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 Which Is Better In Snow: Automatic or Manual Transmission
ampn  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 8:29:30 PM EST

It's been hilarity here watching people slide around and crash in the inch and a half of snow.

So, what's better when driving in the snow, automatic transmission or manual?

I vote manual due to better "feel" for the conditions.
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gaspain  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 8:30:27 PM EST
traction control an awd are better in snow
gringopistolero  [Member]
12/19/2008 8:30:35 PM EST
Originally Posted By ampn:
It's been hilarity here watching people slide around and crash in the inch and a half of snow.

So, what's better when driving in the snow, automatic transmission or manual?

I vote manual due to better "feel" for the conditions.


for most idiots, prbably auto.

GO SLOW!!

dumb asses.
PA452  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 8:32:29 PM EST
I prefer manual for better control. But I prefer manual year round anyway.
Barrelburner  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 8:33:32 PM EST
It's easier to break traction when starting with a manual.

But the type of transmission is minor compared to front wheel drive vs rear wheel drive.

And yes, I am talking about unskilled drivers here.
killingmachine123  [Member]
12/19/2008 8:33:46 PM EST
Originally Posted By PA452:
I prefer manual for better control. But I prefer manual year round anyway.

Same here.
Mr45auto  [Member]
12/19/2008 8:34:10 PM EST
Originally Posted By gaspain:
traction control an awd are better in snow



I have a FWD Mercury Milan with traction control and it handles as well as my 4x4 pickup in most cases. The traction control and ABS get it going and stopping where other vehicles are having a hell of a time. I've driven manual transmission cars in the ice/snow and the automatics are a hell of a lot easier to deal with.
Dave_A  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 8:35:04 PM EST
Originally Posted By ampn:
It's been hilarity here watching people slide around and crash in the inch and a half of snow.

So, what's better when driving in the snow, automatic transmission or manual?

I vote manual due to better "feel" for the conditions.


100% Automatic, with traction control....

There's no 'feel' transmitted to you through the transmission.... Manual trans is 2 more controls to have to mess with that take some concentration away from keeping the front end foreward.....

I grew up in WI, all of my cars have been RWD automatics.... RWD because of the car type (Camaro/Firebird) - auto because I do *not* want to fuck around with a manual in snow....
ampn  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 8:35:21 PM EST
Originally Posted By gaspain:
traction control an awd are better in snow



Screw that modern technology! A Jeep with real 4wd and good tires is the best snow vehicle on planet earth.
EDMHUNTER  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 8:35:49 PM EST
Manual, because you can control the tire speed better than an automatic when taking off from a stop.

AWD is really nice to have too.

(Subaru = fun to slide around corners, yet still maintain control )
ToyCop  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 8:35:58 PM EST
I prefer manual for starting form a stop in slippery conditions, but I think stopping is easier with the auto. You really have to get your downshifts good in the snow or you may end up a little sideways. I can go either way.
HoustonHusker  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 8:37:12 PM EST
Originally Posted By PA452:
I prefer manual for better control. But I prefer manual year round anyway.


Living for years in Nebraska and the brutal weather, manual trannies FTW.

HH

v-dawg  [Member]
12/19/2008 8:37:28 PM EST
It depends.

















A smooth shifting auto with the ability to choose a higher gear if neccesary I would say trumps a manual. The key is smooth. Once traction is lost, it is lost. If you are using a manual avoid first gear, especially in a vehicle with a really low first.
ChuckBronson  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 8:37:34 PM EST
Im going to vote manual

You can use engine braking for hills.

Also, you can keep engine speed low in a higher gear to help traction.


With that being said, Ive never driven a car with traction control....



Edit for clarity...
notarpole  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 8:38:12 PM EST
I'm a manual guy. Playing with the clutch can help you out in a big way when trying to take off and retain traction.
MillerSHO  [Member]
12/19/2008 8:38:45 PM EST
Manual for sure.

--bullseye--  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 8:39:09 PM EST
I've got an old 1998 Oldsmobile with an automatic transmission and traction control (oohh, fancy! ).


The traction control really does a heck of a lot to keep you from spinning your tires. It actually works.


