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DrNewton

Bad Weather Driving

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Good morning.

I have searched the forums and found several threads on bad weather driving. I am not sure what the etiquette here is on starting new threads, if you would prefer me to add to an existing thread, then please let me know. :)

I currently have a 2007 Avensis T-Spirit Auto. I bought it in a hurry as my previous Ford Focus was written off in an accident. I really enjoy my Avensis, it has served me well, but I am starting to have to spend money on it. £2500 so far this year, with a new gear box and some sensors failing. I have also recently become self employed and am now wondering about how I can give myself the best chance of reaching my clients even in bad weather. We routinely have roads flooded here, although not deep, deep enough I wouldn't drive the Avensis through them. Also when we have snow and ice it can be hard to get anywhere as gritting is pretty awful. I was once stuck at work as it snowed during the day and I couldn't get home!

My mind is turning to the Rav 4. I was wondering how much extra benefit I get from having a 4x4 in the snow and ice (it would clearly be better for flooding) over and above an Avensis with winter tyres. I assume that a 4x4 with warm weather tyres isn't significantly better than a FWD car? Also, as I have MS I need to drive an auto, so does the autobox cope OK in the ice and snow?

I see that Toyota have started a Tyre hotel service to house your winter tyres when not using them. Has anyone used this? Is it reasonable value?

This is quite a tricky decision as it isn't often that we get snow, but wen we do it is dreadful, but my clients will expect me to make it to their offices nevertheless, so I need transport which will hold up!

I'm sorry for such a long post, but I would value your opinions, and my internet searches aren't giving me much in the way of robust information.

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Its always down to personal choice but I went for a rav4 for its 'all weather' ability, space and comfort, looks and hopefully reliability.

I wanted an SUV style car because where I live (Durham) the roads are a !Removed! awful potholed flooded mess all year round, and the county council put grit down in winter as if it was Channel No.5 - if they grit at all so I thought a 4x4 would at least give me a fighting chance in the snow.

Ironically we haven't had much snow in the 16 months or so I've owned the rav, but when the last bad snow hit I was driving a Kia Sportage on cheapo summer tyres and it wasn't stopped by the snow so I'm hoping the rav is similar.

And one good thing about a petrol 4x4 - you'll be nice and warm! I used to freeze in diesels in the winter until they'd warmed up!

Can't speak for the auto rav, but my manual petrol is growing on me the longer I keep it - toyota have been fairly useless for me as far as dealer support goes though, I guess that depends on indivudual dealerships but I wouldn't trust the Durham one with an airfix kit let alone my actual car!

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fwd car with winter tyres will probably keep going in conditions that will have a 4wd on summer tyres spinning it's wheels. Of course a 4wd + winter tyres trumps that.

& if it isn't grip that is the problem but ride height for clearance then an SUV style wins.

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Yeah, winter tyres give a bigger traction advantage than 4x4 in icy conditions. As long as you're not trying to plough through giant snow drifts (In which case a hilux or even forester might be a better choice!), getting some cheap steel rims and some good winter tyres should be enough to keep you going with your Avensis.

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I'm not sure that some of these statements are entirely true ...

The tests seem to show that, below 7 degrees C, a cold weather tyre will have 20% more grip than the equivalent summer tyre.

So under these conditions a 2wd car fitted with winter tyres will have 20% more traction than a 2wd car with summer tyres. A 4wd vehicle drives all four wheel so a 4wd vehicle with summer tyres will have 100% more traction than a 2wd car with summer tyres and 80% more traction than a 2wd car with winter tyres. A 4wd vehicle with winter tyres will have 100% more traction than a 2wd car with winter tyres. In terms of traction the 4wd always wins.

All cars have basically the same 4 wheel braking system - a 4wd offers no real advantage. So when it comes to stopping a 2wd car with winter tyres will stop 20% shorter than a 4wd vehicle on summer tyres.

The bottom line however is however many driven wheel you have, winter tyres are a good idea in freezing conditions.

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there are any amount of tests (& videos) showing that a 2wd (preferably fwd) on winter tyres can keep going when a 4wd on summers can not.

In Autoexpress's test published just this week they mentioned that their test car on summer tyres couldn't even make it to the test track on 2 occasions when all the others (incl. all-weather tyre shod) did. The whole article is worth a read.

( http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/accessories-tyres/66645/winter-tyres-test-reviews-and-prices-for-2014-2015)

P.S. I've just fitted a set of TS850 Ps to my car which is the latest version & supposedly better again than the standard 850s. Saved ~£50 a tyre having them delivered from Poland (oponeo.co.uk). Very, very nearly bought a set of Nokians though albeit a different pattern as D3s not available in the size.

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It's true in theory but in practice, it seems most AWD/4WD systems suck quite badly on slick surfaces like loose snow and ice. The only exceptions seem to be things that have three LSD's like Subarus and AWD/4WD's that can lock up all the diffs.

I was watching some vids on YouTube and part-time AWDs like the RAV4 don't seem to fare too well on slippy snow and ice surfaces :(

And that's only for moving off on a flat surface. For cornering, braking and moving off on an incline on snow, the winter tyres win every time!

