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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all. I am no stranger to driving in snow, having lived in WI for all 14 years of my driving career.

I fitted my previous 2 cars (one Front drive, the other rear drive) with snow tires, and had no issues driving ever, unless it was just to deep to pass.

I got my 4wd escape v6xlt this past summer, and just started thinking how it will be. Its the first 4wd car i've ever driven, and it has the stock tires. any tips? do you think swapping for snow tires is worth it? does the 4x4 really help that much? traction control off or on? things like that.. i'm not new to winter driving, just new to 4wd SUV
 

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I just did my first driving in snow and ice with LOCKDWN and had absolutely no problems with the stock tires. But then again, it's not WI snow and ice either.
 

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im curious to know this as well.
i know that on my 01 escape if the front wheels spin the rear tranny engages and the back tires get 50% of the engine power. thats where the automatic 4x4 comes in.
but what i want to know is when you should use full time 4x4 with the switch on the dashboard?
and sorry to thread hack but if you have the e-brake pulled and and front tires are spinning does the rear axle still engage?
im trying to plan out my snow drifting activites :yes:
 

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I got Ean two summers ago. Last winter was absolutely awful here in NE. We had two blizzards in a row. We had atleast 2 feet of snow on the ground. I had absolutely no issues driving in the snow. Ean is 4x4. I even went to pick my friend up and her street wasn't plowed yet. Ean just tore down the street :yahoo: Because of Ean I now how fewer things to worry about in the winter. My college hardly ever closes, even if the public schools do they don't, so usually I am out driving to school when I shouldn't be. Like you said you haven't had problems unless it was too deep to pass. I think you should be fine. :)
 

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I've found the Escape to be very capable in the snow with all season tires. The 4x4 system is very handy when it comes to getting the vehicle moving from a stop and going up hills. Once you are moving, Escapes are basically front wheel drive. It won't help you stop or stay on the road if you his a slick spot. Snow tires will help more in these situations. Do I think snow tires are worth the cost... I'm not sure. I've been driven my Escape through 7 New Jersey winters (the last one was really bad). I've never gotten myself stuck and I've always made it to my destination. I don't have traction control so I can't comment on whether it helps. I would imagine it would in most situations...
 

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The snow tire debate is one that cannot be won.

Tire companies want you to buy them. Why? To sell more tires. Using Snows in winter doesn't really prolong the life of the all season tires because in the cold all seasons wear down very, very little. So, net net, you are buying more tires. The safety argument is hard to ignore but in my humble opinion, at least on the Escapes, the a/s tires are adequate. Check tire rack's reviews on the Cross Terrain (17" rims) or the other OE tires.

However, on some newer cars that are running low profile "all season" rubber, the only "all seasons" they are good for are Florida's seasons. Snow tires are a necessity.

25 years of driving, including in Northern Canada. We had winter tires on our Van because the all seasons were horrid on water, never mind snow. My wife's Mercedes has winter tires for the reason listed above - all season by title only. Otherwise, unless you are skiing in the mountains every weekend, the a/s tires should be just fine. The hype is only there to sell tires......
 

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RobtRoma said:
I don't have traction control so I can't comment on whether it helps. I would imagine it would in most situations...
Actually, Traction control in snow, and definitely starting off on icy roads, is usually best turned off. If the wheel spins, the brakes come on and you go nowhere. This is why I wonder about tire shops that tell people to just put up with the TPMS light instead of installing sensors in winter rims. No TPMS, then traction control is on all the time for safety - cannot be disabled. I have turned off traction control many times to get moving on icy roads - sometimes you just have to spin the tires a bit to get some forward motion.
 

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Snow tires are made of a different, softer compound that doesn't harden like ordinary All Season tires. Softer compound means better traction, as it has more grip on snow and ice. All season tires are a compromise of soft AND hard rubber compounds. Having been a driving instructor for many years here in Alberta, Canada, I used to tell all my students.....4 wheel drive doesn't mean 4 wheel stop! 4 wheel drive gives you better traction on start up, not stopping. You will slide just the same as a 2 wheel drive vehicle. I always encouraged people on not becoming too overconfident driving on snow and ice just because you have a 4 wheel drive vehicle. Always drive according to the conditions of the road in whatever weather you're driving in.
 

