Grand Cherokee Snow and Ice Performance

matriculated01matriculated01 Member Posts: 5
edited June 2014 in Jeep
I have an '02 Grand Cherokee RWD (rear wheel drive). We are having a big snow and ice storm here in north TX right now, pretty rare for this area. Anyways, I had to go somewhere this morning, early, and the roads were nothing but snow on top of ice. Since we very rarely have conditions like that here in the DFW area, I was curious to see how my RWD WJ does on the road. I know that RWD vehicles are considered less safe for icy conditions, and I did see some evidence for that today. While you're driving, everything is ok, and I would say that the steering is even better than in a FWD vehicle, but when you stop, it can be real hard to get going. I had my wheels spinning a couple of times today. I also started fishtailing a couple of times, but regained control with relative ease. I was wondering how the GC performs in conditions like this with 4WD... I love my Jeep and will probably be buying another one when the time comes, but I plan to move somewhere up north, and I wanted to find out as much as I can about how good the GCs are in non-TX weather. Does 4WD make all the difference? In fact, I would be interested in getting views on all of them: 4WD vs RWD vs FWD vs AWD in snow and ice conditions.


  • hatcheckhatcheck Member Posts: 7
    I live in Central Oregon. We get lots of snow and ice here. I have a JGC 2005 4WD It's there when you need it. It stops straight as an arrow on snow/ice with very little fishtailing, if at all. Can climb most anything. It's great! Next best would be a Subaru Outback AWD. They are about as sure-footed as they come. And, I'm a Girlll :shades: !!
  • pahefner01pahefner01 Member Posts: 202
    The true 4WD makes a big difference if equipped with all terrain tires and the transfer case engaged, alson known as low range. I have a 99 Cheroke Limited and I've done a lot of driving in the snow and on the off road high mountain passes in Colorado. Unless you have a transfer case, or low range, to reduce the vehicles crawl speed you simply have an all wheel drive vehicle. I'm planning on keeping my XJ until the wheels fall off. It's a 99 Limited with 84K miles on it and looks brand new.
    The problem with all these "SUVs" is that so many of them are simply front wheel drive vehicles with optional all wheel drive. There is a major difference. There is also a major difference in the turning radius of Jeeps and real off road vehicles that becomes real important when driving swithchbacks in the mountains. I'm certainly not "dissing" your all wheel drive Jeep. It just seems that lots of people are paying big bucks for things like Lexus and Mercedes and Infinity SUVs, even Porsche and BMWs and they are paying a hugh amount of money for a vehicle that looks like an SUV but is little more than an all wheel drive van.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Ice storms are really bad news - check out this video from Portland the other day:
  • matriculated01matriculated01 Member Posts: 5
    I think you misunderstood, My Jeep is RWD not AWD (as I understand Jeep doesn't make AWD). I live in TX (driving conditions almost always good) and don't do any "serious" offroading (even though I love to take my Jeep offroad whenever I get a chance, something not too challenging), so 2WD made sense for me. However, when I move up north I will be getting a 4WD Jeep most likely, so I'm trying to see how it's been treating people in bad weather. I completely agree with you about people paying big bucks for SUVs that completely defeat the whole purpose of the SUV (such as the huge Infiniti SUV).
  • pahefner01pahefner01 Member Posts: 202
    A very good point. In the large ice storm we had in December I did not even go out in my Jeep Cherokee. Chains or studded tires might make it worth the risk in a life or death situation but 4WD is no match for ice. People need to understand that Jeeps and even Land Rovers can't go everywhere. There is a limit. Exceeding those limits can lead to serious injury and death. The high mountain off road passes of Colorado is a testament to this. Overconfidence in 4WD can be a dangerous thing. Stay at home if it's icy and make sure to walk mountain trails if you have any concerns about the trail ahead. By all means if you are on a high mountain off road pass and it starts raining park your vehicle and wait it out.
  • hatcheckhatcheck Member Posts: 7
    ..My 2005 JGC is an awesome vehicle. Actually JGC is an AWD not 4WD except when you put it in 4WD Lo or Hi. AWD/4WD gets you going and gives you traction. If you are going too fast and slam on your may skid..But, that's where ABS comes in to help you make a smoother landing. Hard packed ice and snow are great to drive on. But freezing rain/ice you don't have much control in. Best to stay home, wait it out. Black ice is just as bad. Go test drive a AWD/4WD JGC. Find some ice/snow (in a parking lot preferably where no one else is parked)..Drive in it and slam on the brakes and see what ya get??!! Squirrel around a bit. If you're still in doubt...go check out a Volvo. :confuse:
  • matriculated01matriculated01 Member Posts: 5
    I did that in my RWD GC the other day. I went to an empty parking lot and did some crazy donuts and 8 figures. Had tons of fun. Thanks for the info.
  • podedwardspodedwards Member Posts: 35
    My 2006 5.7 Grand Cherokee 4x4 is the best vehicle on snow and ice I have ever driven. I've been in the Colorado Rocky Mtns. this winter which has been a doozy. The weight, power and 4WD systems have proved to be extraordinary-it separates the real utility vehicles from the ones that are SUV's in name only which are almost all the rest.

