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Honda Odyssey Snow Traction & Handling



  • sreisssreiss Posts: 65
    If one of your major criteria in buying a vehicle is the ability to move around in snow, I would not buy a minivan. It's not what they are engineered for, in my view. That said, my personal experience is that the Ody is great in snow, but it's not the car I take if it's really coming down and I have to get somewhere. If you have flexibility in when you travel, and put good snow tires on it, and the roads are well maintained in your area, then the Ody is great.

    I don't have any personal experience with the Pilot (I assume that's what you are referring to when you say "the SUV"), however I would expect that it would be very good in snow. I have a lot of experience with the CRV, and with good tires, the AWD system (which kicks in when needed and is off otherwise) is very effective. I have been able to move up steep, slippery hills, weaving my way around other stranded cars.
  • bigdadi118bigdadi118 Posts: 1,207
    Ody does not have AWD while the Sienna does. If you live in Buffalo/ Niagara Falls area, Sienna AWD is your better minivan choice. Even AWD you still need snow tires for best handling, faster acceleration and shorter braking distance in snow/ice.
    Bridgestone Blizzak WS60 (Studless Ice & Snow)
    Aaverage rating.8.3
    Size: 235/65R16
    Sidewall Style: Blackwall
    Serv. Desc: 103R
    Load Index 103 = 1929lbs (875kg) per tire

    Minivan ground clearance is not as good as the SUVs, though you don't need to climb in and out of the cabin.
    Speed Rating "R" = 106mph (170kph)
    Price: $105.00 (each)
  • kt5kt5 Posts: 1
    Hi Ya'll,
    We just recently moved from the southeast US and our 05 Ody only has front wheel drive. We now live in Idaho and already have snow. Will putting snow tires on all four wheels make a big difference since we only have front wheel drive? Also, do snow tires even help much with ice, or should I use chains on icy days? Thanks!
  • sreisssreiss Posts: 65
    You should use snows on all four tires - you need to worry about braking as much as you do about accelerating. Probably even more so ;)

    Ice is tough no matter what. Chains are better than snows. Some snows for sure have some effectiveness on ice, such as Blizzaks (the only ones that I have personal experience with.) They are engineered to have small slits, or sipes, on the tread to increase traction. However, ice by definition is not going to offer much traction. In some areas of the country people use studded tires where there are small metal spikes protruding from the treads to grip in ice. I believe they are not legal in some jurisdictions as they tear up the road surface.
  • bigdadi118bigdadi118 Posts: 1,207
    There is a wealth of info re Winter Tires / Driving ...
  • I was warned by a friend about the Odyssey's tires. I bought it anyway.
    "Big Mistake"
    I live in Massachusetts.
    These tires are so very bad in the snow. My old Dodge Caravan never gave me any trouble and now I buy a much more expensive car and I have problems I never had!!
    Right now there are six inches of snow in the street. I cannot go out today. period.
    I tried just slides. When I had my Caravan, I would not have given it another thought..just drive slowly and crunch along.
    To me all the fancy extras really arent worth the monthly bill; I just need the basics, dependability to drive being tops on that list Honda!!!
  • sreisssreiss Posts: 65
    In my experience you will want dedicated snow tires on the Ody if you plan to drive around in six inches of snow.

    There may be all season tires that are better in snow than the original equipment tires that Honda chose-- perhaps you could use the same make and brand that were on your Caravan. But I know for sure that if I were driving around in six inches of snow, I would a) have dedicated snow tires and b) drive a different vehicle than a minivan.
  • I'm from a Colorado mountain town and have always owned a 4X4. Once I had kids we bought a Dodge Grand Caravan EX and because it wasn't four-wheel-drive I bought a set of Michelin X-Ice snow tires. Not only did my minivan perform just as well in any snow or ice I drove on but I felt safer with the lower center of gravity.

    When I finally sold the Dodge I was already sold on driving a minivan so I bought a 2009 Odyssey Touring without the PAX tires. I couldn't get the Michelins in the correct size so I invested in a set of Pirelli Scorpion Snow and Ice tires. I've since driven in blizzards, ice and deep snow over Colorado's toughest passes with not a single problem. I even drove an unplowed quarter mile driveway with a good 19 inches of snow.

