Author Topic: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires  (Read 27079 times)

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #30 on: January 10, 2015, 09:59:02 PM »
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.

My Rabbit GTi didn't go up hills very well forward, but backed up them great. Did it by accident the first time - spun around going up to Crampton's Gap, stuck it in reverse and what the heck? it went better backwards! There was a guy in a Saab 900 watching and he backed up the hill right behind (in front?) of me. Good thing they had rear window wipers.  :) The Audi 5000S did much better up hills since it was larger and heavier, less weight transfer to the rear.

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Offline Nic in Western NYS

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #31 on: January 10, 2015, 10:09:37 PM »
My 2002 F150 manual 4x4 with a V6 is better than was my 1993 F150 4x4 with a V8.  The combination of less torque being more controllable through the manual transmission might account for the difference. Tires were comparable.
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Re:
« Reply #32 on: January 10, 2015, 10:39:57 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.

I had an govm't surplus '84 wagoner with a straight 6 and 4-speed.  It was really good off-pavement in 4wd but twitchy on the highway.  There was a lot more off pavement than on back then so it was a good thing.  You could run it up a creek bed at any speed you felt you could do, but it really didn't like going much faster than 65.  Before that it was Dodge Power Wagons and the like -- serious machines with no speed.  I sold the jeep when I got the jimmy in '99, and it's been the only cage I've put many miles on except for my sister's grand Cherokee.  I ran her jeep from Whidby Island to past Pendleton, OR about this time last year on a trip to Baker City.  We started getting snow about Portland and went into 4wd for the pass through Pendleton.  It was 4wd from then on and back (didn't make Baker City).  I thought the jeep was twitchy, oversteered, and felt like one corner or the other was breaking loose a lot.  The overall feeling was more of skating than driving.  I did NOT want to stop quickly.

I run my Safari van with studs in the winter and take it up as far as Dawson City in the Yukon on my aurora photography trips.  They know how to make snow up there.  I go any speed I want to and feel confident in my control.

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #33 on: January 11, 2015, 01:03:34 AM »
I have an AWD Juke with blizzacks for winter, and a Land Rover Discovery with BF Goodrich All- Terrains.  Say what you want, good tires and AWD is always going to be the best option.  The Juke handles ice and packed snow with incredible ease, and when the snow gets real deep, the Land Rover is pretty much unstoppable.  If I lived in town it probable wouldn't matter, but in the country you can't count on plows to come by when you need them.
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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #33 on: January 11, 2015, 01:03:34 AM »

Offline Zoom Zoom

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #34 on: January 11, 2015, 05:34:43 AM »
Well, I have an AWD car equipped with Blizzaks and have driven over 100 miles in a snow storm. Honestly, if I had been in anything less, I would have turned around soon after getting started. It was that bad. Traction and stability control also helped. Like Kev said, AWD every time! It was a Guzzi gathering/ski trip in NY the end of last January where it snowed heavily the entire day. Since it was an opportunity for my daughter and her hubby to meet my Guzzi friends, as well as me spending time with them, it was important to me to be able to do the trip.

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #35 on: January 11, 2015, 06:37:33 AM »
So many things go into safe winter driving. My front wheel drive Dodge Stratus and my wife's AWD Subaru Impreza have Hankook I Pikes on all four corners. Ground clearance is an issue with both, both do very well in city driving and on the highway but I wouldn't get very far offroad with either. I believe that the rubber compound of the winter tires we have make them much better on hard packed snow and on ice. My wife had a Dodge Magnum Hemi with the I Pikes and it did very well also. I never thought I needed/wanted the winter tires until we had a bad winter here when I was on call 24/7 and had to drive in some pretty nasty stuff. I purchased a set of steel wheels for the Stratus and decide to give the Hankooks a try, if I didn't like them they could be easily sold the next season. More than anything the stopping traction convinced me, we have a lot of idiot drivers where I live, 2mph or 60mph, can't go any steady speed or even an appropriate speed for the road conditions that are present. I don't believe that any tire could have helped anyone in the 4 or 5 major pile-ups we've had over the last few days here in Michigan.
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Offline Nic in Western NYS