There are lots of videos on youtube if you search for "winter tyres vs awd 4x4 4wd"

Some of the amateur videos of people testing this stuff are quite amusing :lol:

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Thanks for the helpful answers everyone. My Avensis is about to have the 80k mile service, so depending on what they find I may look to change it anyway, but I am hoping that I can keep it for a while longer. Putting winter tyres on looks like a good option, although I am rather taken with the Rav 4 :D

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Guest

All good advice from above, but bearing in mind that you are close to me, good all weather tyres keep you going in the weather we have down here, I have stuck with the factory fit Geo 91a and have had no issue in the weather over the last 6 winters with what I consider sensible driving.

What I will warn you about though is the air intake on the Rav is relatively low, so it is possible to suck up water if you hit a volume of water at speed, I am aware of one member who bricked his Rav engine by hitting a big puddle in the dark/low light and the corrosponding splashes of water found its way into the air intake!

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Lots of 4x4s round here appear to be fitted with normal road tyres. In the bad winter three years ago,,a driver was killed in one as it skidded on ice and landed upside down in a river drowning the driver.. Yes it was a RAV4..

Not much works on ice...except chains.

Those were exceptional conditions with heavy rain overnight followed by rapid sky clearance and a hard frost (-10C). Walls, trees, pavements and roads were covered in a sheet of glassy ice.

Lots of A&E visits from pedestrians who slipped and stuck out an arm.

I walked that morning and found myself sliding on the pavement towards the main road. A pole for a roadlight stopped me..(without damage).

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Lots of 4x4s round here appear to be fitted with normal road tyres. In the bad winter three years ago,,a driver was killed in one as it skidded on ice and landed upside down in a river drowning the driver.. Yes it was a RAV4..

Not much works on ice...except chains.

Those were exceptional conditions with heavy rain overnight followed by rapid sky clearance and a hard frost (-10C). Walls, trees, pavements and roads were covered in a sheet of glassy ice.

Lots of A&E visits from pedestrians who slipped and stuck out an arm.

I walked that morning and found myself sliding on the pavement towards the main road. A pole for a roadlight stopped me..(without damage).

Yikes, that is nasty. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that if I want a Rav 4 I should get it because I like it rather than being under the impression that it is going to be a major benefit in bad weather.

Just spent the afternoon going around garages... Toyota, Mazda, Volvo, Lexus etc... Other than the Rav 4, and the Avensis, I didn't see much I liked.

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The RAV4 is good in fresh snow, I never got beat with mine.

Also the early ones with permanent four wheel drive also have four wheel braking when you lift off the throttle.

Phil

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4x4s still need winter tyres on them. If you were to keep the avensis though, it'll do very well with winter tyres. I've had winter tyres on my two previous cars and will never be without them. Just got my aygo this year and its been kitted out with them just last week.

I drive automatic and they don't perform any worse than manual cars, its a common misconception mainly thought by those manual drivers. Mine is an automated manual so I tend to still set off in second gear even with winter tyres just to make sure I'm setting off with as least wheel spin as possible, and I just touch my foot on the gas pedal to set off.

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It's just a control thing; For instance in a manual it's much easier to rock the car out of a rut as you can just rev, dip the clutch to let it roll back, then power on again to get the pendulum effect. It's much harder in an auto since you have to actually shift between drive and neutral to do a similar thing.

Also, in a manual you don't have to use 2nd gear to move off as you can finesse the torque in first with the clutch, which you can't do in an auto.

There are advantages with proper autos like CVT, torque converters and HSD's tho' - I remember an episode of Top Gear where they found autos were better for keeping a car going as there is no break in power delivery as you climb gears, whereas in a manual you have to lift off, shift, then re-engage, and at that point you can wheelspin due to the sudden torque changes. It's even worse when you're going up a hill and loosing speed but trying to keep your momentum going; Most autos will downshift smoothly but when downshifting in a manual it is very easy to break traction due to the large torque increase going from 2nd to 1st!

Traction control has largely removed the need for any actual skill when accelerating on slippy surfaces these days, although sometimes it can be more of a hindrance than a help!

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One other point about winter tyres. If you regularly drive in hilly towns, winter tyres will help you get up and down snowy hills with ease.

But if there is a lot of traffic, you will get stuck anyway... (buses and lorries rarely have winter tyres)..

When we lived in Banffshire in NE Scotland many years ago, my father and I always used winter tyres as snow was a regular occurrence and the roads were semi deserted..

Now I live in England, it's two to three days a year need in winter

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Never a truer word spoken ... :)

A RAV 4 with winter tyres would be pretty unstoppable in terms of what the UK weather could throw at it. But in the south east of England in particular that capability is of little use when the roads are chocked with other vehicles that just can't cope ... :D

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Never a truer word spoken ... :)

A RAV 4 with winter tyres would be pretty unstoppable in terms of what the UK weather could throw at it. But in the south east of England in particular that capability is of little use when the roads are chocked with other vehicles that just can't cope ... :D

that's why I set off early in the morning and when schools were shutting early one day, I waited until later on in the afternoon to set off. Best drive home from work I ever had.

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At least we don't have to go to these extremes ..... yet ......

b1460f4b.jpg.505x650_q85.jpg

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Thank you to everyone for your answers, you have given me a lot of great information to base a decision on. :)

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Providing the roads are not choked with vehicles and nothing is moving, then 4x4 vehicles don't get stuck, it's the drivers who get 'em stuck!

Some (many) 4x4 owners think that makes them immune. It doesn't. You can get stuck anytime in anything if you only use one brain cell at a time. If you are sensible, understand how to drive properly, then you won't get stuck.

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