I have to turn it off if I want to have fun...
Tim_the_enchanter  [Member]
12/19/2008 8:39:51 PM EST
I'm secure enough with my manhood to let my transmission shift for me.
thelastgunslinger  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 8:40:07 PM EST
Doesn't matter. The key is to turn all four wheels.
ChuckBronson  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 8:40:17 PM EST
Originally Posted By ––bullseye––:
I've got an old 1998 Oldsmobile with an automatic transmission and traction control (oohh, fancy!).


The traction control really does a heck of a lot to keep you from spinning your tires. It actually works.


I have to turn it off if I want to have fun...


Fun in a 98 Olds? It must be reverse gear in an empty parking lot!
GunnyG  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 8:41:00 PM EST
Originally Posted By killingmachine123:
Originally Posted By PA452:
I prefer manual for better control. But I prefer manual year round anyway.

Same here.


+2... If your rear end starts to slip, you can push in the clutch and quickly recover by coasting out.
--bullseye--  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 8:46:12 PM EST
Originally Posted By ChuckBronson:
Originally Posted By ––bullseye––:
I've got an old 1998 Oldsmobile with an automatic transmission and traction control (oohh, fancy! ).


The traction control really does a heck of a lot to keep you from spinning your tires. It actually works.


I have to turn it off if I want to have fun...


Fun in a 98 Olds? It must be reverse gear in an empty parking lot!
Hells yeah!

That thing is a boat. I'll take the 3800 V6 under the hood over a 4-banger any day though.

thelastgunslinger  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 8:47:39 PM EST
Originally Posted By GunnyG:
Originally Posted By killingmachine123:
Originally Posted By PA452:
I prefer manual for better control. But I prefer manual year round anyway.

Same here.


+2... If your rear end starts to slip, you can push in the clutch and quickly recover by coasting out.


taking your foot off the gas accomplishes the same thing in an auto.

*I drive a manual, for the record*
--bullseye--  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 8:48:21 PM EST
Originally Posted By GunnyG:
Originally Posted By killingmachine123:
Originally Posted By PA452:
I prefer manual for better control. But I prefer manual year round anyway.

Same here.


+2... If your rear end starts to slip, you can push in the clutch and quickly recover by coasting out.

The argument could be made that letting off the gas and steering into the skid will allow an auto-tran. vehicle to recover nearly as well though.
Bob243  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 8:49:37 PM EST
Manual, makes it alot easier to go driftin'
SNorman  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 8:50:11 PM EST
Originally Posted By ChuckBronson:
Im going to vote manual

You can use engine braking for hills.

Also, you can keep engine speed low in a higher gear to help traction.


With that being said, Ive never driven a car with traction control....



Edit for clarity...


who says you can't use engine braking on an auto?
LOW2000  [Member]
12/19/2008 8:50:50 PM EST
The stall speed of the converter can be a bitch on some autos to get going in snow/ice.
Daytona955i  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 8:51:01 PM EST
Manual & AWD. I can slow without hitting the brakes, and control how fast my tires will turn. If it skids a little I can jut step on the clutch and then steer out of it, hell I can just shift into a higher gear and anything fun I am trying to do will practically correct itself as long as you point the car in the right direction.

I drive manual all the time so I don't even take my attention off driving to do anything, its all second nature.

In snow, I want 100% control of everything in my car.
Subnet  [Life Member]
12/19/2008 8:52:20 PM EST
Manual *AND* rear wheel drive, if you know how to drive.

Especially RWD. Throttle steering FTMFW.
SNorman  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 8:52:29 PM EST
Originally Posted By ––bullseye––:
Originally Posted By GunnyG:
Originally Posted By killingmachine123:
Originally Posted By PA452:
I prefer manual for better control. But I prefer manual year round anyway.

Same here.


+2... If your rear end starts to slip, you can push in the clutch and quickly recover by coasting out.

The argument could be made that letting off the gas and steering into the skid will allow an auto-tran. vehicle to recover nearly as well though.


Actually I would say the auto is slightly better because since the engine is still engaged the tires will keep spinning, especially if you just locked them up without ABS and let off the brake. But I'm not 100% convinced one way or the other. Auto, AWD with traction control trumps everything though.

