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So I know a lot of you guys live in the PNW, or used to at least. Last time I was on these forums was with Snowolf. I am finally moving out west to he Tacoma area. I have a FWD Rav4. I was wondering if I am gonna have to trade up for the sport version with 4WD. I am not looking to go barreling through storms. Just when there is a pow day after a big storm it'd be nice to be able to make it up to the Cascades and ride.

Am I good with just FWD and snow tires as long as I don't try to get through passes during a storm? Do I need chains? Do I need AWD?

Unfortunately with my car I don't think I have the clearance for chains so I really wanna know if I can risk it as long as I'm realistic.

Thanks
 

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So I know a lot of you guys live in the PNW, or used to at least. Last time I was on these forums was with Snowolf. I am finally moving out west to he Tacoma area. I have a FWD Rav4. I was wondering if I am gonna have to trade up for the sport version with 4WD. I am not looking to go barreling through storms. Just when there is a pow day after a big storm it'd be nice to be able to make it up to the Cascades and ride.

Am I good with just FWD and snow tires as long as I don't try to get through passes during a storm? Do I need chains? Do I need AWD?

Unfortunately with my car I don't think I have the clearance for chains so I really wanna know if I can risk it as long as I'm realistic.

Thanks
I90 requires you have chains to get up to Snoqualmie if you're not 4wd/awd. There are quite a few days where the pass is like that as well and that requirement begins many miles before you're close to the resort. As far as crystal Mt, with it being a one lane road each way, I wouldn't risk it if it was snowy on just fwd without chains.

TLDR: there will be times you need chains for a fwd/rwd car. Those times will most likely be on pow days. I reccomended getting something awd/4wd, even if it's just a beater so long as your finances allow it

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Hey, congrats on the choice to head out this way! In reality a front wheel drive rig with good snow tires or even studded tires will go thru hell and back. My suggestion is this... before you go spending lots of money on a different vehicle maybe the best first step would be running by a reputable tire dealer and asking their thoughts on whether or not you can run chains on your vehicle... might save money and hassle? Also keep in mind if you can not run chains there are some newer chain like alternatives that DOT says are equal to when chains are required. Just my thoughts. Good luck on the move!
 

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Snow tires, studless or studded, they'll get the job done no question. Just don't cheap out on em, I've driven with Blizzaks that I was easily as comfortable with as chains.
 

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I have a 4x4 truck with snow tires, my son has a subbie outback with snow tires and my wife has a fwd coupe with studded tires. My son and I have zero issues on any powder days. My wife doesnt even bother if we arent there to drive her on a powder day. Her car just does not handle snow well. She has been stuck a few times too. I have driven through a 48" in 2 day snow storm to stevens as well as 36" in 2 days at crystal while pulling my rv with my truck in 4x4, no issues.

It isnt just the tires, you need proper weight distribution on a 2wd/fwd car.... I have also pulled out ALOT of fwd and low clearence awd cars.

Do you want the car to be a determining factor on if you get to go ride on your day off on a pow day? Can you afford to get a different car?

If you answer those as no/yes, get an awd high clearance vehicle.
 

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I have a Trailblazer and drive religiously up to Hood, taken it to Bachy, Whitewater, Baker, Crystal, you name it, all with regular tires, carry chains but with the 4x4 I've never even bothered to put them on, good driving is the most important part of the kit. I've also driven a tiny Pontiac Vibe with studless snow tires around pretty much everywhere in the PNW. With the exception of CRAZY pow days never head a problem, just keep a shovel on hand in case of a ridiculous drift but usually traffic at any of the resorts is enough to allow for clearance if you are a good enough driver to stay on the road.
 

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So I know a lot of you guys live in the PNW, or used to at least. Last time I was on these forums was with Snowolf. I am finally moving out west to he Tacoma area. I have a FWD Rav4. I was wondering if I am gonna have to trade up for the sport version with 4WD. I am not looking to go barreling through storms. Just when there is a pow day after a big storm it'd be nice to be able to make it up to the Cascades and ride.
First of all, read this article, there is a lot of misinformation around about AWD/4WD.
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-drive/adventure/red-line/the-myth-of-all-wheel-drive-and-why-it-can-be-a-deadly-trap/article26902236/


Am I good with just FWD and snow tires as long as I don't try to get through passes during a storm? Do I need chains? Do I need AWD?
Winter tires and FWD is perfectly fine. I drive from Vancouver to Calgary and back multiple times a year. I've done it in winter with anything from a FWD Fiat 500 to a AWD Ford escape. I've never had issues because I use good winter tires. Get a set of Bridgestone Blizzaks and drive carefully, like everyone should in snow.

