Help! House on the 3rd steepest city street in the COUNTRY - 34% grade - AWD? hp.? performance tires

@Shadowfax - exactly! The safety mechanisms go nuts and freeze the vehicles, which leads to an even more terrifying effect of being suspended, unable to move forward or reverse, whilst tilted at an extreme angle. Have not turned it off because only one of these was one of ours.

That doesn’t look so bad. I’ve seen a lot worse and gravel around the lakes in Minnesota. I think all you need to do is put it in first gear and continue up the hill. I can’t imagine any car not being able to negotiate that road unless a little 4 cylinder. Then one might ask why live there if its that bad and how did the moving trucks get up there and back down, or the builders for that matter?

Don’t worry about the brakes, speed is the enemy of brakes, not the incline. I’d still downshift to 1st gear in the automatic going downhill though.

Backing up the hill in a FWD car makes sense for the same reason RWD makes sense driving UP the hill going forward although vision would be a severe problem backing into your driveway. Backing past and heading in would be easier though. I could see doing this.

I would give up the manual transmission myself and I’ve been driving them everyday for over 25 years. No one needs that hassle with that hill. 2 pedals, 2 feet, should make things easier and safer. Wears out fewer clutches, too.

That stability control issue… I think @shadowfax has it, the incline has the sensors fooled. There are corrections for hills nobody is supposed to go fast on that stuff!

I would definitely make it a habit to turn off traction control/stability assist just before you get to the hill. I bet it will solve your problem in your current car and you won’t have to buy a new one.

Keep in mind that sometimes the button that turns VSA off only partially disables it, and if the car thinks you’re in trouble it will take over anyway. There’s often a hidden method to fully disable it which you can usually find by googling it.

If this road is 34%, it is the 3rd steepest:

@Bing - you’ve ‘seen a lot worse?’

I am not sure front wd vs rwd. I lived in San Fan with a girlfriend for a while, going uphill at some of the stops I really felt if I hit the gas too hard the car would flip over backwards. Maybe treat it like driving up a snowy hill, get a running start. Trailblazer with auto traction wants to try, or the 93 f250 manual trans with 4wd and a first gear so low I only have used it a few times while plowing.

I have to disagree that rwd will be your solution with out trying them out first and trying out a Subaru too. A heavy engined in the front and not over the drive wheels will not necessarily work.

The reason that your AWD Rav spun is that most AWD cars are fwd first and can NOT put enough power to the rear quickly enough to climbe a hill as the weight shifts to rear and enough power doesn’t to match this shift. The heavy v6 hurts everything too. Did you use the lock feature ? THE BEST CAR FOR YOUR USE IS A SUBARU which does manage rear drive torque better then any car in it’s price range. Lock features in regular AWD cars help do this too at low speed.

RWD may NOT work any better with a front mounted engine and you can bet you may run into the same problem, now with the rear wheels spinning. I have a very steep road going down to my shore and rwd alone DOES NOT WORK IN THE SUMMER. I need 4 wd lock or AWD.

When it’s realy steep, you need power going to all the wheels with most to the rear. A truck based system will lock the power in to all wheels which is good, but are a non dry pavement use system. A Subaru will put as much as 90% of the power to the rear but still have that essential 10% on the front wheels to provide go to all the drive wheels. That 10 to 20% is very important being under the motor which can now help drive traction too.

TRY ONE OUT AND YOU MAKE THE CHOICE. You really must try out all the options and not trust what is said in general as we don’t live on your hill. The bottom line is this; if you want a car and not a truck, a Subaru works best for the money. There are other luxury cars that manage the torque nearly as well, but they are more money.

The other AWD option, are AWD cars with a lock feature which locked the torque to the rear. Honda Pilot does this too.

Btw , the very best option is a previous generation multi mode drive system 4Runner with an. AWD, unlocked center diff option that can also be used in low range…This AWD system is made by Torsen which also makes some of the AWD systems for Subaru. That’s why both can work in your situation. Btw…I would keep my brakes in good repair too. Also, on really steep grades you can use 4wd truck based with low range. With the weight off the front wheels, the loss of traction up front allows the drive train to slip as it would on dirt…

Steepest road in the world, in the rain, running start?

I don’t think that you necessarily need AWD or RWD considering your climate, but I do think that in whatever you get, you will need the optional more powerful engine. If you go with a Subaru, that would be the H6 engine. My only reservation on the Subaru is the CVT transmission. Subaru seems to have the best CVT transmissions, but considering the load it would be under, I’d have some concerns.

CVT will also pretty much rule out many other cars, but I think you can still get a geared automatic transmission in the Camry V6 and the Accord V6.

Something else to consider is getting a vehicle with an available tow package. Pulling that hill puts about as much strain on your engine, transmission and brakes as towing a heavy trailer on normal roads.

One more thing to consider is a Prius or Camry Hybrid. Electric motors develop a lot of torque at very low speeds, unlike a gas engine. You need that torque more than anything else.

