ANSWERS: 12
  • Horrible. A rear-wheel drive vehical has no weight in the back over the tires. All the weight is in the front. Most people with rear-wheel drive add weight in the back for more traction.
  • Generally not good unless you throw some weight in the back. Sandbags work best because if/when you get stuck, you can sprinkle some under the tires. If you ballast it properly, don't get too wild with the throttle, and learn the fine art of counter-steering, they're alright. For a driver of average skill, it's just an accident waiting to happen unless they learned to drive in a RWD car, but those people are dangerous in a FWD vehicle; learn one and stick with it.
  • Rear wheel drive vehicles do not perform as well on snow and ice as do front wheel drive couterparts, however adding weight to the rear of the car can help this situation. The addition of studded snow tires or snow chains improves this problem greatly, although in some states studded tires and chains are only legal for seasonal use. Chains can also be difficult to install but offer the best traction for a rear wheel drive car in winter driving. If either of these two options are not feasible and you do not have access to a front wheel drive car, the very best option is to go with a tire optimized for winter driving and choose the one with the narrowest width. The skinnier the tire, the greater pounds per square inch the tire has on a surface and this will reduce wheel-spin and increase the coeffecient of friction the tire has to the surface you are driving on. Any configuration of drive wheels is very limited on pure ice as it offers almost nill traction and should be avoided in any car without chains or studs.
  • RWD is *best* in snow with the right conditions. Those conditions include serious snow tires. Here in Maine I can use studded snows, and I do. But even without studs, soft, sticky snow tires on a rwd car are better-- by far-- than all season tires on a FWD machine. It's possible that with snows, a FWD car might be as good as RWD, except when things start to go badly. Heading into a skid w/ RWD, it's often possible to work your way out of it before hitting the fan (or the tree or other cars). But with FWD, once you start to skid, it's really, really hard to stop it and regain control. If FWD was so great it would have been the norm all along, it's not as though it were something new. It was widely adopted in the 1980's purely to boost automakers' profit margins. Not only were many of the first cars FWD, but there have been FWD cars manufactured all along. Note that many reputable firms still make RWD cars-- MB, BMW, Toyota among others. One reason RWD cars are better is, in fact, the weight distribution, which is usually close to 50/50. In many FWD cars, the distribution comes up on 65/35. So you're asking those front tires to do all the steering, nearly all of the braking, and all of the driving. That's a lot to ask, and that's why an old Volvo 240 with a set of snow tires is likely to outperform just about anything else that's FWD.
  • Hi, my name is Jennifer and I moved from CA to Michigan during the Christmas holidays when I was just 16. I had a 1999 Camaro and no clue about snow. I learned pretty quick and yeah there were a ton of times when I was the only person stuck often on totally flat snow covered ground. It got really embarrassing at times. But it proved to be a pretty cool way to meet guys actually cuz they always showed up to push when I'd get stuck. But on the serious side, I agree that in general I think rear wheel drive *IS* better in snow. Here's why... Yes those with front will drive will get going when I'm stuck and helplessly spinning my rear wheels but... One time I was creeping around a corner after an ice storm. My rear wheels were spinning like mad on the ice but I was still moving and I made the turn without sliding into a ditch. My girlfriend in her front wheel drive saturn tried the same corner and when her front wheels started to spin she could no longer steer and went right into the ditch. No she is not a bad driver. Very cautious and all. But I agree with one of the earlier posts. When you are front wheel drive you are asking the front wheels to pull, steer and brake. When you are rear wheel drive your front wheels steer and brake and your rear wheels push. Yes I've been stuck a lot. Sometimes three or four times a day when it snows but if I can get moving I've always had good control. I've never had the money to buy snow tires so I get along with regular all season tires. So that's my take on it. On the fun side for us girls getting stuck often leads to meeting a cute guy. My current boyfriend rescued me when I was stuck at the curb on a patch of ice. What can I say?
