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Honda Odyssey Snow Traction & Handling

liscolliscol Posts: 1
Hi. I'm looking for any experience you might have with the odyssey in the snow.

I'm vehicle shopping and was set on a 02 (or so)Odyssey til we got dumped on with snow late December. My station wagon (volvo 940) was snowbound while my husband's isuzu trooper with big old tires and ground clearance was able to get out of our 100 ft driveway in RWD. I am curious how the Odyssey handles with good snow tires in, say, 6 in to a foot of snow. We live at about 6600ft in central New Mexico and while we did get 2 feet dumped on us in a short time this winter, I think the usual is more like 4-8 inches per snowfall. Do you think an Odyssey with good snow tires (not metal studded, just rubber) would handle that OK? At most it would be a 1/2 mile of that kind of snow til we hit the paved rd, which gets plowed regularly. I need a 3rd row for an upcoming 4th child and I think the van would be the best way to go cost and performance wise, but don't want to get stuck.


  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    As a relatively heavy front wheel drive vehicle, the Odyssey will do fine in moderate snow when equipped with good snow tires. However, I don't know that it has any more ground clearance than your Volvo and might be challenged by a 12 inch snowfall.

    It seems to me that something like a Suburban would be more appropriate for your situation.
  • It sounds like you're not really offroading, so something like a Suburban might be overkill. Maybe a Pilot would be a better choice, but the Oddyssey seems to do nicely in the snow, even without snows.

    I think snows are always a good idea, they have better traction in slippery icy conditions, not just snow. I don't have snows on the Oddyssey (yet), but I've always bought Hakkapalitas (for a Saab 900 and Accord) and I've driven (carefully) past Suburbans that have slid off the road, in fairly deep stuff (over 1ft). These are high-performance Finnish snow tires that have very deep, aggressive treads.

    I'm figuring the snow in Mexico (just kidding) is that soft, powdery stuff the western ski resorts is famous for, so with the Pilot clearance at 8" should get you home at least.

    Anything any deeper, or hardpacked, and it's time to get the snowmobile or cross country skis out, I say. Or get your husband to buy a snowplow for the Trooper;)
  • I live in New England and have driven my 2000 Odyssey in up to 12" of snow without a problem. Put on the traction control and have a good set of all seasons. It's not a Suburban, so don't expect to be able to hit a wall of snow and go through it. I found anything over 12" was pretty impossible to drive in - but here they plow ( more or less) so the 24" storms will have 8 " left on the roads for a couple of days. We also get a lot of ice under the snow - and the Od can handle that if you use care and good techniques.
  • I'm in Canada and want to buy new snow/winter tires for my 2005 Odyssey (the "new" model)
    I had the Honda dealer recommend Bridgestone Blizzaks and an independent tire dealer recommend Pirelli Scorpions
    Has anyone tried either of these winter tires on their new Odyssey and have a review?
    thanks, I want to purchase them this week...It's getting snowy up here!
  • go to  plug in your model and what type of tires you want and they come up with a list of tires.  but what i really like is the customer reviews.  they haven't steered me wrong yet. 
    i did some looking for you.  tirerack customers liked:Dunlop SP Winter Sport,Michelin Pilot Alpin PA2, Pirelli Winter Carving  (my favorite - a worthless opinion since i have never driven snow tires).
    Blizzaks did not do well - relatively speaking.(according to customer reviews).none is cheap.
    take a look see. get your prices from sam's club (if you have that up there) and price match locally.  i once saved $100/tire doing that.
  • Discount Tire is another good site, good information, nice features like a "tire calculator"

    I am familiar with the Blizzaks (although not on the Odyssey) and they do well. I call it my "BMW" test. If you can drive a BMW (not the 'x' of course) in _any_ kind of snow, without ending up in a ditch, then they do the job.

    Some say the Blizzaks wear out fast, however, that's probably true of all snows given their composition. The "hakki's" I mentioned should be taken off as soon as it gets warm, for example.

