Front-wheel drive is good in the snow


10/21/2020 • Ø 2:45 min. Reading time

With the month of November we all have it back on the calendar: the tire change. Tires are the only parts of the vehicle that come into contact with the surface, the road. This immediately makes tires the most important component on the car. Even modern drive systems, such as all-wheel drive, can only use the traction of the tires.

What makes winter tires so safe?
Winter tires are made from rubber compounds that not only stay supple at low temperatures, but also have microscopic pores. These absorb the thin layer of water, which melts due to the weight of the vehicle when driving over ice. The flexible rubber mechanically digs into the ice and ensures adhesion on the road.

Which drive system in winter?

  • Front wheel drive
    Even if the answer to the suitable drive system in winter seems more than logical: the vast majority of cars have front-wheel drive. And not, as it seems logical, with all-wheel drive. All other things being equal, front-wheel drive usually offers more grip than a rear-wheel drive car. Pulling instead of pushing makes the driving experience a little more predictable, even in slippery conditions. Therefore, for drivers with little driving experience, front-wheel drive is a better choice than rear-wheel drive. However, if the front-wheel drive vehicle loses traction, nothing helps but slow down immediately.
  • Rear wheel drive
    A rear-wheel drive vehicle with a balanced weight distribution usually offers superior dynamics compared to front-wheel drive. But only with the compromise that it is difficult to control for inexperienced drivers. A car with rear-wheel drive and a mid or rear engine, which puts more weight on the rear wheels, sometimes even has more traction than an all-wheel drive vehicle. The pivotal point with this drive is simply the driving ability: if you accelerate too much, you will experience oversteer in which the rear tries to overtake the front.
  • all wheel drive
    With an all-wheel drive, the power follows the path of least resistance within the drive. This means that when the center differential is open, the power goes to the bike with the least traction. However, this only spins as fast as its counterpart on the opposite axis. This ensures stability, because the bike with the least traction receives all of the power. The other three wheels can prevent the vehicle from slipping or even spinning. But all-wheel drive does not only have advantages: a lot of technology is required in the car so that the power can be transferred to all four wheels. Additional drive shafts, an additional gearbox and an additional clutch not only increase the weight of the vehicle, but also the consumption of the vehicle. And all-wheel drive is much more expensive than a front-wheel drive vehicle. Despite its obvious advantages, all-wheel drive is not always the answer to all the answers in winter. All-wheel drive offers more stability on slippery roads. However, it does not replace a driving style adapted to the conditions. Especially downhill, the all-wheel drive offers no advantages over other drives. The same laws of physics apply here - and many a brisk SUV all-wheel drive driver came off the road while driving downhill.
Caution is the mother of accident-free winter
Even the most talented riders can be surprised by the ever-changing conditions that winter brings. The bottom line is: whatever drive system - they are all challenging to drive. Because once winter has arrived with cold, ice and snow, only a defensive but soulful driving style helps. Accelerate carefully so that the wheels do not spin on the blanket of snow or the car goes off track. It is also true that the tires still tend to spin in second or third gear and at a higher number of revolutions. The engine brake is always to be preferred during braking maneuvers. Because: Caution is the mother of accident-free winter.

In this sense: have a good trip!