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first season driving my truck in the snow, need some advice

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by Taco D'Voe, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. Nov 28, 2010 at 6:00 PM
    #1
    Taco D'Voe

    Taco D'Voe [OP] Member

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    none so far!
    we had our first snowfall here last week and I was not doing as great as i thought I would on the roads.

    I have a 2010 trd access cab. Everything is still stock along with the tires.

    I found the truck sliding down hills when trying to brake, even while in 4x4, going slow and making sure to take it easy.

    abs was kicking in, but the truck was just coasting down the hill. Luckily came to a stop before hitting anything.

    I've driven front wheel-drive cars in the snow all my life, never had any real issues ripping around and stopping with good snow tires.

    Now I'm wondering what I'm doing wrong? do i need different tires? should i be adding weight to the back of the truck? is it just a lack of driving experience?

    any suggestions would be appreciated, snow is all gone for now but i want to get this sorted out before the next dump.
     
  2. Nov 28, 2010 at 6:21 PM
    #2
    Simon's Mom

    Simon's Mom Wag More Bark Less

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    Find an empty parking lot far away from anything, poles & curbs included, where its snowy and carefully try out what the truck will do.
    When in actual traffic try to be easy on the gas. Sometimes going down hill, i drop it down into 4 even 3 depending on the steepness of the hill & conditions. Not sure if you have auto or not. I will even do this driving my Honda thats manual trans.
    The ABS is very touchy, at least in my 2006.
    I have driven a truck in snow for a long time but feel this truck back end kicks out more than any other. We tow a lot so I went with dedicated winter tires.
     
  3. Nov 28, 2010 at 6:26 PM
    #3
    Demoncleaner

    Demoncleaner Well-Known Member

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    Wouldn' t hurt to put 200 lbs in bed for snow driving. But thats more for takeoffs, hillclimbs in Rwd, and keeping back in line on corners. Weight wouldnt have helped you stop.

    No idea where u are, but if u live or always travel in true snow country, snow tires for winter or better 'A' rated H/T or A/T all-season tires wouldn't hurt. We all know the stock treads are crap.

    On any typical snow covered road, I'd take any 2wd car w/ snow tires over a 4wd w/ all-seasons.
     
  4. Nov 28, 2010 at 6:31 PM
    #4
    BeardedWeirdo

    BeardedWeirdo Junior Mint

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    OK...most people think that with 4WD you can drive however you want because it makes it safer. Having 4WD in the snow does NOT make you a safe driver nor does it make you any less likely to have an accident in the snow. 4WD helps you get traction. That's ALL it does. All that means is that if you are on the snow and accelerate, when most people have 2 wheels turning and it slips and they get stuck because they can't move, you have 4 wheels turning which gives you slightly more grip and traction. When it comes to braking, you're fucked just as bad as someone with 2WD. When you press the brakes and all your wheels stop, guess what? You're sliding with no control. Just like someone with 2WD.

    Remember, 4WD is for traction to get moving...it doesn't help you stopping. Every time it snows I see stupid assholes doing 80-90 MPH down the interstate just because they're in a 4x4 and have the traction. But they can't stop for shit in snow and ice. Be responsible in the snow. Even with 4WD, take it slow and careful. 4WD is not a fix-all for bad weather.
     
  5. Nov 28, 2010 at 6:34 PM
    #5
    joe812

    joe812 Well-Known Member

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    Keep your RPM's low and drive like you don't have brakes. It's easier to do with a manual vs. an automatic. I previously had an all wheel drive Audi A4 that was like a GD tank in the snow (as long as it wasnt too deep), but I also had a Wrangler and a Pathfinder years ago. I think the difference is the truck has a higher center of gravity and will slide more on turns etc. Just take it easy and you'll be fine.
     
  6. Nov 28, 2010 at 6:38 PM
    #6
    Taco D'Voe

    Taco D'Voe [OP] Member

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    none so far!
    thanks for your suggestions.

    It basically came down to how well the truck handled braking. Going up hills i had no trouble so like it was suggested, weight in the back won't necessarily make it any easier to stop.

    What about tire pressure? would i have better grip with the recommended air pressures front and back or should i go a bit lower on the pressure?

    I'd like to figure out the issue without having to spend more money, but if the biggest issue is the crappy stock tires, what would you all recommend? looks like the at/2's are highly recommended around here or should i be looking at dedicated snow tires?


    truck is manual btw. I'm located in vancouver, canada. Not a lot of snow on the roads normally here but i will be going up to the mountain lots for snowboarding.
     
