Infiniti M35 - Not a good car in snow....Need Help!

I have a 2007 Infiniti M35. I LOVE this car…or I should say I LOVED this car when I lived in Atlanta. Now that I’m in Seattle - not so much. With the recent bouts of snow that we’ve had, I’ve been stranded numerous times. Over the holidays, I went a week without being able to get to work. Granted, these were somewhat extreme conditions - but the fact that I start to panic everytime I hear snow in the forecast can’t be good for my health. Just getting up my sloped driveway when there is a light dusting is a problem.

Question #1 - is there anything I can do to my car that will help it perform better in the snow? I’ve tried chains but can’t find any that fit the rear wheels well - not sure why - and the dealership hasn’t been much help with suggestions.

Question #2 - if it’s hopeless and I need to look for a new car, what would you recommend to fit the bill of fun to drive, reliable and good in all weather conditions.

Try winter tires.

Installing four winter tires should help quite a bit.

ditto ; TIRES

It sounds like you’ve already heard this, but just to restate it, the winter you went through was extremely unusual. Two or three days per year of light snow that all melts by the next day is much more typical and growing up there I can remember years where we didn’t get any. Definitely not enough to justify driving around with winter tires on all winter, in my opinion. The best solution would be to make plans to take the bus or carpool on snow days-- I swear Metro is usually better about their snow service! People from Seattle are also generally pretty understanding about snow delays since snow is so infrequent and it has always shut the town down when it happens.

If you absolutely do have to drive in the snow, making sure you have a lot of tread on decent all-season tires and putting some weight in the trunk over the rear axle might make things easier. Is it possible to just park on the street when you can’t get up your driveway? I suppose if it’s between buying a new car and winter tires, I’d go for the tires, but they’re expensive and don’t have quite as nice dry-pavement handling and tread life. But like the other posters said, they make all the difference in the world in the snow-- most police departments in places where it snows use rear wheel drive cars with snow tires and get around just fine.

Move some place like Centralia where you will not have all those hills.

OK not much going on in Centralia so you want to stay in Seattle. I can’t blame you.

If want to drive in the snow, get real WINTER tyres on it, not ALL SEASON, which are only really three season.

The good news is Seattle does not usually have that much snow. Maybe next year it will not be as bad.

Yes there is…in addition to at least more aggressive all season tires instead of low profile performance tires you have and assume you have the rwd model and not the awd…you have lots of power to the rear wheels and less than 50% of the weight. I would keep a couple bags (at least) of tube sand (70 lb each) around and when slippery conditions are about, place it in the trunk forward of the rear wheels. Behind the rear wheels will cantilever over the rear tires and lighten the front end; not good.

Along with the decent tires, the added weight over the wheels will offer a surprising amount of added temporary traction and better rear end control. Unlike a truck that can handle the weight the entire snow season, I would keep it around and add it judiciously as needed and take it out when not. It was the standard fair when all cars were rwd in the old days and still works today. Do it right and you can have BETTER traction going up hills than a fwd car. We did this in old days with friends Chevy SS396, you can do it with yours.

Use sand and not blocks or any other accident inducing projectile…
Experiment a little and add enough to get the results you want w/o degrading overall handling too much. Learn to drive in snow with help from a native. It’s quite different…mentally get rid of 200 hp at the throttle. You need lots of slippery weather driving experience.

Great car…keep it.

The police also have LOTS of weight in the rear…and lots of experience which is what OP needs as much as anything.

Try getting an alignment too. If your front wheels aren’t somewhere near straight, your car will be plowing with the front wheels. A loose tie rod end could be causing problems for you. Toe out is a traction killer on rear wheel drive cars.

First, get four good winter tires, possibly on their own wheels to make switching easier. If your car allows a narrower tire, go for that. Narrower is better in the snow. Check Tire Rack’s web site for reviews of tires and useful technical articles.

Second, put a few bags of tube sand in the trunk over the rear axle. To keep the sand from leaking out into your trunk, go to a camping store and look at the nylon covers for those roll-up sleeping pads.

Third, check your owner’s manual to see if you have a feature to start in second gear from a stop. That can be useful at times, especially if you don’t have stability control on your car.

If you still decide to get a different car, the M35x seems like an obvious choice.

You shouldn’t need chains often, but if you do, I suspect that front chains only will be fine on a FWD vehicle where the same wheels are used for power and steering. (The policia may see things differently if you go up into “chains required” areas in the mountains.)

Unless your driveway is fairly steep, all weather radials should be adequate for snow up to a couple of inches. We get a fair amount of snow here and I don’t bother with snow tires. And I certainly don’t shovel our sloping driveway for two inches of snow. What I do do is back into the driveway when snow is expected as it is much easier to extricate a vehicle when you can see where you are headed.

I would maybe look into replacing your front (drive) tires with a different brand of all-weather radials.

The M35 is a rear-wheel-drive car.

The Infiniti M-series cars are available with either RWD or AWD.
This is not a FWD vehicle.

The good news is Seattle does not usually have that much snow. Maybe next year it will not be as bad.

The bad news is; Al Gore says that some coastal areas will experience colder weather and more severe winter conditions, as the sea currents change due to introduction of fresh water from ice melt.
We’ll know if he’s right over the next several years when you’ve written back to us with the same problem with your RWD car…or not.

I have been driving rear-wheel drive cars (BMW, MB, etc.) here in Colorado for 33 years. I put on REAL WINTER TIRES (e.g. Bridgestone Blizzaks) when it snows. I have yet to get stuck. Most of the vehicles I see in ditches during snow storms are SUVs. 4WD is 4W go, not 4W stop or 4W steer. Get some real snow tires and you will have no problems.


AWD corners and steers better and offers better engine braking control in slippery conditions than comparable rwd or fwd cars. They end up in the ditch because their drivers go too fast for their traction capability esp w/o snow tires which some awd drivers foolishly omit or are top heavy poor handling suvs to begin with …but they are much more capable and safer at speeds other cars of the same type travel. Distribution of power and engine braking to all four wheels offers superior driver control.

BTW, being able to accelerate in AWD is a safety feature when merging in slippery conditions. So “4 wd go” is safer in and of itself, when used judiciously.

We performance car owners would have to agree that the ability to accelerate, engine brake and corner are safety features when used properly, regardless of the conditions; and a 10 year old 165 hp Subaru Outback will out accelerate, offer better engine braking control and out corner a rwd 350 hp 2008 BMW with the same tires in snow…sorry, not even close.

Can one travel safely in fwd or rwd with winter tires? Absolutely.
It’s just safer still in awd with winter tires in the same comparable car driven at the same prudent speed.
You just have to ask if the added safety is worth the extra cost.