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Hi folks,

This will be my first winter with my new to me 4WD Crew Cab SV. I'm confident driving on "normal" terrain in poor conditions but my steep driveway scares the crap out of me. The worst of it is about 300ft and is steep enough that when coming down it I have to ride the brake under normal conditions. The driveway spits right out onto the highway so losing control isn't really an option.

I live in Western NC at about 3200ft, so we only get snow for a few weeks of the year and the other 95% of my commute is highway. Are winter tires really worth it? Would a set of chains be worth it for coming down the hill?

Is hill descent control effective in snow/ice or should I rely on my own ability/judgement? I've never owned a vehicle with HDC before and I'm pretty hesitant to use it, honestly.

Any pointers appreciated.
 

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Yes, winter tires will be better, and so will chains. But each have their limitations. If the driveway is really that steep and there is no buffer space at the highway, then buy a snow blower and lots of salt.

Vic
 

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Winter tires are generally the best option, but I agree with the above comment. A snowblower/shovel and some gravel should help out with that driveway.
 

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I have had the hill decent still slid going down a muddy hill. That was the last time i used it. My only thought is, if it starts to slid with the hill decent on and it keeps braking you wont be able to steer the truck if the front is sliding. If your doing the braking then you can let off the brakes to steer and then get back on them. I would buy a pile of sand and apply when its icy. probably one of the cheaper options and just try to clean as much snow off the driveway so it does not pack into ice.
 

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I have had the hill decent still slid going down a muddy hill. That was the last time i used it. My only thought is, if it starts to slid with the hill decent on and it keeps braking you wont be able to steer the truck if the front is sliding. If your doing the braking then you can let off the brakes to steer and then get back on them. I would buy a pile of sand and apply when its icy. probably one of the cheaper options and just try to clean as much snow off the driveway so it does not pack into ice.
Which is what the Hill decent control is doing.

My way of looking at it is the hill decent control was allowing me to free up part of my brain to think and steer and worry less about brake application and speed.
 

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Hill decent works great when there's traction. But on Ice HDC & Traction Control will keep letting the wheels slip. I was snow wheeling last year and tried the HDC when the ABS led me go for a slide. Same result.

I was headed downhill, ABS started slipping. Grabbed the E-brake and locked up the rear end, got the front tires to lock up. Then switched on the HDC, let off the E-brake, let off the brake pedal, HDC started me down the hill and then couldn't/wouldn't slow me down. Grabbed the e-brake and stopped the truck.

For the OP, snow tires are night-and-day difference in cold weather. As long as the average temp is below 40 they will grip great and wear normal. When the average temp gets to 45+ the rubber of the tires gets too soft and you eat right through them. You could wear through a set in 20K miles keeping them on in the spring/summer. During the winter you'll get the advertised mileage out of them.

Easiest fix for you is to shovel the snow and salt the bottom of the drive. Sand for extra grip, but salt is needed to clear the ice.
 

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Hi folks,
...but my steep driveway scares the crap out of me. The worst of it is about 300ft and is steep enough that when coming down it I have to ride the brake under normal conditions. The driveway spits right out onto the highway so losing control isn't really an option.
Is your driveway dirt, gravel or paved?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Thanks folks, I appreciate the feedback.

I figured that winter tires would clearly outperform the A/T's I'm running, without question. The issue is that the weather here is so variable, for every week of snow we have there's a week of 50-60 degree temps, too. It would be a huge expense to buy winter tires when only 300ft of driveway is really ever going to be an issue, coupled with the rate at how quickly they would probably wear out given our erratic weather patterns.

Sounds like salt and a little hard work will have to do the trick!

Is your driveway dirt, gravel or paved?
Mostly dirt/gravel but the steepest part that concerns me is the 300ft of pavement.
 

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Which is what the Hill decent control is doing.

My way of looking at it is the hill decent control was allowing me to free up part of my brain to think and steer and worry less about brake application and speed.
Maybe you have not experienced this but when the vehicle is controlling the braking and your just sliding it scares the crap out of me. I want to be in control, at least then its my fault.

OP, look into getting a hitch mounted salt/sand spreader for the back of your truck. This would allow you to back down the drive, spreading salt and/or sand for traction. Not to mention you dont have to spread 300' by hand. Hooks up to the battery with a controller in the truck.
 

