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Is a two wheel drive truck safe for Minnesota winters?

My husband wants to buy a 2010 Toyota Tacoma extended cab, 4L truck. Evidently, the 4L engine doesn’t have a 4 wheel drive option. I’m concerned about whether it will be safe to drive in the winter. To get the 4 wheel drive he would have to get a 6 L engine which would put the truck out of his price range and use more gas. Advice?!

Unloaded, trucks like these don’t get much traction on the rear wheels. You can improve this by loading [i]secured[/i] cargo over the rear axle and by getting four good winter tires. You don’t want loose cargo to become a projectile in a collision.

My 4runner is 4wd…but I only need it when going skiing…or visiting relatives in Upstate NY in the middle of January.

Minnesota gets very cold…but really doesn’t get a lot of snow…Less then we get in NH…and far less then snow belt around the Great Lakes.

People drove 2WD pickups for years in MN in the days before 4WD was commonplace. 2WD isn’t great in a PU, but it can be done.

I’d suggest winter tires on all 4 wheels. The tires that come standard on the truck will not be good for MN winter driving. Put a few hundred lbs of sand in the back, between the rear axle and the cab. Keep the speed reasonable when there is snow on the road and you should be able to drive around.

It the midst of a blizzard stay home until the storm passes.

Will you be on plowed roads in a city or suburb, then you might be ok. Not good out in the country on unplowed roads.

Will it have traction control to prevent spinning wheels?

Good tires and a lot of weight over the rear wheels are advised, and stick to plowed roads.

I live in MN too.

I drive a 1995 Nissan pickup 2 wheel drive here in Minnesota. I place a 200 lb weight over the rear axle and run winter tires. I’ve never had a problem getting around in the snow.


Another Minnesotan here. You’ll be fine. Put good tires on it and put the weight in the back (but not too much weight, or it will work against you if you start to spin), and don’t speed like everyone else on the interstate and you’ll be fine.

And do yourself a favor and get a bed cover. We occasionally get heavy wet snow, and that sucks to scrape out of a truck bed.

The only 4 Liter engine for the Tacoma is the 4.0L V6. There is no 6.0liter engine availible. There is 2.7L 4 cylinder availible and you can indeed get it in the Extended cab 4x4 configuration. However the Double Cab 4x4 does require the 4 Liter V6.

I think she was using 4L as a abbreviation for inline 4cyl. People used to use this abbrevation when inline 4sand 6s were overhead valve.

It’ll be perfectly safe. As already suggested, putting some weight over the rear axle is a really good idea. The weight should be secured so that it does not become a projectile in the event of an accident. Securing a plastic cargo box to the bed and putting concrete patio blocks in it works great.

Heck, I drove safely for 4 years in RWD cars on bias ply tires in ND back in the early '70s.

We live in Minneapolis, and he’ll be driving on plowed roads. Reasonable speeds and staying home during a blizzard are a given for us, regardless of what car we’re driving. I think if I can convince him to put secured cargo over the rear axle, winter tires on all four wheels and a bed cover, he’ll be just fine. (I think it comes with traction control.) Thanks to all, especially the folks in Minnesota!

If he has issues simply purchasing a set of 4 not 2 winter tires will transform the vehicle. Not only will it be able to move around easier, in winter conditions it will have superior stopping and cornering capability vs any other vehicle equipped with all-seasons. This is fact.

I agree 4 Winter (not snow or all season tyres) would be second only to 4WD with 4 Winter tyres. Weight over the rear axel??? I don’t know. It would depend on the local conditions.

I have had the pleasure to be in Minnesota in the winter and frankly the driving is no worse than in Ohio. The real difference is Minnesota as fewer breaks between snows and when driving down the road in Ohio, you see the mounds of snow where the drive was shoveled out. In Minnesota, you don’t see the house because the snow pile is too high.

Remember the Halloween snow storm that hit us in the mid 90’s, it was around a foot of snow. I had a 2 wheel drive chevy truck, no weight in the back and I drove from St Paul to Brooklyn Park without any problems. Of course it took alot longer than normal because I was driving for the conditions.