Welcome to Our Community

Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.

Sign Up

Question about tire spin

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Technical Discussion' started by gsbeliever, Nov 11, 2011.

Social Buttons

  1. gsbeliever

    gsbeliever Junior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2011
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Elmira, NY
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2009 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Just picked up my 2009 in April so no winter driving yet. I was recently told that if the Prius wheels start to spin, the engine will drop to an idle. I have a particularly contentious driveway and am now concerned that if I try to make a mad dash up my driveway in the snow and the wheels start spinning, I'm screwed. Backing down my driveway and handling the 90 degree turn halfway down (with a 20' dropoff) has resulted in several wrecker calls to straighten vehicles out before they go over the edge.
    If this is a "feature", can it be turned off? My Prius owning buddy told me to buy the best set of snow tires I can find and hope for the best!
    scott
  2. efusco

    efusco Troll Slayer Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2003
    Messages:
    19,842
    Likes Received:
    1,067
    Location:
    Nixa, MO
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    The traction control stops the wheel spin, not the engine droping to idle. that said, if the driveway is really bad you need to give consideration to parking at the top of the driveway when snowy/icy weather is anticipated and/or investing in studs and/or snow tires. You will definately have traction issues and there is little way to get around that.

    The traction control cannot, in any practicaly way, be disabled in the gen II.
  3. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    12,920
    Likes Received:
    3,073
    Location:
    Green Valley, AZ
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    N/A


    Excellent advice.
  4. gsbeliever

    gsbeliever Junior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2011
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Elmira, NY
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2009 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Since my house is at the top of my driveway, it's certainly my intention to park there! The back of my property butts up against suburbia (3 houses) so I may ask one of them for permission to park in their driveway on bad days.
    Thanks for the clarification!
    scott
  5. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Messages:
    7,628
    Likes Received:
    2,283
    Location:
    Greenwood MS USA
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Three


    Wise plan! Advance notification (to all three) may eliminate gunshots, you may wish to call ahead (to the property owner you use) when you need this fall back plan.

    Had you not purchased yet, I would have shown you my 'what kind of owner should NOT own a Prius' post, but at this point it would just be rubbing salt into your wounds.
    1 person likes this.
  6. josh2008

    josh2008 Hyundai Tech

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Messages:
    363
    Likes Received:
    135
    Location:
    Princeton, WV
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    Buy a good set of 4 studded snows, I recommend and use General Altimax Arctics. Traction control can be disabled, look up the procedure for placing the car in inspection mode. Try not to spin extremely fast in inspection mode. USE IT AT YOUR OWN RISK. I think you will be impressed with the cats winter performance with good tires.
  7. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Messages:
    4,172
    Likes Received:
    648
    Location:
    NOVA
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2006 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    I never realized this was a "problem" and we've been through 5 winters now. We do have good ice/rain traction tires.

    Quoting F8L on a similar thread:
    Buy better tires and problem solved. Those oem Integritys were pretty horrible. The Prii after 2005 were much improved with reduced traction control sensitivity. [​IMG]
  8. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Messages:
    4,096
    Likes Received:
    569
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Traction control doesn't "work" without good tyres. Get some good tyres and you may be ok without having to disable traction control.

    BTW, I would NEVER attempt to disable traction control. It just isn't worth risking $5000 to $10,000 damage to get somewhere close.
  9. Southern Dad

    Southern Dad Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    Messages:
    340
    Likes Received:
    200
    Location:
    Monroe, GA
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2011 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    When I lived in Rhode Island we had a wicked incline in the driveway from our road which was a four lane state highway. One evening after work, I took a running shot at the hill in my front wheel drive Cadillac. After my first slide down the driveway into the roadway, I rented a bobcat and made a double wide parking place at the bottom of the driveway. I spent $700 for a carport and had a new winter parking spot.

    I can't imagine attempting that driveway without the power of the a V-8 under the hood or 4X4 or both. Dang, I'm glad to be back in Georgia. No snow!
  10. Simtronic

    Simtronic Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Messages:
    169
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2005 Prius
    Model:
    II


    I am surrounded by hills and in the worst of winter I let the tyre pressure down a few PSI I have not been stuck anywhere yet and have been able to get up hills many others haven't. I run standard M&S michelin tyres 205 50 16 in summer and the winter pair are 205 55 16 this is manly due to cost and availability.
    I would not recommend disabling traction control but I might look it up as an emergency reserve, I have seen the instructions posted many moons ago. I hope this helps
  11. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Messages:
    6,982
    Likes Received:
    1,757
    Location:
    Western Washington
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    Three


    I can't imagine what the power of a V-8 would do on that driveway other than polish the ice even faster.

    Would better tires have helped?
  12. Simtronic

    Simtronic Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Messages:
    169
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2005 Prius
    Model:
    II


    I managed to resist commenting on the "V8" ice polishing dinosaur but seeing as I am not the first. :)
  13. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Messages:
    4,096
    Likes Received:
    569
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    DO NOT let the tyre pressure down for snow or ice. You need good tyre pressure to make the tread clear properly and to make the sipes work properly (remove water).

