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I am getting ready to bring my 2011 EX home in Chicago. Wondering if someone could share their experience driving the van in winter conditions. Never drove a FWD van in the snowy Chicago roads before. Please share your experience please!
 

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Good luck getting back with all the snow that Chicago is getting... Did it come with an optional snowmobile package?
 

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  • Get a winter set of tires ASAP. OEM tires are OK to survive sporadic storms, but not Chicago's winters.
  • Accelerate very slowly, specially when going uphill
  • Avoid high profile snow piles, the Odyssey is low
  • Double/triple your braking distance, the one you usually need to brake when on a dry surface
  • Use "L" to brake with the engine when possible
  • Carry a shovel
  • Oh, and get your set of winter tries ASAP (Did I mention that already?)
 

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Unless you are driving the backroads of Illinois and Wisconsin I doubt you will need snow tires here.

We use tons of salt and except for the first couple of snow storms, you will be driving on water, not ice or snow. I have an '08 and follow the instruction in the owners manual if the roads are snow covered. If it's slippery, I start out in 2, I assume that would be L on the 11. The VSC, traction control, and ABS are great on the Odyssey. I feel it tracks well and I feel in control. Definitely not like driving a Ford Econoline Van.
 

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FWD helps a lot with snowy weather. Traction control will help also. Just don't floor it.

The Odyssey is low, so try to stay on plowed areas.

For any car, keep a longer distance to the car in front of you when conditions are wet or slippery. ABS helps.

Like previously said, if you are sticking to normally plowed and treated streets, you probably don't need snow tires. If you can afford them, then by all means, it will help.
 

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Unless you live in a rural area farther away from Chicago, you don't need snow tires. Unless you have money to spend and do a TON of driving... otherwise don't bother. Roads get plowed enough around here that it doesn't matter.

We have a 2006 and a 2011, both are fine in the snow. I came from an AWD Subaru WRX STi.... and I was very scared losing my AWD, but I've never really had any problems. The STi was a lot more fun in the winter ;) but the Ody does a great job.

The ONLY time I got stuck was at a dog show, on someone's farm, in January... the driveway was uphill, unplowed 6" of snow over grass, and I was on my original tires on the '06, with approx 75k miles on them. Even then, it was fairly easy to get un-stuck.
 

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had a scary exp today .. live in jersey city , nj and park my car at a multi level garage .. 3 levels a closed and the 4 th is open .. ..all the floors filled up and i had to go the 4th level .. while climbing up the ramp .. my tires started spinning .. the ramp was completely iced .. then the vehicle slowly started sliding back .. luckily no one was behind .. stopped after sliding couple of yards .. i reversed out and exited the garage and went back after waiting outside for a few mins when someone exited....beware of ice on ramps

i own a 2011 ex-l polished metal metallic - 300 miles on it... any tips to handle situations like this ?
 

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had a scary exp today .. live in jersey city , nj and park my car at a multi level garage .. 3 levels a closed and the 4 th is open .. ..all the floors filled up and i had to go the 4th level .. while climbing up the ramp .. my tires started spinning .. the ramp was completely iced .. then the vehicle slowly started sliding back .. luckily no one was behind .. stopped after sliding couple of yards .. i reversed out and exited the garage and went back after waiting outside for a few mins when someone exited....beware of ice on ramps

i own a 2011 ex-l polished metal metallic - 300 miles on it... any tips to handle situations like this ?
It sounds like you did a great job. Outside of studded tires (which are illegal in Illinois and probably in Jersey) or chains, there isn't much you can do on ice.
 

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I have found the stock set up on the 11 to be suspect at best. I researched the original tires at Tirerack and they seem to get good reviews but I lose traction in snow a little easier than I would like. It is likely the extra width of the tires versus my previous Dodge van that is causing more slippage.

I am considering snow tires and if I can find a decent set of wheels (preferably stock) I will go that route.

If you take it easy in snowy conditions it is manageable but there are better options.
 

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I have found the stock set up on the 11 to be suspect at best. I researched the original tires at Tirerack and they seem to get good reviews but I lose traction in snow a little easier than I would like. It is likely the extra width of the tires versus my previous Dodge van that is causing more slippage.

I am considering snow tires and if I can find a decent set of wheels (preferably stock) I will go that route.

If you take it easy in snowy conditions it is manageable but there are better options.
I wouldn't bother with snow/ice tires..in my opinion. Here in the New York and New Jersey area they are usually pretty good with the roads. There are tradeoffs with the snow tires that most people don't mention, usually they (not all) are only good up to 50% of their tread life at which point they act like all seasons. The snow/ice tires do not handle as well as all seasons on regular pavement. You then have to buy new TPMS sensors and then pay your dealer to program them, then pay the dealer again to program your old wheel TPMS when you switch them again. You won't be driving on snow covered roads all the time. If it doesn't snow they are a waste. It's a lot of expense and hassle. In my opinion.
 

