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I thought I would start a thread parallel to "well the snow is finally here ***and everything is wonderful***" for those who have experienced the RL snow trepidations like me. Yes, late last week we got 3-inches +/- of heavy, wet snow in the part of western Washington where I live. I left my driveway exuding with confidence (especially after reading that other thread) till I got to the “T” in the road one block away. At less than 10 mph, the Ridge started to snowplow straight ahead instead of making the left turn I was asking of it. Even my wife’s 05 Odyssey behaves better than that! When I got out to the main roads, it was hard to keep the Ridge in a straight line on the straight-aways, and even harder to get it around some of the curves and corners that others (in that other thread) were taking in stride. Several times, my Ridge tried to drift to the outside of the uphill curves I need to navigate to get to my rural office. When going up or down hills on straight-aways, the tires seemed to get caught in the shallow ruts left by the guy in front of me, tossing my Ridge around like a toy. The 5-mile long trip was an eye-opener for me; my Ridge was either not working properly, or the stock Michelin M+S tires are really not suited to these conditions. During the entire trip, my VSA was in the “on” position, but not once did I see the VSA light flash (such as related by others in that other thread) as to alert me to the workings of that part of the system. So with that background, I am asking you all for your help and advice….do you all think I have a mechanical problem with my Ridge, or is my problem just the stock tires not liking the heavy, wet snow conditions?
 

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I loved the snow that we got last week (Mill Creek, we still have snow on our lawn & roofs)! My RL plowed through the snow like a snowmobile. I have crossed Stevens Pass several times with compact snow & ice on the road. I really have to gun it hard to get it to loose traction, I love the way it handles. I’m not sure what’s going on with your RL. Ours has the stock tires and I drive it in the snow with normal settings…..
 

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you say vsa was 'on' ...you didn't "turn it on" right?
ie: there was no ! symbol on the dash?
If you pressed the button when you turned it on - that means vsa = off.

Sounds eerie - this is the best vehicle I have driven in the snow yet.

Have you taken it to a big empty parking lot yet and had your fun? It's never a bad idea to get a feeling how it feels 'on the edge' and just driving around...it may be possible that the suspension etc. is different enough from the Ody. that you just 'think' its losing grip and thrashing about?
 

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What were you driving before the Ridgeline? (that is, what are you used to?)

I have noticed that on dry pavement, the RL seems susceptible to cracks or grooves that run in the direction of travel. They seem to grab the front wheels and steer it a bit, almost like with a motorcycle. Haven't noticed that in the snow, we haven't had enough to get ruts.
 

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While my truck performs far better in the snow than any previous four wheel drives I have owned, it is not a "tank", nor can you take slick, icy corners at super high speed or anything else that defies common sense. This is what I have found when driving my truck in the snow:
Equipment:
Stock RTL
Stock Michelin tires with 9000 miles on 'em.
VSA ON
VTM OFF

Starting on packed snow: If I pull out using gradual acceleration, It spins very little. If I floor it, I will get some spin but very little "fishtail".

Starting on ice: All four wheels spin. Trick is to give it a little gas, let off, give it a little more, etc.

Stopping on packed snow: Using gradual pressure on the brake, the truck stops fine. The ABS usually don't even kick in in this condition. In a hard stop, the ABS brings the truck to a nice, straight stop.

Stopping on Ice: The ABS will kick in and you will take longer to stop. period. You're on ice! Very little coefficient of adhesion! Only way I know to improve this is to: Change tires or use chains.

Steering on packed snow: The VSA will usually keep you pointed in the right direction as long as you are going a safe speed for the road conditions.

This truck is a fine truck but all the features in the world cannot compensate for poor judgement or physics. This truck can and will understeer (front end push) or oversteer (rear end slides out). It can slide sideways, backwards and forwards. It can get stuck...in deep snow, in a ditch, on a hill, etc.

Now for the good news. While all of the items listed above can happen, I have found it is HARDER to make happen with this truck than a conventional 4X4 or a front wheel drive truck. This is a good truck with some really cool features that can and will let you go in the snow better than most vehicles...if caution and common sense are used! And one last thing: Just because you read it on the internet does not make it true. Everything you read should be confirmed by an official source (the owners manual for example) or by your personal experience or expertise. I read all the hype and then I went to a deserted parking lot to see for myself. Hope this helps.
 

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Doctor Len said:
During the entire trip, my VSA was in the “on” position, but not once did I see the VSA light flash (such as related by others in that other thread) as to alert me to the workings of that part of the system. So with that background, I am asking you all for your help and advice….do you all think I have a mechanical problem with my Ridge, or is my problem just the stock tires not liking the heavy, wet snow conditions?

Define VSA=on?

