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Old 11-01-2015, 05:06 PM   #1
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Towing in the snow with AWD?

We are heading for Yosemite in a week, just as the first snow of the year is blowing in. They said to be prepared for chain advisories on some roads. We tow the Caravel with an AWD Ford Flex, with an equalizer hitch and friction sway control. What should we know about towing in snow?
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Old 11-01-2015, 06:33 PM   #2
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Personal opinion - if you don't already know how to drive in the snow and ice, towing a trailer is not a good idea.
But maybe I'm an opinionated retired Colorado native that has seen too many vehicles off the road by accident.
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Old 11-01-2015, 06:38 PM   #3
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We are heading for Yosemite in a week, just as the first snow of the year is blowing in. They said to be prepared for chain advisories on some roads. We tow the Caravel with an AWD Ford Flex, with an equalizer hitch and friction sway control. What should we know about towing in snow?
In a word: don't.

Adjust your plans to a no-snow area and be safe.
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Old 11-01-2015, 06:40 PM   #4
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Read the manual on the tow bar some do not recommend using anti sway in rain I would guess the same goes for snow.
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Old 11-01-2015, 07:25 PM   #5
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We tow the Caravel with an AWD Ford Flex, with an equalizer hitch and friction sway control. What should we know about towing in snow?
All wheel drive will do you little good if you have no traction because your tires are not suitable for the temperature or road conditions. If you want to make the trip, get snow (winter) tires on a spare set of rims for your Flex or get chains for all four wheels and learn how to use them. So-called "all season" tires are NOT adequate when there is actual snow accumulation on the roads.

In Alberta it's still legal to use studded tires and if I was trailering in the winter that's what I would do; in some provinces in Canada it's now mandatory to have winter tires on your car in the winter. Some might balk at the $800-$1200 that it costs, but any accident you have due to inadequate tire performance is going to be far more expensive than that.
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Old 11-01-2015, 07:35 PM   #6
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One second you're driving... and the next your truck & your Airstream have parted company and both are totalled - It'll take six months to completely finish the insurance paperwork and pay the last of the bills that you thought you health insurance should have covered.

That happened to me on a clear summer day.

Wouldn't wish an accident on anyone, but towing in snow is an invitation to lose traction and even if only one wheel starts to slide, the whole combination can go flying any which way in a fraction of a second. If it starts to snow, get to a safe place at 20 mph with flashers going, then wait for the weather to clear before proceeding.

Seriously avoid the snow! A few square feet of black ice lurking in a shady spot and you're slip sliding away.

Paula
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Old 11-01-2015, 07:38 PM   #7
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By asking the question, you have already given the answer in my opinion:

Don't

If you are not experienced driving your rig in the snow, heading into Yosemite at this time of year seems like a bit crazy IMO.
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Old 11-01-2015, 07:47 PM   #8
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I'm spent my life before retirement in BUFFALO, NY snow capital of the US. AWD is glorified traction control, period, four wheel drive locks the wheels, period. Towing in snow or ice knowing before hand that's what you're going into is a new kind of stupid!
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Old 11-01-2015, 07:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Stefrobrts View Post
We are heading for Yosemite in a week, just as the first snow of the year is blowing in. They said to be prepared for chain advisories on some roads. We tow the Caravel with an AWD Ford Flex, with an equalizer hitch and friction sway control. What should we know about towing in snow?
If there's snow on the ground, stay put or find a different route!
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Old 11-01-2015, 07:56 PM   #10
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Don't do it , the ditches are full of inexperienced drivers without a trailer, you might some money,stay home..
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Old 11-01-2015, 08:29 PM   #11
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AWD or 4-wheel drive does not stop any faster than 2-WD. As they say up here, 4WD just gets you stuck 50 feet further without the proper tires.

I would not pull my trailer on snow and ice.
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Old 11-01-2015, 08:47 PM   #12
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I have mucho experience driving in snow. I would never knowingly tow an Airstream into the likely conditions you have described for all the reasons described above. And I have a true 4x4 with M&S tires. There you have it. Hope this helps.
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Old 11-01-2015, 08:57 PM   #13
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My only question is whether you have chains for all 4 wheels of the tow vehicle plus chains for one axle of the trailer? It is not only your tow vehicle but also one of the trailer that needs to be considered.

Take all of our advice as just that - advice, then make your decision and go from there.

You didn't ask me but having towed in some nasty situations I would ask you: WHY?

Feel no obligation to reply here. Just be safe.

Also, check chain requirements in the lands of where you want to drive. They can require chains on the tow vehicle as well as the towed vehicle.

Be safe and be aware.

Bob
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Old 11-01-2015, 09:02 PM   #14
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I would never tow our AS in the snow. That said, I wouldn't cancel your trip either. There are plenty of RV parks in the Sierra foothills within a short drive to Yosemite. Stay below 2,000 ft. and take day trips to the park. If you get a really freak storm you can always stay in the foothills and go wine tasting at the numerous wineries.
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