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DaddyBobMN t1_j5abtod wrote

Unless you are going up into the hills on back roads you'll be fine with fwd and good tires.


Nutmegdog1959 t1_j5ar6wx wrote

It's not the getting up, it's the getting down that matters.


Willman3755 t1_j5b9j29 wrote


Stopped to offer to pull a dude out of the ditch on the Bolton access road, he immediately blamed his FWD car.

Uh, yeah. Sure, the drive wheels is why you went into the ditch on your way down the hill. Obviously this wouldn't have happened with an AWD car /s


landodk t1_j5bjccz wrote

All cars have 4 wheel stop


Willman3755 t1_j5bqhcz wrote

Exactly. It amazes me how many people don't understand this and/or own an AWD car with no real reason to besides being convinced it's "safer", when honestly an AWD car could be more dangerous if you end up going faster because you have more traction than a FWD car while accelerating.


Smirkly t1_j5bylg9 wrote

It happened to me last night. I borrowed my son's Subaru to run down to the local store. My hill is steep and the last 30 yards is paved; brakes on and nothing, just sliding. Pumped but the brakes were working. I finally came to a halt just at the bottom but the AWD was no help at all. No surprise to me but my son thinks Subarus are magic.


HappilyhiketheHump t1_j5c8r7b wrote

Pumping anti-lock brakes is not necessary.


LobsterSuspicious836 t1_j5cprr5 wrote

Pumping anti lock brakes before they start rumbling, IS, necessary though... and you can figure out when they will rumble if you know what your doing and can assess the road way in front of you.


HappilyhiketheHump t1_j5cr77f wrote

The anti-lock system will modulate the brakes many more times than a human is capable of and only modulate when slippage is detected.

I think was agree that slowing down/bleeding speed before hills and hard braking is needed is beneficial.

Based on the OP’s post, I don’t see them as skilled a winter driver with the knowledge to anticipate a slide.


Smirkly t1_j5cyt9d wrote

I know that but they were locked and sliding, just a very slippery moment.


Nutmegdog1959 t1_j5c0b56 wrote

The trick is lowest gear possible (mines a 5spd) then scrape off some speed by dragging the rear wheels using parking brake. You still have steering control and you can still pump brakes if need be.


Maleficent_Rope_7844 t1_j5caewq wrote

If you break traction while using your transmission as a brake, it takes a lot longer to regain traction than if the wheels lock up from braking too hard. Unless you drive a manual, like yourself, but barely anyone does these days.

Pump the brakes and don't shift down.


Smirkly t1_j5d093k wrote

Oddly I borrowed the Subaru because the roads were slippery and once on the road it was good. At the bottom of my hill I would have been better off with my ancient VW Jetta with 5 speed. I met this hill in 1967 so I go very slow but sometimes that just doesn't matter. Big storms are okay but those odd moments where nature greases the wheels can be entertaining.


Cahoonhollow t1_j5afypm wrote

My old civic with good tires was great in the snow.


AdministrativeGas123 t1_j5cakbo wrote

I have a 2009 civic with studded tires. The major limitation is the ground clearance. But I live on the side of a mountain at 1800' (we get a lot of snow) and I can almost always make it up our insane driveway (which is coincidentally a great sledding hill). A civic with good tires will get you most places but its no match for my hubby's Tacoma in 4WD (obviously)


DiceyWoodchuck t1_j5ail38 wrote

Civic is perfect as long as the tires are good.


hotseltzer t1_j5ajj1z wrote

I've had a Civic since 2015, bought used, and it's still going strong. Snow tires are definitely quite helpful. Did it a couple years without snow tires (finances) and was okay, but overall I wouldn't recommend it.


aprillawrence t1_j5bij9o wrote

Can confirm. I still have my civic from 2000 and it has been amazing. Snow tires in the winter and I’ve never had an issue.


BothCourage9285 t1_j5arkyq wrote

Hardest part of using an older vehicle for winter is the state inspection. Minor wear and tear accumulates and depending on the inspections station, you could be in for a hefty bill to pass.

On top of that some older vehicles were built to looser specs so brand new ball joints and leaf spring bushings have too much play for some inspections stations to clear you.

I had an old beater toyota pickup with high miles that ran great and had little rust. An older station would pass me no problem, but the new owners were not accustomed to older vehicles and wouldn't pass me.