FWIW I spent 10 years driving in Montana. And currently my front yard looks like this:



Daytona955i  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 8:53:01 PM EST
Originally Posted By ––bullseye––:
Originally Posted By GunnyG:
Originally Posted By killingmachine123:
Originally Posted By PA452:
I prefer manual for better control. But I prefer manual year round anyway.

Same here.


+2... If your rear end starts to slip, you can push in the clutch and quickly recover by coasting out.

The argument could be made that letting off the gas and steering into the skid will allow an auto-tran. vehicle to recover nearly as well though.


Very true, but in my experience it takes longer in an auto. The RPMs die faster when I press the clutch in then when I just left off the gas.

Subnet  [Life Member]
12/19/2008 8:54:05 PM EST
Incidentally, this is all pretty much moot with a set of Blizzaks.

Turns my Mustang into a God damn snow plow.
ccherry  [Member]
12/19/2008 8:55:46 PM EST
If you know how to drive, they are both good.
BigDozer66  [Life Member]
12/19/2008 8:57:06 PM EST
Originally Posted By SNorman:
Originally Posted By ChuckBronson:
Im going to vote manual

You can use engine braking for hills.

Also, you can keep engine speed low in a higher gear to help traction.


With that being said, Ive never driven a car with traction control....



Edit for clarity...


who says you can't use engine braking on an auto?


I use the engine braking in my autos any time I need to.

I can also keep it in a higher gear to help traction if I need to.

It is amazing what a person can learn if they actually read the owners manual.

BigDozer66
happycynic  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 8:58:15 PM EST
Originally Posted By HoustonHusker:
Originally Posted By PA452:
I prefer manual for better control. But I prefer manual year round anyway.


Living for years in Nebraska and the brutal weather, manual trannies FTW.

HH



Living for years in Nebraska and the brutal weather, automatic trannies FTW. No matter how good you are with an automatic, if you are stopped on an uphill slope you WILL roll backwards a bit, which can turn into a lot. The little pull forwards on an auto when you release the break is much better. Plus, you can downshift an auto into 1st or 2nd, so no real advantage to the manual.
thelastgunslinger  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 8:58:46 PM EST
Originally Posted By Subnet:
Manual *AND* rear wheel drive, if you know how to drive.

Especially RWD. Throttle steering FTMFW.


RWD is most certainly the most fun, in both snow and dry pavement, but it is not the best drive system.

FWD will go places that a RWD car can't go in the snow, regardless of what rubber you have on the car, and AWD or 4WD will go places FWD can't go.
kap_x  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 8:59:37 PM EST
Manual. No question. Way better control over the vehicle, easier to start from 2nd gear to avoid spinning tires, and like you said a better "feel."

Men drive stick
ChuckBronson  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 9:00:03 PM EST
Originally Posted By BigDozer66:
Originally Posted By SNorman:
Originally Posted By ChuckBronson:
Im going to vote manual

You can use engine braking for hills.

Also, you can keep engine speed low in a higher gear to help traction.


With that being said, Ive never driven a car with traction control....



Edit for clarity...


who says you can't use engine braking on an auto?


I use the engine braking in my autos any time I need to.

I can also keep it in a higher gear to help traction if I need to.

It is amazing what a person can learn if they actually read the owners manual.

BigDozer66


I never said you couldnt, but using the clutch to regulate engine braking is very effective.

Furthermore, some auto cars, like the one I drive, do not allow the driver to utilize a second gear start.
anekrel  [Member]
12/19/2008 9:00:35 PM EST
Originally Posted By ChuckBronson:
Im going to vote manual

You can use engine braking for hills.

Also, you can keep engine speed low in a higher gear to help traction.



With that being said, Ive never driven a car with traction control....



Edit for clarity...

This.

I would love to be able to have 2nd gear available for shifting into.

I have an automatic now. I drive just fine with it on any terrain in the ice and snow. However, if I want to use the engine/transmission to slow the car down all I have is L. I can't imagine what powershifting into L is doing to my transmission.

