Taking its name and styling cues from two concept cars that had come before it, the first-ever Dodge Charger debuted in 1966.
With its aggressive styling, countless trim levels and powerful engine, this iconic car has built quite a reputation for itself.
How does the Dodge Charger drive in the snow and other winter conditions? Find out in this article…
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Here is the short answer to whether the Dodge Charger is good for snow and winter driving:
The Dodge Charger can drive in snow and winter conditions with ease. This is contributed to by the abundance of driver assists, and the all-wheel-drive options that are available. The Charger features Electronic Stability Control, All-Speed Traction Control, Rain Brake Support and Anti-Lock Brakes.
Is a Dodge Charger Good in the Snow?
Despite the majority of Chargers being rear-wheel drive, they still handle the snow very well. So, although most Chargers do not come with all-wheel drive, you can still opt for a trim package that includes it.
However, it is important to note that the Charger has a low ground clearance of 4.9 inches in comparison to a truck, SUV, or crossover.
The Charger’s low ground clearance can actually be advantageous in lighter snow conditions; a low center of gravity reduces the risk of rolling over as the car ‘hugs’ the road.
If your region typically has very heavy snowfall during the winter months, that needs to be considered before purchasing this vehicle, as an SUV or 4×4 truck may suit your needs better.
Nonetheless, even without an AWD equipped model, and the Charger’s low ground clearance, this car confidently treks through the majority of snowy road conditions. Thanks to the Charger’s technological design, there are a lot of driver assists the make winter driving the Charger a breeze.
What Features Will Improve Winter Driving?
Here is a list of features that help the Charger get through the winter:
While this system does not come on all trim levels as stated previously in this article, if a Charger comes equipped with AWD, it can make winter driving much more comfortable.
Additionally, it gives the driver a sense of confidence in the stability of the vehicle, as AWD vehicles tend to perform better in poor conditions.
AWD works by using a transfer case to seamlessly drive engine power to the front wheels when the vehicle requires stability, or more traction.
It accomplishes this automatically, meaning you will not have to manually engage or disengage the vehicle’s system.
This means all wheels are being driven under engine power, which gives the vehicle more overall traction.
Electronic Stability Control
The Electronic Stability Control (ESC) found in the Charger works hard to keep the vehicle from spinning out or losing control.
It does this by using various sensors to measure steering input and vehicle speed.
Using these sensors, it can predict a situation where the car may become unstable, and takes appropriate action before the driver loses control.
ESC then acts by applying the brakes and/or decreasing engine output to prevent a spin or slide.
All-Speed Traction Control
This system works by monitoring individual wheel speed.
When a slipping wheel is detected, this system can apply brake pressure to the necessary wheel(s), and also reduce engine power if needed. This all happens to assist in regaining traction and works especially well during the winter months, and slippery road conditions.
When the vehicle’s brakes lock up, vehicle steering will be greatly reduced. Not only that, the stopping distance of the vehicle will be negatively affected in a great way.
Anti-Lock Braking Systems (ABS), can greatly reduce stopping distance in snowy conditions.
ABS also prevents the front wheels from becoming locked up, which means the driver can still turn the car even when applying a great amount of brake pressure.
This system is standard on all Dodge Chargers and contributes in keeping the occupants of the vehicle safe during winter driving.
Rain Brake Support
Though it is a fairly new braking assist, Rain Brake Support is very effective.
It starts by detecting the Charger’s wipers. If the wipers are on, the system concludes there must be rain or snowfall. Then, it applies very minor brake pressure, to keep the water off the brake pads and rotors.
This significantly assists with braking, since keeping the brakes dry means greater stopping power.
Does the Charger Have a Snow Mode?
The Dodge Charger does NOT come with a “Snow Mode”.
The Charger has a series of different driving modes, including “Sport” mode, but it does not come equipped with a snow mode at this time.
Nonetheless, exercising caution, and keeping the traction control systems enabled should be enough to keep your Charger operating just fine during the winter months.
Can You Install Additional Snow Gear on Charger?
You can install snow gear on the Charger. Depending on what is available and legal in your region, you can install:
- Snow tires
- Studded tires
- Snow socks
- Snow chains
Ensure you know what tires you need before buying snow tires/studded tires. This includes knowing proper size, speed and weight ratings.
If you are going to be using snow chains, it is advised to only put them on the rear of the vehicle.
With snow socks and chains, do not exceed speeds of 30 MPH.
Also, be wary of installing chains, studs or socks without knowing if your region allows them on the road. Many regions have strict laws regarding snow gear.
How Much Snow Can a Charger Handle?
Sitting at just 4.9 inches, the Charger is pretty low in comparison to a 4×4 truck or SUV. It goes without saying, you’ll probably want to avoid doing any off-roading, or taking deep snow tours in this thing.
That being said, as stated earlier in the article, if snowfall is extreme in your area and roads tend to be poorly maintained, you might want to consider a bigger vehicle with more ground clearance.
How Do Chargers Handle Low Winter Temperatures?
The Charger handles low temperatures just fine. This vehicle has fuel injection, meaning engine starting is no different than it is in the summer months.
It also has the option for an engine block heater to be installed, if you live in extremely cold climates. Something to consider, as engine block heaters can prevent damage to your engine from cold starts.
Chargers also can come equipped with heated steering and heated seats. These are wonderful features for winter driving, and greatly improves driver comfort in the cabin.
Can a Dodge Chargers Drive on Ice?
The Charger will not perform well on ice, without the assistance of studded tires and/or other snow gear mentioned above.
However, the AWD model will likely fair better than other vehicles that are not AWD. The Charger’s weight is also fairly substantial, at over 4000 lbs, the weight of this vehicle will likely fare better on the ice as opposed to a small lightweight two-wheel drive vehicle.
Does the Charger Have 4WD?
Yes, though not all trim levels come with AWD. You will have to select one that does if AWD is your desire.
You also cannot completely manually engage or disengage the AWD system, like you would be able to in a 4×4 truck. The system mainly operates automatically, meaning the vehicle’s computer systems will decide when power to the front wheels is required.
That being said, the Charger’s AWD system works great, even if it does not operate like a traditional 4×4. Users will find the Charger’s AWD system to perform significantly well in poor driving conditions.
What About Older Charger Models and Winter Driving?
The Dodge Charger was revived in the year 2006. Any model from 2006 and up should be just fine for winter driving.
Before the Charger’s revival, the vehicle was not ideal for winter driving. This is mainly due to the fact most (though not all) models were carbureted. Carbureted vehicles can prove to be quite the task for starting and operating during the winter months.
On top of that, they do not come equipped with any assists like traction control, or ABS.
In conclusion, I would refrain from driving a Charger in the winter from model years 1966-1987.
Do Chargers Need Snow Tires?
Though you might be able to get away with all-season tires on an AWD model if your region only experiences light snowfall, I would still recommend switching over to winter tires during the winter months.
Not only does the tread pattern of a winter tire assist in greater traction, but the actual compound of the rubber performs better at lower temperatures. This means even on a road that is not covered in snow, a snow tire will still perform better than an all-season tire at temperatures below 45 °F.
Can You Mount a Snow Plow on a Charger?
You cannot mount a snow plow on a Charger. If you require a snow plow, refrain from buying this vehicle, and find something capable of moving snow.