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Venza Performance in Snow and Ice



  • Thanks! Makes sense.
  • Question regarding my 2009 Venza, 4 cylinder AWD 19 inch alloy wheels P245/55R19 tires. Specifically does anyone have any expierance with snow chains/snow claws for their Venza. Traveling to California for holidays from Nebraska thought I should have snow chains/snow claws just in case they are needed/required. Any recommendations regarding tire chains or what they call Snow Claws for my Venza? I would welcome your suggestions/comments regarding where I might purchase as well. Thanks in advance any help would be greatly appreciated!
  • dave139dave139 Posts: 19
    1st time in heavy snow: We're in the midst of a pretty good lake effect storm and the Blizzaks have been well worth the money. Getting great traction on fairly treacherous roads and the trac system rarely kicks in.
  • adk3adk3 Posts: 4
    I had a very scary experience on both Slush and Ice!
    I lost control of the car at 65MPH on the Atlantic City Parkway. I hit a small slush trail left by the front end loaders/plowers and my car's rear swung violently 75degrees from left to right five times before I regained control of the car. Anyone had this experience? I now believe it may be due to the automatic engine breaking system, because the Dealer Wide Mechanic said I should not have kept my foot on the gas petal, despite the fact I never touched the car breaks. I just kept steering into the violent turns and the car finally came under control.

    I am a previous Subaru Owner from 1982 and I realized I had to put my 19 year old Subaru back in service, because the Venza's plastic body panels are flimsy and I already have a crack near the front fog light due to stress. My Subaru has foam filled backing and steel behind its bumpers and the lower fairing has many folds which adds strength. The Venza has nice lines but no reinforcing in the design.

    I used the Subaru to breakthrough into plowed roads for many years without incident, while the Venza, barely three months old, has a crack in the front and some light interior damage near the window due to my entry and exit from the car.

    In slush or wet snow the Venza is poorly balance and it simply can not gain any traction with the 20" tires and V-6 engine.. The Subaru runs on top of the snow compacting it and has only gotten stuck on wet blare ice. So I am rebuilding it again because the Venza is simply too sensitive a vehicle for the weather mentioned in this piece.

    Visibility is horrid on the Venza! I have added large rectangular convex mirrors to both side view mirrors, because I will lose a car for about a car length and a half. I highly recommend this approach. The smaller mirrors work well until it rains, then they have too many rain drops distorting their visibility. You can find the same type of mirrors mounted by the Chevy factory on their little panel wagon - go to dealer showroom - this is where I got the idea! adk3
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited March 2010
    With a FWD or even a F/awd, especially the Venza F/awd, ALL engine compression braking occurs at the FRONT WHEELS, potentially a fairly HAZARDOUS situation as you have just discovered.

    With a FWD, and the clear majority of F/awd, vehicles that aspect represents a very clear and certain danger for wintertime use. The best thing to do if you have one of these equipped with an automatic transmission is to follow the advice of the AAA and quickly shift the transaxle into neutral.

    VW has just announced a new feature for their FWD cars with manual transaxles in that if too much engine compression braking is used for roadbed conditions resulting from an inappropriate downshift the system will automatically "up-rev" the engine to alleviate the wheelslip.

    You might also ask you dealer if there is a C-best option wherein should you fully release the gas pedal and when the OAT is 35F and below the transaxle would shift into neutral automatically. While there may not be a c-best option for this at the moment there may be one soon forth coming.

    The downshifting "extension", fuel cut extension, is a fairly new feature so a follow-on revision to defeat it if conditions warrant might be a reasonable decision by the manufacturers.
  • adk3adk3 Posts: 4
    Thank you for your response. The only problem I would have given that previously described loss of control is that you do not have much time to react! The advantage with the Venza is that the shift lever is very accessible?!

    The Toyota Regional Mechanic said to keep my foot on the gas pedal, but that is not a normal reaction when a car goes through a rapid loss of directional control.
    I know never to use the brakes, so your directions to shift to neutral may be a more reasonable response, because the electric steering gives you no sense of tire-to-road contact. I did not even know about the engine breaking feature until I read the Owner's Manual cover to cover during Canada vs USA final game. adk3
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Oftentimes a very slight, judicious, application of a rear wheel implemented e-brake will be of some help in the situation you describe. Sort of like throwing a "drag" anchor out behind a boat.

    And regarding the actual braking, I have long thought that with the modern day commonality of ABS/BA/TC/VSC/etc it would be really easy to have a braking system that used ONLY the rear brakes for light duty braking. Then only enable front braking additionally if a predetermined brake fluid pressure level were reached and/or ABS indicated impending rear wheel lockup.
  • adk3adk3 Posts: 4
    If you applied the rear brakes, say using the emergency brake, you would really set the car into a skid. There is no weight in the rear end.

    Since that skid, and to dampen the jarring of the 20" rims,I actually put 100lbs of steel shot ballast under the front seats and another 100lbs in the rear spare tire well. The ride is much better, but I do not know how this will affect the car in a skid.
    I was on rough sheet ice at 70mph.

    I rather like the idea of having the front engine brake disabled, so you can steer out of it normally. I hope the better weight distribution will help, but the only way to tell is to get back into a skid?!

  • kingfans1kingfans1 Posts: 137
    hello I don't have a venza awd.. but I can tell you 2009 matrix awd do very well in the snow.

    Toyota make good AWD cars.. I am sure Venza AWD well handle snow and ice very easy...
  • adk3adk3 Posts: 4
    My understanding, having only read blogs on the Venza AWD system, is that Toyota has purchased the rights from Subaru to utilize their patented AWD system and that the current electronically activated AWD by Toyota has not proven to be adequate.

    In addition, the Matrix is an extremely small and light vehicle, though quite attractive. I had looked at one for my girlfriend. I will respond to my issues with the Venza by filling out a written Toyota Survey and providing all my supporting information for their review and comment. I love many aspects of the Venza, but then I was an avid 1966 Chevy Corvair enthusiast as well.

    Summarizing my Venza 6 cylinder FWD performance, I am restoring my 1992 Subaru Legacy Wagon in the garage as we speak. The AWD system and tough interior and exterior of the car are hard to match, though it is out of style.
    Please understand, I believe all these cars have their problems.
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