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Go Back JeepForum.com > Models > Jeep Grand Cherokee & Commander Forums > WJ Grand Cherokee Forum > Input Needed - I'm writing a Winter Weather 101 thread.

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Unread 10-07-2012, 11:41 PM   #16
billzcat1
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2003 WJ 
 
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Thoughts on each of your topics:

Emergency Kit/Supplies
Blanket, food, water, two-way radio (handheld CB), batteries, gloves, cell phone charger, jumper cables, first aid kit, recovery strap + points.

Other equipment
Carrying a bottle of washer fluid is great, sometimes a folding shovel is a good idea depending on where/what you're doing.

WJ Preparation
A good battery and clean terminals is most important. Cooling system with proper antifreeze mixture for your climate, and no more than 5 years between flushes. Recovery points front and rear. Start the season with new, quality wiper blades. I prefer the older style with metal frames - the thin-profile "aero" wipers tend not to hold up. Rain-X? Don't care for it on the windshield - it tends to make wipers more chattery especially in cold weather/icy conditions. However, all of the side windows are a good place for Rain-X to keep good visibility from sideways rain/snow. Fill the washer fluid with a low-temp mix. The "Rain-X" brand of washer fluid (the orange stuff) is REALLY high in methanol content which is hard on the finish, wiper rubber, and window/door seals. Not a fan.

Before getting stuck, practice shifting your transfer case, especially if you never have before. And test that your NV247 works in slippery conditions - gravel or grass parking lots are a good place to do a little testing - but be respectful - don't tear up someone's parking lot doing brodies. It's better to know if there's a problem before you wind up in a bad situation because your transfer case has been bad for a year and you didn't know it.

Information about the 4x4 Systems and how they work in Snow/Ice
A link to the different systems would help, but not ideal for the actual article. To be honest, street driving in the snow any of the systems will work will in their full-time/all-time mode given good tires. Tires will be more important than the specific system. Avoid P/T use for anything but getting un-stuck. Especially on plowed roads where you may alternate from sheer ice to dry pavement in the course of a block.

Driving tips for when you are actually out and about.
Go, Turn, Stop. PICK ONE. When available traction is low, make the most of it by not combining your actions. Accelerate gently, smoothly in a straight line. Coast around sharp corners. Brake in a straight line. Brake early!! Your Jeep will tend to accelerate much better than it will brake in the snow, and you are carrying a lot of mass. When ABS engages, your brake pedal will vibrate and rattle very strongly. Keep your foot down - pumping your brakes with ABS just lengthens stopping distances with no added control benefit. Don't brake while turning, and don't accelerate around a corner. This (and bad tires) is what gives SUV owners a bad name by getting stuck while drivers of Subarus and Audis zoom past laughing.

Stop lights are an enemy. Come up to them slowly and leave a lot of room between you and the car in front of you. This is a buffer in case you get rear-ended. You won't get any less damage from the offender, but you are less likely to get sandwiched in a multi-car pileup.

Above all, keep a level head. With Oversteer, steer into the skid. With understeer, lift off the throttle and maybe lightly brake to get traction back on the front wheels. Look at where you want to go, not where you are going. You're much more likely to make it happen if you focus on your goal. And when you're dealing with rutted slushy roads, it will push you all over the road. Keep calm and ride it out.

What to do in an emergency if you get stuck or stranded.
1. Assess the situation. Every problem is going to be different and needs different handling.
2. Address injuries and life-threatening situations first. Then handle whatever needs to be handled. If you are stuck way out in the boonies, use your vehicle for shelter. If you're without cell coverage, use your radio at regular intervals but not so much that you kill the batteries. CB channel 9 is for emergencies. If you have a UHF, it's channel 16.

Special Equipment (snow chains, studded tires (illegal in most areas), snow tires)
Tires, tires, tires. Chains suck and you are very speed-limited or else they break and fly off.
Studded tires are not only noisy and accelerate road wear, but they also vastly reduce traction on dry and wet roads without a notable gain in snow/ice performance. Read up: http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/...ay.jsp?ttid=94

Most studded tires on the market today are using antiquated tread patterns and compounds with studs added to give a semblance of winter performance. I've owned 6 sets of snow/winter tires, 2 studded and 4 non-studded sets. Without question the non-studded tires were better in every condition I threw at them. Even the cheap, $70 each Hankooks I used on my ZJ.