    Not sure if they have Nokian tires for Odyssey, but check the site for a dealer:

    Here's a review from CanadianDriver
    (might be a good resource) - different tire, but should give an idea about the respect for this company. They test these tires on ice tracks in Finland.

    Oh, the correct spelling is actually "Hakkapeliitta", pardon the misspelling..
  • ehrenehren Posts: 1
    If you are dumb enough to buy a Honda Odyssey in Canada, you will probably want a separate set of snow tires on separate rims.When you put the new snow tires cw new rims the TPMS warning light goes on...when the TPMS light is on Honda advises that the Electronic Stability Control is no longer functional.So the Honda dealer has to recalibrate the TPMS system for the new snow tires...cost is about $150 each time you want to change from winter to summer tires.What a rip-off.
    TPMS is just a way to increase dealer service profit. BEWARE, you cannot change snow tires on your own.I used to buy Honda , but NEVER again.Also they will not sell cars to Canadians in the USA and charge $10,000us more for the same car in Canada( eg.Honda CRV)
  • But that's only an issue if you want the TPMS to work with the snow tires, I don't believe it has anything to do with the stability control other than you can no longer shut it off. And Honda doesn't recommend driving with VSA off anyway, it should only be turned off temporarily.

    Here's a good thread at Honda SUV with more info(Honda SUV list, but same issues):

    There is definitely an issue with the PAX (run flat) however.

    As to the price, isn't everything more expensive in Canada? I recall reading articles about Canadians making shopping trips to the US for cheaper goods. Except your generic drugs of course, where the reverse is true.
  • I just returned from a road trip in my 2007 Odyssey with four Blizzak (WS-60) tires. I live in NE and we had two snow storms in the last few days (total about 8-10 inches). We drove mostly in 2-lane rural highways in a variety of road conditions, and the Odyssey did great. I always felt like I was in control of the van.

    BTW, I have driven that same trip in the snow several times in a 4WD Suburban (without snow tires), and I prefer the Odyssey because of its lower center of gravity and better handling.

    I have the snow tires mounted on OEM rims (can be purchased online). The TPMS light stays on, but I just ignore it. I will decide later whether to install TPMS sensors in the snow tire wheels.
  • I've been shopping for minivans and it looks like it will be the Odyssey or the Sienna. The only thing I don't like about the Odyssey is that there are no AWD models (is that right?). I live in the NE and have three small children -- I need all the control and safety features I can get; I've witnessed many an accident and I completely respect Old Man Winter. I'm VERY hesitant to settle for Odyssey's FWD only. Can any one calm my nerves?? Thanks!!
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,863
    We've driven a 2000 Odyssey for a now an 8th winter in Boston and ski country without an issue. We do use snow tires and feel confident in the Ody's ability to handle just about anything that is thrown at us.

    AWD is not the cure all to winter. It's helpful but I've found FWD with a good set of snows is just as capable.
  • bobber1bobber1 Posts: 217
    Hey neighbor, I live next door to you in Iowa. AWD is nice, but not a necessity. If you get good tires and drive slow, a FWD is more then adequate. Especially with the stability control systems that you'll find in the Hondas.

    If you're not old enough to remember the RWD cars of the 70's, you don't realize what an advance FWD vehicles truly are.

    AWD suck gas. They are nice however if you're offroad driving or in the mountains.
  • clemsclems Posts: 2
    We are in Sask Canada and drive hockey players around the province. The tires the Honda came with are terrible in snow and ice. We have had a dodge and a Montana but the Honda has been the worst in snow and ice. I couldn't find snow tire to fit, but suspect that will solve the problem. A good driving van for hauling kids, but has sliding door issues.
  • I'm planning to get a set of snow tires mounted on steel wheels but I don't plan to put TPMS in them. From what I understand, the light on the dash will come on, telling me that the TPMS system is not operating. It will stay on until I put the regular all-seasons back on the car. My question is whether or not I need to do anything special when I put the all-seasons back on again, or will the Ody automatically detect them and shut off the dash light?

