2011 RAV4 4WD Not Good In Snow? Tires? - Toyota RAV4 Forums
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#1 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 10:28 PM
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2011 RAV4 4WD Not Good In Snow? Tires?

Hello, in December I purchased a new 2011 RAV4 4WD 4 cylinder Engine and today was the first time I took it out in the snow. We got about 4" of snow on the roads this morning and I had to bring my daughter to the bus stop and the RAV4 did not go to well in the snow. The vehicle appeared to be slipping and sliding on our street though our development at a fairly low speed. Correct me if I am wrong here but isn't the RAV4 4 wheel drive automatically go from mostly 2 wheel drive to 4 wheel drive when needed? It just so happens we were invited to a customer appreciation night at the Toyota Dealer and we spoke to the service manager about this slipping and sliding issue and he seemed a bit surprised. So he asked one of his service reps to show me how the 4 wheel drive works. The rep kept mentioning about having to be stopped in neutral to put it in 4 wheel drive and he pressed the button on the dash that would lock the center differential? He was driving my car with a manual in one hand trying to explain how the 4 wheel drive works. When I got home I read the manual and it appears that pressing this button locked all the wheels together by locking the center differential? I also, read that this was only good up to a low speed and this mode would automatically disengage at a low speed. Should you really have to stop and push this button when you get 3 - 4 inches of snow and you just don't want to slip and slide? I was thinking you would use this mode if you really got stuck and not for every time you get 3 - 4 inches of snow. Could it be that the Toyo tires that came on the RAV are just not to good in the snow? The RAV4 has Toyo A20 Open Country Tires with the 17" rims. Are these tires not so good in the snow? Could someone explain how my 4 wheel drive is suppose to work? Thanks for all your help.
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#2 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 10:38 PM
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You do not have to be stopped to push the 4wd button. Staying in 4wd will disengage at 25MPH. It will engage automatically if you slip while accelerating at a higher speed or if the 4wd button has not been pressed. There are a lot of previous discussions of how it works.

Your all-season tires are not going to be as good as dedicated winter tires. I find the snow traction to be pretty good, but others have higher standards.

Note that 4WD will not help you steer or stop better than FWD. Both have 2-wheel steering and 4-wheel brakes.

2009 V6 4wd Base
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#3 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 10:45 PM
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Do a search, there're a few threads explaining on how the rav4's 4wd system work. BTW, were the road icy?
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#4 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 11:08 PM
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The roads were snowy and slushy.
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#5 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 11:22 PM
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The problem is not with the Rav 4, but with the tires. The all-season may be good for summer driving and very light snow and ice. You can go to 'tire rack" and read the specifications of the tires on your Rav 4, but there should also be a small brochure for the tires in your Rav 4 glove box, along the owner's manual. This brochure should indicate the tire's ratings.
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#6 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 11:39 PM
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Some people in our area who have 4WD vehicles and have to drive a lot on snow and ice use studded tires in winter, often on all four wheels.

Jim
2011 Upgraded Base V6 4WD
2007 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic LT
2002 Craftsman LT1000 V2

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#7 (permalink) Old 01-13-2012, 12:40 AM
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From our experience, the Rav with a good set of winter tires is a capable of going practically anywhere a sane person would attempt to go, and will do so with a good safety margin.

2010 Rav4 AWD V6 - Wife's
2007 Civic LX - Daughter's
1996 BMW 328i - Son's
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#8 (permalink) Old 01-13-2012, 05:19 AM
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Don't worry, it's the tires.

I have (at the moment) all season tires, Good Year wrangler at the front and Toyo Open Road on the back. In similar conditions the back was slipping too, but for a very short time, it would instantly or very quickly fix the course. But these tires are not that best for snow.

If you buy even the cheapest WINTER tires you will see a big difference.

2008 RAV4 2.0 VVT-I 4WD
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#9 (permalink) Old 01-13-2012, 07:15 AM
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I was thinking tires too as I was told this vehicle would run great in the winter, thus my reason for getting it. I'm going to call the dealer today and see where I get with the "tire" discussion since they gave me misinformation on how to handle the 4wheel drive last evening.

What brand of tires are folks in snowy conditions running that could be used year round? We had a sequoia with Michelins on it's and my husbands 4runner has those as well and both seem to handle snow conditions well.

Thanks for everyones help!
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#10 (permalink) Old 01-13-2012, 07:32 AM
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Check out the Nokian WRG2 SUV . You can use it all year. Very expensive tires, but great in the snow.
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