Subaru Ascent Forum banner
1 - 20 of 38 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I Have a 2020 ascent limited with factory tires. Driving from Los Angeles to Mammoth lakes tomorrow. It is supposed to be snowing and it has dumped the past week. I have never driven in snow and would appreciate any tips. I bought chains already just in case.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,463 Posts
Take it slow even after you feel comfortable. Subaru AWD is awesome but nothing will help you if you end up on ice going too fast.
Make sure your washer fluid is full so you can keep your windshield clean.
I am sure someone more knowledgeable about chains than I am will chime in soon on that subject.
 

·
Super Moderator
2019 Ascent Touring (CWP)
Joined
·
3,907 Posts
In addition to the sage advice already given...be aware that you cannot use actual "chains" on the Ascent. there are some threads in the Wheels/Tires/Brakes/Suspension sub-forum that discuss cables and other types of traction devices that can be used with the Ascent. It will be rare that you actually need to physically installed them, but you do need to have something on-board to be compliant when you are driving in certain areas under certain winter conditions.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Andy1

·
Registered
Joined
·
134 Posts
Writing from Michigan here. With AWD remember you have the most traction when gently accelerating. Follow the old cliche about imagining an egg between your foot and the brake or gas pedal. Make no sudden steering moves. Gentle and slow is the way to go. It rhymes. If you have to go through a drift, you don't need a head of steam. Approach slowly and then gently accelerate so all 4 wheels can pull you through. If you have sheer ice, though, be as neutral as you can -- don't lift off the gas, don't accelerate, just make no changes to speed or direction if it's a small-ish patch. If it's a long stretch of sheer ice, though, just go as slow as you can and be super gentle. Dang, trying to distill 35 years of winter driving experience into one forum reply is freakin' hard.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Take it slow even after you feel comfortable. Subaru AWD is awesome but nothing will help you if you end up on ice going too fast.
Make sure your washer fluid is full so you can keep your windshield clean.
I am sure someone more knowledgeable about chains than I am will chime in soon on that subject.
Didn’t think about the washer fluid! Will top it off
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
In addition to the sage advice already given...be aware that you cannot use actual "chains" on the Ascent. there are some threads in the Wheels/Tires/Brakes/Suspension sub-forum that discuss cables and other types of traction devices that can be used with the Ascent. It will be rare that you actually need to physically installed them, but you do need to have something on-board to be compliant when you are driving in certain areas under certain winter conditions.
yes I bought these cable chains.
Security Chain Company SZ435 Super Z6 Cable Tire Chain for Passenger Cars, Pickups, and SUVs - Set of 2 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000HZDFV...abc_3PXWYBTSP34YSMTR46VV?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Writing from Michigan here. With AWD remember you have the most traction when gently accelerating. Follow the old cliche about imagining an egg between your foot and the brake or gas pedal. Make no sudden steering moves. Gentle and slow is the way to go. It rhymes. If you have to go through a drift, you don't need a head of steam. Approach slowly and then gently accelerate so all 4 wheels can pull you through. If you have sheer ice, though, be as neutral as you can -- don't lift off the gas, don't accelerate, just make no changes to speed or direction if it's a small-ish patch. If it's a long stretch of sheer ice, though, just go as slow as you can and be super gentle. Dang, trying to distill 35 years of winter driving experience into one forum reply is freakin' hard.
🙏👍
 

·
Registered
2019 Ascent Limited
Joined
·
803 Posts
Didn’t think about the washer fluid! Will top it off
Make sure you use washer fluid that is rated for winter temps. I know some washer fluid out West isn't winter rated.

I once had a solid block of blue ice in my washer tank when I got home to MI after an oil change in AZ.

Have fun in the snow!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
As to the washer fluid, California restricts the sale of pre-mixed washer fluid with antifreeze in it (i.e., the good stuff) to alpine areas. You can, however, purchase concentrate in non-alpine areas. O'Reilly's for example, had a 20/10 "Winter Boost" formula on the shelves that you can add to your existing fluid to get freeze protection for your trip to Mammoth.

FWIW, our stock 20's performed quite well in Big Bear even in several inches of fresh snow. Take it easy. Begin stopping much sooner than normal to gauge whether you're on good snow pack or potential ice. I turned on X-Mode a couple of times just to be safe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,728 Posts
I Have a 2020 ascent limited with factory tires. Driving from Los Angeles to Mammoth lakes tomorrow. It is supposed to be snowing and it has dumped the past week. I have never driven in snow and would appreciate any tips. I bought chains already just in case.
You can NOT use chains on the Subaru. AWD alone or use a pair of tire socks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
134 Posts
Make sure you use washer fluid that is rated for winter temps. I know some washer fluid out West isn't winter rated.

I once had a solid block of blue ice in my washer tank when I got home to MI after an oil change in AZ.