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fotojack said:
Snow tires are made of a different, softer compound that doesn't harden like ordinary All Season tires. Softer compound means better traction, as it has more grip on snow and ice. All season tires are a compromise of soft AND hard rubber compounds. Having been a driving instructor for many years here in Alberta, Canada, I used to tell all my students.....4 wheel drive doesn't mean 4 wheel stop! 4 wheel drive gives you better traction on start up, not stopping. You will slide just the same as a 2 wheel drive vehicle. I always encouraged people on not becoming too overconfident driving on snow and ice just because you have a 4 wheel drive vehicle. Always drive according to the conditions of the road in whatever weather you're driving in.
Well said! :thumb: :)
 

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fotojack said:
Snow tires are made of a different, softer compound that doesn't harden like ordinary All Season tires. Softer compound means better traction, as it has more grip on snow and ice. All season tires are a compromise of soft AND hard rubber compounds. Having been a driving instructor for many years here in Alberta, Canada, I used to tell all my students.....4 wheel drive doesn't mean 4 wheel stop! 4 wheel drive gives you better traction on start up, not stopping. You will slide just the same as a 2 wheel drive vehicle. I always encouraged people on not becoming too overconfident driving on snow and ice just because you have a 4 wheel drive vehicle. Always drive according to the conditions of the road in whatever weather you're driving in.
Probably explains why most vehicles upside down in a snowy ditch are luxury SUVs.

Of course, Jim Kenzie cautioned about overconfidence with Snow Tires as well a couple of years ago. Since they provide better grip in some situations, the fear is that people with 4 winter tires will drive through snow and ice like it's dry pavement is very real. Sadly, the most recent Blizzak TV ads seem to reinforce that falsehood.

I do agree that many winter tires are better in sloppy conditions than many A/S tires. I just don't think they are a necessity if you have good a/s rubber and live in an urban area that gets little snow (ie: Toronto) and the roads get triple salted when it does.

My Cross Terrains have a higher snow rating on Tire Rack than a lot of the cheaper winter tires...I worry about people buying Chinese winter tires from WalMart and thinking that is safer than a good set of Michelin or Goodyear all seasons. I doubt it.

PS: a minus 49 degree windchill>
 

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kmoose said:
I worry about people buying Chinese winter tires from WalMart and thinking that is safer than a good set of Michelin or Goodyear all seasons. I doubt it.
+1
 

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I would say if you live in an area without a ton of snow (or don't go out when there is), then you should be fine with a/s or an all weather tire like the goodyear triple treads. Personally, I find the expense of a dedicated winter tire to be worth while for the added safety. I've found myself caught in popup blizzards driving along the great lakes a few times, and was extremely happy to have the added grip.

Also, as others have pointed out on this thread (and can't be emphasized enough) 4wd does nothing to help you stop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Cool. Good discussion. thanks for all the thoughts.

My history with snow tires would say i love them, and i do. however: first car was a 93 toyota MR2. a great car, and mid engine + rear wheel drive. I was into modding it back then , and had fancy summer only tires, so i NEEDED them, wouldn't be able to go anywhere. the blizzaks i got worked flawlessly and i went through 2.5 pair. I still have them to sell if anyone wants them. on rims. :) Mid engine put all the weight over the wheels, and i had grip to no end.

my 2nd snow tire equipped car was the mazda3. I was prepared to go without snow tires until winter hit, and i found out the stock eagle RS-A tires were like plastic power wheels tires, and had negative grip. I swear if the wind blew strong enough, and i was stopped, i would move backwards. i couldn't go anywhere at all, so i got snow tires again. And like the first car, they made it unstoppable in the snow.

Now with the 4wD i am looking forward to testing it, but as many have mentioned, breaking is not affected by 4wd. its a heavy car, heavier than my other 2. so we'll see how it goes. I wish it had 2 speed 4wd though, that'd be a proper truck.

does anyone happen to know the bolt pattern, and if its the same as a mazda3? i still have that set of rims+tires too, and would think of using them if i slid around more than i'd like. both sets of snow tires + rims for sale too, 100 for the 14" and 150 for the ones off the mazda! pick up onluy.
 

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Enough talking, I like watching....courtesy of some cool guy on You Tube:


The ONLY thing I like about winter is playing in the snow. :yahoo:
 

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Rubber on AS tires that are more than 5 years old start to harden ---> not good during the winter, it'll be like driving with Tonka wheels.

No matter what boots your Escape wears, I always believe that prudence and patience is key during the winter (heck, all year round too).

