Sensitive traction control?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by silverfog, Oct 2, 2010.

  1. silverfog

    silverfog New Member

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    A column today in our local News & Observer, "Click and Clack Talk Cars" stated:
    "Some cars' traction control systems are so sensitive that they can make a car stop in their tracks in the snow. It's happened with some Mercedes models we've tested, and the latest Toyota Prius."

    I've never heard of a Prius being stopped dead by a slippery surface. Has anyone encountered this?
    I could not find the text on the www.cartalk.com.
     
  2. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    My '04 Prius had TC as sensitive as that. I test drove a '09 Prius and the TC behavior was MUCH improved

    However, the TC on my FJ is still light years better: it will actually apply the brake to the spinning tire, not just reduce engine power
     
  3. adamace1

    adamace1 Senior Member

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    there is a video on here showing the improved 2010 model going up a steep driveway.
     
  4. silverfog

    silverfog New Member

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    Impressive! But the comment in the newspaper was meant to be UNfavorable -- that, with the over-sensitive traction control of Mercedes and Prius, acceleration on icy roads can be zero. So if starting from zero the same speed of 0 mph is maintained in order to prevent wheel spin.
    Allegedly this conclusion comes from road tests, but I find it hard to believe.
     
  5. adamace1

    adamace1 Senior Member

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    Well in the video i think the 2010 did almost or did come to a stop a few times to regain traction.I think the driver held the pedal down pretty hard the whole time.

    I got 5" or snow that got packed down on the roads last winter here. I had no problems with the way traction control worked for me. I am going on a trip to Cheyboygan MI this winter and i'm not worried. I grew up in MI so i used to driving in bad condtions and i will say the car does a good job protecting itself/ letting wheel slip happen.

    If your stopped on ice and psh the pedal down hard, the car would start to spin hard then it may bring the wheels to a stop and then try to start moving again. The trick is to gentaly start to prevent wheel spin. I had a few cars that would spin both front tires on ice and slide right off the road into a ditch. So the older car also wouldn't go fowards just side ways into a diitch or the P.S.
     
  6. korat102

    korat102 New Member

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    The traction control is one of the two things I really hate about my 2005 Prius. I've learned to drive with it, that means never pulling out into traffic when a gap looks *just about the right size*. I wait longer than I used to which is probably not a bad thing anyway. I also treat the throttle more gently than I'm used to in other cars when pulling away. If you floor it in the wet, you're going nowhere fast.

    The other thing I hate is the incessant, annoying, unnecessary, completely ridiculous and frankly insulting reverse beep which can't be disabled on European cars.
     
  7. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Senior Member

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    The Prius traction control is designed to protect the HSD components located in the transaxle not to keep you from getting stuck. I have owned both and the Gen3 is better than the Gen2, but the Gen3 traction control is still quite sensitive compared to a lot of other cars. If you are aware of it and use winter tires in snow and ice you should be OK. Even all season tires seemed OK to me last winter in 3 or 4 inches of snow, any more than that and I used a different vehicle.

    I find the video of the Prius climbing the hill in snow of little value. It doesn't indicate how steep the hill is, how slippery the snow is (there is a huge difference determined by moisture content and temperature), and there is no comparison. They needed to show a couple of non HSD cars of similar size and weight trying to go up the same hill under the same conditions.
     
  8. energyandair

    energyandair Active Member

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    Are you sure they didn't say "last" rather than "latest"?

    I've read a lot about how bad the Gen 2 (particularly early ones) traction control is and how much better the Gen 3 has.

    Our Gen 3 fine and my buddy at work who bought a 2009 Gen 2 at about the same time has had lots of trouble wit this.
     
  9. silverfog

    silverfog New Member

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    Verbatim quote: "latest", not "last".
     
  10. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    The early 2004 and 2005 Model Gen II could exhibit this problem. Just this last year I got stuck in an icy parking lot such that I could not pull into my normal spot because of a VERY slight incline and ended up parking in a handicapped spot until the ice/snow melted. :( As you can see from the pics, the snow was not deep nor was the parking lot steep.
     

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  11. tedjohnson

    tedjohnson Member

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    I have no complaints about my 2010 II while driving on slippery surfaces, it seems to work well. But I thought traction control was there to do more than just protect over spinning the electric motors. From the descriptions here it should apply the brakes to a spinning wheel and transfer some torque to the other front wheel. That is not what happened to me. I got into some deep heavy snow and it sat there spinning the right wheel while the left wheel never turned. Had to shovel my way out when another car would have driven right thru it. Is it my car or do all the Gen 3 act that way?? Thanks.
     
  12. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    In my GenII the power was cut completely when a tire started to slip. You could floor it and nothing would happen. No engine noise, nothing.
     
  13. car compulsive

    car compulsive Active Member

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    I had the Prius out in snow-covered and slushy conditions this morning before the plows were out. Even with Michelin X-Ice 2 winter tires the performance was only OK in town and lousy on rural roads. ABS was very sensitive, sometimes kicking in on regen braking alone. ABS also seemed to cycle very fast and not allow the tires to regain traction on stopping. Grip on slush was lousy. I suspect it has to do with the weight of the car v. width of the tires, as I've run these tires on other vehicles with great results. Maybe a narrower tire would help. (I have stock width.) Traction control kept cutting in when going up hills, but was tamed when I put the car in power mode. The good news is the car backed up my rather steep snow-covered driveway with no hesitation.

    Overall, I'm thankful I have the Ridgeline for my long commutes in the winter when roads are lousy.
     
  14. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    There's a recent thread here outlining how to bypass TC by putting the car into Maintenance Mode. It's a bit of a headshaker though: if you search hard and long enough for the car's "easter eggs" you may get more than you bargained for. There's a warning in the Repair Manual, saying this mode is not for regular use, could damage the transaxle.
     
  15. mad-dog-one

    mad-dog-one Prius Enthusiast

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    On Dec 24, we drove our Gen 3 Prius from Reno to So. California on Highway 395 after a three day snow storm (200 miles on snow and ice) that covered the Sierra's. Much of the drive was above 6,000 ft elevation with multiple 6% grade sections and a summit a little over 8,100 ft. We carried snow chains, but they were never necessary. As long as the ground clearance is adequate, I have never had a problem with our Prius on snow or ice. In spite of the adverse weather conditions and roller coaster grade, we averaged 51.5 MPG indicated during the 12+ hour, 500 mile, drive that started at around 5,000 feet, climbed to 8,100 and ended at 1,300 ft. We passed plenty of side roads that were too steep or too snow-covered to have been passable, but the Prius had no problems on approximately 200 miles of highway covered with a relatively smooth layer of 4 inch packed snow and ice.
     
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  16. Tim Bender

    Tim Bender Member

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    I as well am impressed with my Gen3. We had a few inches this week. Drove my wife's 98 civic and it was a mess. The next day in the prius in similar conditions and the tc and abs kept me cool.

    I've always owned old beater cars and just thought snow driving was tough.

    ThunderBolt ? 2
     
  17. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    My 2004 was horrible with the "traction control" and only with studded snow tires was it ok

    The wife has a 2012 Impala and with the studded snow tires its a tank. Yes, the wheel on ice is helped by the brake being applied to it. My FJ does the same thing
     
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