Author Topic: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires  (Read 26303 times)

Offline willowstreetguzziguy

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I have an older German rear wheel drive car with Blizzak snow tires for snow and it does very well   Just curious how an all wheel drive vehicle w/ all-season tires compare in the snow? If you had to choose one to travel 100 miles in a snow storm, which would you choose?
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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2015, 02:04:47 PM »
Having lived in the MTNs of Nc & Montana I would take my Subaru with all season tires over any rwd I've had.

Only luck I ever had in snow/ice with RWD was a little 2wd Toyota truck that I had two rubbermade totes full of water/ice strapped in the bed over the rear axle


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Offline rodekyll

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2015, 02:13:46 PM »
I take it there isn't snow where you come from.

AWD is superior.  In standard snowy road conditions I prefer it to the jeep grand Cherokee* and it's copious choices for traction.  Also there is something satisfying about busting a snowdrift with my GMC AWD Safari van and feeling the various corners bite independently of one another.  It's like it's THINKING its way through the obstacle.




* The jeep has other amenities that make it worth its keep, but the 4wd on the highway is not one of them.

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2015, 02:21:13 PM »
 AWD with all weather tires are better for go. 2 WD with snows are better for stopping and turning.
If they are used to snow where you live and have plenty of plows you will be fine with 2 WD. If you have a long driveway or have to drive unplowed roads then you want AWD. Average snowfall around here is about 130". Two or three days a year I wish I had 4 WD but I have not been stuck yet in 14 years with my 2WD drive pickup.

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2015, 02:21:13 PM »

Offline Nic in Western NYS

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2015, 02:53:32 PM »
For some high percentage of the time where I am in interior New England, rwd with or without snows works great.  Some times, like yesterday around 0930 when I was on my way from Worcester to the Amtrak station in Westwood MA, I was one of the few cars that were not stopped by the weather.  I have winter tires and all wheel drive. Almost all of the time, that's overkill.  Yesterday, I would have missed my train without it.  How much do you always need to be somewhere?  Can you easily push off drives until the weather clears or does your business require you make it somewhere no matter what the weather?

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Re:
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2015, 03:11:43 PM »
I've owned almost nothing but 4wd or AWD vehicles for nearly two decades now, including 3 Jeeps (2 Grand Cherokees, and 1 Cherokee), 1 Geo Tracker (that started life as 2wd/rwd, but ended as 4wd), 3 Subarus, and 1 AWD Nissan Juke.

About half of them I've run with all-seasons only, and half with all-seasons or dedicated winter tires (usually Blizzaks) seasonally.

Though there is no denying that there are braking advantages to winter tires and that a rwd (especially one with locking or limited slip differentials) can do well with run them, I'll take the AWD EVERY TIME.

Over the years I've found that AWD and DECENT all-seasons are sufficient for this latitude.

Rk - I'm curious what 4wd systems you've experienced in the GC. My two were/are EXCEPTIONALLY good on the highway. The first was a 99 WJ 4.7 V8 with the first mechanical Quadra-Drive (variable auto locking transfer case and front and rear differentials). The current is a 2012 WK2 with Quadra Trac II and Select Trac (utilizes an electronically controlled locking transfer case with open diffs that approximate locking differentials through braking control).

The later might be as good or better than the former both on and off road.
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Re:
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2015, 03:16:04 PM »
PS I've traveled 100-150 miles in blizzards between Chester County, PA and various Pocono ski resorts. In both Jeeps and Subarus, usually, but not always with winter tires, but ALWAYS with AWD/4WD.
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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2015, 03:36:06 PM »
I have an older German rear wheel drive car with Blizzak snow tires for snow and it does very well   Just curious how an all wheel drive vehicle w/ all-season tires compare in the snow? If you had to choose one to travel 100 miles in a snow storm, which would you choose?

Not all rear wheel drive vehicles are created equal. If the "older German rear wheel drive car" is also rear engine, it could do just as well as awd.  ;)
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Offline Pfaff!

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2015, 03:44:37 PM »
All season rubber are crap and good for nothing.
And for heavens sake do use those Blizzak on all 4 wheels.

We do occasionally have winters in Scandinavia and some experience with snowy roads. For the icy roads you need spiked tires. Or stay at home.
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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2015, 03:48:59 PM »
I have no idea how they treat the roads in Scandinavia, but I do know how well they do in PA, where all seasons are usually fine. ;)
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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2015, 03:54:42 PM »
I have no idea how they treat the roads in Scandinavia, but I do know how well they do in PA, where all seasons are usually fine. ;)


No they are not. They will provide less grip in any situation, summer or winter, compared to proper tires.
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Re: Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2015, 04:11:24 PM »

No they are not. They will provide less grip in any situation, summer or winter, compared to proper tires.

No they are not what, sufficient/fine most of the time? That's a silly stance and easily disproved.

The key to the problem with your stance is proving if less is "too little."

But the opposite is easily demonstrated.