We just had 6 inches on wet snow (the good snowball-making stuff) and my Ridgeline was excellent. I didn't push any buttons or turn anything on or off? I just started the thing, backed it out of my garage, and stomped the gas. It immediately controlled the wheel spin and powered me out of my driveway. Very cool! :cool:
 

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Doctor Len, it sounds like something is different with your experience than everyone else. The first and easiest thing to check is your tire pressure. If you have not checked it recently, or at all, you my be very surprised at what you find. If one or more tires is low enough to be substantially different than the others but yet high enough to keep the TPMS from triggering, your truck will be somewhat less stable than it would be if all tires were the same at 32PSI. Quite a few Ridgelines have been reported to have been delivered with 45PSI. If yours are that dangerously over inflated, that could explain your problem. Just guessing, but I hope that the fix is as easy as setting the correct tire pressure.
 

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I also thought immediately of over inflated tires and possibly over inflated confidence. Either one is dangerous.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Clarifications: Top speed reached during this 5-mile trip was less than 35 mph on the main highway that had been sustantially cleared by the road crews; all of the alarming behavior ocurred at speeds of 10-15 mph; all settings were default (VSA on, VTM off); my most recent vehicles have all been Honda Motors front wheel drive vehicles, although I have owned four wheel drive vehicles from all of the Detroit manufacturers as well (I am not sure this matters, but one of you asked). I will have the tire pressure checked this morning on the way to my office; that's a good thought. As far as some of the other comments go.....hmmmm.....I'm kinda sorry I asked for your help?!?!?
 

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Doctor Len said:
I thought I would start a thread parallel to "well the snow is finally here ***and everything is wonderful***" for those who have experienced the RL snow trepidations like me. Yes, late last week we got 3-inches +/- of heavy, wet snow in the part of western Washington where I live. I left my driveway exuding with confidence (especially after reading that other thread) till I got to the “T” in the road one block away. At less than 10 mph, the Ridge started to snowplow straight ahead instead of making the left turn I was asking of it. Even my wife’s 05 Odyssey behaves better than that! When I got out to the main roads, it was hard to keep the Ridge in a straight line on the straight-aways, and even harder to get it around some of the curves and corners that others (in that other thread) were taking in stride. Several times, my Ridge tried to drift to the outside of the uphill curves I need to navigate to get to my rural office. When going up or down hills on straight-aways, the tires seemed to get caught in the shallow ruts left by the guy in front of me, tossing my Ridge around like a toy. The 5-mile long trip was an eye-opener for me; my Ridge was either not working properly, or the stock Michelin M+S tires are really not suited to these conditions. During the entire trip, my VSA was in the “on” position, but not once did I see the VSA light flash (such as related by others in that other thread) as to alert me to the workings of that part of the system. So with that background, I am asking you all for your help and advice….do you all think I have a mechanical problem with my Ridge, or is my problem just the stock tires not liking the heavy, wet snow conditions?
Your experience in snow was quite different than mine. My last vehicle was a 2002 TrailBlazer. While I never got stuck, it would be more "jumpy" in the snow, ie be pulled by ruts and that kind of thing. I also had to, on more than one occasion, use the 4wd low on it to get up my drive and into my garage. The people who built our house made the driveway so that it goes up the hill then just before you go into the garage, you make almost a 180 degree turn to the left. The Ridgeline has just gone through it all like nothing.

you may need to get your truck checked out. Something may not be right on it.

Good luck and hope you get some answers.
 

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hiPSI said:
While my truck performs far better in the snow than any previous four wheel drives I have owned, it is not a "tank", nor can you take slick, icy corners at super high speed or anything else that defies common sense. This is what I have found when driving my truck in the snow:
Equipment:
Stock RTL
Stock Michelin tires with 9000 miles on 'em.
VSA ON
VTM OFF

Starting on packed snow: If I pull out using gradual acceleration, It spins very little. If I floor it, I will get some spin but very little "fishtail".

Starting on ice: All four wheels spin. Trick is to give it a little gas, let off, give it a little more, etc.

Stopping on packed snow: Using gradual pressure on the brake, the truck stops fine. The ABS usually don't even kick in in this condition. In a hard stop, the ABS brings the truck to a nice, straight stop.

Stopping on Ice: The ABS will kick in and you will take longer to stop. period. You're on ice! Very little coefficient of adhesion! Only way I know to improve this is to: Change tires or use chains.

Steering on packed snow: The VSA will usually keep you pointed in the right direction as long as you are going a safe speed for the road conditions.

This truck is a fine truck but all the features in the world cannot compensate for poor judgement or physics. This truck can and will understeer (front end push) or oversteer (rear end slides out). It can slide sideways, backwards and forwards. It can get stuck...in deep snow, in a ditch, on a hill, etc.