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #36 on: January 11, 2015, 06:49:04 AM »
So many things go into safe winter driving. My front wheel drive Dodge Stratus and my wife's AWD Subaru Impreza have Hankook I Pikes on all four corners. Ground clearance is an issue with both, both do very well in city driving and on the highway but I wouldn't get very far offroad with either.
Off road is a whole other kettle of fish.  I had a Toyota Matrix 4wd which was great on road but had hokey 'ground effects' which didn't do well when I went through low banks.  BTW, off topic, there was a mention of the Juke in this thread - it seems to be what Toyota tried to be with the Matrix - a fun, hot, car that young people would want.  I read that the average age of Matrix owners was particularly old. Great car though, my son has it and now appreciates it in a way he didn't when he was a passenger.
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Offline Unkept

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #37 on: January 11, 2015, 06:51:30 AM »
If your subject line was Front Wheel Drive instead, I'd be testing this first hand this Winter season...

I had been driving a 2001 Subaru Impreza with all season tires for the past seven years. In the middle of last year I sold the car for a Volkswagen Jetta TDI.

The Jetta had 18" wheels with low profile "sports" all seasons equipped. I didn't even want to think about driving in Winter with those.

So I grabbed cheap (Guzzi Content!) a set of new 15" steel wheels from a Golf and put General Altimax snows on. Not studded, but studdable.

We've recently had some bad snow, not as bad as last year yet... but the temperatures have been brutal. -11 the other day before windchill.

How do the two cars feel in comparison?

The Subaru was more *confidence inspiring*. Everything was more connected to the driver, no electronic interference/disconnect. The Jetta has electric steering, stability control, and traction control. The Subaru only had a mechanic limited slip rear differential.

That being said, even with those systems last year I almost bit the dust trying to stop with the Subie. Cruising on the toll road with all the other crazy drivers, when I start seeing lots of red lights in the distance.

"No problem" I thought... "I'll just apply some brakes early!" The car didn't slow down, but instead starting sliding side to side. Luckily the car in the lane to my right was far enough away I didn't hit him, and I somehow regained control. Ahead of me there were four cars in the ditch, a giant slab of ice.

Would Winter tires have helped? Probably! Would the electronic stability control of the Jetta have kept the car from bouncing around? Maybe?

The Jetta has been fine so far, not surprises and when it begins to slip the car just... takes care of it on it's own. Mentally I'm less comfortable with it because the tires offer softer handling, the steering isn't reactive (electric just doesn't give you that physical connection to the wheels per say), and the traction control is unpredictable.

I'll agree with the sentiments already posted. Not all AWD is created equal (My Subaru was really 3wd with an open front diff and limited slip rear), and that only Snow/Winter tires can assist in braking under cold/icing conditions.

Best of both worlds would be my personal choice... AWD with Winter/Snow tires... As much as the United States seems content with All Season tires, and I completely understand your point Kev, if we all had our vehicles wear their snow shoes in the Winter I'd wager that accidents may decrease. Even if it was a small percent, it would be worth it.

Now what kind of OIL do you guys use in your cars for winter?  ;) :BEER:
« Last Edit: January 11, 2015, 06:53:49 AM by Unkept »

Offline Dean Rose

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #38 on: January 11, 2015, 07:16:02 AM »
Never put a set of snow tires on my Isuzu Trooper always run all season tires. Never fails me.

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Re:
« Reply #39 on: January 11, 2015, 07:16:23 AM »
Nic - Juke is a FUNny little car. It's a cross between a hot hatch and a crossover SUV. DECENT at both, but not a master at either. I like it well enough though.


Un - are you sure front diff was completely open? Subaru is a little close to the vest about some details on their AWD systems and I've not bothered to study the service manuals enough (nor would I necessarily know what to look for in some cases) to confirm what is open or limited. Perhaps much of it is electronic, at least with late model stuff.

They have produced some impressive test videos usually using rollers to disable up to 3 of the car's wheels and demonstrating how the Scoobie can still pull away, so they definitely have ways of dealing with wheel spin and I don't think it's all brake traction control.
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Re:
« Reply #40 on: January 11, 2015, 07:21:39 AM »
As for winter tires the breaking point for me was the government requirement for tire pressure monitoring systems.

