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Discussion Starter #1
AutoBlog said:
With the adoption of front-wheel drive as the mainstream power delivery system of choice, the semi-annual ritual of swapping snow tires has largely disappeared for most Americans. In many northern areas, all-wheel drive has become an increasingly popular choice when offered as an option. But as much help as putting power through all four wheels can be, it simply can't substitute for a good set of snow tires.

Ultimately, grip comes down to four patches of rubber and if they're unable to make solid contact, the number of drive wheels becomes irrelevant. This became abundantly clear this past weekend while driving a new 2010 Subaru Legacy. The Legacy is a plush, roomy mid-size sedan with excellent outward visibility and Subaru makes an excellent symmetrical all wheel drive. Unfortunately, its all-season tires lacked traction. Read on after the jump for more.


On dry pavement all-wheel drive can be a major boon by splitting the tractive workload and leaving the front wheels to take handle steering. In the snowy conditions we endured this past weekend, it can also help claw its way through the snow. However, most cars can put out more drive torque than the tires can transmit. That means it's not at hard to spin up all four wheels when accelerating, at least until the traction control kicks in.
Now as much as we enjoy to exploit slip angles, it's best to keep the car within the limits of adhesion. Lack of grip is a fundamental problem with all season rubber and all-wheel drive won't help you get around an icy corner or halt forward progress at a stop sign. Without traction, the Subaru still had trouble turning and it was pretty easy to get sideways before the stability management kicked in.

The only solution to is fit tires that maximize grip in these conditions. All the major tire manufacturers produce winter tires and we highly recommend them to anyone living in areas subject to snowy winters no matter how many wheels are driven. The easiest thing to do is just by an extra set of rims and have the tires mounted. When winter arrives, put on the snows and stack the summer tires in the corner of the garage or basement, then reverse the process in the spring. It's money well spent, and certainly cheaper than body repairs and hiked up insurance premiums.
PSA: Proper winter tires are more important than all-wheel drive — Autoblog
 

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i think awd cars require more skill to drive in snow also - at least our WRX is that way. Let off the gas and the car goes from snow cat to sled in an instant.

We have Nokian all-seasons on the WRX, they're awesome, though maybe not as good as a good snow tire.
 

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I have had a set of Blizzak LM-60s for a few years now, and they are fantastic.
We drove through one of the largest blizzards we have had all year last saturday and I had no problems.
 

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Sadly this isnt common sense. Its how I go flying past SUVs in 3-4 inches of snow on the freeway in complete control
Yeah, AWD in the snow only helps you GO but it doesn't help you stop or turn on ice.
 

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It's true that winter tires are very important. AWD only helps you get going in snow... it doesn't help you stop. A lot of people think AWD automatically makes them invincible in the snow!

But that being said... I drove an Impreza with all seasons in a snow storm and that car went better than my IS300 with winter tires on! :wtf:
 

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AWD, for 99% of people, is unnecessary and absurd. All you need to drive on snowy roads is good snow tires. 4WD is only needed when going off-road.
 

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But that being said... I drove an Impreza with all seasons in a snow storm and that car went better than my IS300 with winter tires on! :wtf:
My Impreza still drives better in the snow with piece of shit tires on than my SX w/dedicated snow tires. lol I always take the sx to the slopes but overall feel more in control with the Suby on compact snow covered roads. Ice though.....both fail....solution to that is studs...but I hate studs.
 

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AWD, for 99% of people, is unnecessary and absurd. All you need to drive on snowy roads is good snow tires. 4WD is only needed when going off-road.

But sadly... the car world is about what people want versus what they need.

Do you need 19" rims from factory on your minivan??? Probably not... but now you can buy then like that.
 

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My Impreza still drives better in the snow with piece of shit tires on than my SX w/dedicated snow tires. lol I always take the sx to the slopes but overall feel more in control with the Suby on compact snow covered roads. Ice though.....both fail....solution to that is studs...but I hate studs.
I never had the pleasure of driving on studs... what's the problem again? On dry pavement the car becomes skiddish?
 

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Crester, What type of setup are you running on your car? Have you gotten a lot of snow this season?
Toronto doesn't get much snow. Basically what happens is you have dry days... dry days... and more dry days... and then suddenly you get DUMPED ON with snow. Then that snow slowly goes away... and then it's dry for another long period of time before you get dumped on again. So for that reason I decided to try performance winter tires for the first time this year.

I got Toyo Garit KX's... and loving them so far. In the two small snow falls we had so far this winter they seem to be working well. Not as much grip from a stop that I had with the Nokians... but still good. But what amazes me is that you can drive these tires so hard... it's unbelievable. Infact many times I forget I'm driving on winters. No mushy handling or loud noises.
 

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I never had the pleasure of driving on studs... what's the problem again? On dry pavement the car becomes skiddish?
I had studs on my 240sx a while back. It was my fault for not really researching on it. At that time, I never used that car for the slopes and it mainly drove on dry cold pavement in the winter. I am sure you know that studs on a snow tire is the best solution for compact snow and ice roadways (besides chains). The more studs on a tire the better ice performance and therefore the worse the dry pavement performance. Driving with studs on dry pavement just sounded hideous in the 240 and boy the handling was a nightmare....because you do not have much contact with the rubber. The biggest reason though was the noise....I am probably exaggerating on the handling but it was skiddish and wobbly. Then again though....I remember having on cheapo winter tires...That may have been an issue as well.
 

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So glad I don't need winter tires anymore :p Charlotte was RIGHT on the edge of that massive east coast snow storm recently and all we got was rain. I hate driving in the snow!
 

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My Magnum has MasterCraft Glacier Grip II's, the cheapest ones they had last winter. It perfroms pretty well, aeons better than the IS300 with Michelin X-ICE's (excellent reviews & kinda pricey). . . both studless tires.

I wish I would have gotten studs though. We had studs on our Focus, granted its front wheel drive, and that thing was a god damn snow plow. I know how to drive on dry pavement, hence not really caring about the lost handling with studs on dry roads. They're definitely worth it in the snow, and especially on our icyass Utah roads. . .
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Ok, I'm going to throw this question out there, When and Where is AWD really needed? Does AWD make a difference on dry pavement? How much better is it in the rain? Does it help on turn-ins?
 
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