  7. Nov 28, 2010 at 6:43 PM
    #7
    joe812

    joe812 Well-Known Member

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    ARE LSII Cover w/ BedRug, CravenSpeed Shorty Antenna, Husky Liners, Wet Okole Seat Covers, OEM Tube Steps, Bilstein 5100 set @ 1.75 with rear leaf TSB.
    I have Pirelli Scorpion ATRs and I am happy with them. A lot of people rave about the Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac's. They are also an all terrain tire but are rated for "snow service" whatever that means. They also look bad ass.
     
  8. Nov 28, 2010 at 6:59 PM
    #8
    BenWA

    BenWA Well-Known Member

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    Which stock tires do you have? BFG Rugged Trails? If so, they are not a horrible tire in snow, especially if they have low miles and still have fresh tread blocks and siping.

    If you have the Dunlop stock tires, getting better snow-ready tires will help. A LOT. Your local tire shop should be able to recommend a good winter driving tire. Deep tread blocks for snow, siping for ice.

    Tires are THE most important thing when it comes to driving on snow, with driver skill coming in as a close second.

    Tacomas are great in the snow. They are generally very predictable and forgiving when it comes to entering skids and losing traction, and generally give you ample chance to recover before the shit really hits the fan.


    With that said, here are some basic winter driving tips:
    -slow down
    -be as smooth and gradual as possible with your control inputs -- no sharp sudden moves
    -plan WAY ahead
    -stay off the brakes -- instead, downshift to control speed (even if you have an automatic)
    -accelerate slightly around curves to keep the fore-aft vehicle weight properly distributed on the outside tires
    -always look for the best available road surface: deep untracked snow is better than packed snow, packed snow is better than glare ice, etc.
    -when going around a curve, the outside tires always have more weight than the inside tires, and thus it is more critical to keep the outside tires on the best available road surface

    When entering a skid in low traction conditions, the most common mistake is to panic and hit the brakes hard. It's generally the worst thing you can do. On hills, downshifting to first gear while in 4Hi should get you close to a stop. Learn to downshift to dump excess speed and accelerate to get out of an incipient skid. Practice in an empty parking lot.


    EDIT: I just read that you are in Vancouver. PNW snow is some of the slipperiest snow anywhere and is VERY difficult to drive in. It has such high moisture content that it packs into ice almost instantly. It's not like the drier stuff we got back in New England. Don't be too proud to invest in some tire chains. Sometimes when it snows around here they are the only thing that will get you down a hill without ending up in the pile of cars at the bottom. I lived in northern Vermont for years, and drove on snow covered roads many days per year ever since i learned to drive 20 years ago. And I can tell you that PNW snow is FAR more difficult to get around in.
     
  9. Nov 28, 2010 at 7:24 PM
    #9
    Project.paradigm

    Project.paradigm Well-Known Member

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    dedicated snow tires will out perform ANY all season. Even a cheap winter tire will help a lot. I put winter tires on every vehicle i own whether 4x4, 2WD, FWD. Also, if your concerned about the cost, it'll make you summer/all season tires last that much longer. You're in BC, i'd go to a Kal Tire. They'll have lot's of options for you. A second set of rims is convenient, you can just rotate on you summer and winter sets and not pay for balancing and change over fees. I'm running Yokohama Geolander i/t this winter, they're good but i think the Nokians i had last year might have been better.
     
  10. Nov 28, 2010 at 7:30 PM
    #10
    xodeuce

    xodeuce mmmmmmbourbon.

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    Lock rear in 2wd-hi.

    :burnrubber:

    :D
     
  11. Nov 28, 2010 at 7:35 PM
    #11
    dlthunder

    dlthunder Well-Known Member

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    You will find a lot of threads on here re: snow traction. I personally use a set of studded tires in the winter, as someone else said, 4X helps you go, tires make you stop. I have the General AT2s from Tirerack, but there are a lot of other options (both studded and not). My co-worker has the AT2s without studs and he does very well in the snow (they are severe weather rated).
     
  12. Nov 28, 2010 at 7:46 PM
    #12
    Simon's Mom

    Simon's Mom Wag More Bark Less

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    yes I finally went with a studded snow tire on the tacoma (on my 3rd season). The snow in Vermont is not fluffy anymore...the State has gone to using brine on the roadways to save costs. Snow+Brine makes hardpack ice. Lots of black ice, wet snow, severe temp flucuations, rain & slush, the most I have seen in the last 30+ years. The winters have changed.
    With the studs I hardly use 4wd anymore and the truck stops very well.
    That is all you hear in the parking lots now tickticktick...
    Not sure if the OP wants or can go that route, there are some nice non-studded soft compound tires that are just like running studs. Blizzaks or Geolanders come to mind.
     