Or just run without a sticker


ginguegiskhan t1_j5b6416 wrote

The last sentence is the way if you're running an old car 😅


Willman3755 t1_j5brhvo wrote

$50 for an inspection, first ticket for not having a sticker is $50.

As long as you average less than 1 ticker a year you come out ahead skipping inspection lol.


NonDeterministiK t1_j5cy1ui wrote

r u sure about that? I thought the first ticket is well over $100 and also requires you to prove you got an inspection within a month.


Willman3755 t1_j5d0c1w wrote

First one is $50 and usually you can get it waived if you get your car inspected within a month.

I've never gone beyond that but I think the second is around $100.


E123334 t1_j5ajxzs wrote

Civic will be fine with snow tires, the only time you may have an issue is when some scared idiot decides to creep up a steep hill and kills your momentum or alternatively the idiot in front of you has bald all seasons and can’t make it up the hill so they stop and kill your momentum.


Twombls t1_j5aiba0 wrote

Civic is fine. Just keep in mind VT eats older cars very fast.


[deleted] t1_j5ai0vj wrote

I’ve been a Vermonter my whole life and last winter was then first time I bought winters; do what makes you feel comfortable and drive to the conditions and you’ll be fine


Hagardy t1_j5ajn38 wrote

snow tires are always better than AWD


euro_trash_rescue t1_j5asl4s wrote

Me thinks you mean fwd with winter tires better than AWD with all seasons.

I live in graniteville up a mountain and with winter tires our fwd cars always spun tires, clawing for traction anything above a 7% grade.

Awd with all seqsons is worse, was caught out on the first snowfall in all seasons, got em changed the next day.

However AWD with winter tires beats both scenerios. No tire spinning, no drama, just goes in all road conditions.


Hagardy t1_j5asvn5 wrote

yes, good awd and snows is the cream of the crop for sure, we’re just inundated with groupthink/marketing that AWD is the be-all end-all.


Corey307 t1_j5cv0if wrote

It would be interesting to compare an AWD car with all seasons against a RWD car with good snow tires. I’m still driving an older RWD car and I get around with few difficulties unless it’s really shitty out but when it gets nasty I’m definitely not having a good time. That said I need to bite the bullet and buy something used out of state, the terrible gas mileage is too low and the wasted gas ain’t good for the environment.


madcats323 t1_j5anhg5 wrote

Best car I ever had for winter was an 80s era Civic with front wheel drive and all seasons. That thing would go anywhere. I lived in a trailer park (not a "manufactured home community," this place was a trailer park) that had a long, steep hill from the main road. Every winter, it would get bad and dozens of people would have to park their 4-wheel-drive trucks at the bottom and trudge up while I'd just power up in my little Civic.

I miss that car. I called it Ralph.


Alekker1 t1_j5c6dol wrote

After scrolling through this thread I have to agree with what pretty much everyone says: tires make your vehicle safer, so don’t skimp on those. I’m a fan of getting a second set of rims with winter tires (if you’re super lucky you can find a complete set on CL/FB for cheap).

If you’re going to buy an older car I’d say…do it anywhere other than Vermont. Our roads are terrible, the salt is thick, the maintenance is expensive. Find someone’s high mileage commuter car down in southern PA/MD/VA, bring it up here, undercoat it, add the good tires, and drive it for cheap. I’ve done this with 3 different vehicles and NEVER had rust or ball joint issues. I bought a Honda Accord with 260k miles on it in MD for $3k and drove it for 5 more years and 40k miles. Hard to beat!


somedudevt t1_j5b0mf2 wrote

Civics Camrys corollas all are fine. Ideal is a older subaru Impreza or legacy/outback.


CorrectFall6257 t1_j5b9epv wrote

Both my sister and I have older camrys. Hers is a 2004 with studded tires. She traveled every day from Middlebury to Rutland Hospital with no issues. Mine is a little newer as a 2013. I live in the NEK now in Island Pond. I have Bridgestone Blizzaks. I have absolutely no issues up here. Obviously I'm smart about it but it goes up my friends steep driveway and we have plenty of dirt roads. Plus most cars have low gear that helps slow you down without jamming on brakes. For gosh sakes I delivered for Domino's off Williston Rd in the 80s with a VW Rabbit. You'll be fine if you are careful. If anyone is looking for a sweet Civic, Brighton Garage has one with a set of new snows. Craig is super honest.