Snow Tires vs Highway/Mud/AT Tires.
Some All-terrains and highway tires are branded with the Mountain & Snowflake logo to indicate that they are tested and rated for Severe Snow Service. These tend to be the best choice for an all-terrain that needs to work in the snow - usually these have some of the features of a snow tire (like lug shape and siping) but use a firmer compound for year-round service. These will give good snow performance but lack the cold-weather hydrophobic tread compound that you would find on a dedicated winter tire. While a mountain/snowflake-branded tire will be good in snow, it is on ice and hard-packed street snow where the winter tire will really show it's advantage due to the optimized tread compound.

For a comparison of all-season vs winter tires, go here: http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/...y.jsp?ttid=116 or here: http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/...y.jsp?ttid=154 or here: http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/...ay.jsp?ttid=81 to see an all-season vs winter comparo.

A set of good winter tires is frequently less than the cost of your insurance deductible and most certainly less expensive than repairing an accident or someone getting injured/killed.

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Unread 10-09-2012, 10:15 AM   #17
ChrisHager
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Great stuff so far. Nice billzcat1! Great information.

Keep it coming everyone!
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Unread 10-09-2012, 10:35 AM   #18
04Overland47
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Great information everyone!! First time i ever drove my WJ in the snow i went around a corner doing ~25mph and the back end kicked out (wasn't trying to do that). Road had a little more ice on it than i thought. Steered into the skid with partial throttle and came out of it just fine. Key is, don't panic and be careful.

When i first got the WJ i wasn't a fan of full-time 4WD but in the snow i must say the QD system is awesome, especially with the vari-lok axles! Have fun out there
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Unread 10-09-2012, 01:52 PM   #19
billzcat1
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I'd also like to add that the V8 models have plenty of power to get you into trouble in the snow. My I6 ZJ was a lot easier to drive in the snow, despite being open/open. Basically, just drive like normal and it wouldn't spin tire. Even fairly heavy throttle, little wheel spin. The Overland with 80 more HP and 100 more TQ can become a handful if you stomp on the skinny pedal.
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Unread 10-17-2012, 03:24 AM   #20
SkinnyBam
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If I have 2 A/T tires and 2 A/T tires with the mountain/snow logo, which ones should I put on the rear? Right now I have the mountain/snow logo ones on the back because I figured it would be better if Im not using the 4x4 but not sure if thats right?
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Unread 10-17-2012, 04:20 AM   #21
billzcat1
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It's usually a bad idea to mix-n-match on WJs. You never know if similar-size tires will have the same actual rolling circumference. And for mixing snow tires with non, always a bad idea on a FWD or 4WD vehicle. But with A/Ts you'll probably be ok as long as all your tires have good tread depth. Put the better tires on the rear, it will give you better handling and reduce the likelihood of oversteer. Understeer isn't fun, but it tends to be safer for most drivers to handle.
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Unread 10-17-2012, 10:46 AM   #22
icbm99
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Growing up in Alaska I found that putting the automatic trans in neutral when coming to a stop, helps a lot. Even if you foot is off the "go" pedal, there is still engine power being applied to the drive train. My XJ was easy to "slap" into "N", without going into reverse. Not sure on new models. On my '11 F150 you actually have to depress the shifter button to go from drive to neutral, which could lead to an accidental shift into reverse (bad).
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Unread 10-17-2012, 01:48 PM   #23
maloj2003wj
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Very cool thread! Keep it up!
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Unread 10-18-2012, 03:05 AM   #24
SkinnyBam
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billzcat1 View Post
It's usually a bad idea to mix-n-match on WJs. You never know if similar-size tires will have the same actual rolling circumference. And for mixing snow tires with non, always a bad idea on a FWD or 4WD vehicle. But with A/Ts you'll probably be ok as long as all your tires have good tread depth. Put the better tires on the rear, it will give you better handling and reduce the likelihood of oversteer. Understeer isn't fun, but it tends to be safer for most drivers to handle.
Thanks for the answer, ya I bought them about a month or 2 apart because I had 2 go flat and didnt have enough money for a whole set. So they both still have very good tread left. Im moving to Colorado in a couple months so I may buy a full set of snow tires but we shall see...I hear they maintain the roads very well and I have a decent amount of winter driving experience.
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Unread 10-19-2012, 11:17 AM   #25
ruggedscotsman
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-slow down on snow/ice covered roads...as mentioned already, stopping takes much longer than you would expect, and 4x4 makes no difference to the brakes.
-bring a small snow shovel along with all the other things suggested. (snow brush, ice scraper, tow strap, jumper cables, extra washer fluid, blankets..etc)
-floor mats can be used as traction devices on icy/snowy surfaces.
-a small bag of sand or gravel is great for improving traction when stuck.
-a battery booster is a good choice for longer trips. a good one with an inverter can be used to plug in the block heater on really cold mornings.