ETA: I have a front wheel drive car with studded snowtires as my traction control. And yes, it is possible to powerslide on ice with studded snowtires. Found that out my first winter after getting my license
Subnet  [Life Member]
12/19/2008 9:00:58 PM EST
Originally Posted By thelastgunslinger:
Originally Posted By Subnet:
Manual *AND* rear wheel drive, if you know how to drive.

Especially RWD. Throttle steering FTMFW.


RWD is most certainly the most fun, in both snow and dry pavement, but it is not the best drive system.

FWD will go places that a RWD car can't go in the snow, regardless of what rubber you have on the car, and AWD or 4WD will go places FWD can't go.
I've passed AWD Audi's that were sliding around, in a Mustang GT glued to the road.

Blizzaks are freaking amazing.

thelastgunslinger  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 9:03:11 PM EST
Originally Posted By Subnet:
Originally Posted By thelastgunslinger:
Originally Posted By Subnet:
Manual *AND* rear wheel drive, if you know how to drive.

Especially RWD. Throttle steering FTMFW.


RWD is most certainly the most fun, in both snow and dry pavement, but it is not the best drive system.

FWD will go places that a RWD car can't go in the snow, regardless of what rubber you have on the car, and AWD or 4WD will go places FWD can't go.
I've passed AWD Audi's that were sliding around, in a Mustang GT glued to the road.

Blizzaks are freaking amazing.




No doubt, rubber makes a huge difference. But all things being equal AWD or 4WD wins ever time. Put the Blizzaks on the Audi, and will go places that the Mustang couldn't even think about.
Towely  [Member]
12/19/2008 9:04:06 PM EST
Automatic with TC and ABS. Anyone that says otherwise is full of you know what.

That said if you know how to drive, manual is definitely more fun. Also, if you know how to drive it's not an issue either way. Aside from getting stuck in the snow you should never have any other problems if you don't drive like a dumbass.
thelastgunslinger  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 9:05:43 PM EST
Originally Posted By Towely:
Automatic with TC and ABS. Anyone that says otherwise is full of you know what.

That said if you know how to drive, manual is definitely more fun.


TC and ABS mean shit if your tires don't grip. 4WD with locked diffs and chains is the true answer is you REALLY need to go somewhere in 4 feet of snow.
LOW2000  [Member]
12/19/2008 9:06:55 PM EST
Originally Posted By happycynic:
Originally Posted By HoustonHusker:
Originally Posted By PA452:
I prefer manual for better control. But I prefer manual year round anyway.


Living for years in Nebraska and the brutal weather, manual trannies FTW.

HH



Living for years in Nebraska and the brutal weather, automatic trannies FTW. No matter how good you are with an automatic, if you are stopped on an uphill slope you WILL roll backwards a bit, which can turn into a lot. The little pull forwards on an auto when you release the break is much better. Plus, you can downshift an auto into 1st or 2nd, so no real advantage to the manual.


Never used the handbrake on a hill?
Wirebrush  [Member]
12/19/2008 9:07:01 PM EST
Originally Posted By Barrelburner:
It's easier to break traction when starting with a manual.

But the type of transmission is minor compared to front wheel drive vs rear wheel drive.

And yes, I am talking about unskilled drivers here.



It varies from vehicle to vehicle. My old Grand National was horrible in the snow. The torque converter wouldn't allow any power to the wheels until about 2000 RPM, then instant wheel spin. I was all I could do to get it into the garage without wrecking it.
You can feather the clutch at any RPM with a manual. The Subaru Brat 4 speed I have now has more traction than power even in the worst conditions. With 4wd, studded snow tires, and 73 horse power it's nearly impossible to break traction.
Towely  [Member]
12/19/2008 9:07:29 PM EST
Originally Posted By thelastgunslinger:
Originally Posted By Towely:
Automatic with TC and ABS. Anyone that says otherwise is full of you know what.

That said if you know how to drive, manual is definitely more fun.


TC and ABS mean shit if your tires don't grip. 4WD with locked diffs and chains is the true answer is you REALLY need to go somewhere in 4 feet of snow.


They didn't say anything about 4WD vs. FWD vs. RWD or what kind of tire.

