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#2428802 - 11/08/11 11:42 AM Re: RWD v. FWD for snow use [Re: RamFan]
hpichris Offline


Registered: 06/13/09
Posts: 1654
Loc: Eden Prairie MN
Seeing as I own all 3 versions at the moment (AWD, FWD, RWD). I will say there's nothing like AWD but boy is it fun to take the RX8 out with full blown snow tires it.
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#2428812 - 11/08/11 11:46 AM Re: RWD v. FWD for snow use [Re: RamFan]
hpichris Offline


Registered: 06/13/09
Posts: 1654
Loc: Eden Prairie MN
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Mazda RX-8 Shinka - Valvoline WB 5W-30
Nissan 350Z - Mobil 1 5W-30
VW Jetta - Shell Rotella T6 5W-40
BMW X3 - Mobil 1 0W-40

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#2434466 - 11/14/11 06:24 PM Re: RWD v. FWD for snow use [Re: RamFan]
AuthorEditor Offline


Registered: 05/30/08
Posts: 1405
Loc: New York
There isn't one right answer to this question. I don't think you can dispute that most other things being relatively equal (size, weight, type of vehicle, power) a FWD, AWD, or 4WD will be able to move effectively through deep snow, even on grades, etc. compared to a RWD. However, at high speed on slippery roads a well-balanced RWD vehicle is generally easier to control because when the power breaks a wheel loose it isn't one of your steering wheels. I suspect it doesn't happen often but I have seen AWD Subarus go into wild out of control spinning skids right ahead of me while I was gaining on them in my Crown Vic or Grand Marquis, but then I have seen the same vehicles crawl up an icy driveway that I could barely stand on and the Crown Vic would not have been moving 6 inches. In the really deep, thick stuff at slow speed nothing beats ground clearance and traditional 4WD with big lugged tires, but that same vehicle at high speed on icy roads won't be as good as the Crown Viv. I have used the RWD throttle control many times on slippery roads to adjust my trajectory to avoid hazards. One time I was able to swing the back end out violently in order to avoid an out of control truck coming down a hill at me at right angles. I've used throttle control to do a 180 to back into a parking space so I didn't have to back out in the snow. Living in snow country it is a stereotype that is true that almost always the first vehicles off the road are AWD and 4WD because they think they are more invincible than they are.


Edited by AuthorEditor (11/14/11 06:28 PM)

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#2436094 - 11/16/11 08:21 AM Re: RWD v. FWD for snow use [Re: RamFan]
brick Offline


Registered: 05/05/11
Posts: 34
Loc: il usa
A BIG part of the problem is vehicle weight.Many vehicles(mainly cars)are made to lightweight and ride on top of the snow and can't really "dig in" and grab.All season tires are not true all seasons,mainly 3 and not winter for traction due to poor tread design.The more aggressive the tread the better one can do in winter,u don't want a rain tire in winter do ya?Nope!
I have 4 snows on my "05 Impala,w/o them the car is pure [censored] with factory tires.
Personally i LOVE rwd in winter,super easy to handle etc.Front drives we're made to save them $ on cost's,NOT for the consumers needs.I have yet to find a cop/cabbie etc with rwd and not have them love it versus the fwd in winter.The lighter a car etc is the worse traction you will get.
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#2436118 - 11/16/11 08:58 AM Re: RWD v. FWD for snow use [Re: brick]
Spazdog Offline


Registered: 09/06/10
Posts: 5492
Loc: Arlington
Originally Posted By: brick
I have yet to find a cop/cabbie etc with rwd and not have them love it versus the fwd in winter.The lighter a car etc is the worse traction you will get.


Explain that to the cop on a long hill last winter in his Tahoe. (almost certainly RWD)
My light "designed for cost cutting" FWD on 225/40R18 summer tires made it up the hill. He blew through the redlight nearly hitting me, fishtailed around, and got on my bumper. He hit his overhead lights about halfway up the hill as he started to lose ground on me. I don't know if he was trying to pull me over or just blocking the icy uphill run. I wasn't going to pull over until I crested the hill either way. As I crested the hill and lost sight of him in the rearview, he was at a 45 angle and trying desperately to restore some forward momentum.

and he's a "professionally trained driver" as LEOs are fond of reminding me.

Of course this was on ice blanketed by sleet and snow. Not just snow.
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2005 Mazda 6S hatchback - Mobil Super 5000 5W20
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#2438071 - 11/18/11 09:04 AM Re: RWD v. FWD for snow use [Re: RamFan]
ARB1977 Offline


Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 4477
Loc: North Texas
200 LBS in the bed of the Taco and 4wd helps here. Although we see more ice than snow.
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2008 CRV 2.4L 105K (as of 03-22-14)
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#2438944 - 11/19/11 09:13 AM Re: RWD v. FWD for snow use [Re: RamFan]
subiedriver Offline


Registered: 06/04/10
Posts: 517
Loc: Colorado
I like the turning stability of awd, it doesn't plow around on snow covered roads, like a fwd does.
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#2441219 - 11/21/11 07:34 PM Re: RWD v. FWD for snow use [Re: RamFan]
Capa Offline


Registered: 01/04/10
Posts: 1208
Loc: Oklahoma
I have driven a 89 Maxima and a 99 Honda Accord over snow multiple times. Both vehicles are fwd and I owned both at different times for about 7 years. I currently have a 99 Lexus GS400 which is red and has stability control. While I do feel the GS400 slipping slightly more often the stability control response is immediate and awesome. I feel more comfortable with the rwd car only because of stability control. If my fwd cars would have had stability control and then I would probably slightly prefer them just on snow. To be honest, all things being equal (including stability control) there really isn't any difference. After driving a rwd I can never go back to fwd.

