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Adding Weight for driving in the Snow? 2 Questions

Would adding weight in the trunk of a front
<br/> wheel car (94 Camry) provide benefit for driving in the snow?
<br/> How about adding weight in the bed of a
<br/> 2005 Ranger without four wheel drive?
<br/> thanks, fred p


  • edited December 2010
    A couple of hundred of pounds of weight in that Ranger and you will be unstopable.That same weight in the front of that Camry will make it unsteerable.

    Really, we went over this pretty good last year I can't think of anything to add to that marvelous thread.Try the search feature and see if you can pull it/them up.
  • edited December 2010
    A couple of hundred lbs of weight directly over the rear axle or forward of the rear axle of a RWD vehicle will help quite bit with traction.

    On the other hand, adding weight to the trunk of a FWD vehicle (like that Camry) will only worsen the weight distribution and will actually reduce the traction of the front drive wheels.

    If you want better traction, ditch those so-called all-season tires for a few months and put a set of 4 winter tires on the car. Winter tires make an incredible difference in improving your ability to stop and take turns, as well as to get you going in the snow. They will even give you somewhat improved stopping ability on ice.
  • edited December 2010
    Isn't the trunk of the Camry in the back?

    "Would adding weight in the trunk of a front
    wheel car (94 Camry) provide benefit for driving in the snow? "
  • edited December 2010
    Yes but why would putting weight over the back wheels have any chance of helping traction when the drive wheels are in the front? If this idea has any chance at all the weight has to go over the drive wheels. I know the OP wrote trunk.
  • edited December 2010
    In the snow and ice, there are TWO problems. One is simple traction in applying the power from the engine to the road (getting going and keep going.) The other is distributing the weight so to have the most control when driving. (staying on the road facing front when driving.)

    Both are important, but sometimes we think of one but not the other. If I have to choose, I will choose control. I would rather get stuck than to loose control when driving.

    I have no experience with a Camry, but I have driven a Celica and I would tend to believe the Celica weight distribution would not be helped by adding weight front or back.
  • edited December 2010
    There's no good reason to add weight to a FWD car.
    There's already considerably more than 50% (~60% typ.)of the total weight over the driving wheels.

    Adding weight over the non driven wheels will make it easier to get stuck.

    To get a 10% increase in the Ranger would take ~350lbs over the back wheels or somewhat less if it's gathered by the tailgate and behind the rear axle.

    p.s. I agree that putting the weight behind the rear axle will hurt handling by increasing the rotating moment of inertia.
  • edited December 2010

    "If this idea has any chance at all the weight has to go over the drive wheels."

    Yes, but how would you propose that someone add weight to the front of that Camry?
    Duct-taping barbell weights to the hood, perhaps?

  • edited December 2010
    Regarding adding weight in the trunk of a front drive car - I must disagree with all but Mr. Meehan. A light rear end will encourage the car to swap ends. The ideal is 50/50 weight distribution. Therefore, adding weight to the trunk of a FWD car is a good idea. Accelerating and clawing your way up a slippery hill is only part of winter driving. Braking and cornering are also important. I've been doing this successfully to my '92 Honda Accord for the past 2 or 3 winters. Yes, I have 4 dedicated snow tires: Bridgestone Blizzack. Before I started adding weight, I've had a few instances where the car rotated almost 90 degrees on a slushy or snow packed road. Always due to the rear end coming around.
  • edited December 2010
    Equally impossible to envision is how adding weight to the rear would help traction in a fwd auto. I simply edited the OP's statement as I felt the idea to add weight to the rear of a fwd car in order to increase traction was a typo.

    I read the response that adding weight to the rear of a fwd car will be benifical as it will decrease the likelyhood of the rear 'comming around" I must say that if you are driving on a surface at speeds where the rear wants to come around you are simply driving too fast.

    One way we made our off-road cars move through low traction situations is to keep the car as light as possible, I have seen the " keep it light" idea work very well. The heavier you are the more traction you need, I keep it light.

    I remember once when the fire dept responded to a fire and the ground under this 20 ton fire truck got wet and the water on it froze. This fire truck did not go any where when it was time to leave but it certainly had enough weight if that was going to help, it did not help it at all.
  • edited December 2010
    Adding weight to the Ranger is a good idea. Don't put the weight too far back in the bed. Somewhere between the cab and the rear axle is best.

    Adding weight to the Camry is less useful. Again, if you add weight put it as close to the rear seat as possible. This will keep the car closer to a 50/50 balance. If the weight is too far in the back of the trunk it could cause the rear end to swing out too much too fast. 100lbs of sand and/or salt can't hurt and might come in handy.
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