  13. Nov 28, 2010 at 7:54 PM
    #13
    '02TRD

    '02TRD Well-Known Member

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    new tires!! and like already mentioned, take the truck out where its clear and carefully play around. trucks drive a lot different than a front wheel drive car. biggest thing is to get comfortable driving your truck in the snow.
     
  14. Nov 28, 2010 at 8:16 PM
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    Trap

    Trap Well-Known Member

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    If the back end is sliding out a bit of weight in the back is always the best. It's a truck with a really light back end. The other one is keep the gas thank full. It's weight after all.
    Vancouver has some of the worst snow driving conditions around. It's really slick. Best is anticipation. If you know you are going to go down a hill slow down before you even get to it. Get used to shifting really smoothly. You do know you need really good tires in that town in the winter ay? Might want to remove the ones you have and put on some real winters. Keep what you have for dry pavement.

    Take it out to someplace and practice. You need practice and the manual is not helping you right now. It's just one more complication.

    You watch Canada's Worst Drivers? The way you have to drive is like you have that big tank of water strapped to the top. No sudden acceleration changes.
     
  15. Nov 28, 2010 at 8:26 PM
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    skistoy

    skistoy Make mine a Double!

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    I have found the goodyear Duratracs to be a great tire for winter.

    Its a all-terrain tire that is actually snow rated

    Being from buffalo i know snow, we just got 4-6 inches friday night.

    tires still performing wonderfully,

    thats why i got them with only 4000 miles on the truck when new.
     
  16. Nov 28, 2010 at 8:27 PM
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    DigB

    DigB Go Jets GO!!!!!!

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    When your coming down a hill and begin to skid, try slipping your trunk into neutral, that way your truck's drive tires have zero power going to them and they aren't pushing you down the hill. Here in Winnipeg they stress that point in Drivers Ed classes as an easy way to help prevent skidding on ice, I find it helps. The other bit of advice is to drive very defensively, that is going to save your ass everytime, don't be in a rush, in the winter on bad roads there is no reason to risk getting in an accident! Tires sure help as well! I have Duratracs and they are excellent I would say they are as good as some snow tires i had on my old VW as far as braking distance.
     
  17. Nov 28, 2010 at 8:29 PM
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    dirtytaco2010

    dirtytaco2010 Well-Known Member

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    sand bags over your axle and use your gears. invest in tires too
     
  18. Nov 28, 2010 at 8:40 PM
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    Yoytoda

    Yoytoda The Little Truck That Could

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    tires tires tires...

    my truck does damn good in the snow with the duratracs...
     
  19. Nov 28, 2010 at 8:51 PM
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    squamish VFR

    squamish VFR Well-Known Member

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    I haven't read the whole thread but YES if you are running stock tires get them off and get FULL ON snow tires. I'm in Squamish and commute to Whistler snow tires matter for sure. Craigslist has tons of rims to mount your snow tires to and then it's easy. Yes it's alot of cash but the up side is that with two sets of wheels you won't have to buy tires for five or more years and you can swap them yourself. I run spidertrax 1.25" spacers to give room for tire chains, Toyo winter tires on OEM black powdercoated rims for winter and FJ rims for summer. Mine is manual also and I think it's decent in the snow, though it won't go into 4Low.
     
  20. Nov 28, 2010 at 9:07 PM
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    SubFrozen

    SubFrozen r00t

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    The worst snow you can drive in is the slush that's melted on the road, ice in the middle and powder on the top. Once your tires pack into their tread what's on top, the slush takes over and you slide on skates.

    I highly suggest all drivers invest in a good set of Summer All Terrain tires, and a set of studded or siped Winter tires. When you think about it, a good set of season-specific tires for a grand or so is much cheaper than an accident, especially if others are involved.. Invest in what is important; good tires.

    Then invest in time to hit a parking lot and test your driving, response, etc. I spent half an hour today here in Utah testing my truck, both in 2x4 and 4x4 to determine how easy it is to lose control, and regain it on a snowy, icy surface. Most people don't have the experience I do growing up in Alaska, driving on frozen lakes. Take your time, don't be afraid to lose control, and then, re-gain it and figure out stopping distances at different speeds, sideways and forwards.

    Good luck, invest in good tires.
     
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