Truth be told though, with the proper tires you shouldn't have any trouble no matter what kind of car you have unless you are pushing through some serious snow.
Subnet  [Life Member]
12/19/2008 9:08:13 PM EST
Originally Posted By thelastgunslinger:
No doubt, rubber makes a huge difference. But all things being equal AWD or 4WD wins ever time. Put the Blizzaks on the Audi, and will go places that the Mustang couldn't even think about.

I will defer to your Colorado experience.

I'm telling you though, around here, it doesn't make a damn bit of difference. The ONLY time I'm in trouble, is if the snow is up to the rocker panels. And when that happens, all I really need is more clearance.

The only time I put my Jeep in 4WD is when I feel like playing around in a field. Otherwise, it stays in 2WD at all times. And they don't salt the roads in my county, except on state routes. Lotsa snow, and lotsa ice.
Daytona955i  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 9:08:51 PM EST
Originally Posted By happycynic:
Originally Posted By HoustonHusker:
Originally Posted By PA452:
I prefer manual for better control. But I prefer manual year round anyway.


Living for years in Nebraska and the brutal weather, manual trannies FTW.

HH



Living for years in Nebraska and the brutal weather, automatic trannies FTW. No matter how good you are with an automatic, if you are stopped on an uphill slope you WILL roll backwards a bit, which can turn into a lot. The little pull forwards on an auto when you release the break is much better. Plus, you can downshift an auto into 1st or 2nd, so no real advantage to the manual.


Only if you don't know how to heel/toe or do a parking brake hill stop...
thelastgunslinger  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 9:09:38 PM EST
Originally Posted By Towely:
Originally Posted By thelastgunslinger:
Originally Posted By Towely:
Automatic with TC and ABS. Anyone that says otherwise is full of you know what.

That said if you know how to drive, manual is definitely more fun.


TC and ABS mean shit if your tires don't grip. 4WD with locked diffs and chains is the true answer is you REALLY need to go somewhere in 4 feet of snow.


They didn't say anything about 4WD vs. FWD vs. RWD or what kind of tire.

Truth be told though, with the proper tires you shouldn't have any trouble no matter what kind of car you have unless you are pushing through some serious snow.


I had good snow tires on my BMW. I woudl get stuck due to low clearance more than anything else.

Now that I have the Cherokee, it matters not.
thelastgunslinger  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 9:11:59 PM EST
Originally Posted By Subnet:
Originally Posted By thelastgunslinger:
No doubt, rubber makes a huge difference. But all things being equal AWD or 4WD wins ever time. Put the Blizzaks on the Audi, and will go places that the Mustang couldn't even think about.

I will defer to your Colorado experience.

I'm telling you though, around here, it doesn't make a damn bit of difference. The ONLY time I'm in trouble, is if the snow is up to the rocker panels. And when that happens, all I really need is more clearance.

The only time I put my Jeep in 4WD is when I feel like playing around in a field. Otherwise, it stays in 2WD at all times. And they don't salt the roads in my county, except on state routes. Lotsa snow, and lotsa ice.



Hills are the difference in our experience, I think.

I have seen my cousins's (KUpolo as it happens) Audi go up a steep mountain road with snow over the hood. I was amazed, and no RWD would have even come close to making it.
Dave_A  [Team Member]
12/19/2008 9:12:07 PM EST
Originally Posted By anekrel:
Originally Posted By ChuckBronson:
Im going to vote manual

You can use engine braking for hills.

Also, you can keep engine speed low in a higher gear to help traction.



With that being said, Ive never driven a car with traction control....



Edit for clarity...

This.

I would love to be able to have 2nd gear available for shifting into.

I have an automatic now. I drive just fine with it on any terrain in the ice and snow. However, if I want to use the engine/transmission to slow the car down all I have is L. I can't imagine what powershifting into L is doing to my transmission.

ETA: I have a front wheel drive car with studded snowtires as my traction control. And yes, it is possible to powerslide on ice with studded snowtires. Found that out my first winter after getting my license


Most Autos (these days, anyhow) are P-R-N-O-D-2-1....

So you have 1st and 2nd available if you need them....
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