    Also, as far as I know the only thing I am giving up is knowing whether or not my tire pressure is too low, right? I saw some discussion about vehicle stability control, but I can't see the relationship.

    Thanks, Scott
  • I live in Salt Lake City and have had mixed results driving on all season tires in the snow. Has anyone had experience with Michelin's X-Ice or X-Ice Xi2?
  • kbf1kbf1 Posts: 1
    The problem - no traction on hills with a thin coating of packed snow when TCS kicks in. I have All Season Dunlop tires with about 10,000 miles on my 03 Odyssey. This is the first time I have encountered a traction problem and have always felt confident in snowy condition in the Odyssey. Front struts were replace this past summer. Is there an adjustment required to the suspension system to allow proper traction or what else might cause lack of traction?
  • bobber1bobber1 Posts: 217
    It may just be slick. All Season tires are not winter tires.

    I just bought a set of chains if I run into problems. $25 on and I'm sure will be put to good use at some point.
  • kave1kave1 Posts: 1
    We live in Michigan and have had the Ody since 2005. The take-off traction in even the slightest snow was horrible with the OEM tires, so I replaced them last year, even though they had a lot of tread left. Unfortunately, the new tires provided little additional traction. I've never had an issue with braking traction.

    Now I'm looking to either replace the Ody with an SUV or try a set of winter tires.

    The other problem with the Ody (and most cars) is clearance. Unless you get nice fluffy snow, the Ody gets hung up in snow that gets packed underneath, making the traction worse.

    Other than snow/ice traction, we love the Ody, but I'm starting to wish we would have took a little more time to consider the AWD Sienna. Or maybe that would just give me 4 spinning tires... :)
  • bigdadi118bigdadi118 Posts: 1,207
    You are right on the money. The traction on snow/ice was one of the reason I switched to Pilot 4x4. A few other factors, ground clearance, wind noise, cross wind shimmy, soft brake added up my decision to switch. Driving the Pilot feels like the Pilot is more solid and heavier car.
  • Update to posting #17. I put four Blizzak tires on my Honda Odyssey and they solved the slipping problems. We have had several good snow storms in the last ten days and no problems getting around Salt Lake City.
  • sreisssreiss Posts: 65
    An update to my prior question (post #16) - I have put on 4 Bridgestone Blizzaks and the Ody is very confident in the snows we've had over the last week in CT. The TPMS light stays lit on the dash (no big deal) since I did not get the TPMS installed in the new steel wheels- -completely unnecessary expense. And there is no relationship to vehicle stability control that I am aware of, so don't be alarmed by other posts on the topic. From what I am told, the TPMS system will re-engage automatically when the all-seasons on the original alloy wheels are re-installed in the spring.
  • skrinskrin Posts: 1
    Had a 2004 Ody with Michelin X-Ice on it for winter driving. Loved them, never a problem. Now have a 2007 Ody. Put Blizzak snows on because didn't make a Michelin snow in my size. I was very disappointed in the way they handled in the snow. Is it just me, I noticed two positive reviews for Blizzak.
  • Hi Scott and all, did you get an answer to your question? I have a 2006 odessey touring and live in DULuth, MN and need snow tires. The dealer at first told me about the pax snow tires ($1600/set) and then I told him about the class action lawsuit against honda and michelin pax tires... then he said how about steel wheels and some blizzack for $1000/set. If anyone has some advice for me about what wheels to get and what tires, I'd appreciate it and what folks are paying for switching them out each season... ie, is it $150 to recalibrate the tpms...

    Thanks again all, Shar
  • sreisssreiss Posts: 65
    Shar - going with blizzaks on steel wheels makes sense, but you can do better than $1000. I got mine from delivered for about 25% less than that. You can also get wheel covers so you don't just have black wheels. You can order the option of putting a TPMS sensor in the steel wheels, but it's an unnecessary expense, in my opinion. The purpose is to tell you if your tire pressure is dangerously low. If you keep an eye on your tires and periodically check pressure, I doubt there would be a problem. Plus, you would only have these tires on for a few months a year.