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  • Get a winter set of tires ASAP. OEM tires are OK to survive sporadic storms, but not Chicago's winters.
  • Accelerate very slowly, specially when going uphill
  • Avoid high profile snow piles, the Odyssey is low
  • Double/triple your braking distance, the one you usually need to brake when on a dry surface
  • Use "L" to brake with the engine when possible
  • Carry a shovel
  • Oh, and get your set of winter tries ASAP (Did I mention that already?)
Using L to brake with the engine can actually cause you to go out of control if you don't do it at the proper speed range/rpm range, esp on a snow or icy road. It's best to leave it in D and use your brakes. Everytime you use L you are putting wear on the transmission, I'd rather have it on my brake pads, they are cheaper to replace.
 

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Using L to brake with the engine can actually cause you to go out of control if you don't do it at the proper speed range/rpm range, esp on a snow or icy road.
That is why I said "when possible". I'm yet to replace an auto or manual transmission for doing that, and my cars have stopped more effectively than by using brakes (even with the best ABS on the market). Now, if you don't have those basic driving skills and don't have a feeling for the engine vs revs, yes use the brakes at all times, I agree
 

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That's not really true. In cold weather, winter tires provide a lot more traction, even on bare pavement.
I agree. I think your neighbors up north know what they're talking about when it comes to snow:D
Yup, it is all about the compounds used for each


A common misconception is that you don't need a winter tire if there is no actual snow. That is not true. Winter tires have been created to perfectly suit the cold temperatures in winter, even if these temperatures aren't associated with snow. According to existing research, as soon as the temperature drops below 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit), a winter tire performs much better than an all-season one. The lower the temperature, the better the winter tire performs. The exact opposite happens with all-season tires.


Autoevolution
 

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I wouldn't bother with snow/ice tires..in my opinion. Here in the New York and New Jersey area they are usually pretty good with the roads. There are tradeoffs with the snow tires that most people don't mention, usually they (not all) are only good up to 50% of their tread life at which point they act like all seasons. The snow/ice tires do not handle as well as all seasons on regular pavement. You then have to buy new TPMS sensors and then pay your dealer to program them, then pay the dealer again to program your old wheel TPMS when you switch them again. You won't be driving on snow covered roads all the time. If it doesn't snow they are a waste. It's a lot of expense and hassle. In my opinion.
Oh.... where to begin.....

Some of the others have already responded but here is my take. I value traction more than anything else. One thing I never, ever skimp on is tires. No matter how good your brakes are or how well your vehicle handles it will be meaningless if the tires are not up to it. They can have all the safety features on the vehicle they want but my plan is to never have to use them.

In Wisconsin our winter season is typically about 4 to 5 months long. I prefer not to gamble for 40% of the year with marginal traction. All you have to do is watch a few videos on youtube comparing all-season to snow tires to see how much quicker snow tires will stop in snowy or icy conditions.

When using snow tires that means I am not using the all-seasons. As a result they last much longer. Think of it this way, when you are buying your second set of tires I will still be using the original set. The only difference is I am buying the second set a little earlier than you are.

The true cost is the extra set of rims. Typically take offs can be had for $400 to $600 a set.

If snow tires save me one accident during the life of the vehicle it has not cost me anything. If history repeats itself and I do not get in any accidents than I will consider it money well spent.

I may elect not to use the TPMS if they need to be programmed at every change. I check my tire pressure all the time and even though it is a nice feature to have it is not a necessity.
 

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^^^^ I read a little about the connection between TPMS and VSA. I think you have this backwards. When TPMS indicates a problem, VSA is ON. It seems to be a safety feature. VSA is activated when TPMS indicates a problem to help the driver keep control with a supposed flat tire. However, I can't say for sure whether a failing TPMS system is the same as a problem that a working TPMS system is indicating.
 

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Here we go, page 570 of the Owner's Manual:

If the low tire pressure indicator or TPMS indicator comes on, the VSA system automatically turns on even if the VSA system is turned off by pressing the VSA OFF switch (see page 571). If this happens, you cannot turn the VSA system off by pressing the VSA OFF switch again.

This also shows that even if the TPMS indicator comes on (the TPMS system has a problem), then VSA turns on.
 

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After several winters with stock tires, I placed a set of winter tires and experienced significantly improved performance in snow immediately. The jury is still out in regards to ice, but until I get AWD, that is my only solution for living in the Snow Belt. It is an investment, but it was done in the interest of safety.
 
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