It wasn't even the cost (adding up to $200 more to a set of dedicated winter wheels/tires), so much as the HASSLE of getting the ECM to recognize them and needing a way to reset them twice a year.

It was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back and made it just not worth the effort for the limited snow we get.

I've instead concentrated on decent all seasons, watching pressures, and perhaps playing less in blizzards.

I'm waiting to see how this winter pans out in a new state, but so far temperatures are warmer and snow less frequent and less heavy than southeastern PA where we were the last few decades, so I'm not motivated. But we still have too much winter left so we'll see.
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Offline kevdog3019

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #41 on: January 11, 2015, 07:36:07 AM »
All season tires on AWD or 4WD are better than snow tires on RWD. I've owned an AWD small Land Rover and now a Toyota FJ 4WD and these last two vehicle can go anywhere with their all weather tires. I wouldn't consider driving RWD with anything less than snow tires here in MI. Even then I wouldn't venture out in the deep stuff. My FJ is terrible in RWD and incredible in 4WD. THE VW Beetles of old were pretty good in snow for obvious reasons.
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Offline Unkept

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Re:
« Reply #42 on: January 11, 2015, 09:04:15 AM »
Un - are you sure front diff was completely open? Subaru is a little close to the vest about some details on their AWD systems and I've not bothered to study the service manuals enough (nor would I necessarily know what to look for in some cases) to confirm what is open or limited. Perhaps much of it is electronic, at least with late model stuff.

http://www.gearhack.com/myink/ViewPage.php?file=docs/Subaru+Transmission+Chart

There have been several attempts at cataloging the Subaru transmission differences (I remember Rallispecs?). The Subaru community is pretty good at this kind of thing.

Model Range                        Trans. Code   1st       2nd     3rd     4th     5th     6th     Rev.   T.R.   F.D.   Center Diff. Type   Front Diff. Type   Notes   Application Notes
US Impreza 2.5RS MY99-01   TY754VCAAB   3.545   2.111   1.448   1.088   0.780   N/A   3.333   1.000   4.111   Viscous (4kgf)   Open   

At least in the past, the 5 speed doesn't usually come with anything but (possibly) rear limited slip. The six speed was more likely to get a helical or suretrac front/center diff...

I am not sure if there is more info on the newer Subaru stuff, like the CVT.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2015, 09:05:41 AM by Unkept »

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Re:
« Reply #43 on: January 11, 2015, 09:09:50 AM »
I'm saying later model stuff might be mechanically open, but effectively limited slip due electronics (like brake application via TC system or something like that).

I don't have details on the videos I've seen, but like the one that was posted here a few months back with the test ramp and rollers. The Forester was able to walk up it even with the wheels disabled by rollers.
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Offline kevdog3019

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #44 on: January 11, 2015, 10:31:15 AM »
I think most AWD have electronic engagement when slip is sensed. My LR had a viscous coupling system where fluid would heat up and couple the rear axle more 50/50. It was always 90/10 front otherwise. Let the fronts spin for a second and walk out after a couple seconds. It worked well. The most limiting factor with snow is height of the vehicle.
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Offline Dean Rose

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #45 on: January 11, 2015, 10:36:54 AM »
The most limiting factor with snow is height of the vehicle.

 ;-T

Putting low profile tires on an SUV is stupid! And that is what they the manufactures are doing now.

Dean
« Last Edit: January 11, 2015, 10:38:48 AM by Dean Rose »
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Offline tpeever

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #46 on: January 11, 2015, 11:03:39 AM »
Have run all-season tires on my Subaru Outback for 15 years in the mountains of WA and ID and never had a problem. Car will go anywhere in the snow and is very confidence inspiring to drive in snow. They say that not all AWD systems are created equal (ie. not symmetrical like Subaru) but my only experience with AWD vehicles is Subaru so can't comment. So one might have to factor that in. Although my Suby is excellent in all sorts of different snowy and wet road conditions, there have been a few occasions when stopping on icy roads with the all-season tires has been an issue. No all-season tire is going to stop as well as a dedicated snow tire or studded tire regardless of how many wheels are powering the car.
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Offline Unkept

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Re:
« Reply #47 on: January 11, 2015, 11:09:27 AM »
I'm saying later model stuff might be mechanically open, but effectively limited slip due electronics (like brake application via TC system or something like that).

