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Utah residents: All wheel drive worth it? - Page 3

post #61 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier_j
The last really "fun" winter driving I've done was returning from Stowe after the first? ETU---it started to snow on Sunday just as we wrapped up skiing and festivities.

By the time we got to south Burlington there was 4-5 inches of snow on the road and it never got better. Aside from not knowing exactly where Rt 7 was some of the time---we got home with no real problems at all.
'
I left Stowe at ~4:30 drove down 100 to Route 17 up to MRG used the phone at the ski club went back down to Waitsfield for dinner. Back up to MRG ~9 pm and woke to some of the best skiing of that season. This in the manual transmission RWD stinkin Lincoln.

Run four narrow snows (currently using Dunlops), carry good chains (see Diamond Chains at WWW.tirechain.com). So far the Lincoln has always made it over the App Gap with out chains. My previous vehicle (XR4Ti) usually need chains once per season.

Out West where they require chains, I might consider a AWD. In the East my experience has been 1-2 times a year chains are needed (for the last 4 miles of the trip) have not caused me to consider an AWD.
post #62 of 81
When I went up to Mount Washington BC, because of the frequent sudden snow dumps, they would not let you on the mountain road without chains, which I dutifully rented. You didn't need to put them on, you just had to have them. I was driving a Chevette at the time. I joked that their purpose was to add weight for traction to the rear wheels. Going up through a good 10 inches was never a problem. However, I very nearly had to eat my words on one trip down when I came pretty close to going offroad. Speed control is essential for downhill skiing in one's car.

BTW, anyone who has chains should practice putting them on BEFORE they are on the side of the road in a blizzard with traffic.
post #63 of 81
I spent last winter in PC with a chevy astro van on california summer tires. Remember, this past winter was pretty good for snow. Any way, I survived around PC no problem (except for salt damage). When I did cruise over to Alta, Solitude, Powder mountain in the dump days, I just threw on the chains and rocked.

So, 2 wheel drive will suffice as long as you can put those chains on in under 10 min.
post #64 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by PRAGMATICSKIER
I left Stowe at ~4:30 drove down 100 to Route 17 up to MRG used the phone at the ski club went back down to Waitsfield for dinner.
17 is one of my must favoritest roads in the east. I can't wait to take the Miata or MINI up and down it .
post #65 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Pugliese
17 is one of my must favoritest roads in the east. I can't wait to take the Miata or MINI up and down it .
yeah 17 is a sweet road to drive oon in the summer! In the winter I watch people getting stuck alot in the steep hairpin turn sections on the pass just before approaching Mad River Glenn.
post #66 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Pugliese
Tires..Tires...Tires...

4 (studded) snows on a FWD car is better than all seasons on a AWD car. Tires are what brings the power and control to the ground.

I just got a Subie Outback...I am planning on running 4 snows on it for the winter.
Phil is absolutely right. I ran rear engine and front drive VW's with 4 studded snows throught the 70's when I lived in Steamboat and never had a problem. I now have a Subaru GT wagon that I bought because no other Japanese company was making a wagon like it. Without snows it still slips on ice. I would not drive this in the mountains of Colorado without snows.

The only time that front wheel drive gives up much to my Subaru is going up hill on ice or a sloppy road, but modern traction control helps solves that problem. LewBob
post #67 of 81
This reminds me of going up the Mormon Emmigrant Trail to Xcountry ski. The road is closed all winter. We went up in the morning and skied, then returned in the afternoon.

The Sacramento 4X4 club was trying to run up this icy hill. The tire tracks had turned to icy chutes. They had deflated their big off-road tires and would roar up the hill lose tracktion then slide backwards into each other proving the domino theory lives.

After watching the carnage for a while, I grabbed a shovel and tossed sand from the road berm into the tracks. Shortly afterward a girl in a Honda Accord came zooming up the hill past these macho 4X4 guys like it was nothing.
post #68 of 81
Again, I'm not from around there, but I did borrow my dad's car and drive a twisty turny up and down road to the skihill every time the highschool busses were cancelled due to the weather (mostly rwd with positrac).

1) Of course snow tires are a MUST HAVE.
2) Don't forget that the studs will fly out of your snow tires the first time you floor it for a few minutes.
3) It's not a necessity, a little skill and good snows will get you through most anything, and good snow chains will do the rest (and help wear out your tires), but 4x4 or AWD is worth it in terms of less agravation with other drivers and having more options; you won't have to go so fast around the corners to get up that hill, and you won't be so pissed when some other driver forces you to slow down or take evasive maneuvers or otherwise alter you plan. Would I give up skiing to afford a 4x4? NO, I would get by with two wheel drive. I might however make do without the Dom Perignon, and cut down on the scotch.