    I still own a 2003 Toyota 4 Runner but now use it more in the summer for jeep trails which is something the minivan will never do. I'll keep the minivan for snow. Even my brother, who drives a Tahoe, prefers the minivan to his SUV in the snow.
  • We have a Honda Odessey MiniVan that has worst traction in snow of any car/van we have owned. Even with snow tires, it has problems going up any grade in snow. The van sits low so watch out for deeper snow as the van will bottom out.

    Do not buy this vehicle if you drive in th snow!!!
  • sreisssreiss Posts: 65
    My experience is different. I just got done putting on the Blizzaks on my 07 Ody, and took it out for a run through virgin snow (about 5 inches) this afternoon and it was flawless.... 3 hills @ 15% grade, right angle turns, uphill and downhill .... it was fantastic. This was the same experience I had with an 01 Ody before this one.
  • Great to know. Thanks. I need to buy those. My old rear wheel Nova was better than what we have now on the Ody...
  • For those who are questioning whether to invest extra money into snow tires on your Ody.

    We suffered several winters in Michigan trying several all season tire brands with our 03. We have a steep driveway and exit to our our neghborhood. The front tires would spin in the lightest snow. The TCS system coming on does not help matters.

    This year I broke down and put on 4 blizzak snow tires. It made a huge difference. We have driven up both grades in 6-8 inches of snow with no problems. I wish I would have figured this out earlier! I have always driven SUVs and did not understand the benefits of snow tires.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    This past weekend I installed the second set of snows in the life of our '02 Ody EX. First set a few years back were Dunlop Wintersport M2's on cheap steel wheels. They were worn thin, and the rims were impossible to balance, so I bought Continental Extreme Winter on inexpensive house brand alloys, again from TireRack.

    I put them on this past weekend, and we got to drive them on snow and ice only a few days later. My wife, who usually doesn't think much about these things, thanked me last night! Given the snow over ice conditions, she fully expected to fail getting up our steep driveway. Instead, she did it with ease.

    An additional expense ($780 delivered)? Yes, and one that hurts right now. But it is potentially cheap compared to the possibilities of winter driving.
  • bigdadi118bigdadi118 Posts: 1,207
    Drove an unplowed 19 inches of snow? What is the ground clearance of the Odyssey? It is too good to be true..... use common sense!
  • I said I'm from Colorado. The snow we get in the San Juans is powder. Ground clearance isn't the issue. Traction is.

    I have since driven this van on several ski trips and haven't yet had a single problem.
  • The OEM tires were terrible in the snow and rain so I replaced them with dealer recommended Toyo Tourevos in November. Much better in the rain, great ride and even quieter on the highway than the Michelins, but still not much use in snow. Traction hasn't been a big issue for me but the traction control does kick in from time to time, the van is light at the front so the tires spin easily.
  • I too scrapped the OEM tires within days of purchasing the van. Since it was nearly snow season where I live I went directly to snow tires.

    After reading through pages of expert and customer reviews from Canada and Scandinavia I chose the Pirellis.

    They are not the quietest tires I've ever driven on but have been worth every penny in the snow. The Pirellis were engineered for high performance SUVs like the Porsche Cayenne and have a high load rating and I'm told great performance at high speeds. The roads in Colorado are notoriously bad so I haven't exactly put the high speed claims to the test yet.

    I haven't had any serious problems with the tires spinning beyond what one would expect; starting from a stop on an incline perhaps but then again, four wheel drive vehicles have the same limitations.

    As I mentioned, I have a Toyota 4-Runner that I could drive if I needed to but as of yet I haven't needed to.

    I'm sold on dedicated snow tires and will never drive all-season tires in winter as long as I live in Colorado. All-season tires are mediocre during all seasons.
  • Ground clearance is a problem but it depends on the snow and where you are.

