Author Topic: Snow tires vs 4x4/AWD  (Read 2635 times)

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Offline aljmiller87

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Snow tires vs 4x4/AWD
« on: April 02, 2012, 09:09:14 AM »
Hey gang,

My wife and I are moving to the Durham area.  We're looking at a few properties with acreage and smaller country roads.

I was wondering if you think snow tires would be enough on a FWD 2WD or do you think it is necessary to get a 4x4/AWD.

Let me know what you guys think!

Offline MaineShark

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Re: Snow tires vs 4x4/AWD
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2012, 09:14:42 AM »
If you already have the one, get snow tires on it and see how it does for you.  Most folks manage just fine with only two drive wheels.

I drive a pickup truck with good all-season tires on it, operating as a rear-wheel-drive almost all the time; the only times I actually turned on the four-wheel-drive were when I had to head up old logging roads in mud or snow.  But I'm a local, so I grew up driving in these conditions - if you're not in that category, I would suggest avoiding rear-wheel-drive, and go with front- or all-wheel-drive.

Offline aljmiller87

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Re: Snow tires vs 4x4/AWD
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2012, 10:06:54 AM »
Thanks for the advice.

My concern was living on somewhat rural/country roads that might not frequently be salted.  I used to live in Maryland suburbs between DC and Baltimore and those roads typically got salted quickly.  I'm not sure how good NH is about this.  Given that they deal with snow all the time, I'd bet they're fine at handling it.

It seems the common consensus is:
-Regardless of vehicle, get snow tires
-2WD can handle 95% of snow situation, but AWD/4x4 is best

I think what my wife and I might do is get at least 1 AWD/4x4 between the 2 of us.

Offline MaineShark

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Re: Snow tires vs 4x4/AWD
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2012, 10:27:35 AM »
-Regardless of vehicle, get snow tires

Or all-season tires which have have positive reviews as to their snow-handling capabilities.  There are definitely some all-season tires which run very well in the snow.

-2WD can handle 95% of snow situation, but AWD/4x4 is best

To some extent.  More drive wheels mean that you'll have an easier time getting started moving.  They don't help you turn, and they don't help you stop.  There's something to be said for the idea that, if you can't get moving with two wheels driving you, you probably shouldn't be out in that storm... at least when someone's first learning how to drive in the snow.

I'll drop it into four-wheel when I need to get up my driveway, because it's very steep.  Or on old logging roads.  If I thought I'd actually need it to get traction to drive, once out on the major roads, I'd stay home.

Another thing to note is that all-wheel-drive is usable in all conditions (as you can't turn it off), whereas four-wheel-drive is a part-time thing, and generally must only be used at speeds below 30-35mph (and it runs poorly when you even get close to that speed; really, it's for very-low-speed driving, when you first start moving).

Offline aljmiller87

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Re: Snow tires vs 4x4/AWD
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2012, 10:36:08 AM »
Thank you for the words of wisdom!

Offline Dalebert

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Re: Snow tires vs 4x4/AWD
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2012, 10:37:52 AM »
I drove a Beetle for years with all season tires. It's FWD though. I lived at the top of a hill and managed fine for a whole winter. It was a somewhat mild winter by comparison though. Never had a substantial problem.

Offline aljmiller87

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Re: Snow tires vs 4x4/AWD
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2012, 11:14:28 AM »
My wife and I are looking at diesels (we're interested in biodiesel) with good MPG.  I was actually looking at a 2005 Beetle as a secondary/commuter car.

Good to know.

Offline MaineShark

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Re: Snow tires vs 4x4/AWD
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2012, 01:58:08 PM »
My wife and I are looking at diesels (we're interested in biodiesel) with good MPG.

You probably know this, but for anyone else reading... 1996-2006 VW diesels will run on straight biodiesel.

There's at least one biodiesel plant run by Freestaters.  I ran B20 in my Ford using their biodiesel, and got about 10% better mileage than on petroleum diesel.

Of course, it's not really usable during the winter, as it will gel, but it works for the majority of the year.

Offline aljmiller87

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Re: Snow tires vs 4x4/AWD
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2012, 02:28:57 PM »
That's AWESOME that others got a biodiesel thing going.  I was planning on buying (or making) a processing kit, sell "shares" and make a co-op thing out of it.

Yea, I've heard great things about the VW TDI's.  Due to my concern about having 2WD in NH, I was looking at 4x4 diesels which narrowed it to BIG trucks (don't really need) or the 2005-06 Jeep Liberty CRD.  Evidently the jeep comes from the factory with B05 of B10.  So far, I'm leaning towards the Jeep.  My wife's old Chevy Cav is about to go.  I suppose if she buys a 4x4, I'll get a little VW.

Offline MaineShark

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Re: Snow tires vs 4x4/AWD
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2012, 02:36:12 PM »
Yea, I've heard great things about the VW TDI's.

Well, it's a good engine, anyway.  The cars of that era were not known for reliability (especially earlier within that block of time).  Sometime when I have spare funds, I want to grab a Land Rover with a blown engine, and stick a VW TDI engine in it, of an appropriate year to run straight bio...

Offline IfIEverDidSeeOne

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Re: Snow tires vs 4x4/AWD
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2012, 01:04:43 AM »
Out of the 240 or so communities in NH, Durham is one of the 40 or so with the least amount of snow.  Dover and Portsmouth aren't know for a lot of snow, either.  I recommend anything, you will likely do fine.  If you are really nervous, perhaps FWD 2WD with all season tires.  If you are insanely nervous, get 2 snow tires for the front of your car.  If you are so nervous that you died 10 years ago, get an all wheel drive vehicle and chains for all of your tires.

BTW, there is a bus that travels b/t a few of the Durham area communities including Portsmouth and Dover.  It is low priced.  There is another daily bus that goes to South Station and the airport in Boston.  There is another bus that goes to NYC.  Oh, and there is a train that goes from Portland, ME to Boston, MA with a whole bunch of stops, several times per day, including Durham.  You don't even need a car in Durham if you can get to the bus or train station.
Excellent advice for those considering moving to the Keene area
http://forum.freekeene.com/index.php?topic=5480.0

Offline aljmiller87

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Re: Snow tires vs 4x4/AWD
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2012, 08:23:05 AM »
I recommend anything, you will likely do fine.  If you are really nervous, perhaps FWD 2WD with all season tires.  If you are insanely nervous, get 2 snow tires for the front of your car.  If you are so nervous that you died 10 years ago, get an all wheel drive vehicle and chains for all of your tires.

lol,  :)

Most likely, my wife and I will live within a 30min radius of Durham, potentially dealing with smaller back roads (we're looking at plots with 3-10 acres).  We'll probably have one 2WD car and put all season or snow tires on it and get an 4x4 diesel jeep in the meantime.

Thanks!

Offline Bill St. Clair

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Re: Snow tires vs 4x4/AWD
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2012, 09:18:47 AM »
I've never met an all-season radial that does nearly as well as real snow tires, Blizzaks or Nokian Hakkapeliitta, but it appears that Nokian now makes an all-weather tire, the WRG2, that might work. I'll try it next time I need to replace my snow tires. I used to get studs, but the new sticky rubbers have made them not worth the trouble.
"The state can only survive as long as a majority is programmed to believe that theft isn't wrong if it's called taxation or asset forfeiture or eminent domain, that assault and kidnapping isn't wrong if it's called arrest, that mass murder isn't wrong if it's called war." -- Bill St. Clair

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