Nissan Altima & Snow

I have a high performance Nissan Altima that I purchased in March 2006. I love this car. But when the first snow storm hit last winter I experienced the most unusual situation. This vehicle would not go forward in the snow. I can go in reverse but when I put it in drive, it doesn’t go. Has anyone else experienced this problem and what is the solution. The car has brand new tires ($800). Is this problem associated with the traction control feature? It’s November and the white stuff will be falling soon and I need my vehicle to get through snowy conditions so I can earn a living.

Any ideas or suggestions other than trade it.

The traction control doesn’t come into play when the vehicle is in reverse. But when moving forward, if the traction control will apply the brakes if it see’s even the slightest amount of tire spin.

The first question I would ask is, what kind of tires do you have on the vehicle? If the vehicle has the regular speed rated summer tires, these will spin in the snow very easily and cause the traction control to engage causing the brakes to engage to prevent wheel spin. If this is the case, you’re going to need a good set of snow tires on the vehicle to minimize wheel spin and thereby preventing the traction control from engaging.


Excellent post, Tester, as usual.

An added note. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this car runs 215mm wide tires (section width). I have 215’s on my car too, and I can tell you that unless you have good aggressive tread you’ll spin very easily on snow. If I’m incorrect and the tre is even wider it’ll be worse.

I’d also suggest good aggressive tread on the rear or you just may spin out. Perhaps a spare set of rims with snows is the answer. Spare rims not only save time and aggrevation when you do your seasonal swap, they also prevent repeatedly beating up the beads (and the rims even) by repeatedly removing and reinstalling the tires twice a year. Beating up the beads can eventually result in slow leakers.

Thanks for the reply. The new tires were the wider high performance tires similar to the ones that came with the vehicle. I had the vehicle towed to Dobbs during a snow storm to have the new tires put on. I would hope that Dobbs Tire would know the appropriate tires to put on the vehicle. You mentioned the traction control engaging to prevent wheel spin. That to me is the problem. The traction control engages and prevents the car from going forward. Is there a way to disengage the traction control for travel in the snow? I would think the whole purpose of traction control is to help the vehicle move in snowy conditions.

The tires they put on your vehicle are high speed rated tires. They must do this for liablity reasons. Because your vehicle is a high performance vehicle. So the tread design on these tires were never meant for snowy conditions.

If you’re going to drive this vehicle in the winter, your going to have to get a set plain steel wheels that fit your vehicle, and a set of snow tires mounted to them. Then you’re going to have to remove those fancy high speed rated tires and wheels and put on the steel wheels with the snow tires.

Traction control works very well. But it can only be as good as the tires that are on the vehicle for the road conditions. And the tires that are on the vehicle now are not intended for snowy conditions.