I have a front wheel drive 2005 Scion tC that I love, but I just moved to New England and my house has a VERY steep gravel driveway with two switchbacks. Is it possible to winterize my tC so that it will make it up the driveway? Will studded tires help? Or should I give up and trade in my tC for an AWD?
The xB I drive for work out here in MT is actually pretty good in snow and ice, and it has a similar drivetrain and traction control system to your tC. I think if you get four snow tires you’ll probably be fine most days. I’d invest in a good set of chains and a good set of snowshoes. With chains, you should be able to get up the hill if you need to, but if you can park down on the street, it’s probably easier most of the bad days just to trudge up the hill.
if you get four snow tires you’ll probably be fine most days.
That is the best advice. If that won’t do it, you don’t want to try and go anywhere.
There are some excellent winter tires available that are of the studless design and studded.
One place to get them is tirerack.com and they can already be mounted/balanced(free) on wheels if you desire so you simply swap wheels and pay minimal cost for the changeover. You likely downsize the wheel size to 15" so tire prices are much better so that cost of rims ordered are not much more than the factory 17" size rims.
Although that sounds well and good, some people have terrible driveways that make this impractical.
When I grew up our driveway was pretty long, steep and winding. It had a switchback of 8 o’clock from 12 o’clock(driving straight) that also went to a 20% grade. Even the best FWD’s equipped with winter tires could not do this since if conditions were bad it was impossible to gain momentum to climb this.
Our family was able to get away of using AWD cars(Subaru/AMC eagle) and 4WD Suv’s with all-seasons. Stopping down this was another story. The strategy was put two of your wheels in the snow bank and drive very slowly.
I also have a 2005 tC and live in New Hampshire. It simply ain’t gonna be good on the driveway you’re describing. The tires are wide for the weight, and they do tend to ride up onto stuff.
I just put some Cooper Mud + Snow tires on last week. They look like they’ll be good, lots of relief in eth tread and lots of siping and complexity, but I won’t really know until I get out there.
I can tell you that if you have the original RE92s they won’t “cut the mustard”. I did fine all winter with lots of care and technique, but there’s no way I’d try them on a steep driveway.