Affectionate_Cod_348 t1_j5big6m wrote

As long as you have a way of keeping corrosion under control, that should work well. I’d recommend not buying anything that’s been in Vermont for it’s 7-10 years on the road and buying something that old from a southern state and bringing it here to maximize its useful service life.


XJlimitedx99 t1_j5bkms8 wrote

Dedicated snow tires and you'll be fine in 99% of places with front wheel drive. The last 1% you probably want to avoid with all wheel drive anyway.


Jerry_Williams69 t1_j5btusf wrote

I have a RWD truck. Never get stuck. Snow tires and a little weight in the back get the job done. FWD cars are like tractors in the snow with good tires. Will pull through quite a bit.


MRCHEEZETACO t1_j5c6vz6 wrote

Studded snow tires are OP worth extra money.


SirPotential6497 t1_j5aivi9 wrote

If you’re staying in Burlington for driving mostly you’ll be fine the plows are pretty on top of it. But if you wanna go reliably outside of Burlington some studded snows and some sandbags in your trunk should keep you secure. If you were to get a new car even tho you don’t need one I’d say a Subaru Outback would be a good one used


FourteenthCylon t1_j5aocce wrote

In a front wheel drive you’ll want the sandbags in the front passenger seat footwell, and they’re more for emergency traction than for ballast , but otherwise this is good advice.


Nanotude t1_j5aw70g wrote

Not the smartest thing I've done, but years ago I drove for nearly 3 hours in a major blizzard, 2+ inches/hour, on all kinds of roads, treated and untreated, uphill, downhill, paved and gravel, and finally managed to power through the snowbank at the bottom of my uphill, unshovelled driveway (didn't make it all the way up the hill, but it was good enough) in a Toyota Corolla. I'm sure a Civic would do just fine too.


mrbisthebest t1_j5b54wg wrote

My tundra with snows goes through just about anything, the real concern is ice.


kingloki802 t1_j5b7azx wrote

Had a manual ‘07 Civic for years while living in Burlington and the surrounding area. It’s did fine with snow tires in the winter. Snow tires are the key!

If you want something that will get you to the mountains during a snowstorm, it might not be the best choice. Otherwise you’ll be fine.


Madisonnnnnnnnnnnn51 t1_j5bjk07 wrote

I drive a Chevy Volt 2017. It came with shitty cheap all season tires that just slid all over the road and turned the car into a death trap. I figured it was just bc the car is heavy and FWD only.

I then put Michelin CrossClimate2 tires on the car and it's a night and day difference in drivability. I'm still waiting for some really bad conditions to test them out, but I can drive confidently without slipping in conditions that would have been too dangerous with the old tires.

Also, don't drive like a maniac. Leave space between you and other vehicles, and drive slow. It's amazing how much more dangerous things can get when there are people on the road driving like a*holes.

So yeah, good tires and good technique are the most important driving tips. So long as you have both of those, a cheap car will be fine in the weather.


MarkVII88 t1_j5btqxn wrote

I drove a Toyota Corolla with snow tires very successfully in winter in VT for 8 years. (E120 generation 2003-2008). My specific Corolla was a 2004 with 5 speed manual that didn't even have antilock brakes.


username802 t1_j5bhtkx wrote

Yeah, civic w good snows is fine.


fjwjr t1_j5bimyk wrote

I spent my first 27 years or so with 2WD and studded snow tires and did just fine. That was through the Valentines Day blizzard and several others while having to drive over Orange Heights in the middle if the night when Rt 302 is unplowed. It’s all about knowing how to drive in snow.


Stockmom42 t1_j5bt4n6 wrote

We got away with a Mazda 3 with studded tires for a long time in Vermont. With the right tires you should be ok.


Leigh-is-something t1_j5btrn2 wrote

I drive a 2011 Honda civic - good tires and good comfort level/experience in winter weather and you’re good. I live on a dirt road and in a higher elevation. That said, there are days I wish I had something else…but it’s doable.


Leeebs_OG t1_j5ccc5w wrote

Life long Vermonter here, I just put my feet out the bottom of the car, Flintstone style


MapleCreamee t1_j5ckdyp wrote

I have a front wheel drive minivan with Michelin Cross Climate 2 tires. These are all season tires that are snow rated. This is the second year I have had them on and I have not hade any problems driving in the snow. I'm out in the country a bit, down a hilly half mile dirt private road, I have never gotten stuck. They seem just as good as the Blizzaks I had previously and I don't have to pay to have them swapped twice a year.