I have live all over Canada and driven in every type of winter condition imaginable, including during an ice storm in Quebec (I recommend staying at home in these conditions actually). Winter tires is where it's at!


Unfortunately with my car I don't think I have the clearance for chains so I really wanna know if I can risk it as long as I'm realistic.

Thanks
You probably don't need snowchains as proper winter tires are more than enough. However if you want snowchains then you can get them. Snowchains fit on any vehicle, I have a set for my FWD golf. If you are worried about clearance get the Thule Self-Tensioning, Low-Profile Snow Tire Chains. They are also really well rated.


I was wondering if I am gonna have to trade up for the sport version with 4WD.
You don't "have" to, but if you want to go ahead. ;)
 

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One thing I am not sure some are aware of.... In Washington state there is a stupid law... When chains are required on the passes, all vehicles must chain up, except 4x4/AWD vehicles, but they must physically have chains with them. If you spin out and get stuck blocking traffic and get caught without its a big fine. Just an fyi...
 

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First of all, read this article, there is a lot of misinformation around about AWD/4WD.
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-drive/adventure/red-line/the-myth-of-all-wheel-drive-and-why-it-can-be-a-deadly-trap/article26902236/


Winter tires and FWD is perfectly fine. I drive from Vancouver to Calgary and back multiple times a year. I've done it in winter with anything from a FWD Fiat 500 to a AWD Ford escape. I've never had issues because I use good winter tires. Get a set of Bridgestone Blizzaks and drive carefully, like everyone should in snow.

I have live all over Canada and driven in every type of winter condition imaginable, including during an ice storm in Quebec (I recommend staying at home in these conditions actually). Winter tires is where it's at!


You probably don't need snowchains as proper winter tires are more than enough. However if you want snowchains then you can get them. Snowchains fit on any vehicle, I have a set for my FWD golf. If you are worried about clearance get the Thule Self-Tensioning, Low-Profile Snow Tire Chains. They are also really well rated.



You don't "have" to, but if you want to go ahead. ;)
That's a very stupid article.
So the starting argument is some jerry went off the ditch and wondered "I don't get it. I have AWD"?
I stopped reading right there.


Yeah AWD and all season tires is probably not better than fwd and winter tires. But AWD with winter tires is best.


OP: If you like powder..... get an AWD.
And put winter tires on it. It is waaaaaaay better.

Doesnt need to be TODAY. Next year? or maybe in 2 yrs...... whatever. But when you do get a new car....... get AWD.

Yeah in certain conditions, AWD has no more stopping or turning power than fwd or rwd.... BUT pretty much under any real life scenario, the AWD wheels help catch the car back from a slide; not by added braking power nor added turning power.... but by the extra traction from the non-spinning wheels which helps you re-gain direction if you're caught in a micro spin.

It's also better in rain and mud.

Downsides... you need to change all 4 tires when they wear out. And the car is heavier (ie worse fuel econ) due to to the extra driving parts.
 

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That's a very stupid article.
So the starting argument is some jerry went off the ditch and wondered "I don't get it. I have AWD"?
I stopped reading right there.
You should finish the article, it is more than just an opening sentence.


Yeah AWD and all season tires is probably not better than fwd and winter tires. But AWD with winter tires is best.
The article agrees on this point, if you need to go up icy hills and through deep snow, winter tires + AWD/4WD is the best, but if you just have to have either AWD/4WD or Winter tires, winter tires are always the best option.


OP: If you like powder..... get an AWD.
And put winter tires on it. It is waaaaaaay better.

Doesnt need to be TODAY. Next year? or maybe in 2 yrs...... whatever. But when you do get a new car....... get AWD.

Yeah in certain conditions, AWD has no more stopping or turning power than fwd or rwd.... BUT pretty much under any real life scenario, the AWD wheels help catch the car back from a slide; not by added braking power nor added turning power.... but by the extra traction from the non-spinning wheels which helps you re-gain direction if you're caught in a micro spin.

It's also better in rain and mud.
This is not necessarily true.

Tire grip is only a function of the interface of your tire tread and the road surface. What determines the amount of grip is the rubber compound of the tread and how well it reacts to cold temperatures (...) and the size and shape of the actual contact patch.

A rolling tire will give the driver only as much traction as its above-stated characteristics dictate. Putting engine power through that tire will not make it deliver more traction. In other words, a given tire on a skid pad will only develop X amount of grip.

Sending engine power through a tire will not make it develop more grip. In other words a rolling tire develops the same amount of grip for cornering or steering as a tire that has engine power going through it.

