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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. Gardo

    Gardo Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    that's all true but in my crazy days I lived in the mountains near Altoona. There were never any police around and we pretty much did what we wanted to
     
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  2. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    IMO, both AWD and FWD cars have more of a tendency to do this than the RWD cars I learned to drive on in the snow belt. I believe it is because you are asking those wheels both to steer and to provide propulsion. That is a lot to ask two tire patches the size of a smart phone. But once you get the feel of it, both are predictable. I found that in order to stop the snowplow, I had to turn the wheel straight again until traction is regained, then SLOWLY turn the wheel again - all without touching the brakes. But this was back in the dark ages before traction control and all that crap. I learned 50 years ago that in order to stop and steer well, you NEED snow tires at every corner. And more importantly - you need to slow down - ESPECIALLY in early-season snowfalls where you are often driving in slop. That is like driving on ball bearings.

    Because I drive very few miles/year, I run snows on my Forester year-round. For me, it doesn't pay to swap them every season, nor does it pay to buy an extra set of wheels. IMO, all-season tires are worthless in wintery areas. And before they are 1/2 worn, are pretty-much worthless in any slippery conditions. But these are just the ravings of an old man with 50 years experience driving in the snow belt.
     
  3. Mechanic

    Mechanic Friend of Leo's

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    I’ve driven rwd, fwd, and 4x4. All with good tires and some not so good tires. If you moving too fast to turn properly you will continue in the direction you were moving until you’ve slowed down enough for traction on the front tires to be able to turn you. I’ve driven through snow with cars all over the road spun out that shouldn’t have been on the road. My little ‘ol 94 Chevy K10 shorty played taxi duty that night. The police had shut down the hiway due to drifting snow. But I made a few trips back down the hill to bring people home that night. The truck still has BFG All terrains on it. Good tires are essential for winter driving. Give it just enough gas to move and watch your speed.
     
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  4. jumpnblues

    jumpnblues Friend of Leo's

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    +

    I agree.
     
  5. DesmoDog

    DesmoDog Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm another one who grew up in snowy climates and learned to drive in manual transmission cars. I've seen the comments here that 4wd/AWD/FWD/RWD/Rodeo Drive etc doesn't matter. The thing is, there are no universal truths, especially in guitar forum threads about driving various vehicles on snow.

    I will tell you this though, it was a heck of a lot easier to do 4 wheel drifts around roundabouts when my XJ was in 4WD than it was with it in RWD.

    My JK doesn't drift nearly as well. I tell ya, those damn electronic nannies take all the fun out of driving on snow. I know you can shut (most of) them off but it's not the same.

    In my younger days in Minnesota I drove a Triumph Spitfire. With dedicated snow tires it would do amazingly well getting around. Until the snow got above about five inches deep anyway, and the floorpans started making the car float... hard to get traction when the wheels aren't touching the road anymore. And my '69 Coupe DeVille could hang it's tail out with the best of them, I'd guess it was the long wheelbase.
     
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  6. 39martind18

    39martind18 Friend of Leo's

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    Never had the "snowplow" issue with my Subaru Forester, but then I live just north of Houston...:cool:
     
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  7. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Yeah.

    I understood why Subarus sold well in Vermont, or in Valle Crucis, North Carolina or maybe Aspen, but East Texas would be the epicenter of "why?" to me.

    a) When there is ice, you absolutely want to stay put. You may have control, but 90% of the drivers you will encounter do not and they can easily take you out;

    b) There's so little public land in most of Texas, and so unless a fellow has friends with lots of ranchland or open woodlands to drive in, you're stuck on the public roads; and

    c) The Forester really isn't high enough to get you through deep floodwaters safely, when it rains too much too fast.
     
  8. 39martind18

    39martind18 Friend of Leo's

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    Right on all counts. but for me, the Subaru is a very reliable, long lived, relatively inexpensive, comfortable and surefooted beast that hauls my equipment and rather ample ass ets rather well. Throw in the fact that I bought my 2013 in 2016 with 16K miles for $14K, and it was a no brainer.
     
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  9. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

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    Ah , you drive automatic transmission equipped vehicles .
     