    On new ice:(1) use common sense and drive in emergencies only, (2) drive very slowly (the speed at which you would not mind hitting something), (3) lower the air pressure in your tires to 20#,(4) have tires rated for snow and ice or chains and (5) keep the right side tires on the shoulder where the ice and snow is likely to be roughed up-for better traction.
  • pahefner01pahefner01 Member Posts: 202
    Real Jeeps have flat sides and two live axles.
  • boldmarboldmar Member Posts: 1
    I absolutely agree. I own a 2006, 4.7L with the Quadra Trac II. I haven't had to lock it in low, but it moves over slick snow, deep snow, and snow/ice like it doesn't exist. The electronic stability control with torque control and ABS feedback works exceptionally well. I also live in Colorado. The performance of this SUV on such conditions can cause you to let your guard down - but don't. I still "test" the vehicle performance on poor roads with no one approaching and I'm amazed. I love this SUV.
  • avk1avk1 Member Posts: 1
    Has anyone used chains on there car ? if so any recommendation on brand and type ?
  • 5213252132 Member Posts: 62
    I have a 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ and love driving it on sand. Thinking about putting in a Aussie locker for when we go up north for vacation (we live in Florida). Anyway, we have a Quadra-TracII system, the interesting thing is that this type of system works by transfering all power to the front axle when wheel-slip occures. The system stays in RWD until the system senses that you need more traction. When there is wheel slip on the front end then the system switches power to the rear axle. Here is a link if you want to find out more.
  • paulc35paulc35 Member Posts: 6
    Well locking in low as you say is primarily for off road situation, which most of us will never see in a 35k+ GC. Go to theres alot of info on everyones 4wd system and how it works. Quadratrac II has 50% to both rear wheels and then transfers power to both front wheels, or just one if one wheel is loosing traction. Great system and been around forever.

    Someone mentioned a 2wd Jeep. Why oh why would anyon buy a 2wd Jeep or any other SUV . Kind of defeats the purpose plus resale value is horrible. Don't care if you live in Texas or wherever. Dealers hate 2wd SUVs and if you buy one make sure you are planning on keeping it for many years as nobody wants one, but a very,very,very few.
  • paulc35paulc35 Member Posts: 6
    Actually Jeep GC is an AWD not 4WD except when you put it in 4WD Lo,or Hi Hmm.

    Well as your shifter shows it is 4WD. Its just 4WD all the time and the only option is 4Hi and 4Lo for off road. 4WD and AWD can be much the same if they both have systems that transfer power from wheel to wheel depending on, which one is losing traction.
  • xscoutxscout Member Posts: 141
    I'm not sure where you live, but in Florida where I am 4wd cherokees and grand cherokees are the exception, not the rule. Most drivers here would really have to go out of their way to get in a driving situation where 4wd would help. Dealers don't mind the 2wd versions here because that's what 90% of the SUV's they sell here are. Why spend extra money for something you know you will never need? If I lived in an area where it snowed, had many poor roads, or mountains I would want the 4wd. I just couldn't justify the extra cost for my occassional desire to have some off road fun:).
  • paulc35paulc35 Member Posts: 6
    Thats great that many SUV drivers in Florida buy 2wd then resale value won't be an issue, but I live in West Virginia and not to many 2wd buyers up here. 20 yrs ago I sold cars for 4yrs and we didn't even stock 2wd models
  • 5213252132 Member Posts: 62
    If your talking about Quadra-drive, then yes, it can transfers power to only one wheel, I left a link for you on post #13, and I will leave another, just click on Quadra-trac, Quadra-tracII, Quadra-driveII etc. Please visit
  • paulc35paulc35 Member Posts: 6
    I was talking about Quadra Trac II and yes I went to the Jeep site like all other owners. Play the video
  • paulc35paulc35 Member Posts: 6
    If you watch the video the Quadra trac II can transfer power to either axle in the front when it senses wheel slipage.
  • paulc35paulc35 Member Posts: 6
    No offense meant, but you need to play the video on the Quadra trac II. Nearly 50% of power is on rear axle not all of it and it does transfer to either front axle or both front axles if needed. A couple of their systems are very much the same.
    It does not as you refer go all to front or all to rear it does sense wheel slippage and transfers to the axle with the traction. If in doubt go to your Jeep link and click on Quadra trac II and watch and listen to the video illustration.