    IF you slip just before the top of the hill and stop then -maybe- taking a "run" at the hill could help. More likely it will guarantee you will loose control on the way up.

    The 2008 has the "corrected" traction control system and will likely keep trying and crawl up the hill IF the tyres have -some- traction. If they have no traction you won't move. There are no miracles involved in switching traction control on or off. If you switch it off and spin the wheels all you will do is polish the snow into ice, which will yield even less traction than snow.

    The technique most likely to succeed is slight pressure on the accelerator to try to keep the systems from over-reacting to slip. Just enough to make the car crawl. If it won't move with this, park it at the bottom and clear the hill of snow/ice or add sand. Or wait for nature to deal with it.
  14. tanglefoot

    tanglefoot Old enough to know better...

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    Messages:
    321
    Likes Received:
    70
    Location:
    Colorado
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    I agree--keep the tire pressure up. You get more ground pressure with more air pressure. You don't want flotation on snowy roads. That's only for sand or certain off-road situations.

    I do try to keep the traction control from engaging. The traction control on the '07 lets me spin the tires a little faster than the ground without cutting down the power which works well for deep stuff. For a short hill, I'll approach it with a little momentum and then gradually let the pedal up as I reach the top to keep the front tires from breaking loose on the climb.

    I wouldn't disable the traction control. It's there to protect the system.

    Tires do make a world of difference. I have some Hankook Optimo H727's on now and they've made it an amazing snow car. The traction control and ABS very rarely engage these days.

    An option for additional hill climbing traction is to climb the hill in reverse, if you're comfortable with it. That way, the weight transfer of the slope is adding weight to the drive tires (which are now in the back) instead of removing weight. Climbing is the weakness of front-wheel-drive cars because of that weight transfer. The Pri does have limited torque in reverse though, since the engine isn't capable of helping. The forward torque is excellent for crawling through snow--I wouldn't want a V-8.
  15. Southern Dad

    Southern Dad Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    Messages:
    340
    Likes Received:
    200
    Location:
    Monroe, GA
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2011 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    Would the V-8 power help? At that time I had two vehicles, a Saturn and a Cadillac. I did find that the weight and power of the Cadillac helped me out in the snow up there. My tires were all weather tires but as I discovered those should have said all weather except snow. Needless to say, I didn't like Rhode Island snow much.
  16. richard schumacher

    richard schumacher shortbus driver

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2004
    Messages:
    7,652
    Likes Received:
    873
    Location:
    United States
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Good snow tires are a must. Ditto the crawl advice: the Prius drive system makes it impossible to stall the engine, so it is feasible to use minimum accelerations (and thus very low speeds) to avoid breaking tire grip.
  17. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    Messages:
    5,480
    Likes Received:
    1,406
    Location:
    North Yorkshire, UK
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    If the guy from Alberta says you need good tyres and advice on how to drive in snow, then I'd listen to him. I believe residents of Edmonton know a thing or two about snow :)
  18. djasonw

    djasonw Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Messages:
    864
    Likes Received:
    52
    Location:
    Coconut Creek, FL
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2013 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    I've read that the software (or hardware?) was changed earlier than 2008 (as mentioned before) with regards to wheel spin. I own a 2004 and the TC is very, very sensitive. Since the 2004-2009 Prius have the same engine and virtually other shared components, I'm wondering why the 2004 models (and subsequent model years) can't be updated to reflect the less agressive TC threshold. Anyone venture to take a guess?
  19. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2006
    Messages:
    18,046
    Likes Received:
    2,949
    Location:
    Northern Michigan
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2006 Prius


    We don't have to guess. This topic has been discussed before, and the answer is known. TC became less sensitive in 2006, but the firmware changes cannot be applied to the earlier ECUs. You would need to swap the ECU for a newer unit. Whether that is possible I don't know.

    Tom
  20. stevemcelroy

    stevemcelroy Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Messages:
    867
    Likes Received:
    186
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2009 Prius
    Model:
    II
    Last year I visited some friends out in the Berkshires - they live at the top of a very steep and long dirt and gravel driveway. When I got there the driveway had been plowed, but was covered with packed snow and ice - I could not see any of the driveway. I was pleasantly surprised to have absolutely no issues going up or down. At the time I had almost brand new all-season tires - they had been on the car for only 2 months or so.

    Best of luck this winter - I hope that with a good set of tires and extra vigilance you will be just fine.
Similar Threads: Question tire
Forum Title Date
Toyota Prius Plug-in Tire Pressure Question Jun 23, 2014
Gen III 2010+ Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubles Gen III - 2010 - Weird tire wear question Apr 30, 2014
Generation 1 Prius Discussion Gen 1 tire question Feb 19, 2014
Gen II Prius Fuel Economy New Tire Questions Jan 14, 2014
Gen II Prius Main Forum Hankook H727 tire questions Dec 24, 2013