow than a FWD car. I know that's not how they sell it to you, but the only thing an AWD car is better at is accelerating. Better turning and braking comes from having a good set of snow tires. I put Blizzaks on my Hondy Odyssey (boring FWD minivan) for the first time last year and it made a world of difference in slick conditions (up in Maine, etc). Better than my wife's old Subaru with regular tires, that's for sure.
     
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  10. dkmw

    dkmw Poster Extraordinaire

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    Physics. It’s a thing. Understeer is safer for the masses.
     
  11. Paul G.

    Paul G. Friend of Leo's

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    Despite the advertisements showing AWD cars speeding through a snowy landscape, steering is related to the friction between the front tires and the road, and the inertia of the vehicle (weight and speed). Having 1-, 2-, 3-, 4- or 24-wheel drive has little effect on those factors.

    Anecdotally: the majority of vehicles I see spinning or in ditches during snow storms are 4WD or AWD vehicles. Probably because the fools driving them think they're invincible.

    If you're understeering in the snow, you're going too fast for conditions. End of transmission.
     
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  12. stepvan

    stepvan Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    And likely end of the shiny side to
     
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  13. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Ain't it funny how many "sports" car commercials show the car sliding sideways...in slow motion...on wet pavement...at night?

    Yeah--just the kind of imagery that makes me feel that car would be a safe bet on a wet road at night.
     
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  14. Minivan Megafun

    Minivan Megafun Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    Take it from someone who lives in a winter climate for 5 months of the year. There's a massive misconception that AWD and 4x4 solve all your winter driving problems. They do not. All AWD does is help you get going from a stop and add a bit of stability in cornering. That's it. It doesn't help you slow down, or stop, or turn if you're going too fast to begin with - ALL of which are the problem areas of winter driving.

    I have a vehicle with AWD and I've had many without. AWD is an expensive option on a new vehicle. You are FAR better off saving that money and putting it toward the purchase of a good set of dedicated winter tires and rims. Winter tires help you stop, slow down, turn, and get moving from a stop. WAY more than AWD does. I've driven a RWD Dodge Magnum through several hard winters and with winter tires equipped you'd never even know it was a RWD.
     
  15. drmmrr55

    drmmrr55 Tele-Holic

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    There isn't a car on this Earth that will turn in the snow if you have your foot on the brakes, the front tires won't be turning at all, even if you are lightly braking. And when the tires aren't turning, it won't turn, no matter how hard you turn the wheel, it will slide straight forward. The front wheels must be turning to get traction. I don't know if this is what's happening with you or not, but if it is, go into your turn slowly, definitely keep your foot off of the brakes, if anything a little gas and it should turn just fine. I see people crash all the time in the snow because their front tires are locked because of braking.
     
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  16. P-Nutz

    P-Nutz Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Two words ...

    No; Subaru ...

    I guess that’s four ... wait, eleven ...

    ... doh ...
     
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  17. Paul G.

    Paul G. Friend of Leo's

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    A cheap set of steel rims with slightly narrower than OEM real snow tires is a great investment if you live in a snowy climate. Here in Southern New England it hardly snows anymore, and I get by with "all-season" snowflakes, but back in the day, I'd swap out my wheels and tires in December and return to summer (usually all seasons) tires in March.
     
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  18. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I've driven four wheel drive pickup trucks, and big rig diesel trucks in snow and ice. The thing most people don't understand is how much you have to slow down in snow and ice. It's not a little, it's a lot. That is if you want to keep driving instead of having a wreck. As someone said, you can't steer and brake at the same time on ice. I've seen some lunatics coming out of L.A. when it snows on and across the ridge route going 70 mph down the highway backwards in a tail slide. It's an interesting sight to see miles and miles of cars and trucks sitting all over the freeway. Then they start pulling out one, by one. California finally gave up, and just closes the road when more than two snowflakes fall on the highway on the ridge route.
     
  19. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

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    One thing I forgot to mention. Young drivers who don't slow down when it's icy, they realize right away about using the brakes on ice and in snow at normal condition highway speeds. If they don't, the trailer usually jackknifes, tears the cab off the frame, and their truck driving career suddenly comes to an end.
     
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  20. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    +1 Yup. Front wheel drive was cheaper to produce and the bonus was inherent understeer, which is much safer for the general public (that typically can barely drive anyway). Your AWD if based on a FWD system will have inherent understeer too.

    Of course the best driving solution for understeer is to apply power, but then again only for the drivers that know what they are doing ... in which case, they purchase rear wheel drive vehicles.:D
     
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