I don't have details on the videos I've seen, but like the one that was posted here a few months back with the test ramp and rollers. The Forester was able to walk up it even with the wheels disabled by rollers.

Yeah, I've read about how the new WRX actually has front and rear open differentials... but uses the brakes to help with understeer and stability control.

I'd prefer mechanical helical diffs all the way around, but I've read that it makes it handle a bit funky on the street. Great for a rally car though.

So back to tires. Whatever car you choose, cheap wheels and some winter tires is cheap insurance compared to an accident. RWD, FWD, or AWD I'd recommend snows.

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« Reply #48 on: January 11, 2015, 12:36:59 PM »
As for winter tires the breaking point for me was the government requirement for tire pressure monitoring systems.

It wasn't even the cost (adding up to $200 more to a set of dedicated winter wheels/tires), so much as the HASSLE of getting the ECM to recognize them and needing a way to reset them twice a year.

It was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back and made it just not worth the effort for the limited snow we get.

I've instead concentrated on decent all seasons, watching pressures, and perhaps playing less in blizzards.

I'm waiting to see how this winter pans out in a new state, but so far temperatures are warmer and snow less frequent and less heavy than southeastern PA where we were the last few decades, so I'm not motivated. But we still have too much winter left so we'll see.

I didn't even bother. Winters don't have TPM sensors installed. The light is on while the winters are on. It goes back off when I reinstall the summers. It does not affect the traction or stability control in any way. You just get used to the light being on for a while.

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Re: Re:
« Reply #49 on: January 11, 2015, 12:54:20 PM »
I didn't even bother. Winters don't have TPM sensors installed. The light is on while the winters are on. It goes back off when I reinstall the summers. It does not affect the traction or stability control in any way. You just get used to the light being on for a while.

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YOU might get used to it, not me! :o

I forget what the Jeep does, it may do more than one light. It might flash the EVIC display too, which would be annoying.
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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #50 on: January 11, 2015, 01:00:03 PM »
Applying 4WD or AWD to a vehicle is the easy part, many options have been tried. Making it 'work' in harmony with the rest of the vehicle is the challenge.

Instead of a permanent torque split (which is featured in earlier systems), xDrive provides variable torque split between the front and rear axles through the use of a multi-plate wet clutch located in the gearbox on the output to the front drive shaft. This setup allows xDrive to modulate the torque split between the front and the rear axles, which is normally split at 40:60 ratio. If wheel slip is detected by the ABS/DSC system system, xDrive can react within a tenth of a second to redistribute up to 100% of the engine power to the front or rear axle.[1] The wet clutch is applied through a high speed electric servo motor turning a cam-shaped actuator disc. xDrive is connected to the ABS and DSC systems. In the case that wheelspin or directional instability still occurs while xDrive is or has been modulating the torque split, DSC will brake independent wheels to regain traction and improve directional stability without driver intervention. The front and rear differentials in xDrive vehicles are an open differential design, thus relying on brake application by the DSC system to transfer power from the slipping wheel to the wheel with traction.

BMW and Audi have been working on how to integrate the AWD systems into their vehicles for decades and through balanced platform design, low unspring weight, and lots of high tech electronics that I will never even try to understand it works pretty darn good. You have to really push the limits of stupid to loose traction on breaking or acceleration. If I want off road capable 4WD I will take the Jeep Wrangler out for a spin, but for the other 99% of the driving I do the AWD car leaves the Jeep in its tracks.

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #51 on: January 11, 2015, 01:00:44 PM »
Yellow light on the dash, or 200 bucks more plus programing......... ..... Humm.

Again, there is always a piece of black tape. ;D

Seriously, it did bug me last year but only for a while. Light or no light is not going to change me checking the tires.