Have fun in the snow!
Oh, absolutely. When we moved from Florida back to Michigan, we drove my car up just before Thanksgiving and it sat until mid-December. The reservoir was a block of ice. And since it wasn't about to get warmer for another three months, I slowly added antifreeze washer fluid and chipped at the ice to mix them. It took at least three weeks, if I remember right, but eventually all of my washer fluid returned to liquid and my washer pump started working again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
You can NOT use chains on the Subaru. AWD alone or use a pair of tire socks.
While traditional chains are out, the manual does suggest that other traction devices may be used. This is what the manual says:
Tire chains cannot be used on your vehicle because of the lack of clearance between the tires and vehicle body.

NOTE When tire chains cannot be used, use of another type of traction device (such as spring chains) may be acceptable if use on your vehicle is recommended by the device manufacturer, taking into account tire size and road conditions. Follow the device manufacturer’s instructions, especially regarding maximum vehicle speed.
To help avoid damage to your vehicle, drive slowly, readjust or remove the device if it is contacting your vehicle, and do not spin your wheels. Damage caused to your vehicle by use of a traction device is not covered under warranty.

Make certain that any traction device you use is an SAE class S device, and use it on the front wheels only. Always use the utmost care when driving with a traction device. Overconfidence because you are using a traction device could easily lead to a serious accident.
Page 387: https://cdn.subarunet.com/stis/doc/ownerManual/MSA5M2000C_STIS-opt.pdf

California law requires motorists to carry (and use) traction devices in certain conditions. The Super Z6's are listed by that manufacturer as compatible with the Ascent (and meet the SAE class S requirement), and have been recommended by others on the forum.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
X mode is very good on snow I've found. Haven't used it at high speed, but it makes a noticable difference on unplowed city streets and our icy laneway. The Ascent is already a big improvement over my parents' Mazda CX5, but the Ascent with X-mode on is even better.
 

·
Registered
2020 Ascent
Joined
·
195 Posts
Slow down well in advance, intersections can be the sickest if it’s cold enough. If you start sliding a bit on a turn don’t hammer on the brakes. Back off the gas and the awd should pull you through, if you need to brake, do it gradually.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
777 Posts
I'd be more concerted about stopping and turning. I'd keep extra washer fluid in the car with you, along with a shovel and a flashlight, And a scraper that is long enough to reach across the windshield. I am assuming you have snacks and appropriate clothing ( In case something happens or traffic comes to a stop) if you're going skiing.

Also if it gets very bad, keep it in x mode for ascents and descents. One time I got caught in an ice/snow storm without my Winter tires on, I was able to go up-and-down a steep hill slowly in x mode. As far as I could tell, I was the only car who made it, there were cars everywhere on both sides of the road, on the ascent and descent, against the guardrails, and stuck in the lanes themselves. At one point I was going slow enough up the hill in x mode that somebody was tailgating me, we hit a slick spot and it appeared he became intimate with the guardrail, and I did slip a bit, but the consistency of momentum in x mode carried me through. So use it if you need to and don't worry if you're going slower than other people want you to go.
 

·
Registered
21 Ascent Premium, 18 Outback Ltd 2.5
Joined
·
418 Posts
On top of all the rest of the advice here, don't panic if the car does something unexpected. Once you're moving the momentum will want to keep your car going in the same direction. Braking a turning use a lot of traction that's often not there. Jamming the brakes and turning the wheel quickly will just keep you plowing straight ahead, robbing you of any control you might have from gentle inputs.

If you get squirrely the best thing to do is try to ride it out and keep the car going straight, provided there's no obstacle in front of you. As long as the conditions are not treacherous, it's really not that tough once you get the feel for it. Just respect the snow!
 

·
Registered
21 Ascent Premium, 18 Outback Ltd 2.5
Joined
·
418 Posts
One other thing, if you see an empty parking lot you can go mess around in, that can really help you get the feel for what it's like when pushing the limits (it wont take much). Just stay far far away from light poles, and be sure there's nothing lurking in the snow (like those modular curb pieces).

I think I learned the most about snow driving from doing donuts in the parking lot in my 1985 Camaro.
 

·
Registered
2021 Ascent Limited Black/Black
Joined
·
379 Posts
So much good advice from everyone that I don't have much to add. But definitely like the advice above regarding a parking lot if possible. I spent 9 years up in Alaska, so I'm plenty used to driving in snow now, but I grew up in Texas so my first winter up in Alaska I was terrified to drive the first time it snowed. I went to an empty parking lot, though, and got a halfway decent feel for it after a bit, which helped enormously.
And a big huge echo for especially being careful about stopping, especially when going downhill. I remember times when I was crawling along in single digits approaching an icy intersection and having the car just slide and slide and slide along for way longer than I expected, so I got used to pretending I needed to stop well before I needed to, just factoring in any possible slippage.
Anyway, hope it's a super fun trip!
 
1 - 20 of 38 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top