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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Might seem an odd question to ask right now as it's 90 degrees outside as I type this, but for anybody who has a 2wd Frontier, how do they do in the snow? I know that 2wd trucks are typically awful in winter weather, but was just curious if any of my fellow transfer case-less Frontiersmen could share their experiences. I just bought a new 2wd CC a few weeks ago, decided against the 4x4 considering the extra cost, slightly lower mpg, the fact that the winters aren't that bad here, option to work remotely, etc. But if I am out in it, I just want to get an idea what I'll be up against.
 

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I've only had mine for one winter. I managed to get around. Get a couple of sand tubes to throw in the bed of the truck. I bought four 60lb or 70lb bags last year, and that might have been a bit over kill. The extra weight in the back definitely helped with the traction, still wasn't great but better than without. I keep going back and forth on buying tire chains for it. They probably aren't really necessary for the area I live in, but then again, you never know what you might get stuck out in while trying to get home.
 

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With OEM tires, my KC 2wd dis quite well with one of these in back. All Weather Traction | Shurtrax Store

Last winter I didn't even need the ShurTrax with Michelin LTX M/S2 tires. Snow and ice traction were manageable with careful driving. (The ice was salted and packed by traffic.)

I have the electronic locker for the rear, and have used it once in 11 years.
 

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4x2 & all season tires:

Fresh tires/tread helps the most, IME. I avg 14-15k miles/yr. By the 3rd year on 50k tires I found I didn't achieve the same level of traction as the previous 2 Winters. Will add that I have had bedshells on both of my Frontiers and have never put any 'extra' weight in the bed. Guesstimating the bedshells at ~140-180 lbs for Gen 1 & Gen 2 respectively.

I've yet to drive in any appreciable snow depths in my Gen 2 since we had very little snow last Winter = my first and only Winter w/ '15 SV. Looking forward to the on-board traction system kicking in for the assist...then turning it off for comparison's sake, fwiw.
 

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What kind of differential you have makes a big difference: open carrier vs. limited slip. I had a 97 Hardbody KC/SE/2WD/AT with an open rear and it would go uphill sideways on slippery, steep inclines. Tires also make a big difference, as already stated. A little weight in the back helps, but don't go so heavy that it starts lifting the nose of the vehicle up, which will affect your camber and the way your vehicle handles. There's no substitute for common sense and experience when it comes to winter driving!
 

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I have a 4x4, but have used the front axle only once to move through some snow from a parking space. 99 percent of the time, with a part-time 4x4 system like the Frontiers have, you are operating in rear-wheel drive anyway.

Having owned three pickups (2 RWD, 1 Frontier 4x4), they are okay in the snow as long as you have decent tires. IMNSHO, all-season tires aren't decent tires for snow, whether or not you have a 4x4. If you are in an area with cold, wet slush and ice, use winter tires intended for ice (a studless ice and snow tire), such as Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 or Michelin Latitude X-Ice XI2. If you are in an area that gets deeper snow, look for a more traditional snow tire. Nokian makes some highly regarded snow tires.

I haven't found that adding weight to the truck bed appreciably helps winter traction. Just my experience.

YMMV. OAC.

Vic
 

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we had few snow/ice days past couple years. I did pretty OK with F150 2WD, open diff and bridgestone dueler all season tires. But there was times that i wish to have 4x4.

like other members said already... adding weight, good tires will help a lot. Plus some driving technique. :)
 

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Snow tires on all 4 corners and some extra weight will help. Keep in mind that you want the extra weight over the rear axle not behind it. If you were to put weight behind the rear axle you will take off off the front on the car, which is not good.
 

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I have a 4x4, but have used the front axle only once to move through some snow from a parking space. 99 percent of the time, with a part-time 4x4 system like the Frontiers have, you are operating in rear-wheel drive anyway.

Having owned three pickups (2 RWD, 1 Frontier 4x4), they are okay in the snow as long as you have decent tires. IMNSHO, all-season tires aren't decent tires for snow, whether or not you have a 4x4. If you are in an area with cold, wet slush and ice, use winter tires intended for ice (a studless ice and snow tire), such as Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 or Michelin Latitude X-Ice XI2. If you are in an area that gets deeper snow, look for a more traditional snow tire. Nokian makes some highly regarded snow tires.

I haven't found that adding weight to the truck bed appreciably helps winter traction. Just my experience.

YMMV. OAC.

Vic
part-time 4x4 system? What are you talking about?
 

