View Full Version : 2wd pickup in the snow
I feel kind of silly asking this question, since I used to drive in the snow all the time, but......
I am thinking of buying a Nissan Frontier, and since I live in Florida, I don't really have a need for a 4wd pickup. But, I used to live in NH, and would like to move back in that direction in the next few years. That would mean having to deal with snow again. I don't want to be stuck (ha ha) with a vehicle that is undrivable, but I also would rather not spend the extra $2500 or so on something that I may not need. Would I be able to get by with a 2wd if I put a bunch of weight in the back, and get a good set of snow tires? Also, a locking rear diff is an option on the Frontier, would that make any kind of difference in the snow?
In a word yes.
My brother has a 2wd manual '90 Toyota pickup. It about the most basic pickup you can get. The first winter he had it he drove it in a large snow storm. The kind you see more cars in the ditch than on the road. In fact there were ATVs all over the place on the street as they knew no cop could catch them. I would say there was about a foot of snow in one night in total. Anyhow, we were driving around in it just fine in his truck. Sure, he couldn't go fast, but we never got stuck.
If you know how to drive in the snow, it should not be a big problem. My brothers truck is a beater truck and he just uses it to haul stuff, so he just lets the snow fill his bed or shovels some into it to get traction. The snow melts and drains out of the bed when it gets warm and is no longer needed.
you can always put sandbags in the back for weight over the rear wheels.
As long as you've got sandbags in the back end and tires with good tread, you should not have any problem as long as you don't try to buck show drifts or drive too fast. Of course, that also holds true for those folks with 4X4 whether they choose to believe so or not. You can also hedge your bet by acquiring an extra set of tires (and rims) for winter driving. If the snow is really bad install a set of chains.
Originally posted by Superfueler
Also, a locking rear diff is an option on the Frontier, would that make any kind of difference in the snow?
As for the 2wd vs. 4wd if it's just around town winter driving, it really depends on the persons experience. You can lock up all four tires on a 4wd just as easy as a 2wd. Sand bags help, as do chains, but knowing what you are doing is most helpful.
Also, the locker can be a double edges sword. If it's a "limited slip" or some sort of automatic locker, then it's probably something to think about. If it's a selectable locker (either on or off by a switch on the dash) then locking it will help, but be aware. Locking the driving axle on a slippery surface will lead to lateral movement. What happens is becuase both tires are locked together if they both break lose the truck tends to walk sideways. I've seen it happen many times as I snow wheel quite a bit with guys 100% locked in the rear or front and rear. Be it with a spool or a selectable locker, you have to be careful as it can get away from you. If it's some sort of automatic locker (requiring no driver input) you'll probably be fine. While you may experience the same thing, it shoudn't be as pronounced.
i live in michigan and drive a 2wd ranger with a 5 speed every winter, i never have problems with it, just be smart about where you park and be carefull.
Douglas in CT
Does not NH have a bunch of small hills that some folks call MOUNTAINS? ;)
I would say that 4WD, or AWD at a minimum, would be a necessity.
Why not wait until you relocate up there to get what you NEED for that area?
Just add several hundred pounds of weight in your truck body and you will be fine.That's what most of the us do.
2wd is fine. Toss some weight in the back, and be smart about hills--you'll be good. You won't be as good steering without the front wheels pulling you around the corner, but if you're careful you're OK.
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