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Prius

I have a Prius and I love it. However, it does not go in the snow! It hardly goes on wet grass. I’d like to know why and If I buy a Volt, would it have the same problem. I also live on a dirt road in VT and it is mud season. Does not like the mud either!

Tires, not the car, is the typical problem.

Tex is right.

New tires, big luggers - bought for that reason - still not good, thanks

“Big luggers”? Explain. If they are wide, low profile tires then that will give very poor handling on snow or mud. If they are winter tires in the OEM size, then we stand corrected.

Any “all season” tire means May-October in VT.

NO they are winter tires, I checked before buying them, did not want “all season” for that reason, thanks

I really don’t know but I have heard those comments in Minnesota anyway about the Prius. I don’t know if it has to do with the weight distribution, the power train, or something about the battery system but heard they had trouble getting up hills in snow. You might want to consider why a hybrid for your circumstances and do the dollar calculation again. It might be a conventional would fit your circumstances better.

A quick Google turned this up as a problem with the programing of the traction control system. If you disabled it once, you could see if it made any difference and confirm that’s the problem. Evidently the Toyota programmers don’t have much experience driving in Minnesota.

Many Toyota owners are complaining that the Prius traction control system is leaving them stuck in the snow. Consumer Affairs has even gone so far as to call it dangerous. The problem is that once the drive wheels of the car begin to slip, the Prius traction control system shuts down power to those wheels. This problem seems to be unique to the Toyota Prius, as most other vehicles equipped with traction control appear to handle snowy driving conditions without blunder. The Prius traction control system is managed by computer software, and currently allows for no wheel spin at all. Toyota states that this is the way that the system is designed to operate, and that if the software allowed excessive wheel spin there could be a potential danger of broken front axles.

Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem: turn off the traction control. This is not as easy as pressing a button inside the car, but is surprisingly easier than most people think. In fact, by completing the following sequence, you can do it yourself without the help of a certified mechanic.

These steps must be completed within 60 seconds.

Step 1: Set the ignition switch to ON, not READY. To do this press the power button two times, without pressing the brake pedal.

Step 2: While the transmission is still in park §, fully press the gas pedal two times.

Step 3: Apply the parking brake to ensure that the vehicle will not move during this step. Put the transmission in neutral (N) and fully press the gas pedal two times.

Step 4: Put the transmission back in park § and fully press the gas pedal two times. The car will display “!Car!” in the upper left corner of the LCD screen.

Step 5: Press the brake pedal and turn the ignition switch to the start position, without going back to the ready position, to start the engine.

If these steps are followed correctly, the vehicle will start with the traction control system defeated.

This is probably more than most Toyota Prius owners are willing to do each time they crank their vehicle, but it does provide a useful alternative in the event of abnormal driving conditions. It would probably be a good auto standard to include a defeat switch on all vehicles equipped with traction control. Any Prius owner with a do it yourself attitude can follow these steps and accomplish something that your local certified mechanic probably doesn’t even know is possible

Our 1.5 mile dirt road is hilly and snow and ice covered because of the frost, the entire winter. One resident with a Prius on the front only has to negotiate 1/3 mile but does have a couple of steep hills. He does not do as well as the awd vehicles and cannot handle deep snow because of the ground effects and clearance, but does as well as ANY other 2wd car. Why ? He has studded snow tires and traction control. He is careful and doesn’t ask it to go through deep snow, and has yet to be stuck. Tires, tires, tires…and I have yet to see him have any more problem then any fwd compact car.

Turning off the traction control is NOT recomended unless in very deep snow or mud. Keep it on for normal slippery conditions. My neighbor does. His wife works for the local Toyota dealership. So if he needed something special done, he would be doing it. Just don’t drive it off road like you would not for any compact with traction control. If you need to disable the traction control and you don’t have winter tires, you probably will remain stuck regardless.

He said he has new big lugger winter tires but the problem persists. Appears to be programing issue to make sure the front axles do not get over-stressed. Evidently the Trac 3 programming tried to diminish the complaints but not totally there yet.

Tires are the issue. Low rolling resistance tires likely have poor tread design for the conditions you encounter. Volt won’t be much different. You can get better tires for traction, but you might lose a couple of mpg.

Bing…I hear you. But, he lives on a dirt road and it’s mud season. It’s all about ground clearance and lack of floatation in mud and driving in snow which is greater or equal to his clearance of about 5.5 inches… If OP has traction problems with winter tires on ice and hard packed, he needs studded tires. Dirt roads are no place during mud season for any 2wd compact car, especially a low Prius. Just like the autobahn is no place foe a jeep. IMO, he is over driving the car. It doesn’t take much mud or snow to make a compact fwd useless, regardless of the tires. I could go on about the poor overhang too…your suggestion is good, may be limited to unique situations that Prius owners should not be driving their cars.

Forget the Prius…You live on a dirt road in Vermont, I would be looking at a Dakota 4WD P/U truck…or one of the MANY AWD vehicles that have been made just for you…

Ford makes a class leading Escape Hybrid that has pretty good “green” credentials…

If you have mud problems like the people on the front part of our road on a separated road association, you may need cleaner gravel. They are too cheap to do it and all our cars suffer. They bought the cheap stuff last year and had to redo the road 6 months later, “saving lots of money”. People just don’t get that good gravel, ditching and proper culverts is cheaper on your cars and road maintenance. Clean gravel doesn’t frost up beneath the snow as much so it may not be as slippery either. IMO, everything points to an incompatible car environment. May be your road is as much the problem as the car.

Amazing, if you are anywhere near Burlington, Vermont, check out Hometown Tire and Automotive in Williston and tell Steve that Jim from Tucson sent you. Many years ago I purchased my 2nd 4Runner with 25k on it which had new tires…their top-of-the-line model. We lived in Vermont then, near Burlington, in a hilly, curvy, snowy section with horrid winter roads (though paved) and once the treads filled up with snow it seemed like I was on skates. HT&A had just opened and I wasn’t too familair with them but liked them very much to this point and when I asked Steve why this 4Runner acted so different from the prior model (90 vs 91), Steve said, “Jim, your driving a Cadillac with sneakers on it”. He recommended my changing out the tires (forget from what to what), but the $600+ cost was a sure test of trust. I did it and what a difference!! I could climb a mountain then. HT&A have been in business for 20ish years now I think and have sent countless people there and to my knowledge they are all still happy customers! Steve won’t sell you short!

Thanks for all your comments. I also have a Subaru. Under difficult conditions, I leave the Prius in the garage :slight_smile:

Amazing, here’s an old thread on this topic- http://community.cartalk.com/discussion/2122144/prius-driving-performance-in-winter-weather

Curious if they still have the same problem…