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part-time 4x4 system? What are you talking about?
I'm talking about the system on the Frontier, which you can't just leave in 4-wheel drive all of the time. So you just turn it on when you want to use it (part-time). As opposed to all-wheel drive, where the vehicle either always provides traction to all of the wheels, or selects when to provide drive to the wheels.

http://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/whats-the-difference-between-four-wheel-drive-and-all-wheel-drive/

Vic
 

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Maybe too early of a model to be of interest, but my daughter drove the '98 2WD manual transmission 4-cylinder Frontier a few years in Flagstaff, AZ which gets a fair amount of snow, and she snowboards. Yes, she put some sandbags in the bed, it did not do too well in snow. She ended up buying a 1998 Pathfinder 4WD about 4 years ago which she said works great in the snow, with all-season tires and no chains.
 

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I know that 2wd trucks are typically awful in winter weather
They got a lot better after automated braking/traction systems (like the Frontier's "VDC") were introduced.
 
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They got a lot better after automated braking/traction systems (like the Frontier's "VDC") were introduced.
This. My current frontier does laps around any other 2wd truck I have ever owned in 2wd. The VDC system is phenomenal in helping you along in slippery conditions. Over the years I've turned off the VDC just to see the difference and it is night and day. It's still NOT 4wd by any means, but decent.
 

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Had a 03 2wd and it was terrible in the snow even with 80 pounds in the back(having a unleveled lifted truck probably didn't help, a*s was way up in the air). The 2nd gen frontier seems to do much better , but having 4wd adds some piece of mind. Just keep it slow and know you will slide and spin out a little bit.


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I put on KO2's this year and I left it in 2wd a lot more than previous winters. I always put 4x30KG bags of gravel over the rear axle in the bed and to me it's a night and day difference. I have plowed 6" of snow in 2wd too in my driveway just to see if I could before there was much ice down of course and it was able to without too much difficulty. I had toyo open country winter tires on the winter before and that was not doable. Tires maketh the traction IMO. Keep some chains around for reassurance or steep driveway climbs if you need.

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Add several bags of sand in the bed over the rear axle. Snow tires will be a night/day difference, but Good all season/ AT tires will make a difference too. How much snow/how cold is it in TN during the winter? If it stays below 40deg snow tires are a good idea even if its mostly rain. but if it stays over 45 then you will have significant wear just from the rubber getting too warm.
A good all season highway tire with lots sipes (General Grabber HTS) will do better than an average AT tire. That said a good AT tire in moderate temps will do much beter than the stock doughnuts

First 2 winters I ran the stock tires (BFG LongFails) first winter no weight, lots o skids. Added weight, much better manners. New tires, even better. That said, if the snow is unplowed or road is packed snow/ice, snow tires or cables are needed. https://www.etrailer.com/Tire-Chains/Nissan/Frontier/2014/TC2028.html?vehicleid=2014206234 these can do in a pinch if you only need them once in a while.
 

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I think a crew cab pickup is going to go better anyway since it puts more weight on the rear wheels as compared to an old king cab or regular cab. Mine went like a tank this past winter. Nothing stopped it when in 4wd and 2wd worked pretty well for mixed driving as the VDC kept everything neat.

Tires do make a huge difference and some weight in the back is not going to hurt.
 

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I have no Frontier snow driving experience (disclaimer up front). But I had a 2wd open diff 4.3L manual transmission Silverado when we lived in Colorado. Quite possibly the WORST possible vehicle choice for those conditions, but I had tires that the tire shop recommended for that area and I did just fine.

As someone else stated on the previous page about having an open diff, she drove dog legged (crooked) up hills but other than that I had no issues.

Snow driving is ALL about stopping, getting going isn't so bad, stopping is what is super difficult. There is a good consumer reports article on winter/snow driving that they published I believe last year.

First and foremost tires make the biggest difference, and has been proven over and over.

Second, your driving technique and/or your traction control systems and more importantly ABS systems have the next biggest impact on winter driving capability.

The least important factor in driving in winter conditions, 2wd vs awd vs 4x4. In fact fwd often performed better with traction control/abs in the test consumer reports did than virtually ever awd and 4x4 except I believe for the Subaru driveline system.

and of course YMMV.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
How much snow/how cold is it in TN during the winter? If it stays below 40deg snow tires are a good idea even if its mostly rain. but if it stays over 45 then you will have significant wear just from the rubber getting too warm.
Not bad at all, we had one bad snow last winter but it was the worst one we had since 2002. The two winters before that I bet we didn't get 3 inches of snow all weekend. We do have a lot of sub-40 days during the winter though.

I think a crew cab pickup is going to go better anyway since it puts more weight on the rear wheels as compared to an old king cab or regular cab. Mine went like a tank this past winter. Nothing stopped it when in 4wd and 2wd worked pretty well for mixed driving as the VDC kept everything neat.

Tires do make a huge difference and some weight in the back is not going to hurt.
I was thinking this about the CC too, since the rear wheels are almost underneath the back of the cab. I'll probably get some sandbags just in case, and secure them to the front of the bed with the extender so the extra weight isn't behind the wheels.
 
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