    I live in Colorado. When we have powder (light snow that doesn't bind) or you drive in the mountains (which are usually blowed more quickly and more throughly than regular side streets around town), you can get by. But when the snow becomes wetter and compacts (usually late winter/early spring snows), clearance becomes an issue ... especially in side streets that don't get plowed for days of at all. In those cases, higher ground clearance is a huge help, especially if you have to stop from time to time.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    Loving those new snow tires! A great investment given the nasty winter here in the NorthEast. Continental Extreme Winter on inexpensive house brand alloys from TireRack. And they look pretty nice too! Gotta get a picture uploaded to CarSpace for posting.
  • bob468bob468 Posts: 1
    Sitting at my Honda dealer and had a curious conversation about the poor snow traction on my 2011 Odyssey. Told me they and Honda are aware the car has difficulty in snow. Suggested I buy snow tires. Curious because Honda appears to understand there is a performance issue but pushes the problem to its customer. The 2011 car gets stuck in my relatively flat driveway with only an inch or two of snow. Given Honda has knowledge of the issue regarding very poor snow handling, is their approach negligent (I.e. known defect of a potentially dangerous condition). Anyone know a good class action lawyer?
  • sreisssreiss Posts: 65
    Everything isn't always someone else's fault. If handling in those conditions is a critical purchasing decision for you, you should buy a different vehicle, or get snow tires.

    The reality is that Honda has made a set of tradeoffs regarding the design of their vehicle to appeal to their target market. That includes a set of tires that strike a balance between comfort and performance. They probably don't perform as well as some people would like in rain, or at high speeds, or at cornering, or at braking, or on very bumpy roads with 6 inch high boulders. Everyone needs to make a series of tradeoffs as to what is most important to them personally, for the price point, and determine if that is the correct decision for themselves. Failing to meet your criteria on a certain point does not translate to negligence on the part of the manufacturer.

    This logic taken far enough results in companies pulling products from the market, because it's far too much bother for them to deal with it. It's also why they have to spend all their time protecting themselves from litigation. For instance, I recently had to sign a liability waiver at my local furniture store, because I had purchased a set of pillows from them. But because I was taking them home myself instead of having them delivered (of course-- they're pillows after all) I had to clear them of delivery liability. OK - that's just stupid, but clearly they feel the need to protect themselves from being sued. It reduces us all to infantilism.

    If it's helpful to you, I can tell you that a set of snows is very effective on the Ody. I have had vehicles in my life that absolutely need snows, and others where I can get by without them. A lot of that has to do with the tires on the vehicle, and the engineering of the car itself. I use Blizzaks on my Ody and it performs quite well, and I have mentioned the same to friends and neighbors, who all experience the same result as I do.
  • Thank you for your common sense. It is a rare commodity these days.
  • From MN
    great van but very problematic in snow of any depth at any incline. invested in expensive all season tires but still not good in snow/hardpack (odysseys are also known for excessive road noise from the tires). our other cars and previous vans never had this issue. some design issue as our dealer was aware of this problem as well. I will try winter tires so thanks for all of comments regarding the same.
  • ehren said:

    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.

    FYI all, perhaps that was true in the past (but I doubt it), but Honda actually advises the opposite today. That is, if the TPMS indicator light is on, vehicle stability assist *cannot* be turned off. VSA is always on by default but can be manually turned off (since some tire spin can be advantageous in certain situations). However, when tire pressure issues are detected by TPMS, you can no longer turn off VSA. That makes sense, actually, since mismatched tire pressure certainly can destabilize a vehicle in certain situations. See the 2014 Honda Odyssey Owners Manual, page 427.

    I doubt very much this has changed for 2015 and 2016 model years.

    That said, when you have a very low traction situation, like glare ice, VSA will basically not let the tires spin at all, and it can be difficult or impossible to get moving. Turning off VSA allows the wheels to spin and you can actually get moving in situations where you otherwise wouldn't be able to do so...

    So, lack of TPMS sensors won't lead to a stability/safety issue, but you may get stuck in situations you otherwise might be able to get out of....
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