The 5 most common winter driving myths - WHEELS.ca
Does all-wheel drive actually help in winter driving? - WHEELS.ca
 

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AWD helps with steering/moving in bad conditions. Snow tires help with stopping in bad conditions.

That's the simple version. Get both if you plan to drive in bad conditions often.
 

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You should finish the article, it is more than just an opening sentence.




The article agrees on this point, if you need to go up icy hills and through deep snow, winter tires + AWD/4WD is the best, but if you just have to have either AWD/4WD or Winter tires, winter tires are always the best option.




This is not necessarily true.

Tire grip is only a function of the interface of your tire tread and the road surface. What determines the amount of grip is the rubber compound of the tread and how well it reacts to cold temperatures (...) and the size and shape of the actual contact patch.

A rolling tire will give the driver only as much traction as its above-stated characteristics dictate. Putting engine power through that tire will not make it deliver more traction. In other words, a given tire on a skid pad will only develop X amount of grip.

Sending engine power through a tire will not make it develop more grip. In other words a rolling tire develops the same amount of grip for cornering or steering as a tire that has engine power going through it.

The 5 most common winter driving myths - WHEELS.ca
Does all-wheel drive actually help in winter driving? - WHEELS.ca
True. The article is more than an opening sentence... but if the opening is absurd, I can only expect the rest to be.

It is NOT either winter tires or AWD. You can have both you know. And it's not unheard of.

Another argument is.... AWD is no substitute for driving skills, etc.

Or course it's not.

But AWD and winter tires is better. Period.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hmm. Sounds like chains might satisfy my needs for now. I grew up in WNY where its as shitty as it can get for snow conditions without mountains. So luckily I do know how to drive. But I've never driven in the mountains so I wouldn't know.

I am probably gonna go with chains and see if that'll get me up to the mountains on a pow day. If not, then I'll most likely see if I could afford trading in my Rav4 for the 4WD sport version.

Dumb question, but if you have chains do you even need snow tires? Seem kind of overkill to me. Or can you only have chains on you tires for certain roads?


Thanks for all the info guys. Nice to see I won't have to definitely buy a new car as I just bought this one 6 months ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Man, I really wish I didn't have 4WD/AWD right now...

said not one person ever while driving in the snow
But to be fair, I bet you wish you've said "Man I wish I had 4 grand right now."

That's more my question. Is it worth buying another car over?
 

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But to be fair, I bet you wish you've said "Man I wish I had 4 grand right now."

That's more my question. Is it worth buying another car over?
Touche.

Honestly, if your choice is to stick with what you have or try to find a $4k 4WD/AWD shit box (and that's exactly what a $4k 4WD/AWD vehicle is gonna be unless you just get really damn lucky) then just stick with what you've got.
 

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But to be fair, I bet you wish you've said "Man I wish I had 4 grand right now."

That's more my question. Is it worth buying another car over?
There's tons of choices.

You can make it on whatever car you have with or without tires, chains, etc. You can even ride a motorcycle up... But then there's that one time it doesnt quite work out.

Ultimately it's all up to you. As long as you follow the law...

If you can't afford or just don't want a new car now, that's ok. It's your choice. You do not "need" AWD. It's just better; and not just marginally better, way better.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well I don't mean I'd buy a 4K car. Those days are over for me....thankfully.I would have to drop that possibly to switch between my Rav4 and the sport version.


And it's not question of is 4WD better. It's more can I get to the places I need to out in the PNW with FWD and chains? Or do you need AWD? Storm of the year, yea, I know I'm not gonna be driving in it. But after it passes will I be able to get up to mountains?

After looking up chains it sounds like a total pain in the ass too. Putting them on each time you want to go to the mountains and then taking them off each time you get down. Only being able to go 30mph? AWD might just be a peace of mind thing too.
 

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If you can afford it, why would you risk it?
My $4000 4wd Toyota pickup did amazing in the snow with crappy tires. It got me everywhere I wanted to go and was reliable as hell.

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Only being able to go 30mph?
Don't just get 4WD/AWD to try to break land speed records getting to the mountain. Every snowstorm you can find Subarus in precarious situations on the sides of the highways around here from idiots who thought they could still drive 70mph because they have a Subaru. That's what I refer to Subis as, ditch liners because that's what the idiot drivers turn them into. It's not the cars' fault, it's the dimwitted morons behind the wheel. My personal favorite are the ones with the giant wing off the back who think they're fucking Ken Block. Those are pretty damn near guaranteed to be found in the ditch.
 
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