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RWD wheel spin

edited January 2012 in General Discussion
I own a 2010 Jeep Liberty and this is my first RWD vehicle (when set in the normal 2WD mode of course). I notice that whenever I accelerate from a stop, on even a slightly wet road, the rear wheels spin and I get the traction light on my dashboard. I then need to take my foot of the gas and accelerate ohhhh soooo slowly. I've never had this kind of wheel spin on my previous AWD or FWD vehicles. Is this a known "feature" or RWD vehicles? Or maybe my one year old tires are inadequate? With my Liberty I could try switching to 4WD LOCK mode before attempting the acceleration to see if this helps.


  • You need to a) lighten up on the gas pedal and b) evaluate those rear tires. That's pretty much it. Its not a feature of anything except jackrabbit starts and/or bad tires. The traction control engagement is a response to that. Its not responsible for it.
  • This is going to be a learning process for you. There are a lot of people who drive the Jeep Liberty without the problems you are having. A RWD vehicle with a V6 engine (3.7) can spin the tires if you accelerate quickly especially on a wet or icy road. It's the nature of the beast. You just need to slow down. If not then the vehicle will have to be driven in 4WD which will cause your fuel economy to suffer. I would opt to slow down.
  • Check the type of tires it has. The link below should help. If the tires are meant for dry cruising, they'll be terrible in the wet.

    Check also your tire pressure. If it's too high, you'll spin easily.

    lastly, jack up the back end, spin the wheels by hand, and see if you have a dragging brake. A dragging brake on one wheel will cause ready spinning of the other wheel.
  • Is the 4WD Lock on your Jeep good for full time use? Check your manual. If it is, you can leave it in 4WD, cost you maybe 1 mpg.
  • Sounds like a tire/right foot problem, not a RWD problem..
  • edited January 2012
    I had the opposite problem on the 1952 Dodge with the "lift and clunk" semi-automatic transmission my parents owned when I was in high school. It was impossible to spin the tires on this rear wheel drive. The only way this car would "lay rubber" was if the fan belt slipped.
  • I agree this is likely an operator and/or tire issue. The fact the tires are only 1 year old doesn't mean much.
    The tire compound could be responsible.

    Some year ago I had a set of Kelly tires on my other Lincoln. Even with 90% tread, on a damp road surface that car would spin the rear tires and on occasion even fishtail when accelerating from a stop. It would even do this without depressing the accelerator pedal; simply removing my foot from the brake pedal would cause it.
    Many times I had to hold the speed down to 55 MPH on a 70 or 75 posted damp (no water pooling) turnpike due to those tires because the car would skate all over the place. Even then it was often a 2 hands on the wheel and don't relax for a second situation.

    Those were the worst tires I've ever seen in my life and they were barely tolerable on dry pavement, much less wet.
  • The comments seem to indicate that it isn't an RWD issue. That leaves (1) my driving style, or (2) the tires. I've been driving for 25+ years now and have never really experienced wheel spin on acceleration from a stop before (maybe once a year?). With this car I get it regularly. I haven't changed my driving style and developed a lead foot ... so it doesn't seem to be "me". The one-year old tires have good tread and I purchased the make/model from Tire Rack based on them having good traction in rain and snow (used their ratings). That was my criteria. The tires were rotated and pressure checked two weeks ago as part of my regular maintenance. My 4WD LOCK mode is not meant for continuous use ... so I might just try using it for these wet acceleration times and see if it helps. Else I might just replace the car since not only is it annoying, it is dangerous at a couple intersections that I use everyday and must merge into traffic quickly. Not crawl! Thanks.
  • One other possibility - some cars are built with very rapid throttle 'tip-in', it takes verly little foot movement to give it lots of gas. Maybe to make the driver on the test drive think it's a powerful engine, who knows. But I find it easier to spin tires on cars like that until I get used to them.
  • Ease up on the accelerator. I made the same mistake once when I was driving my mom's Nissan Armada (when its not in 4wd it runs on RWD) because I'm used to driving my car which is FWD.
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