How to Stay Safe Behind the Wheel when the Snow Starts Flying - Osgar's Autobody

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How to Stay Safe Behind the Wheel when the Snow Starts Flying

December 08, 2016

Regardless of whether you are in Mansfield, Ohio, or anywhere else that sees ice and snow in the winter, you will more than likely want to know which set up is the best for driving in winter weather.  Would it be rear wheel drive?  Four wheel drive?  All wheel drive?  Front wheel drive?

Here is a look at some characteristics of each.

Four Wheel Drive

This is the system that is typically found in trucks and SUVS that are truck based.  Most systems like this work only part time.  This means that the power from the engine will only go to the rear wheels unless or until the driver engages the axles in the front.  In general, the front to rear power split isn’t adjustable.  When the truck is in 4WD mode, 50% of the output from the engine goes to the front wheels and the other half to the rear wheels.  These systems are good for low speed use in deep snow that hasn’t been plowed.  The thing is, 4WD systems are very heavy and can weigh the truck down and cause mileage to be lower.

Front Wheel Drive

This is the system found in most cars today and even in SUVs that are crossovers.  It might surprise you to know that systems like this can be pretty tenacious when it comes to driving in wintry conditions due to the weight of the engine being right on top of the wheels doing the work.  This type of system is vastly superior to a rear wheel drive vehicle, especially when you want to stay out of an autobody shop in Mansfield, Ohio.   Add a good set of snow tires to this system and you will be good to go unless the snow is unreasonably deep.  This system is also one that is more cost efficient than 4WD is. 

All Wheel Drive

In this system, power from the engine is sent to all 4 of the wheels – or even to an individual wheel – as needed, to maintain good traction.  This is an option that you can get on many new cars, minivans, wagons, and crossovers today.  This system gives you excellent traction on roads that are covered with snow in the winter.  Also of note is the fact that this type of system doesn’t require any sort of input from the driver, the power from the engine will automatically go to the wheel (or wheels) that need it most.  On the downside, this type isn’t really meant for use off road and because of the weight of the system, performance and fuel economy can both be affected.

Rear Wheel Drive

This is the system that most cars in the past had.  The engine will still sit up front, but the power will be routed to the rear wheels.  This system spreads the weight evenly across the frame of the vehicle and tends to be much lighter than All Wheel Drive models.  However, this is not the system that you want to be driving in the snow – unless you want to end up at Osgar's Autobody.  You will find yourself fishtailing more than moving forward.  Pickups with this system are especially bad in the snow and the rear ends can have a mind of their own even on dry, summer roads.

The thing is, there is more to take into account than just will it work well in the snow.  Even in colder places, the roads stay plowed pretty well so there will only be a few days a year when this is a concern.  How will it work the rest of the year?  Take all of that into account before deciding on one.

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