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Re: Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #52 on: January 11, 2015, 01:02:47 PM »
Yellow light on the dash, or 200 bucks more plus programing......... ..... Humm.

Again, there is always a piece of black tape. ;D

Seriously, it did bug me last year but only for a while. Light or no light is not going to change me checking the tires.

John Henry
You missed my edit, it's not always JUST a yellow light.

Sometimes it's part of the vehicle information display too and interrupts other functions.
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Offline Zoom Zoom

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #53 on: January 11, 2015, 01:20:13 PM »
Yes, I understand. In my case, it does not disrupt anything else. Of course I cannot speak to other vehicles.

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Offline LowRyter

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #54 on: January 11, 2015, 01:37:50 PM »
Never put a set of snow tires on my Isuzu Trooper always run all season tires. Never fails me.

Dean

Same for me too.  I have 95k miles on my Trooper and have run at least 500 miles in 4WD.   ;D
« Last Edit: January 11, 2015, 01:40:34 PM by LowRyter »
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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #55 on: January 11, 2015, 02:19:05 PM »
Years ago (about twenty five) the girl friend borrowed a White Pine Copper mine Jeep pickup (the old style J10 I think) and we drove up to Lake of the Clouds in the winter. Road was plowed but well packed by snowmobiles. Snow tires naturally. We got as far as the sweeping up hill right hand turn near the top where deep snow and going up hill finally got the best of the Jeep pickup. Even then, we were able to backup, turn and get turned around back to where we came from. We had some extra bodies in back acting as ballast.

I was pretty impressed with that truck. It probably had locking hubs, a brute force old school four wheeled drive system. A couple years later I had a Kaiser Wagoneer (1968), a model popular with the local doctors as it had the mass to bust through snow drifts if they had to get to the hospital no matter what. Never could afford decent tires for her though, but she was pretty good at busting snow or backing out of a stream after busting through the ice. Today, I'd want a better 4WD system. :)
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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #56 on: January 11, 2015, 02:21:03 PM »
Yellow light on the dash, or 200 bucks more plus programing......... ..... Humm.

Again, there is always a piece of black tape. ;D

Seriously, it did bug me last year but only for a while. Light or no light is not going to change me checking the tires.

John Henry


Ditto here. 7 years with the yellow light on in the winter. Unless you mount the snows on the summer rims and you would still have to get the winter wheels reprogrammed every time you swapped wheels. Who needs these nannies anyway?

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Re:
« Reply #57 on: January 11, 2015, 02:32:10 PM »
I obviously dislike the tire pressure systems in general.

However the Jeep system is neat, not only monitoring pressure, but it also gives you a digital display of each tire's actual pressure (accurate to less than 1 psi of my analog dial pressure gauge).

It's generally great as you can even watch pressures rise as the tires warm.

But yes, you lose that and/or would have to reprogram with each wheel swap.

And when they are below spec I believe the digital readout that displays that or other data like fuel mileage, range, coolant temp, oil temp, oil pressure, trans temp, Nav directions, etc. Will alternate flashing between the selected display and a warning triangle, which is not only annoying but makes it hard to use the other selected function.
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Online slowmover

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Re: NGC - Rear wheel drive w/ Snow tires vs. AWD w/ all season tires
« Reply #58 on: January 11, 2015, 03:14:51 PM »
The most important piece of equipment is between your ears. I have a RWD Ford Ranger and before that a RWD Toyota pickup possibly the lightest weight vehicle at the time.Kept the same tires on year round.Commuted in the worst weather in the northern hemisphere.Passed up countless 4WD vehicles stuck in the snow and sometimes upside down.Reliance on specialized equipment breeds overconfidence.Slow down and pay attention.  
« Last Edit: January 11, 2015, 03:54:56 PM by slowmover »

Offline Nic in Western NYS

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Re: Re:
« Reply #59 on: January 11, 2015, 04:51:42 PM »
YOU might get used to it, not me! :o

I forget what the Jeep does, it may do more than one light. It might flash the EVIC display too, which would be annoying.
My brain would also have trouble adjusting to a warning light being on all the time.  Would take away from the enjoyment of the drive for some stupid reason.
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