On hills, you need traction first then torque. A mild Climate has little to do with steep hills and the necessity to need 4 wd then the actual grade. That’s why when we go off roading up steep inclines, even over rock with as much traction as pavement, you need 4 wd. We drive up an access road on an ajacent mountain to a fire tower that is paved and solid rock. You need 4 wd even on a dry summer day. A steep hill that is wet may need AWD too. Some people slip and fall just as readily under these conditons as they do on gradual hills with snow. Hills make every surface more demanding and the steeped it is, the less traction it has. That’s why STOPPING distances are much, much greater braking down hill. There is less traction. , Flatlanders often make assumptions that get both they and others around them in trouble while negotiating steep grades with out experience. You don’t need low range as most cars have enough power. You do need traction. A front drive with a heavy v6 would be the poorest hill climber of all…unless you back up the hill. Hybrids have no more available torque then comparable gas motors with the same total output. If the had more, they would accelerate quicker. Though the potential is there, most have their electric motors governed to conserve electricity.

At 34% grade it is one of the steepest public city streets in the world. Check it out! This is all very interesting advice, much to consider.

@barkydog I laughed out loud when I saw your post about feeling like the car would tip over backwards! Recently, I woke up instantly during a nightmare in which my car could not crest the hill and flipped over backwards trying. . .

I lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains for years. . . and up in the Sierra Nevada. . . and on Lake Ontario where it snows in May, for the sake of driving experience. :wink:

I highly recomend you try out all options for yourself…including during wet weather. Let us know which ones work best. If you have to negotiate this hill every day, that means you need sufficient traction every day and the added expense to do that is well worth it if it provides you with that security. 34 degrees is very steep and I for one would not negotiate it daily without something I had complete faith in. I have done this off roading and know what it feels like. My private road in spots is over 30 degrees and I don’t attempt it in two wheel drive.

@BlackMountainDreamnear I lived in Duluth, MN, Now they have some steep hills, not the same slope as yours, but San Fran does not get any snow. In Duluth the guy on the hill is automatically given right of way in winter, up or down, in spite of stop signs. After watching ice road truckers and seeing some of their hills… Never flipped backwords in my dreams but certainly have dreamed some white knuckle moments in the mountains up and down steep grades.

@Bing, we just got a new roof, down to the plywood, and the roofers had to HAND CARRY all the debris, after demolition, to a trailer below. Our new oversized refrigerator had to be hauled up on a dolly with one giant man pulling a la Hercules and two full-sized men stabilizing the load and pushing it up. Nothing is easy here. The movers couldn’t get their Mercedes transfer van up and had to to back up 2/3 and block the tires in a larger truck with a high enough lift. Just weeks ago, one company did not heed my warnings and tried to reverse up with a trailer - they blew their transmission completely - a $4K repair. They were warned. Many larger trucks bottom out and get stuck in the first five feet of the ascent.

Why did we buy this place? My boyfriend liked the view. Sigh.

I have just the vehicle for you !

@dagosa - so funny! I need this! I literally just watched this video before dinner. I have been looking at the Land Rovers tonight and reading reviews. I searched Land Rover steep hills. . . as you must have too. I wish I could see one in action on my paved hill. My biggest concern is not being able to fully take advantage of a vehicle’s capability due to the paved road. Still, even backing out of the garage/driveway tilts any car at a severe angle that’s why vehicle instability mode kicks in for so many.

Who you calling a flatlander?

FYI Dag, a couple of years ago, I worked for awhile on a windfarm out in CA, up in the mountains above Tehachapi. The roads on the windfarm are dirt roads that are kept wet to keep the dust down while it was under construction and there are sections that are at least as steep as that street in the picture.

Everyone else drove 4wd trucks, they told me I couldn’t make it up some of those roads in the Dodge Charger (3.5l) I rented. The next words I heard from them was “How did you get that up here?” I can drive in the mountains, on steep roads with poor traction, and if necessary, I can do it with an RWD without limited slip, though I believe that LS was standard on the Dodge.

@Keith I don’t doubt that you have valuable experience and your comments were well thought out. There are some though who don’t see hills as having much less traction then flat ground. When I first read OP’s comments, I can see a variety of problems. I don’t know how many people understand that many AWD and 4 we’d drive vehicles especially Subarus, are actually easier on the entire drive train as the load for moving the vehicals is spread out between two differentials. SUVS designed for AWD and 4 wd and not converted fwd vehicals, are much less prone to problems under loads where just one axle is involve. Look at the tow rating of an AWD Subaru vs a fwd Camr, or a rwd sedan. The h6 Outback is 3000. That makes it a much better vehicle to handle those hills regularly then a Camry. Betterr the many rwd cars too and it has better traction in rain to boot.

According to Edmonds, even the CVT 4 cylinder Outback has a 2700 lb tow rating. That makes the drive train much sturdier then comparable 2 wd vehicles. So, so, I don’t fear CVTs as you do in the Subbie.

I don’t doubt that a rented rwd Charger is going to make it up the hills you referred to, but OP has to deal with inclines, like you did, but on a much more regular basis. It is the strength and dependability over time like some Subies can offer and 4 wd trucks and some SUVS like the Pilot with much higher tow ratings can offer more strength still.