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Thanks folks, I appreciate the feedback.

I figured that winter tires would clearly outperform the A/T's I'm running, without question. The issue is that the weather here is so variable, for every week of snow we have there's a week of 50-60 degree temps, too. It would be a huge expense to buy winter tires when only 300ft of driveway is really ever going to be an issue, coupled with the rate at how quickly they would probably wear out given our erratic weather patterns.

Sounds like salt and a little hard work will have to do the trick!



Mostly dirt/gravel but the steepest part that concerns me is the 300ft of pavement.
I'd be sure to keep in mind that for the most part "WINTER" tires are good at gripping on an ice covered paved road will do little for you on a snow covered steep gravel road... Here is where the right A/T or M/T will shine brightly with big blocks and voids so as to not get choked up with packed snow....
 

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Maybe you have not experienced this but when the vehicle is controlling the braking and your just sliding it scares the crap out of me. I want to be in control, at least then its my fault.

OP, look into getting a hitch mounted salt/sand spreader for the back of your truck. This would allow you to back down the drive, spreading salt and/or sand for traction. Not to mention you dont have to spread 300' by hand. Hooks up to the battery with a controller in the truck.
Driving in 25 Minnesota winters, I'm familiar. Does your truck have Hill descent control or have you ridden in a vehicle with it? it's quite nice. My comment was more worded that the hill Descent control frees up a tiny portion of your brain to focus on steering and wheel placement. Also, as I mentioned, the HDC rolled me down the hill much slower than I would have, so, less momentum in theory would be more safe and in control.

And, I would not want to be backing down this 300' section in question trying to spread salt and sand off the rear of my truck. A decent sized fertilizer spreader full of a salt and sand mix works quite well. If you stay on top of any ice, it never becomes a huge issue.
 

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Driving in 25 Minnesota winters, I'm familiar. Does your truck have Hill descent control or have you ridden in a vehicle with it? it's quite nice. My comment was more worded that the hill Descent control frees up a tiny portion of your brain to focus on steering and wheel placement. Also, as I mentioned, the HDC rolled me down the hill much slower than I would have, so, less momentum in theory would be more safe and in control.

And, I would not want to be backing down this 300' section in question trying to spread salt and sand off the rear of my truck. A decent sized fertilizer spreader full of a salt and sand mix works quite well. If you stay on top of any ice, it never becomes a huge issue.
Yep, I said i have it, and i don't like it. Personal preference. To each there own, i have run our salt trucks at work and you can adjust to drop A LOT of salt or sand which would allow you to back down safely and apply. Seems like the OP has a long driveway and i figured it might easier to drive than walk .
 

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I'd be sure to keep in mind that for the most part "WINTER" tires are good at gripping on an ice covered paved road will do little for you on a snow covered steep gravel road... Here is where the right A/T or M/T will shine brightly with big blocks and voids so as to not get choked up with packed snow....
This is actually incorrect. Snow tires work because of many sipes (small voids) that trap snow in them. Snow sticks to snow. Snow does not stick to rubber. Also, You need as many biting lateral edges as possible. This is achieved with the sipes. MT tires have Large blocks of rubber with Large empty voids. This results in less rubber contacting the road and the large unbroken blocks do not displace water effectively. Many tire makers talk of mechanical keying as key to traction. With rain/snow/ice you need micro-keying and rocks macro-keying. (additionally with water you need to give it a channel to evacuate the contact surface)

The sipes also act as a channel for water to displace into allowing the rubber of the tire to contact the surface instead of sitting on a sheen of water (this is why ice is slippery, there's a layer of water between the ice and the foot/tire/shoe...) which allows the softer rubber to adhere to the ice surface.

MT tires are horrible in snow&ice both due to their large rubber blocks and their harder rubber compound. The only time MT do well with snow is with deep powder. THEN the paddling action is a benefit. AT tires mitigate this with smaller voids, more biting edges, more rubber in contact with the ground.

TLDR: Best option for winter driving is winter tires. Softer compound remains flexible allowing better adhesion. smaller voids means more rubber.
There is a big difference between a prepared/maintained dirt road or driveway and an unmaintained trail.

and some links for the bored or interested:
Physics of Winter Tires - Car Safety- Physics
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMhIbGtkTZw
Physics 111: Fundamental Physics I: Physics of Snow Tires
 

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^^^Excellent post mtyler11^^^
 

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Hi folks,

This will be my first winter with my new to me 4WD Crew Cab SV. I'm confident driving on "normal" terrain in poor conditions but my steep driveway scares the crap out of me. The worst of it is about 300ft and is steep enough that when coming down it I have to ride the brake under normal conditions. The driveway spits right out onto the highway so losing control isn't really an option.

