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Driving A Pick-up In The Snow?


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#1 TomK4

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 11:59 PM

It's only September, but its not that long before we will be in snow season. This is my first pick-up truck, all of the other cars I have driven in the snow were AWD or 4wd SUV's. I have been told that pick-up's are not that great in the snow? I have been told that because the back end is light they fish-tail alot. Is this true? If so what can I do to fix this problem, throw some sand bags in the bed?

Another thing I'm worried about is the 20's that I have on the truck. The stock tire size is 275, and I'm worried about such a wide tire in the snow. The snow ratings for the stock goodyears is also terriable which worries me. Should I get a better set of tires, or just look for a good used set of OEM 17/18's?
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#2 mrOAPx2

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 12:06 AM

It's only September, but its not that long before we will be in snow season. This is my first pick-up truck, all of the other cars I have driven in the snow were AWD or 4wd SUV's. I have been told that pick-up's are not that great in the snow? I have been told that because the back end is light they fish-tail alot. Is this true? If so what can I do to fix this problem, throw some sand bags in the bed?

Another thing I'm worried about is the 20's that I have on the truck. The stock tire size is 275, and I'm worried about such a wide tire in the snow. The snow ratings for the stock goodyears is also terriable which worries me. Should I get a better set of tires, or just look for a good used set of OEM 17/18's?


Who ever told you that has not driven a truck themselves. I have driven many a trucks, 2wd and 4wd, in the snow. You only fish tail if you have a lead foot. Other wise, common sense and steady driving should do you good. I also have a Buick LaCrosse that is AWD, and I still choose the truck over it.

Although, the idea of the sand bags will help those tires in the back to grip better. I think you'll be alright :lol:

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#3 Rolling

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 12:12 AM

Meh...form your own opinion. Its usually not my driving I'm worried about its the other guy. I do not believe studs (if they are legal where you are) or snow tires are absolutely mandatory but they do help. I do a lot of towing in the winter and prefer my truck over any other vehicle. I run Goodyear AT/S stock size.

My best recommendation is to wait till you get some of that wonderful white stuff on the ground and find a parking lot and learn how your truck will handle the different conditions. Yes it will fishtail, it will slide and it will slip. All of which can be used to your advantage you just need to know how different actions will produce different reactions when its slick outside.

I am looking forward to having ice and frozen roads here from mid October well into April (possibly May if the snow Gods are nice this year!!!!!!!), I have a few miles under my belt at 70+ with nothing between me and the asphalt but an inch or two of solid ice. Love it!!!

#4 TexasAl

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 01:06 AM

Also, if your truck comes with the traction control, it will make it really hard for your to fishtail. It will reduce the power on the wheel that is spinning, and help you keep control. These new truck are totally different than the older style trucks. It is almost as easy as driving a car. Just keep in mind the higher center of gravity, and use some common sense, and you'll be fine.

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#5 2COR517

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 06:32 AM

I presume your truck is 2wd. Some normal/narrow width snow tires will make a tremendous difference. And you probably don't want to run those nice rims in the snow and salt anyway. Get 8 or 10 bags of "tube sand". They are 70 lbs each. Put them directly over the rear axle, or all the way back in the bed, make a jig to hold them from sliding. The sand is nice because if you get stuck you can throw some under your tires for extra traction.

The most important thing is a light foot. You'll get it after a while.
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#6 Pittsburgh PK

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 06:43 AM

All I've ever driven is pickup trucks. True, the back end is lighter and is easier to fishtail. But I have only ever really fishtailed when I'm turning at an intersection (from a dead stop), or going up a steep hill too slowly. A few sand bags in the bed will help--but your driving style will be the biggest factor of all.
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#7 s_n_a_f_u

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 09:54 AM

6 sand bags and some practice and you'll be good

#8 2005LT

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 10:24 AM

...My best recommendation is to wait till you get some of that wonderful white stuff on the ground and find a parking lot and learn how your truck will handle the different conditions. Yes it will fishtail, it will slide and it will slip. All of which can be used to your advantage you just need to know how different actions will produce different reactions when its slick outside....


+1 Just what I was going to suggest. As mentioned already, the back end will slip/fish-tail easier than a car if you get on the throttle enough to overcome friction. I've driven 3 different trucks in the winter and this will be my 4th. Each of them has handled differently on the slippery stuff due to tire, wheelbase length, and engine torque differences. My dad's duramax crew is actually a lot of fun on slippery streets :lol: The longer wheelbase and strong torque down low make it easy to control a fish-tail. My 5.3 4 speed (shorter truck) was a different story. Really easy to loose control since once the tires broke loose, the engine RPM (and wheel spin) would rise in a hurry even with constant throttle.

