legacy in snow not so great

jtny1jtny1 Member Posts: 18
edited August 2014 in Subaru
OK so I have owned a foe subarus. I won't say my 2010 legacy is bad in the snow but I would say it is not as good as my old subarus. Very disappointing. It slides more, anti lock breaks kick in more and traction is not as good. I talked with subaru and they say new tires would help. Bottom line I never had to replace tires on a subaru when it was fairly new, I knwo the awd is not the same to probally improve the gas milleage (mine has the automatic tranny) and I don't like it. Other than that I love the car but am probally going to trade it in on an equinox or something else. I drove the equinox and it was better in snow and slush by far! Subaru use to have the best awd, something happened!


  • steine13steine13 Member Posts: 2,789
    Once you have a "decent" AWD system, and Subaru certainly qualifies, the problems you're seeing have to be tires.

    You say you "never had to replace tires on a subaru when it was fairly new" but you probably never had 17" wheels and sporting pretensions with a Legacy.

    If you have AWD and live where it snows, I believe you have to have snow tires, otherwise why bother with AWD? $600+ ought to by you 16" steelies and a set of namebrand snow tires -- I've had very good luck with Blizzaks and FWD in Michigan.

    Good luck -Mathias
  • fibber2fibber2 Member Posts: 3,786
    Absolutely agree! Before you toast a few grand on trading in a new car, spend $700 at Tire Rack on a nice alloy wheel and snow tire package. Snow tires make a world of difference.

    I have bought 4 such packages over the years for our 2 cars. Their alloys are so inexpensive that it almost doesn't pay to have tires remounted when you get a new set. I'm going to Craig's list the old set to recover part of the expense. A new set of alloys every couple of years gives a fresh look to the car, and makes it unique.
  • easypareasypar Member Posts: 191
    I haven't noticed the "new" awd as being bad, but it's been 7 years since I had my last subaru. I've got a '10 Legacy and I spent 3+ weeks up in the snow last winter, both CO and UT and mine handled just fine. OTOH I've lived in the UP of MI, Watertown NY and Bavaria and never had a problem. Most of those places were with RWD.
    No sudden moves, no sudden changes, no problems.
  • steine13steine13 Member Posts: 2,789
    Oh man, we got our first real snow today in mid-MI and we got it but good. 1" overnight with temps around freezing, then 4" around noon and temperatures starting to drop from 34 to now 17 while it snowed another couple inches. Wind picked up too and shifted north.

    The driving is OK -- Vibe FWD w/ new snows -- but the windshield wipers ice up and won't work. I hate it. Tonight 10 degrees and windchill of -10 by morning. No word yet on school closures or not. I'm sick of winter before it started...

    Cheers -Mathias
  • xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,289
    We are very well settled into winter here (even though yes, technically we have another week + to winter!). The last several days have been a near-constant -20F, but no wind, so it is quite tolerable.

    The best part about winter tires in these temperatures? No flat-spottting! :D

    To reply to the OP, the AWD system is better if anything than in previous years simply as a result of the more responsive system. The stock tires, however, are junk on snow/ice. Why do they do this? Apparently to save a little money on the OE and annoy the %$@# out of their customers. :mad:

    The system will do what it must to see the car along, but if there is little/no traction, there is only so much it can do - especially when it comes to stopping! Put decent tires on it, and it will take you more places than you'll likely care to go.

    I was out for a drive in our '10 Forester with my children on Saturday, and somehow *whistles innocently* found myself out on the Tanana River dike and surrounding mud-bogging trails. Of course, everything is froze up and covered with about 12-14" of of snow, but it was still fun to traverse the bumps, inclines, etc. At some point, we found ourselves in Wonderland, with the little trail we were on - all but unused in the last couple of months - closing up in front of us. It was a tiny little windy thing, so I was loathe to back out of it, but eventually the shrubs that enclosed it were rubbing both sides and the top simultaneously, and the trail was still getting smaller!

    I decided to save the paint and back out of it, which was tedious but doable. After we arrived home, I could see that those shrubs did a number on the car, but I think it will buff out come Spring.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Come over and borrow my long wheelbase FWD vehicle in snow, it'll convince you that yours can't be that bad.

    Going up hills, weight shifts back, and FWD spins the tires uselessly. VSC only makes it worse, retarding whatever momentum you had. I have to back up, turn VSC off, and try again.

    Trust me, yours is not that bad...
  • kmaurerkmaurer Member Posts: 48
    I own a 2011 Legacy 3.6R. I used to own a 2008 Legacy 2.5i. The tires make a world of difference. I got 17" snow tires (used the base wheels, wish I had bought a second set, but that's another story), and the car now drives beautifully in the snow. No slipping, little ABS kicking in, no wheel spin. Invest in some snow tires; you'll be glad you did.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    While true, the 3.6R also gets the superior VTD AWD system.
  • easypareasypar Member Posts: 191
    Has anyone tried Bridgestone Dueler H/L? My wife has those on her Lexus RX (2wd) and I drove it last week in some snow and I thought they were much better than the Michelins had been.
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    As everyone else said, tires are key to any car, AWD, 4x4, FWD, RWD.