Now for the good news. While all of the items listed above can happen, I have found it is HARDER to make happen with this truck than a conventional 4X4 or a front wheel drive truck. This is a good truck with some really cool features that can and will let you go in the snow better than most vehicles...if caution and common sense are used! And one last thing: Just because you read it on the internet does not make it true. Everything you read should be confirmed by an official source (the owners manual for example) or by your personal experience or expertise. I read all the hype and then I went to a deserted parking lot to see for myself. Hope this helps.
I agree, except I haven't driven on ice yet. It really doesn't sound right. we got 3" of slushy stuff last night and drove in conditions basically the same and i experienced a perfect ride to work. I tested a bit made the vsa kick in once and had the anti-lock breaks do the job. but I did it on purpose. So far I am not surprised about the ridgelines ability to keep it on the road in slippery conditions.

Good luck, drive slower!
 

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Doctor Len, if it's possible, maybe you should go to a dealership and test drive another RL in the same conditions. That would tell you whether or not it's a problem with your truck! Good luck...
 

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We finally got a little snow and ice in the great white north. I am more than pleased with the Ridgeline's performance in these conditions. I have to be careful as I have become overly confident in taking off from a stop and cornering. The VSA flashes all the time to make up for all the stupid people tricks I throw at it. My wife's AWD Honda Element pales in comparison. The only thing I don't like about the Ridgeline's snow capabilities is the noise transfered to the cab in these conditions. I was thinking about getting winter tires but have reconsidered after this weeks driving.

I have to think the VSA has failed on Dr Len's vehicle.

Gary P.
 

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While I can't speak to the problems you are having, each of us is likely going to have very different snow conditions unless we are in your area. I drove through 6" of snow up in Maine without any significant issues, no sliding into ruts, no pulling to the side, nothing. I was driving 50 to 60 on just cleared roads with no salt or sand down yet. Several cars I saw on the road were driving significantly slower than I was but I tested my breaking and my ability to control the vehicle was very good so I kept cruising. If there is a lot of ice at intersections (as there often is) you may not be able to control your way around the corner. If you try it again later in the day it will likely be a totally different intersection. This is one of the problems with comparing vehicles and how they perform in snow, usually a snowy situation on the road doesn't last long enough to test with multiple vehicles.

Hopefully it was just a bad road day and things will lookup for you later. If not definitely take it in to have the truck looked at. By the way any vehicle will fall into ruts if the snow around the ruts have frozen over. While it may have seemed like you were falling into the ruts of the vehicle just in front of you, they may have been driving in someone else's ruts as well.

Good luck!
 

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GaryP said:
We finally got a little snow and ice in the great white north. I am more than pleased with the Ridgeline's performance in these conditions. I have to be careful as I have become overly confident in taking off from a stop and cornering. The VSA flashes all the time to make up for all the stupid people tricks I throw at it. My wife's AWD Honda Element pales in comparison. The only thing I don't like about the Ridgeline's snow capabilities is the noise transfered to the cab in these conditions. I was thinking about getting winter tires but have reconsidered after this weeks driving.

I have to think the VSA has failed on Dr Len's vehicle.

Gary P.
Your just getting SNOW NOW... I think its time I move west. As for the original post, like my original thread last month"Snow if finally here" I've had no problems wiping through the city in a snow covered wonderland. This vehicle has by far handled and made me feel the most confident in winter driving i've ever experienced. Now i'm not sure how much snow/ice you guys actually get down there, but here our roads are covered for a solid 5-6 months
 

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We haven't had heavy snow up here in Alberta...just icey hard pack. As I pull away on the very slippery surface the VSA toggles off and on as it adjusts to get traction....takes abit getting use to but I find it works good under those conditions. :D
 

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I wouldn't know. Mother nature cancelled our Nor'easter.
 

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Doctor Len said:
As far as some of the other comments go.....hmmmm.....I'm kinda sorry I asked for your help?!?!?
I am surprised by the tone of some of the comments as well. I understand your response. I do hope that it turns out to be something as simple as tire pressure. Please let us know what you find.
 

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As one said earlier, take it back to the dealer and have it checked out and/or take a test ride in another dealer Ridgeline and see if there is a difference.

Good luck and drive safely.
 

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IMO

Truck would work better with a tire that had a bit less footprint, I think the stock tire would be good on ice but is to wide in heavy snow......a skinny tire will have more pressure and dig better.

I'm not surprised you had some problems, this time of year with early snow you get rain-wet snow-snow and can make for some heavy snow with icy surface underneath in the morning. I would be interested to see how it goes on your next snow day.

I found mine had very good traction and power while accelerating but was less than confident while braking or steering and when it lost grip it was gone, your along for the ride.......(during the snow conditions I mentioned above)

The ody would steer and brake better in these conditions as it has a narrower tire IMO......on hard pack or ice I would think the RL would be great having bigger footprint.

Good luck Dr......for sure consider a winnter tire if available, they work awesome and pay for themselves if they prevent one accident.

ps....Don't feel to bad, I accidently drove my truck thru the garage door yesterday.......lost control of my size 14's while multitasking and driving.
 
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