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#2443087 - 11/23/11 05:38 PM Re: RWD v. FWD for snow use [Re: RamFan]
AuthorEditor Offline


Registered: 05/30/08
Posts: 1405
Loc: New York
This morning we had a very heavy wet snow and I set off down my hill carefully expecting the ABS to kick in giving me a fright as it usually does because there is absolutely no braking and I am accelerating downhill! But, I had it disconnected because of a problem and when I touched the brakes it was just like the old days and I could control the car with the brakes and steering etc. Boy was that a pleasant surprise. Maybe I haven't been driving anything high-tech enough, but in my experience ABS and traction control isn't all its cracked up to be. My ABS too often defaulted to absolutely nothing meaning I've had to drag a wheel in a snow bank or two to slow up when in the past I would have had some braking. Have others experienced this?

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#2486736 - 01/08/12 12:18 PM Re: RWD v. FWD for snow use [Re: JHZR2]
scudpilot Offline


Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 175
Loc: Pittsburgh,Pa.
Originally Posted By: JHZR2
Originally Posted By: dparm
With today's modern tires (and snow tires), stability control, torque vectoring, etc...I find there's almost no real difference.


But the physics of the situation (real ones, not computer actuated stuff) still favors the FWD vehicle, IMO.


But, no-one with AWD or FWD can do multi directional donuts like my Mustang GT 5.0!!!! Awesome fun!
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#2503270 - 01/23/12 01:55 PM Re: RWD v. FWD for snow use [Re: RamFan]
D189379 Offline


Registered: 09/01/04
Posts: 1280
Loc: Canada City, Canada
People can argue preferences all they like. I think we all agree that if every single person in North america was forced to drive a RWD in winter, there would be a lot more accidents/ cars in the ditch.

For the average non-enthusiast driver (Ie: 95% of people on the road), FWD is much safer in almost all winter conditions.

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#2503759 - 01/23/12 09:01 PM Re: RWD v. FWD for snow use [Re: RamFan]
rg200amp Offline


Registered: 02/10/08
Posts: 3127
Loc: Phila,PA
The ONLY times I have gotten stuck in our 4-9 inch avg snow storm in Phila were in the RWD 97 M3, RWD Mazda Rx-8, and the RWD Lincoln LS.

The 97 maxima with worn tires did fine in worse conditions that any of the above three had seen.

This past little 3 inch storm left the streets around my neighborhood covered in flat ice. (City wont pay plows to do the side streets for such a little storm even though it froze solid overnight and left an ice skating rink for half the city to deal with the next morning!)

The VW did great! Got the EDL to kick in after intentionally letting the wheels spin due to to much throttle to quickly!!!

For a daily driver in the NE section of the USA, a midsize FWD sedan is my personal choice.

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#2506718 - 01/26/12 07:29 PM Re: RWD v. FWD for snow use [Re: D189379]
Capa Offline


Registered: 01/04/10
Posts: 1208
Loc: Oklahoma
Originally Posted By: D189379
People can argue preferences all they like. I think we all agree that if every single person in North america was forced to drive a RWD in winter, there would be a lot more accidents/ cars in the ditch.

For the average non-enthusiast driver (Ie: 95% of people on the road), FWD is much safer in almost all winter conditions.


For the most part, FWD advantage is obsolete when you get RWD with stability control. I have mainly owned FWD but my latest vehicle is RWD with stability control and I will never ever go back to FWD. In both my FWD 89 Maxima (twice) and 99 Accord I lost control on ice and did a 360. While it is true that RWD tends to slide more on ice, the stability control easily corrects this. In fact, statistics show that with te proliferation of stability control, accidents have gone own (something you can't say about ABS). In the '90s you'd have to pay + $50000 to get a vehicle with stability control but now it has trickled down to $20000 vehicles. FWD is for old farts---RWD and stability control for the win.

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#2508800 - 01/28/12 07:08 PM Re: RWD v. FWD for snow use [Re: Capa]
Rand Offline


Registered: 08/20/03
Posts: 7457
Loc: Akron,Ohio
I'd have to disagree.. traction control doesnt work well when trying to start out in snow.. you dont go anywhere because as soon as you slip it pulls engine power.


Scenario: Starting out Uphill on snow.

1)traction control- wheel slips.. it pulls power.. you go nowhere maybe slightly sideways.

2) TC off-Wheel slips you end up sideways.

You cant get enough traction to PUSH the front tires uphill through snow


Now if you have snowtires you will have enough traction so RWD is fine. with or without TC.

There is also the fact that most rwd vehicles have <50% of the weight over the drive wheels.. and most FWD have 60%+ of the weight over the drive wheels.


Edited by Rand (01/28/12 07:09 PM)
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#2508890 - 01/28/12 08:23 PM Re: RWD v. FWD for snow use [Re: RamFan]
Capa Offline


Registered: 01/04/10
Posts: 1208
Loc: Oklahoma
Rand,
You do know that traction control and stability control are two different things, right??? My Grand Caravan has traction control but not stability control. I got stuck this past year in my FWD Caravan. I've gotten stuck in my other FWD vehicles as well. Sure, RWD vehicles with stability control can also get stuck and so, if both can get stuck, what is your point? My RWD Lexus has a snow mode for the transmission which will move the vehicle from a standstill in a higher gear to avoid wheel spin from 1st gear. I've only had the car for a couple of years but have yet to get stuck in snow or ice.

That near 50% weight distribution in RWD vehicles is what makes them soooo fun to drive---there's a reason that most sports cars are RWD and I can't even think of one that is FWD. Again, my point is on snow and ice RWD coupled with stability control and traction control is essentially on par with FWD. Here is a link on the impressive drop of accidents with the introduction of electronic stability control:

http://www.iihs.org/news/rss/pr061306.html

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