That brings me back to the parking lot suggestion. Find a large sized one with as few obstacles as possible (light poles, concrete curbs, etc.). Right after a fresh snow is the best time since people haven't driven through it much yet and so the depth and friction is more uniform and predictable. Try a few turns, accelerations, brakings at low speeds to get a feel for how it handles. If you have traction control, you could shut if off for a while to get a true feel for the "physics". I've never had traction control before so that will be a new experience for me this winter too. Try in 2wd and 4wd if you have it, there is a big difference. Just be careful and always watch for obstacles/people/cars around you when you test.

A few sand bags will also help with traction too.
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#9 spurshot

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 10:46 AM

What is "snow"? This is how Christmas looks to me... :lol: Or I wish...

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Edited by spurshot, 15 September 2009 - 10:48 AM.

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#10 Canadian Eh!

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 10:56 AM

Haha, I've driven 2wd and 4wd here in snow, and I've got to say that you shouldn't have much of a problem at all.

Sure, if you've got a lead foot, you can spin the tires and fishtail, however I do find it easier to drive a pickup truck in the winter vs a car.

Front wheel drive vehicles sometimes fail to turn in winter (you know, when you try turning and hitting the gas, and the sucker still goes straight) -- whereas if that happens with the truck, just give it a little throttle and kick the back end out so it turns.


I've got a 4wd, and I use the stock tires year round. If the roads are horrible, I'll stick it into 4wd for some peace of mind, but then again I don't have any weight on the back.

If you are worried, pick up some sandbags (which are dirt cheap....pun intended) and throw them in the back. Chances are that you'll be fine, and actually prefer driving the truck in the winter vs. a car.



edit:

You can also have a LOT more fun with a truck in the snow. Sometimes early in the morning or late at night when there isn't really any traffic, I just fishtail around some corners just for the fun of it. Nothing major, but sliding around a little bit every once in awhile is fun. Trust me, you'll be tempted.

Edited by Canadian Eh!, 15 September 2009 - 10:59 AM.

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#11 STZ71

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 12:04 PM

I can't wait untill winter when i have to turn off my traction controll and Stabillitrac EVERY SINGLE TIME I get in my truck. Man those two systems suck! (at least when the pavement is covered in snow and ice for 5 months) And you guys know what I'm talkin about. If you need stabillitrac you shouldnt have a truck in the winter. (or any other time for that matter!)

P.S. Winter tires on 4WD's are for ladyboys. hahahahahahaha

#12 Pilot12

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 12:15 PM

I can't wait untill winter when i have to turn off my traction controll and Stabillitrac EVERY SINGLE TIME I get in my truck. Man those two systems suck! (at least when the pavement is covered in snow and ice for 5 months) And you guys know what I'm talkin about.


I just got my first traction control and Stabilitrac systems and I DON'T know what you're talking about, although that's not the first time I've heard that....What sucks about it exactly??
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#13 Team_arctic68

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 12:39 PM

you cant power slide corners cause stupid alarms and shit go off lol. 8-10 bags of sand... jesus at 70lbs a bag i dont think i would bother hauling an extra 700lbs around all winter long. slap 'er in 4 by and go. or perhaps living most of your life in northern ontario you get used to it.

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#14 Rod R

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 02:07 PM

snow is something that you just have to get used to... and after awhile you get the experience to drive safely.... I've been driving in snow every winter for over 40 years ....

.. some extra weight in the back of your truck maybe is a good idea for a little extra traction,, and don't expect your truck to accelerate, take corners, or brake like it does on dry pavement.... even if you have trac control etc on a newer truck.....

.. 4wd is nice, but I have always owned 2wd trucks... my current truck (97 C2500) has a G80 locking differential in the back which greatly improves traction on slippery surfaces.... last winter I got by just fine for daily driving on my all-terrain tires, but this year I will be using the truck more so I have located some good studded snow tires (for the back only) ... I will put a few sand bags in the back and leave an extra spare tire under the box cover for some extra weight... and just in case I get somewhere in some deeper wet snow I have a set of tire chains for that extra insurance/confidence... may never use the chains, but one day if you need them, they are sure handy.

Edited by Rod R, 15 September 2009 - 02:09 PM.

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#15 99silveradoz71

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 02:26 PM

don't expect your truck to accelerate, take corners, or brake like it does on dry pavement.... even if you have trac control etc on a newer truck.....


Amen to that. A lot of people forget or don't know about the concept of the contact patch. That's the bottom of your tire that is in contact with the ground at a given time. Basically on the average tire, it's about the size of your hand. A little something to think about sometimes.
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