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Thread: Prius in Snow

  1. #31

    Hi! I'm moving to Omaha next

    Hi! I'm moving to Omaha next year and am seriously thinking of getting a new Prius. I appreciate the inputs on this thread and wondering if there is anyone in Omaha who would like to comment. thanks!

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  3. #32

    I have a 2004 and the

    I have a 2004 and the traction control is the bane of my existence in the winter. I lived in Kansas City and even with a very slight incline and just a dusting of snow, my car is rendered completely powerless in the middle of the road as old ladies in Buicks drive by.

    I do have good tires, though they made little if any difference from the factory tires. I now live in NW Pennsylvania and the first snow of the year landed me in the median waiting on a tow truck. I have lived in Michigan and driven nothing but small front-wheel drive cars and never had an issue. I know the rules about how to react to slipping, but none of it was helpful as I glided right into the median on I-79!

    I love this car, truly, but if I had it to do over again, I would not have bought it. If Toyota ditches the traction control, then I might buy another one. Until then, I am counting down the days until I have it paid off and can shop for something I'm not afraid of in the winter weather.

  4. #33

    ok reading through these

    ok reading through these posts have made me even more confused. my 2008 prius is awesome; i love it, but am planning to drive up to vail from denver this weekend in possible snow, and now am struggling with whether to buy the snow tires or not. i do appreciate the tip on bridgestone blizzaks, which i'll check out right now. i really don't want to regret this buy....

  5. #34
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    If you are going up in the

    If you are going up in the mountains, then snow tires is a definite MINIMUM.

    I would also suggest you buy a set of chains (NAPA has chains that fit the Prius tires/wheel wells) and practice putting them on once or twice before hitting the mountain passes. Also shovel, food, clothing and survival supplies. They could save your life. Or just make the weekend a little more enjoyable.

    And that advice goes for ALL cars/SUV's. Not just Prius.

  6. #35

    I'm interested to know what

    I'm interested to know what you figured out that makes the Prius safe. I am 65 and have driven front wheel drive cars with traction control for years and find the Prius scary. At the same time I love the car but am very concerned how it handles in the snow.

    Do I need to go with snow tires and if so what brand and size?

    Is there a special way when braking with the Prius in snow?

    I had a slick spot yesterday and the car just slid straight ahead.

    Thanks for your response.


  7. #36

    hello. I'm in idaho and rhe

    hello. I'm in idaho and rhe weather right now is hpvering above 5 degrees. that's right 5 degrees. the heater works just fine, keeps you nice and toasty at high temp on low speed.

  8. #37

    It would be helpful if

    It would be helpful if comments regarding how your Prius handles in the snow were accompanied by a description of the tires you're running on. I presume the Pruis OEM tires have changed over the years, and describing your situation without defining your tires only tells part of the story.

    I'm in my second winter in my 2007(?) Prius which runs on the OEM Goodyear Integrity tires. These tires on this car are the worst winter driving combination I've ever experienced. I have 20 years experience driving small FWD cars in midwest (Minnesota)winters, so I know how to steer, brake, etc. But this car with these tires is dangerous! I have the same experience as others when the tires slip and the traction control kicks in, leaving me stranded halfway through an intersection. And it swims around badly on icy roads.

    I'd be interested in hearing how gas mileage was impacted for those who mounted snow tires or other OEM replacements. I assume it was diminished, because I presume the OEM tires were chosen to maximize gas mileage.

  9. #38

    I have a 2009 Prius touring

    I have a 2009 Prius touring model with stock tires and drive it from Boulder to Winter Park Colorado every weekend for the past month. I've been really impressed. Some things I've learned: on the down hill or when you want to brake on ice use the braking mode it's fantastic. I use it on I-70 and the downhill on Berthoud pass. I drive smart and on the switch backs that are steep I accelerate slowly. The traction control really helps. I haven't had any problems with power and in fact pass many people while climbing the pass in the snow.

  10. #39

    It sounds like Lauren

    It sounds like Lauren somewhat gets it.

    I live in the Southern Rockies at 7,000 feet and use inexpensive straight (and minimally) grooved mud and snow tires year yound. I have 30 years of experience in mountain area winter driving in both New England and the Rockies and have taken professional handling courses. My traction control light has never come on as I have been taught how to drive correctly. I hate chains and do not use them. I feel that an area that truly requires chains either deserves a tracked vehicle or to be rigorously avoided in the winter. Having said that, I go over Hoosier Pass (over 12,000 feet) in my Prius in the winter all the time to ski at Breckenridge. My year round average mileage is 52.0 mpg.

    I find that the Prius performs better in winter driving, moderate snow and slush than other similar sized fron twheel drive cars for two reasons:

    1. The electric motors mean that your initial acceleration is perfectly linear with huge torque at the lowest speeds, which means less slipping. Of course, if you you floor it, you will have problems, the same as with any other vehicle in snowy driving conditions.

    2. The regenerative braking means that as soon as stop pushing on the accelerator pedal the vehicle starts slowing down in a very controlled, linear deceleration, which can be emphasized with the B setting. This helps prevent you from sliding into the vehicle in front of you or off the road, a major source of winter accidents. Of course, if you wait until its too late and then slam on the brakes, you will have problems, the same as with any other vehicle in snowy driving conditions.

    On some ice, it doesn't matter what you have. I've seen vehicles with ice spike tires doing 360's more than once in my life.

    Front wheel drive light car driving techniques in snow or slick conditions are quite different from all wheel or four wheel driving techniques in heavier vehicles, especially for hills. There are too many subtleties to go into here. I suggest professional training for those drivers here who mentioned that they have problems driving correctly.

    As usual, how you drive (and whether you have training and skills and can be thoughtful and careful) is much, much more important than what you drive.

  11. #40
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    Just for the record, the "B"

    Just for the record, the "B" gearshift setting does NOT use the electric motor for regenitive braking.

    The B setting uses the engine compression for braking by changing the valve timing, similar to diesel engine "Jake" brakes.

    When you use the B gearshift setting you will get LOWER mileage because your electric motor is NOT recharging the battery as much as it would during normal braking.

    The Prius regenitive braking can only be used when the battery is LESS than fully charged. When the traction battery gets "topped off" and can no longer accept additional charge from the electric motor, the Prius reverts to mechanical braking, same as any normal car.

    The B gear allows you to brake down long downhill grades without using the mechanical brake, or overcharging the battery.

    I ONLY use B mode when going down a long mountain grade AND the dash display shows the traction battery above 90% charge state. As per the instructions in the 460 page owners manual that nobody bothers to read. Except us techno-geeks.

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