If i lived where there were hills and curves and snow and ice I would not be happy with a 2wd (and most are 1wd). I would make sure I could leave 3 black marks on the road.
post #69 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost
2) Don't forget that the studs will fly out of your snow tires the first time you floor it for a few minutes.
This sounds like an exaggeration. I checked my studded snows last year before I put them back on the car and after a whole season I'd lost maybe 3 studs per tire.
post #70 of 81
Well I don't live in Utah, but I'd guess the roads down there are no more treacherous than Snowbowl road up here in Missoula. I'm quite glad to have AWD on my van, it regains traction in a slide much easier than FWD or RWD (I've tested this for fun on snowy streets in Missoula).

I put some snow tires on the front of it at some point last season, they were used, and the studs were worn down, but hey, they beat the worn out street tires I replaced with them. I think I'll get some more studs put in them this year, just for peace of mind.

Studs and AWD/4WD certainly can bolster safety when paired with driving skills and confidence, but they are no substitute for them.
post #71 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky
This sounds like an exaggeration. I checked my studded snows last year before I put them back on the car and after a whole season I'd lost maybe 3 studs per tire.
Maybe snows have improved. How fast does your car go when you keep it floored for five minutes?
post #72 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost
Maybe snows have improved. How fast does your car go when you keep it floored for five minutes?
LOL. My van does about 107 until it hits the fuel cut. 4.10 gears and all. Makes one kind of concerned about the RPMS its turning at 85 cruising down the highway....

I'm a big fan of modern studless snows....quieter than some of my aggressive summer tires, not outrageously priced, very effective on most surfaces.
post #73 of 81
Da**ed computers! Don't they know telling me to slow down is my wife's job. My old wagon would drive along as long as you pleased, trying it's best to reach 120. It was no race car, but at least it tried. My new one cuts out at about 115. The last car that I had studs on would bury the needle somewhere around 135 (speedo went to 120).

Studs are the best on ice.
post #74 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiingman
LOL. My van does about 107 until it hits the fuel cut. 4.10 gears and all. Makes one kind of concerned about the RPMS its turning at 85 cruising down the highway....

I'm a big fan of modern studless snows....quieter than some of my aggressive summer tires, not outrageously priced, very effective on most surfaces.
I think this is done because the manufacturer doesn't trust the tires and/or the handling of the vehicle at speeds over a certain limit (107 in your case); not because the engine can't take it.
post #75 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiingman
I'm a big fan of modern studless snows....quieter than some of my aggressive summer tires, not outrageously priced, very effective on most surfaces.
I'm going to be getting my first set of snow tires this winter. Which ones do you particularly like? Just curious.
post #76 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by verdugan
I'm going to be getting my first set of snow tires this winter. Which ones do you particularly like? Just curious.
Depends on application/size, but the best are Nokian Hakka's and Bridgestone Blizzaks.

If high speed use isn't an issue, don't get the "performance" model, because they won't work as well. Their advantage is better dry road performance and a higher speed rating.

For kicks, I purchased a set of Dunlop Graspics for my van last year. They aren't as nice as Bridgestone/Nokian, but they are significantly cheaper, and still miles better than any all season tire. Cheap too, 42 bucks a tire.

If your vehicle has 16/17 inch wheels, do yourself a flavor and downsize the wheels for the snows. The tires will be cheaper and work better with bigger sidewalls. I wouldn't even consider buying snows without an extra set of wheels regardless. Look around, I just bought an extra set of alloys for a hundred bucks shipped.
post #77 of 81
I've been driving in Utah for just about forty years. Driven everything from twd pick-ups to hard core 4x4s. Is modern electronic awd necessary? No. Would I consider buying a car that didn't have a modern awd system? NO!!!

yd
post #78 of 81
Thanks skiingman. I have a VW Jetta with 16". Speed is def. not an issue. I just want good grip. I hadn't thought of buying an extra set of wheels. Good idea though.

I'll check the Nokian Hakka's and Bridgestone Blizzaks.
post #79 of 81
Nice. Jetta with snows will be a very safe and rewarding drive in the winter. Best of luck.
post #80 of 81
Like someone said, spend your money on a class to learn about driving in slick conditions (or get a friend who knows what they are doing to ride with you as you spin around the local parking lot after a little snow). Once you have the driving tecniques down, then put good snow tires on the car you already have, no reason to buy a new car when all you really need is new tires.
We own a couple 4wd's but my wife used to go out on big snow days with her Integra that had good snow tires on it. If there was more than 18" of snow I might have to shovel the plow turds for her to get out, but if I drove the truck out first it isn't an issue. She just bought a WRX wagon, so she can get to work a little faster or something. We will see how that compares in the snow.
It's all about skill. I see trucks and cars of all types on and off the road every time it snows. I am sure that everything has to do with who is driving the vehicle.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost
Maybe snows have improved. How fast does your car go when you keep it floored for five minutes?
Does anyone just floor it for 5 min? Maybe all our cars have too much horsepower, but I think that would be a little scary.
post #81 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steamboat
I am sure that everything has to do with who is driving the vehicle.
That's quite an absolute statement. If that were the case rally cars wouldn't have all wheel drive, methinks.
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