That guy doing donuts in the snow, doing similar driving is how I learned how to relax and not panic during winter driving. I didn't do donuts. I used to practice in mall parking lots and empty streets. I'd put the car (rear wheel drive '76 Impala) into a skid and try to recover. I used to love going down (an empty) street, fishtailing (controlled steering and gas....no brakes) all the way. :angel:
 

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Airmapper said:
Enough talking, I like watching....courtesy of some cool guy on You Tube:


The ONLY thing I like about winter is playing in the snow. :yahoo:
Thanks for the link!. :) :thumb:
If we had snow in south australia, i could handle that type of fun.
My state does not have snow.
The state of ' Victoria ' has it, but out in the high country.
 

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There is winter driving to get around safely and there is winter driving that requires skills regardless of the vehicle.
It has been proven that good winter tires are preffered to all season tires for snow and ice.Its all in the compound and the tread design.Also bear in mind that winter tires are not for off-roading.They will shred to pieces as easily as off-road tires are worn when speeding on the highway.
Nothing beats sensible driving when it comes to winter conditions.
The Escape in particular, at least the pre-2005 cars excel in the snow with the all season tires and only the height of the snow can stop them.It is only when ice comes along that some extra caution is required.
Example.There is a 10% downhill road covered with blue ice.There are a few things that you must know with the Escape to make the descent safely.
As for that little video I saw, fun to watch, bad example in case someone wants to do that on the road.
 

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Just go an e-news letter from a local Honda dealership that had an article on Winter tires. I thought it was interesting reading so I thought I would share. Of course it's from a car dealership and there was an add to their current tire promotions above the link to the article. A little added incentive to get people to buy winter tires maybe? Read for yourself:

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Article from Fun Facts & Savings from D&C Honda of Tenafly, NJ: October 18, 2010

Winter Tires - Not Just For Snowy States
Colder weather demands winter rubber compounds to ensure safe driving.

Anyone who lives where it gets cold during the winter months should strongly consider purchasing a set of dedicated winter tires for their automobile. The additional traction and control offered by winter tires makes them one of the smartest additions available for increasing your driving safety.

There are a few myths surrounding winter tires. Many drivers have been led to believe that all-season tires are sufficient for winter travel, and that winter tires are reserved exclusively for those who regularly have to plow through snowdrifts on their daily commutes.

Unfortunately, this is simply not true. While all-season tires are sufficient for driving in the rainy conditions many states encounter during winter months, once the temperature drops below a certain point, all-season tires can no longer be considered safe even on dry pavement. This is because the rubber used in all-season tires is incapable of maintaining maximum grip on the road once the mercury starts to drop.

According to Goodyear, once the thermometer indicates 45 degrees F or less, the rubber in all-season and summer tires begins to harden to the point where stopping distances are increased and traction is limited. Even drivers piloting all-wheel drive vehicles will notice reduced braking performance, especially during emergency stops, as well as less control in the corners. The colder it gets, the less safe all-season tires are to use on your vehicle.

Winter tires avoid cold-weather performance problems thanks to the use of special rubber formulations specifically designed to remain supple and sticky in even the lowest temperatures. The technology and engineering that go into helping winter tires defeat colder weather is considerable; as a result, the rubber used in these tires allows for braking and cornering that is well within the limits of safety, even at colder temperatures.

Special tread patterns are another important feature of winter tires. These help the rubber bite into snow, ice and slush and deliver the kind of traction drivers need to keep moving forward through blizzards and over hard packed winter roads. Special tread blocks use sharp edges to cut into the snow while certain designs also trap snow in tires' grooves to take advantage of its sticky properties and bond the tire to the snow that remains on the ground.

Don't make the mistake of mixing snow tires and regular tires on your vehicle. While this might seem like a thrifty option, Goodyear recommends against it because the difference in traction between winter tires and all-season tires can dramatically unbalance an automobile. Think of it as driving a car that is riding on two tires in excellent condition and two that are dangerously bald. The dangers of this kind of tire setup arise when trying to stop or turn sharply, as one end of the car could either slide out sideways or push forward, unable to respond to any driver inputs.

In the final analysis, owning a good set of winter tires is not only safer than driving on all-season or summer tires throughout the winter, but it also provides a financial advantage as well. Since each set of tires will only be driven for half the year at most, the lifespan of that rubber will effectively double, giving you many more years of service and evening out your costs over time. Winter tires offer a safe and economically sound method of getting from point A to point B during the colder months of the year.
 

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