Odd-Philosopher5926 t1_j5cr57q wrote

Vermonts inspection laws might prevent you from owning a 7 year old car


alfonseski t1_j5ctnrj wrote

I drive a civic in good snow tires. I do not fear the snow. I ski and go to work regardless. I do know how to drive in the snow though. But ya it should be fine if you have snow tires and have some semblance of snow driving skills.


WomanWhoWeaves t1_j5cvrvp wrote

Once in 1998 I drove from Norwich to Brattleboro and passed 9 Subarus off the road. My Corolla did just fine.


B6304T4 t1_j5czxvq wrote

Front wheel drive with snow tires is more than ample but I would only do it if it either had a good traction control system or a limited slip differential. Older 95-early 00s volvos are good for this. My wagon has a 4 speed auto with winter mode and my sedan that I'm rebuilding has a 5 speed manual with a limited slip differential. They far exceed any awd with all seasons I've ever owned. Best vehicle I've ever owned was a 03 outback with snow tires it was almost unfair how good it was but they rot like cray up in New England.

Edit: a civic is honestly perfect as long as you have snow tires. Light cars with narrow snow tires are your best friend.


Admirable-Flan-5266 t1_j5d7cj2 wrote

I just roll over into a ditch last night , going down the hill in Snow drive in a range Rover and it did not help at all , I should have got the snow tires , I was only 50’yards from the driveway!


WookieDeep t1_j5dc7na wrote

I test drove an A4 Audi quattro during a nasty ice storm. It's a completely different animal. It was the braking on ice that convinced me, not the ability to gain traction to accelerate. Incredible engineering. I've owned 3 since then.


[deleted] t1_j5vc56a wrote

Q: Can i get away with a really old and cheap car here

A: Dahhling all my cars are Audis


Odd_Supermarket_3978 t1_j5dvpwj wrote

I have a Honda civic with studded winter tires and it’s fine for the Burlington area


RecycledAir t1_j5m1559 wrote

Studded snow tires are pricey but make an enormous difference on any vehicle. The studs are the important bit, because being able to stop is even more important than being able to start.


prosnurf3r t1_j5szpeb wrote

best snow driving cars iv owned were 2000 and 99 subaru legacy and legacy gt 5mt. did 60 mile commute to work round trip around the Worcester range from stowe for 5 years and drove through some serious snow, also big skier and spent most big storm days going to the mtn or hiking locations. if you can get a manual it will help. i would put the best non studded snow tires i could buy on my 1000$ car and run them for 2 years through the summer months. cheaper than swapping them out. always make sure to wash your car to keep the breaks clean. and your car will never be inspectable. in 10 years i was only able to get my cars to pass inspection once. vt state inspection and registration is a money racket. now in oregon theres no inspection and a 4 year registration for the same price as a one year in vt. car insurance is doubled out here tho. in vt you kinda have to have a car there is limited public transportation and no funding for more


Nutmegdog1959 t1_j5abcuj wrote

Plenty old Subies from 00-09 won't cost a fortune and very reliable.


Careful_Square1742 t1_j5ald3k wrote

subie? reliable?


Loudergood t1_j5ame6j wrote

Just don't ask owners about head gaskets.


Nutmegdog1959 t1_j5aqvvh wrote

Most Subies in that age range will have well over 100k and the HG issue will have been addressed. There are dozens of well qualified shops in VT that know Subies inside and out. They can tell in a NY minute if the HG has been repaired or needs attention.

Good cheap reliable ride for VT four seasons. The boxer 4 engine has remained largely unchanged for 40 years. They know a little about building good motors.


Loudergood t1_j5asojm wrote

This is exactly what I'm talking about.


bizarre_pencil t1_j5atjit wrote

To my knowledge it was just that one 2.5 liter 4 cyl that had HG issues. The 2.0 or whatever else they run now I haven’t heard anything bad about


GaleTheThird t1_j5c9dqc wrote

> To my knowledge it was just that one 2.5 liter 4 cyl that had HG issues.

Yes, it was primarily an EJ253 issue (they used shitty gaskets, the design itself was fine), but Subaru put that engine in every car they sold for quite a few years. That being said, you just roll the head gasket replacement into the timing belt service and it's not the end of the world. I had an '06 Impreza wagon for years and it was a great car.