  • I guess it's a matter of what you're more comfortable with, oversteering or understeering. There is one small issue that has to be taken into consideration though: If the weight distribution is the same, all RWD vehicles have better grip than FWD ones. If the weight distribution of the vehicle is balanced, you'll catch turns heaps faster with RWD, but it requires a lot of skill. Wonder why all true sport cars are RWD and have the engine in the middle? Check Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Mc Larens, F1's... there lies the answer. That said, I belive that FWD vehicles are safer in snow for the average driver, 4x4 and 4WD are even safer, but RWD vehicles are definately more fun. :)
  • As far a getting stuck in snow, whether front or rear wheel drive, you have only one wheel spinning (Unless you have positraction which most don, t). But with a rear wheel drive, you can invoke positraction on the fly for getting both wheels to spin and at a slower speed to for better grip. The problem is that the spinning wheel is the one with to traction to begin with, and the stationary one has more grip which is useless since it is not spinning. Here is the simple tip for manual or automatic rear wheel drives. When once realized you are stuck, we start to push the accelerator do get moving but now invoke temporary positraction to get the wheel with traction that won, t move to move. As you increase your gas pedal, now you pull your emergency brake slowly in the same manner. The spinning and no spinning wheels are slowly braked. But, only the spinning wheel feels the braking and begins to slow and the energy is transfered to the stationary wheel and it starts to spin. There is a period where both wheels will spin and that, s where you have the most traction that will be better suited for getting loose. You will get the hang of it after a few tries. You can check this out with your or a kid's rd cars that have differentials like real cars. Grab one wheel while they are spinning (not spinning fast to get hurt though) and the wheel you grab now has the most grip but the other one is spinning in the air. Now slowly stop both rear wheels which would be like the emergency break in all cars (that breaks rears wheels only) and you will feel both wheels trying to break your grip. Edited for some Grammar issues
  • The park brake (emergency brake) trick only works on cars with limited slip differentials. Even if you pull the park brake on rear wheels, as long as there is enough of a torque (traction) difference, the wheel with insufficient traction will take all the power of the differential - in other words, it will keep spinning. Differentials operate on resistance. If the wheel has some resistance but not enough to grip, then it will spin, but as long as it has enough grip to offer some resistance, then the other wheel may be driven. A limited slip differential operates on pre-load. There still has to be a small amount of resistance to activate most types of LSD. These have some form of mechanism that then diverts power to the wheel with more traction. Therefore, in the case of most types of LSD, if you lift one driving wheel completely off the ground, or it has no grip (same thing), it will spin just like a normal differential. This is where the handbrake trick comes in useful. putting the brake on that wheel will pre-load the LSD, causing it to activate. The torque diverting properties of the LSD then come into play, and it is this that drives the other wheel, not the park brake. As far as RWD vs FWD, they both have their advantages and disadvantages. RWD does not suffer from power understeer. In most cases, understeer is less difficult to regain control of than oversteer, but where it is too slippery for a FWD car to regain grip of the front wheels in a slide, then you lose all steering. Since a FWD car has more weight over the driving wheels, it may get better traction in some situations. FWD cars also have the advantage of being able to turn the driving wheels. If they won't grip when straight, sometimes you can get grip by turning them from side to side. This is a technique used in getting out of bogs when off-roading in 4WDs.
  • How do I know if I have "posi-traction?" I have a Mustang GT and I'm not real car knowledgable. I've found most of the time (like 95%) when I get stuck my right rear tire just spins and spins. The left one almost never spins. I have had it spin a few times when I've been stuck. In these cases it has usually been when I've been stuck in such a way where I have zero traction. I can usually tell this because my rear wheels will spin even at idle. When this happens both with spin very slowly. Pushing on the gas just causes them to spin faster. Thats when I know I'm stuck bad and need some help.
  • I live in Edmonton, Alberta! I just purchased 2007 BMW 328i, yes its an RWD! It does have 50/50 ration, traction control, every gadget to stabilize but with my all-seasons i was still all over the place for the first week of winter..Next day i got me some winter tires..and wow! They make the difference like you wont believe. Spend some money on them winter tires, they will be always cheaper than paying off a accident. Understeer is retarded, most FWD cars have it. With RWD its scary at the beginning as you are getting pushed rather than being pulled. But if you take some time, take it to a empty parking lot, and practice for even a day....wow you can control a RWD vehicle way BETTER than FWD anyday any season..and trust me i know all about winter driving! We probably have the one of the heaviest snowfalls canada. BUY SOME WINTER TIRES on vehiclethat you drive for winter as a matter of fact it doesnt matter RWD, FWD or AWD...it pays off!
  • I guess mostly it is a combination of skill and what you prefer. My first ever snow driving experiences where in my Camaro and I had no training. I learned it all the hard way without snow tires. I slip, slipped, shoveled and got towed numerous times. The next winter I drove my g/f's Saturn around in the snow for a week and hated it. I ended up in the ditch more times than I ever had in my Camaro. So I convinced myself it is a matter of my skill and how I drive. I've gotten good at rear wheel drive in the snow. I just take it easy and seem to do ok.
  • Hi, I have been researching this since I will be looking for a vehicle soon and have noticed the trend of auto makers back to the rwd .The reason that the fwd has better traction is because the majority of the cars weight is in the front and so to shift the power to the front would of coarse make for greater traction. One thing that I have noticed that the experts are not mentioning and it may be such and old trick that every one takes it for granted but many bags of sand or kitty litter in the trunk or bed of a pick up or SUV can quickly remedy this problem as to equalize the weight in the back and increase traction over the power source and kitty litter can also come in handy to help put some traction under those wheels that are stuck.Also another trick if you don't have snow tires or chains. is to let some of the air our of the tires and drive them on low pressure and this will increase traction and reduce skidding especially when dealing with ice. Well I think I may go ahead and go with the rwd because it is less espensive and just remembered those old tricks for back when most cars were rwd. Also shift in the higher gear and lower rpms can help prevent skidding.

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