Winter/Snow/Slush Driving Suggestions? - Nissan Xterra Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 12-12-2012, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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Winter/Snow/Slush Driving Suggestions?

Hi Everyone-

This will be the first winter I have had my '11 Pro-4X ( assuming winter ever gets to Upstate NY - we had no snow last year ) and I was looking for suggestions as to how to drive the X in winter conditions?

Specifically - when should I use 4H? Deep snow only? Any snow at all? Slush? Icy roads?

I am running the stock Rugged Trail tires and would spring for Snow's but I probably don't have that in my budget at the moment. Driving slowly and carefully, allowing plenty of room for stopping and not over correcting seem to be logical pieces of advcse, but any others ( particularly with regard to WHEN to engage the 4WD ) would be greatly appreciated. This is my first 4X4 after years of driving Econoboxes. I love the X, I have to say.

Thanks for the help!

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post #2 of 18 Old 12-12-2012, 02:38 PM
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One thing you need to remember is that 4 wheel drive does not necessacarily mean 4 wheel stop. If your sliding the only thing that can help you is the ABS and if your on ice that wont even matter. But it seems like you got that part...

In regards as when to put it in 4x4...only use it when you feel the back wheels start to lose traction where, in a dry circumstance, they normally wouldnt. Obviously use it in deep snow but if the roads are just wet, there is really no need to engage it.

But my thoughts have been, if i can easily break traction in 2nd or 3rd gear at relatively low rpm...then its time to drop the 4x4 lever. Or in your case...turn the dial haha.

GO do some donuts in a snow covered parking lot. Get the feel of how it handles in both modes. 4lo probably wont be used...
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post #3 of 18 Old 12-12-2012, 02:51 PM
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After getting used to my X, I learned when I needed to use 4Hi or 4Lo. Like Sams said, in snow if you start to feel yourself losing traction go to 4Hi. The cool thing about driving in snow, is you can get stuck, throw it in 4Hi, back up and start going forward again most of the time. Unlike in mud where once you're stuck, you're stuck and 4Hi probably isn't going to be enough to pull you out.

I totally agree, go find a parking lot or somewhere relatively open once it snows and experiment.

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post #4 of 18 Old 12-12-2012, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help. If we ever get snow this year, the first thing I will do is take it out and play around with it to get a feel for what it does and when. Appreciate the feedback.
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post #5 of 18 Old 12-12-2012, 04:04 PM
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I have yet to get to drive my x in much snow. Mostly just quick trips to the store about 3 miles away. I usually throw mine in 4hi and stay slow.

I dont doubt my ability to drive in the snow, but the other people around here scare the crap out of me. I lived in the mountains for 5 years and managed to get my old mazda protege 5 with 205/35/17's around with no trouble. I used my chains one time and that was to get out of my parking spot at my apartment after an ice storm. 2 years ago on christmas day we got about 7 inches of snow while I was out at my mother in laws house. I drove around in snow deeper than the front nose in my g35 all day (about 70 miles total) and only slipped once, but I had one guy in a big ford come a few inches from hitting me after he had his rear end come around. Its like as soon as it starts snowing around here every idiot with a truck suddenly thinks they need to be out on the road.

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post #6 of 18 Old 12-12-2012, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by intender View Post
Its like as soon as it starts snowing around here every idiot with a truck suddenly thinks they need to be out on the road.
I used to be one of those people when I lived in the mountains LOL. But we normally stuck to the roads out county where all the trails were because the main roads were all full of those idiots too!

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post #7 of 18 Old 12-12-2012, 07:25 PM
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I saw a guy with a 4x4 frontier trying to get up a slight grade a couple of years ago in about 2 inches of slushy snow and it was an epic fail. We were standing outside trying to convince my boss that our 85 chevy work truck with bald road tires wasnt going to get us back to the hotel if we didnt leave and saw him coming. Going about 20mph he managed to get the off in the ditch on one side of the road and get stuck. instead of putting it in 4 wheel drive he put it to the floor and had some traction in the mud but when he hit the snow on the road he did a couple 360's ran off the other side of the road clipped a road sign, hit the big stone sign for the place we were working, spun around back in the road, got hit by a car coming the other way, flipped over on the top and ran into about a 3 foot drainage ditch on the side of the road. The man and woman inside werent wearing seatbelts so they got hurt pretty bad. She was cut all over her face and head from the glass. He had about a 5 inch cut down into the muscle on his arm, broke the other arm and was bleeding from his head pretty bad and pretty sure he had a concussion because he kept falling down. I am pretty sure they had some drugs in the car because the woman went back in the truck and was digging around and cussed us for calling 911.

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post #8 of 18 Old 12-12-2012, 07:43 PM
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Holy shit...that sounds intense.

The first time I ever drove with my learners permit was on the day I got it in December and it had snowed that day and the few days before that. Once we got off the main roads, dad let me drive. I was in my dad's 1999 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 with the 360 which was his pride and joy. Got in my subdivision, and he wanted me to drive around it for a while. We got to the backside where there's like this 10% grade I was going up, and about a quarter of the way up the limited slip kicked in (was in 2Hi) and the ass end of the truck started going into the other lane. Not even two seconds later a snow plow came over the crest, and in case you don't know they don't stop for shit. So I quickly turned the wheel to the right, spun it hard to the left and stepped on it which luckily was enough to take the ass end the other way and put the right rear tire into the ditch. I just about floored it the rest of the way up the hill and at the top dad said, "I think that's about enough driving for today," and went into maniacal laughter.

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post #9 of 18 Old 12-13-2012, 08:00 AM
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Yeah. Im one of those kids who got their license in the winter so I learned pretty quick how to drive in snow. After that it was always a rally race to get to the ski resort after school let out. I was driving a 4ws Honda prelude at the time too!
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post #10 of 18 Old 12-13-2012, 12:59 PM
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As one of the members of the older crowd here on CX and having lived in Wisconsin for all but 1 of my 40 years, I have a fair amount of winter driving experience.

The parking lot idea is perfect. Find a Walmart or other larger than they need to be parking lot and let'er rip. The major benefit of the parking lot is you'll have conditions similar to the roadway. You'll have areas that will be packed snow, you'll have areas that will be wet and you'll have areas that are untouched. Drive through them all. And have some fun too. I mean, virtually nobody bought their X for practical reasons.

The fact that you've been driving cars for these past several years in the snow will help. You already know what it feels like to have very little control over a vehicle. I rarely use my 4H. The only time I've ever used 4L was to get out of a ditch and I needed to creep out. This year, however, I will be buying a tow/rescue strap to see if I can't make some money pulling the idiots out of the ditches though. Nice way to make a couple of bucks here and there.
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