  • atalaya505atalaya505 Member Posts: 18
    We get winter snow in the New Mexico mountains. There are days when you can't get near our house without AWD

    Over the last 18 years we have had five Subies and two Audi's. A few observations:

    1. Historically, BOTH manufacturers delivered most of their cars with crap tires. I almost always ended up replacing the OEM tires with better summer or all season rubber.

    2. We always have one car that stays in New Mexico. I buy an extra set of wheels with Blizzaks for that car and stack them at the back of my garage. I swap the summer and winter wheels every fall and spring. The whole job takes about 45 minutes.

    Not as extravagant as it sounds. I buy decent wheels, so I spend about $1000 for four wheels and tires. But, the tire portion of that investment is not wasted. Because I am using each set of tires about half the year, I am basically buying the winter tires INSTEAD of spending the same money on the second set of all season's I would otherwise have needed.

    3. In winter weather, the most important thing isn't "going." It is stopping and turning -- especially on ice. I have gotten caught out on all season tires in both Subies and Audis. I was always able to get through the snow I encountered, but stopping and turning were scary. There is NO substitute for winter tires in snow and ice.

    4. Well, almost no substitute. We bought a new model 2010 Legacy GT last fall. We already had a superb "snow" car (2005 Outback XT w. Blizzaks). The GT was to be used for high speed driving across the CA, AZ and NM deserts -- just the kind of driving that simply kills winter tires. But, it also had to be able to be able to cope with the snow and ice it would encounter in the New Mexico winter.

    The solution was a set of new Continental DWS (Dry, Wet Snow) tires. Tire Rack tests had showed that these are in a whole different class than other all season tires for winter driving. Perhaps halfway between normal all seasons and proper winter tires.

    Tire Rack was right. Two winters now, and we have been amazed at the winter performance of these tires. They are not the equal of proper winter tires, but they are in a different league than any other all season tire I have ever driven.

    We recently got caught in near blizzard conditions all the way from Flagstaff to Santa Fe. With world-class AWD, the Conti's and steering that gives great feedback as to what was going on down there, the 2010 Legacy was king of the road.

    The Conti tires have markers in their tread that allow you to track tread wear. When you can no longer see the "S" marker, you will have lost their extra snow capabilities. I now have 17,000 miles on the tires and can still see the "S". So, this set will get me through this winter. Before next winter sets in, I will buy a replacement set for winter use, and use up the remaining miles on this set in warmer weather.

    5. Years ago, I drove FWD Saabs in winter rallies. Once you have driven a good AWD car with proper winter tires in the snow, you will never go back. There is no comparison. A situation that would have sent me nose-first off the road in a FWD car ends up being a fun 4 wheel drift in the Subie.

    Bear in mind though, not all AWD systems are equal. I have great confidence in the Subie and Audi full time AWD systems. I have less confidence in the many part time systems that don't switch over to AWD until wheels start slipping. A few of these seem to work OK. Others have left me longing for a Subaru.
  • rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    edited January 2011
    I put hose same Continentals on my '09 WRX this fall. They replaced the summer tires that came standard on the WRX.

    So far I'm very pleased. They are a bit slippery when it gets cold, however. In fact, all 4 tires broke loose several weeks ago while taking one of my favorite country road corners at a rather brisk clip. I slid half way into the other lane; good thing no one was coming in the other direction. In warmer weather that same speed through that corner would have been no problem.

    The day after Christmas, while visiting my daughter and her new husband, we got 14" of snow. The Continental ExtremeContact DWS tires handled it with ease (just need to remember to turn off the Traction Control when starting out in deep snow).

  • xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,289
    Once you have driven a good AWD car with proper winter tires in the snow, you will never go back.

    Yes, I have to admit that to be the case! I used all-seasons for seven years here in Fairbanks, Alaska (that's six months straight of snow/ice driving) - no problem. Once I decided to get a set of winter tires (commensurate with a new car), though, I would never consider settling for year-round all-seasons again.

    As you say, it is not extra money spent (unless one drives very few miles annually) because it simply offsets the frequency with which any one given set of tires is replaced. I used to replace all-seasons every two-to-three years. Now it will be more like four-to-five (four for the winter tires, five for the summer).
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    DWS are good tires. I put a set on the CTS-V and drove it well into the cold this year while waiting on my STi paperwork to get squared away. I like em as an all-compromise tire. So far the Michelins Alpine 3 tires are doing well and I consider them a "3 season" tire.

  • atalaya505atalaya505 Member Posts: 18
    "All-compromise" is an excellent description. That is exactly what these tires are.
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    Similar to cars or any mechanical device, it cannot be good at EVERYTHING. If it has a wide range, then there will be compromises on either end of the spectrum, for me on my Subaru, a dedicated summer/race tires and dedicated snows work for me. On my SUV which doesn't need all out performance, I run AT Tires and on my CTS-V I run All Season on the street and race tires on the track.

  • rs6errs6er Member Posts: 11
    If you look at the tire survey on the stock tires at Tirerack.com you will find out that they are terrible in snow and a generally crappy tire. The only thing they are good for is comfort. Subaru has a history of putting lousy Bridgestones on their cars (even though Bridgestone makes some great tires.)
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