  10. Ed Storer

    Ed Storer Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    In my early 20's I had a Fiat 128. FWD, tiny 1100 cc engine, 4-speed manual and a blast to drive.

    I was coming home from the company Christmas party and shouldn't have been driving at all. The road was snow covered with some glazed patches. I was going much to fast for conditions when the car got squirrely on a straight patch of road. I tried to keep my foot on the accelerator but decided to downshift to 3rd; the car tail instantly snapped around when I took my foot off the accelerator and I slid backwards into a granite curb doing serious damage to the frame, body and suspension. I don't know if I could have done anything different to keep the car on the road. Well, I could have driven at more conservative speed, but it was too late for that.

    I was close to a friend's house and walked there. I didn't want to talk to the cops or attempt a sobriety test at that point. My friend drove out to the car and arranged to have it towed - he had a car phone (cell phones weren't in service in the 70's).

    It took over a month for the car to be repaired. Fiat parts could be hard to come by.
     
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  11. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    Ex bro in law from the first marriage had one of those little 70s Ford Broncos, all jacked up on wide tires. About the last thing you want on icy roads! So of course he calls me when it's upside down, fortunately on a gravel road with about zero traffic. It was definitely slick that day.
    Best part of the story, was his story on how it happened, "the brakes locked up". A likely story, except he went in on an open straight stretch were there was no reason to use the brakes at all. So I flop it back over with my F350, he adds some oil, fires it up and drives off, like nothing happened.
    Yeah, he never checked the brakes, because they weren't the problem. :)
     
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  12. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Reminds one of NASCAR, when some of the backmarkers that are paid $$$ to fill out the field, enter a car without a pit crew, and they drive around for 17 laps and then retire due to "brake problems" - and you just know they never even touched the brake pedal until they swung the vehicle behind the wall and up to the hauler.
     
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  13. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

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    Those were death traps. My mother's cousin was in an accident that was part of those crappy cars and the crappy company disappearing from the US. The seat broke away so the seatbelts did much more damage to her. As craptacular as so many 70s and 80s cars were, what I recall was several parties and one jury agreed the car was substandard to others in several ways it handled an accident that was not the driver's fault. She was crippled and suffered the rest of her life from that horrible car.

    It almost seems like fate that Fiat and Chrysler would be combined when I think of family, friends and personal experience some of the crap they've made over time. Yeah, I've always liked Chrysler Airflows and a few muscle cars but......
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
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  14. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    My sister got hit by a drunk in a pickup, she was stopped at a stop sign in a Chevy Chevette. Pretty much a head on but she wasn't moving. The seats broke loose my nephew was in a car seat in the back. Fortunately he was fine, she got injured on the radio knobs with her knee. One of those crappy aftermarket things with the really long shafts. Could've been much worse! When I arrived I was amazed they lived through it at all. Her car was pushed back I don't know maybe a hundred feet.
    Drunk guy knew the cops and never got charged, that's the way it was then.
     
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  15. Ed Storer

    Ed Storer Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    The Fiat was totaled about 2 years later. I was driving home from a suburban disco through urban north St. Louis. Stopped at a 4-way stop and got rear-ended by a Caddy that proceeded to leave the scene. In all likelihood he didn't have liability insurance and probably wouldn't have passed a sobriety test.

    I heard a zzzz sound just before impact (the Caddy's brakes locked up on the wet road), but impact came as a total surprise. My seat detached itself from the floor with such force that the backs of my ankles were severely bruised. I still had my hands on the steering wheel but my feet wouldn't reach the pedals. I steered the car across the remaining 1/4 of the intersection and parked it. A bystander told me to get out of the car before it blows up - it was leaking gas. It didn't blow up.

    The rear bumper was pushed in a V with the tip of the V under the base of the rear window. The rear wheels were severely toed out.

    I road home in the tow truck. I lived on public transportation for a while and decided to get an old pickup and fix it up. I got a 1947 Chevy pickup. The only fixups I got to were a set of tires that were all one size and work done on the kingpins and steering mechanism, so I only had 2 inches of play on the wheel instead of 6. That didn't last long. I bought a new silver '76 Audi Fox - loved that car and it never got scratched. It was pretty good in the snow.
     
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