I live in Western NC at about 3200ft, so we only get snow for a few weeks of the year and the other 95% of my commute is highway. Are winter tires really worth it? Would a set of chains be worth it for coming down the hill?

Is hill descent control effective in snow/ice or should I rely on my own ability/judgement? I've never owned a vehicle with HDC before and I'm pretty hesitant to use it, honestly.

Any pointers appreciated.
I live in MN and have done fine with the tires that came on the truck. I'm not sure I have any scenarios exactly like yours but I haven't had any trouble. I also couldn't recommend dedicated winter tires where you are only going to get snow "a few weeks of the year and the other 95% of my commute is highway".

Here is something else to consider. How long have you lived there? In what other vehicles have you been successfully navigating this driveway. Your frontier isn't going to be worse than any other vehical you have already experienced.::wink::

PS: See this tire rack information on Winter tires: http://tires.tirerack.com/tires/Winter Tire Temperature Range
They say put on your winter tires when the average temperature is in the 40 degree range. Warmer than that and they are going to wear out really quickly.
 

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...not ideal but why not park towards the bottom of the hill until you decide what to do/purchase (at least you wouldn't be running the risk of sliding into oncoming traffic)?
 

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Hi folks,

This will be my first winter with my new to me 4WD Crew Cab SV. I'm confident driving on "normal" terrain in poor conditions but my steep driveway scares the crap out of me. The worst of it is about 300ft and is steep enough that when coming down it I have to ride the brake under normal conditions. The driveway spits right out onto the highway so losing control isn't really an option.

I live in Western NC at about 3200ft, so we only get snow for a few weeks of the year and the other 95% of my commute is highway. Are winter tires really worth it? Would a set of chains be worth it for coming down the hill?

Is hill descent control effective in snow/ice or should I rely on my own ability/judgement? I've never owned a vehicle with HDC before and I'm pretty hesitant to use it, honestly.

Any pointers appreciated.
Check out the Yokohama Geolandar G015's. I replaced my long trails with these (i wish i'd have gotten the 265/75/16 instead of oem SV size of 265/70/16 to better accommodate a OME suspension swap in the future, but its not a huge deal). I am in a similar situation as you. I live in California but commute in the sierra's, Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming occasionally in the winter.
These tires fit the bill. They seem just as planted on dry road, did not effect my gas mileage, are -far- better in rain and are better on trails. In heavy snow recently in Mammoth Lakes CA i had plenty of traction when others were sliding around and getting stuck. They are rated for 40,000, but i always replace when treadlife is around 1/2 since tires are cheap compared to the alternative. Being from Wyoming originally i appreciate the winter ability greatly.

This guy did a decent overlanding review of them as well, which highlighted the versatility. Field Tested: Yokohama Geolandar AT G015 | Expedition Portal

They are the best thing i've done for my Truck so far.
 

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This is actually incorrect. Snow tires work because of many sipes (small voids) that trap snow in them. Snow sticks to snow. Snow does not stick to rubber. Also, You need as many biting lateral edges as possible. This is achieved with the sipes. MT tires have Large blocks of rubber with Large empty voids. This results in less rubber contacting the road and the large unbroken blocks do not displace water effectively. Many tire makers talk of mechanical keying as key to traction. With rain/snow/ice you need micro-keying and rocks macro-keying. (additionally with water you need to give it a channel to evacuate the contact surface)
You know to be truthful I agree with everything you posted, living in MI since 97 one tend to learn something about snow and ice. But since I moved to the mountainous area of TN I've seen that one must adapt a bit differently here... We get cold but not a long enduring cold, we get snow and ice but even the paved roads turn to a muddy slush not to mention that many of the 2ndary roads are barely maintained gravel roads that the boys with A/T and the right M/T tires are the ones who can still get around as these roads can get sloppy. People here often have long steep gravel and sometimes poorly maintained driveways that still scare the crap outta me even when dry and that is what I envision when the OP speaks of his in NC....
 
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