  • 5213252132 Member Posts: 62
    I watched the video several times, you can see by watching the video that it says "can transfer torque to either axle if neccesary". On the left side of the illustration it says.This active full-time system functions in all-wheel-drive until additional traction is needed, then reacts by electronically engaging the clutch pack to transfer up to 100% of the torque to either axle. This system also features 2.72:1 LOW-RANGE and NEUTRAL. I don't want to argue, but please pay attention :) (It shows in the video how it switches power by the drive-shafts)
  • 5213252132 Member Posts: 62
    I know that Quadra-driveII transfers 48% of the torque to the front and 52% to the rear under normal driving conditions. It can transfer all torque to one wheel if necessary. If your referring to Quadra-driveII, then you are correct. The regular Quadra-drive (not to be confused with Quadra-driveI or Quadra-driveII) uses the same Quadra-tracII transfer case (please pay attention to the names) but has vari-loc differentials. Just in case you may have gotten the names wrong, I will leave a link to Quadra-tracII (the first one) and Quadra-driveII (the second one)
  • 5213252132 Member Posts: 62
    By the way, axle is not the same as wheel. There are two axles on every car. When you said "Quadra trac II can transfer power to either axle in the front", did you mean wheel? When you say "either axle in the front", it does not make any sense. Please clarify ;)
  • naatz1naatz1 Member Posts: 188
    Great video and discussion. I had a 2001 Selectrac JGC and just bought a 2007 QuadratracII Laredo(automatic 4WD with low range). We've had a tough snow/ice December here in MN (some say the worst since 96) I've noticed no slippage while driving around so far, I have had trouble even "playing" to feel the Stability control kickin. I did show my wife while crawling up a steep hill to our subdivision one icy morning how to pop it in low range and noticed the dash light came on implying traction control and stability control are OFF. I would probably use low range if we had 10+ inches of snow but question if it's really safer with those systems off than using the normal automatic 4WD with peace of mind the stability control is working (assuming you are not stuck or in true off road conditions).

    Any comments?
  • 5213252132 Member Posts: 62
    I would keep it in automatic mode. Studies indicate that widespread application of ESC (Electronic Stability Control) could save more than 7,000 lives per year. If all vehicles on U.S. roads had ESC, it might prevent as many as 800,000 of the 2 million or so single-vehicle crashes that occur each year. When a driver enters a curve too fast, for example, the vehicle may spin out of control. But with ESC, automatic braking is applied to help keep the vehicle under control. When you turn off ESC you are taking a BIG risk. Studies indicate that traction control can help increase traction by up to 25% (which may be the reason you could not get any wheel-slip.
  • brendan3brendan3 Member Posts: 1
    I Have a 1998 Jeep Cherokee Classic That I'm going to put a plow on. The mechanic says each Jeep model has its own set of springs, in order to plow some need "helper" springs. My question is does anybody know when I put the plow on, (400 lb. Snow Way) does my jeep need "helper" springs?
  • 5213252132 Member Posts: 62
  • stumpf2000stumpf2000 Member Posts: 23

    I am looking at an 02 limited JGC. Love it except for it is only 2WD. I live in Illinois so snow is an issue. I have never had a jeep without the smart track systems so I am not sure as to how much I used the 4WD. Can anyone tell me if they have had experience and can say how much of a drawback the 2WD will have. Any ideas as to how it handles in snow. I am looking for cheap, but love the idea of having the 4WD. Any suggestions, or comments or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
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