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traction on snow

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Technical Discussion' started by aspens3, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. aspens3

    aspens3 Junior Member

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    When driving up a steep grade on snow, if one snow tire slips, do the others give up and cease working? What kind of traction system does a Prius have compared to other vehicles?
     
  2. PriusTech

    PriusTech Member

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    The Prius traction control works in conjunction with the ABS. It brakes the spinning tire and cuts power. Many Gen 2 owners find it somewhat disagreeable. It locks up for a bit too long and you can't disable it. You really have to watch pulling into traffic on a wet road, it will lock up repeatedly. One strategy is to just floor board it.
     
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  3. djasonw

    djasonw Active Member

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    Don't attempt to climb a hill in the snow unless you have a good head start. Unfortunately the Gen II has an overly aggressive TC system which makes climbing hills in snow quite challenging. If you have snow tires you have a greater chance of success. YMWV.
     
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  4. aspens3

    aspens3 Junior Member

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    Excellent explanations and I thank you -
     
  5. aspens3

    aspens3 Junior Member

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    My gen II can't get up the driveway even when dressed in fancy Blizzak tires, so it is parked in a snow drift from October to, um, May when the last of the ice is gone down in the shady part of the road. What sounded like an elderly person called to inquire about purchasing it and wanted to know how it would do out on their rural snowy road (they wanted good gas mileage in a second vehicle). I advised them against buying my car - could not live with my conscience otherwise, haha. Psst, wanna Prius II? I'll find a city slicker who drives on flattish roads with graveled intersections.
     
  6. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Point them to a used GenIII to take a test drive. Most (but not all) owners with snow tires seem to like it. Even many without snow tires find it sufficient.

    Prius' Traction Control has gone through at least 4 iterations, improving each time, though the OEM tires still generate substantial dissatisfaction.
     
  7. techntrek

    techntrek Member

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    Basically on the gen II the ABS system only exists to protect the transaxle from overspeed - not to give you better traction.
     
  8. Syclone

    Syclone Member

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    Techntrek is right! It should be called the "AntiTraction System" . If either of the front wheels is slipping there is no traction at all. We live in NY, but bail out at the first sign of snow. So - the Prius spends the winter in the garage on a floating charger. Really the only negative in 78K miles and 6.5 years of ownership.
     
  9. PriusGuy32

    PriusGuy32 Prius Driver Extraordinaire

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    I have Michelin X-Ice tires on for the Michigan winter and havent had any problems BUT I also dont go up any inclines what so ever. My driveway meets the street at the same level, and its just not very hilly around Metro Detroit.

    I have had the "anti traction system" kick in when I try to pull out in traffic in the snow or rain. That sucks. When I let somebody drive my car I warn them right away not to pull out in front of fast moving traffic expecting the car to behave like their non-Prius vehicle. Because when the abs/tcs does kick on, its gonna stop you in your tracks.
     
  10. SteveLee

    SteveLee Active Member

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    In eastern NC we don't often experience this but it sounds like a safety hazard to both the Prius and traffic.
     
  11. techntrek

    techntrek Member

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    It is. One way to improve the situation is to buy stickier tires - which I did once the factory tires wore out. I lost 1 or 2 MPG but it definitely improved situations like PriusGuy32 describes. It did not improve the very steep inclines where I live, when it snows. Just this past Christmas Eve we took our Prius to church because projected snow wasn't supposed to amount to much. It snowed so hard we got stuck a half mile from our house (again) because even pressing the accelerator to the floor wouldn't allow enough wheel spin to maintain forward movement. Other cars we've owned in the same situation have made it with wheel spin. I had to get a ride home and bring our Suburban back to tow it up the hill. Nothing stops the Suburban except pure ice - which is partly why we own one (that and we do a lot of towing - so no snipes about it please, we really use it for what it was built for).