    Yearly changeover - I do it myself - takes about 90 minutes - although you can take your car to a Sears or any local place and ask for a snow tire changeover. Can't imagine it would cost $150. I haven't done the spring switch to put the originals back on yet, but I am told the TPMS will just re-engage and there is nothing else I need to do.

    Oh - when you go to, or give them a call, they will have all the technical specs for your make/model to put the right tires and wheels on it. I've used tirerack twice with two oddyseys - they are great.

    Good luck
  • jmn3jmn3 Posts: 1
    Do not buy an Odyssey if you plan to drive it in the snow. I love Hondas, and love my Odyssey, but it does NOT drive in the snow. I have been trying to find snow tires for my 2006 for 2 years now to no avail. The "claim" by two dealers and a Discount Tires is that they do not make a snow tire for the size and weight.

    I live in Minnesota and would trade this thing in in a heartbeat if I wouldn't lose money on it. Can't get up even a minor grade hill in the snow and tires spin on flat surfaces. Not safe with the amount of sliding in the snow. I honestly can't believe that Honda sells a family car that is so unsafe.

    Note: the older models seem to drive better in the snow. Maybe they will fix it soon? I have made several complaints and Honda is in denial over the poor snow performance.
  • bigdadi118bigdadi118 Posts: 1,207
    I just checked re 2006 Ody EX. The OEM size is 235/65-16 and OEM tires are BS Turanza EL42 or Michelin Energy LX4
    The recommended Winter Tire is BS Blizzark WS-60 (Studless Ice & Snow) 235/65-16 $105/ea. The survey has 9.3/10.0 re "Would Buy Again"

    Hope this can help.

    If you have PAX tires you can de-pax 4 + 1 spare tire for info below... -_Honda_Odyssey_DePAX_Kit.shtml
  • sreisssreiss Posts: 65
    Certainly does not track with my experience. As noted elsewhere - try - give them a call and talk to one of their people on the phone about what you need. Except for potential supply shortages because we are more towards the end of the snow season than the beginning, I would be surprised if you could not get a good snow tire that would work well. I did for my 01 Odyssey which I drove for 7 years and then for my 07 Ody which is working well on the Blizzaks I put on it.

    I have a quarter-mile long driveway that has multiple 15% grade hills and sharp curves and I drive it with confidence with the Blizzaks. I agree it would be unsafe to do with the stock all-seasons, so I swap over to the Blizzaks in early winter and leave them on until major threat of snow passes for the year - located in Connecticut.
  • "I have been trying to find snow tires for my 2006 for 2 years now to no avail."

    I have been very satisfied with Nokian tires. These are very serious tires, with aggressive treads. They even make an excellent studded bike tire.

    They do have tires for the Odyssey. I have the Hakkapeliitta "Sport Utility" (SUV) model. It seems from a quick check of their web site they have many dealers in MN (at least in MPLS as would be expected), so check around a little. I bought mine here in Wisconsin, at an American Tire Center I believe, but they are readily available at many shops, perhaps not the big internet-only ones.

    I have a very short and steep driveway so that is my test, if I can get up that driveway without shoveling, and the Odyssey, clad with the Nokian, do just fine, no slipping unless icy.

    In general, I've been pleased the way the Ody handles in the snow, but this is with the snows of course. I did buy steel rims, but not the TPMS, that would be significantly more expensive. I don't recall, but I believe (and this was at the dealer) they tried to install them, but gave up, suggested I go without the TPMS. My feeling is "4 snows > TPMS", so no problem.

    Good luck on finding the Nokians, they are definitely worth considering.
  • I am about to buy an odyssey and I am concerned that how it would perform in the Niagara falls snow? Is it really that unsafe or should we consider the SUV? I hear that it does well in the snow but I am not certain if the people with that claim actually live in the heavy duty snow area ? :(

    I will be very grateful for any input ! Thank you !
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