I know only a small handful of people at this Latitude of North America who use winter tires. The VAST MAJORITY don't.

The vast majority also don't hibernate and drive in the winter.

The vast majority don't crash.

Therefore the vast majority prove all seasons are generally sufficient around here.

That's not to say winters won't be even more capable.

But that doesn't prove they are necessary.
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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2015, 04:22:04 PM »
100 miles in a snowstorm? AWD and real snow tires.

I have AWD and all-season, because the roads are seldom all that slippery and the Pirelli P7s are great in dry, and a hoot in snow. But stuuded snow tires or real snow tires on 2WD is excellent in snow.

I used to put studded Nokias on my Audi 200, that was fun. I was driving up to the White Mountains a lot for ski touring in those days.

Offline Nic in Western NYS

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2015, 04:27:38 PM »
Any experienced opinions on the best aspect ratio for snow?  I've heard that skinny tires have an advantage all else being equal. Makes sense but want to ask the experts.
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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2015, 04:43:16 PM »
All season tires are good for up to -10C, after that winter tires make a huge difference. I was a non believer until I put a set of 4 on my wife's Cavalier 15 yrs ago, wow what a change. Winter is long and cold here and winter tires should be mandatory like they are in the Province of Quebec.

I have a 4wd Ford Ranger, a Jeep Wrangler and an AWD BMW 550xi. By far the best winter vehicle is the BMW, it does not slip or slide, there is on loss or traction no matter how bad the roads are or. I had a RWD BMW 530 and with winter tires it was pretty good most of the time. AWD in the German cars is not same as 4WD in the Ranger or Jeep, don't know how the Audi or Mercedes system works but I assume its like the BMW, constant drive system modulated to front and rear.

Offline EvanM

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2015, 04:58:47 PM »
All season tires are good for up to -10C, after that winter tires make a huge difference. I was a non believer until I put a set of 4 on my wife's Cavalier 15 yrs ago, wow what a change. Winter is long and cold here and winter tires should be mandatory like they are in the Province of Quebec.


100% agree with you on that Jim!
Way too many idiot drivers speeding around here with bald all seasons.
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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2015, 05:04:45 PM »
I like my AWD with snow tires real well.  Studded tires are no longer legal in Michigan as they tore up the roads to much.  AWD doesn't hack it for boondockin, still need my 4WD for that.

Offline MotoGuzzi

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2015, 05:57:21 PM »
Ground clearance is all so a factor in determining the capability of a vehicle to traverse snow covered roads.

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Re: Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2015, 05:59:45 PM »
Any experienced opinions on the best aspect ratio for snow?  I've heard that skinny tires have an advantage all else being equal. Makes sense but want to ask the experts.
Skinny is better for snow, wide and siped better for ice.

With snow you want to dig down to the road surface and more #/surface area of tire is good. Too wide a tire and it's similar to hydroplaning in that it floats on the snow because the weight is too spread out.

But on ice you want square footage. So to an extent, wider soft compound tires with more sipping (which also increases effective surface area) is better.
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Re: Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2015, 06:08:01 PM »
AWD in the German cars is not same as 4WD in the Ranger or Jeep, don't know how the Audi or Mercedes system works but I assume its like the BMW, constant drive system modulated to front and rear.

There are a good number of different AWD systems and it's not country of origin based.

There are systems that mechanically or electronically lock. There are systems that equate to only 2 or 3 wheel drive. There are systems that are front or rear wheel biased. There are those that vector torque to one side or the other based on steering inputs.

MOST modern systems use significant electronic controls and can control individual wheels.

I really like Subaru systems for rwd-like layout (longitudinal crankshaft and transmission), equal length front halfshafts (coming out of a differential near the front of the transmission) to prevent torque steer, low center of gravity boxer motors, and great front to rear balance.

My Juke has a neat on-road performance based system that is completely electronically controlled through clutch packs that connect the rear halfshafts to the ring and pinion. Depending on settings it can aggressively throw power to the outside rear wheel in a dry curve, or limit it side to side in slippery conditions to prevent the tail from kicking out. Through this electronic control it can run anywhere from 100% fwd to 50/50 front to rear, and can vector up to 100% of that rear power to one side or the other.

Jeep has something like 5 or more different AWD/4wd systems that vary by model, or even by trim level. Everything from traditional rwd with 4wd transfer case, with or without locking or limited slip differentials to fwd biased systems that throw power rearwards on demand. Ironically the best off road Wranglers (Rubicon models) don't have the best on road manners as they are designed for rock crawling and mud holing.
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Re: Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2015, 06:26:56 PM »
AWD doesn't hack it for boondockin, still need my 4WD for that.

The lines are getting more and more blurred.

In theory you might call our Jeep GC AWD since it's full time, but it has a traditional transfer case (with low range) plus front and rear axle layout.

Meanwhile Subaru's Outback now includes an "X" mode for off-roading that increases the not insignificant abilities of those crossovers. But it's still an AWD system in every traditional sense of the word.