-practice smug look of satisfaction to use when driving through conditions that keep others bundled up indoors.
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Unread 10-19-2012, 11:20 AM   #26
ruggedscotsman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billzcat1 View Post
It's usually a bad idea to mix-n-match on WJs. You never know if similar-size tires will have the same actual rolling circumference. And for mixing snow tires with non, always a bad idea on a FWD or 4WD vehicle. But with A/Ts you'll probably be ok as long as all your tires have good tread depth. Put the better tires on the rear, it will give you better handling and reduce the likelihood of oversteer. Understeer isn't fun, but it tends to be safer for most drivers to handle.
While I agree its better to not mix and match...I'm going to have to disagree about putting the better tires on the back. Accelerating is not as important as braking in terms of safety. Front tires do all the steering, and nearly all the braking...so if you have to mix n' match, better tires up front without a doubt.
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Unread 10-19-2012, 11:44 AM   #27
billzcat1
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Braking in a straight line is not an issue. Nor is straight line traction. I didn't mention either of those things for a reason. That's not WHY the better tires should be installed on the rear.

Uncontrollable oversteer is the issue. Nowadays, no one will install only a pair of winter tires anymore. The liability is too great and to be honest, it's a compromise no matter where you put the good tires. But, regardless of where your drive wheels are, reputable sellers and tire shops will recommend that the tires with the best traction be mounted on the back.

Why? Because weight transfer under braking helps assist traction to the front wheels, and snap oversteer is the most dangerous slide for the average driver to encounter. In driving a RWD pickup with ancient studded snow tires in the back and terrible A/Ts in the front, I would agree with this sentiment. I had no issues with steering or braking in the snow (being cautious, of course) and the vehicle was easily controllable as long as I could make it move.

And some citations:

http://www.discounttire.com/dtcs/infoTiresRear.dos

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tirete....jsp?techid=52

http://www.firestonecompleteautocare...s/mounting.jsp
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Unread 10-19-2012, 12:08 PM   #28
ChrisHager
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I was going to respond to the above but decided not to because I knew you'd come up with a better explanation. I agree that if you have a better set of tires (though WJ's should have even, matching tires), they should be on the rear.
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Unread 10-25-2012, 11:48 PM   #29
Harriedtwo
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If you don't have sand, purchase a plastic container of kitty litter. It weighs about 35# and works very well if you need to get unstuck. You can also use it to make a small path from your Jeep's door to your house. The plastic keeps the litter in the right place until needed and provides extra weight over the rear wheels. Its cheap to use. Besides, when spring comes you have it ready for your cat or to use in the garage as you make the oil change you "forgot" to make in January.

Last edited by Harriedtwo; 10-28-2012 at 02:34 PM..
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Unread 10-25-2012, 11:55 PM   #30
kaestacrunch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harriedtwo View Post
If you don't have sand, purchase a plastic container of kitty litter. It weighs about 35# and works very well if you need to get unstuck. You can also use it to make a small path from you Jeep's door to your house. The plastic keeps the litter in the right place until needed and provides extra weight over the rear wheels. Its cheap to use. Besides, when spring comes you have it ready for your cat or to use in the garage as you make the oil change you "forgot" to make in January.
You can get these cheap at Costco! 40 lbs bags. Trust me, I stock them EVERY night hahaha

Brilliant idea, btw.
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