X-mode:

http://www.planetsubaru.com/subaru-x-mode.htm


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Offline rboe

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2015, 07:09:59 PM »
I have boat loads of experience in the winter and snow in Duluth Minnesota and along the North Shore. The cars most favored by locals; Saabs and Volkswagen Beetles. Now, Subaru's, but you see a ton of everything else.

Because Duluth is kinda like San Fransisco and getting up the hill is usually matter of tactics than brute force. I had a Pinto wagon, with brand new radial snow tires climbed greasie hills pretty good (not as good as my wife's old Citation. That car impressed me). So the right car, the right tires and a driver with winter snow skills can do very well.

Up north, folks tried to get by with all season tires (and some years prove easier than others) with limited success. In bad years, snow tires are the only way to go. Especially with two wheel drive. Northern climes have extremes way too often and proper winter tires are really the only way to go if you can't pick and choose the days or roads you need to drive.

So, a good rear wheeled car (with close to 50/50 weight distribution and not too much horsepower) or front wheeled drive car (I would prefer front wheel to rear wheel as the engine end usually has the most weight which will help you in the snow) would serve me/you just fine.

If I get to choose the 4WD/AWD car, stuck with all seasons, I'll take the Subaru. Assuming all the tires every where are new, I think it would be tough case. I'd probably still choose the Subbie, but would not feel short changed with a good two wheeled drive car with excellent winter tires. They are under rated in this age of AWD and 4WD vehicles.

A very strong case could be made to go two wheel drive as you'll take fewer chances than with an AWD vehicle. More folks get into trouble with four wheel drive vehicles because they think they can a lot more (like stop as well as they get going) than they really can (especially with their skill set).

I guess I'm choosing the 2WD car. :)
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Re:
« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2015, 07:34:03 PM »
I had a buddy who drove his E30 BMW 3-series year round and made a point of the car's capabilities with Hakkapeliitta snow tires. It was impressive, though the driver played a part.

He always said 4wd just meant you got stuck worse...

...I have to admit the one time I seriously got stuck in a blizzard it was in a 4wd with snow tires.

Granted, I got it stuck in snow ON THE ROAD that was higher than the HOOD! Snow was blowing off the higher elevation Amish farm fields and clogging the lower roads cut between them.

I actually spent that night in an Amish farm house until the next morning when the "English" farmer across the road came out with his bucket tractor and plowed the road and pulled me out.

In my defense the major roads nearby all shut down too that night and 30+ people slept on the shelves of a local convenience store.

At least I had a wood burning stove, a sleeping bag, and a couch!
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Online Aaron D.

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2015, 07:34:58 PM »
Current Audis with longitudinal engines use a Torsen center diff, my current car has a torque bias of 60% to the rear.

Transverse Audis and VWs use a Haldex coupling, as does Volvo and at least some Fords.

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2015, 07:36:49 PM »
Any experienced opinions on the best aspect ratio for snow?  I've heard that skinny tires have an advantage all else being equal. Makes sense but want to ask the experts.

I've often done thw -1 thing when ordering snow tires for cars with fat tires. A 205/70 will go to 195/80. Works remarkably well.

Offline Nic in Western NYS

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #25 on: January 10, 2015, 08:31:34 PM »
I've often done thw -1 thing when ordering snow tires for cars with fat tires. A 205/70 will go to 195/80. Works remarkably well.
Thanks. Is there a good conversion chart you recommend?  Nic
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Re:
« Reply #26 on: January 10, 2015, 08:35:30 PM »
Check www.tirerack.com for recommended sizes and tire/wheel packages.
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Offline willowstreetguzziguy

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #27 on: January 10, 2015, 08:48:47 PM »
Found a nice set of Hankook I Pike winter tires on BMW wheels used for under $450
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Offline rboe

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #28 on: January 10, 2015, 08:52:21 PM »
I had a buddy in college that had a deal with a tire company testing winter tires on his Saab. The current set he had (this was over twenty years ago, so details like the tire maker are lost) on his Saab, in a good snow storm, that car acted like a 4WD. I was very impressed. Naturally, those tires on a Subaru or other well working all wheel drive would have worked even better (save pickups, I think they suck in the snow but perhaps I really should be dinging their drivers).

We always took special note of vehicles that did exceptionally well in snow, on the hills. My Pinto, with new tires did very well, used tires, not so much. I had a diesel Escort, that despite being front wheel drive did poorly in the snow.
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Offline drums4money

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Re:
« Reply #29 on: January 10, 2015, 09:18:29 PM »
Check www.tirerack.com for recommended sizes and tire/wheel packages.

I put an 8 month set of wheels & tires on my little e46 wagon and had winter tires put on the factory wheels.  It's a good setup & I haven't had any sketchy moments in the snow in the few years since I've had them.  Definitely narrower for the snow. 

I had a little X-Type Jag with AWD.  Always had all season tires and it was a little beast in the snow.  Better in the snow than the 5 Series we replaced it with.

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