Dodge Dart In Snow & Winter Driving? (Explained)

Despite having a rather short production run, the modern Dodge Dart offers tremendous value if you’re looking for a practical daily driver.

It has good handling, modern styling, a roomy interior, a great safety rating, and an impressive set of features compared to other small sedans in its price range. 

But how well does it drive in the winter or in snowy weather? We’ll take a closer look at its winter driving performance in this article.

Here is the short answer to whether the Dodge Dart is good for snow and winter driving:

The Dodge Dart does well in winter conditions with the help of modern driver aids like Traction Control, Electronic Stability Control, ABS, Electronic Brake Force Distribution. Being a front-wheel-drive vehicle, the weight of the engine over the front tires also gives you more grip which makes driving over snow covered roads more manageable.

Is a Dodge Dart Good in the Snow?

The Dodge Dart handles winter driving conditions fairly well, as long as you’re not trying to drive it through deep snow or really icy conditions at a fast pace.

It features all the modern driver aids you’d need to keep it from sliding all over the place when the roads and highways start getting slippery.

While front-wheel-drive cars typically fare better than rear-wheel drive vehicles during winter, we’d still prefer the additional traction that all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicles can provide when driving on icy and wet roads.

The Dodge Dart is also a little heavier compared to other compact cars in its class which gives your tires a bit more grip.

Like other compact sedans, the Dodge Dart has a low ride height and a lower center of gravity compared to larger SUVs and trucks.

This helps with on-road stability, but doesn’t give you much clearance to drive out of roads with several inches of really deep snow.

What Features Will Improve Winter Driving?

The Dodge Dart performs well in all but the most extreme weather conditions.

It will definitely get you to where you’re going as long as you’re not trying to drive it through really difficult or treacherous terrain. 

Here’s an overview of the most important winter features that the Dodge Dart comes with:

Traction Control

The Dodge Dart’s traction control system prevents wheelspin which can cause you to slide out of control.

Wheelspin occurs whenever you give the car too much gas and the tires start to lose traction.

In snowy and icy conditions, wheelspin can also be caused by extremely slippery roads even if you’re not pressing down on the throttle too much. 

The Traction Control system uses wheel speed sensors to detect whether one or both of your front drive wheels are spinning too much.

Before you start to lose traction, the car will automatically cut the engine power and apply some brake pressure to prevent the tires from losing grip.

By keeping wheelspins in check, you’ll have more traction to power out of slippery roads. 

Traction Control systems are also extremely helpful even in normal driving conditions.

They can prevent accidents when you try to accelerate too hard from a standing start or if you’re applying too much gas when coming out of a turn.

Electronic Stability Control

Electronic Stability Control or ‘ESC’ is another important safety feature that works in conjunction with Traction Control to keep your Dodge Dart from spinning out of control.

It monitors the car’s direction and your steering input to make sure you’re always moving in the right direction. 

When the system detects that you’re about to start skidding or sliding, it automatically applies the brakes and cuts off engine power similar to how Traction Control works.

This is especially helpful when going into and out of turns. 

The Dodge Dart also has an ‘ESC Off’ button that turns off both Electronic Stability Control and Traction Control systems.

This is useful when you’re stuck in snow and you need wheelspin to try and ‘rock’ the car out.

This is only recommended for special situations and off-road use.

When the ESC system is turned off, the ‘ESC off’ indicator on the dash will be turned on.

When driving normally, you need to make sure that the ESC system is turned back on.

ABS

The Dodge Dart, like all modern vehicles, also has an ABS or Anti-lock Braking System which prevents the car from skidding when too much brake pressure is applied.

Without ABS, you’re more likely to lock up the wheels and cause the tires to skid especially when driving on very slippery roads. 

ABS prevents wheel lockup by quickly pulsing the brakes on and off even if you slam on the brakes in an emergency situation.

When the ABS is applied, the brake pedal will start shaking or vibrating.

By pumping the brakes faster than a normal person can, and keeping your tires from skidding and losing traction, you’ll come to a complete stop much faster. 

Electronic Brake Force Distribution

The Dodge Dart also comes equipped with a more modern braking safety feature called Electronic Brake Force Distribution or EBD.

EBD helps the car slow down and come to a stop faster by applying varying levels of brake pressure to the front and rear wheels.

This system helps the car stop faster even before ABS starts kicking in. 

Normally, the front wheels need more braking power because as the brakes are applied, the weight of the car moves forward and loads up the front tires more.

The Dart’s EBD system uses load sensors to determine how much braking force each wheel needs to make braking more effective.

Heated Front Seats and Heat Steering Wheel

Some trim levels of the Dodge Dart, like the Dart GT and Dart Limited, come with heated front seats, a heated leather steering wheel and heated mirrors.

These creature comforts make driving in cold weather a bit more pleasant.

You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Dodge Darts Last?

Remote Start

In addition, some Darts also come with a remote start feature.

You can just hit a button on your key fob to start the engine, and automatically switch on the heater and the heated steering wheel.

This makes the cabin more comfortable as soon as you get in. 

Does a Dart Have Snow Mode?

A lot of modern cars, especially AWD vehicles, come with Snow Mode.

When Snow Mode is engaged, it usually makes the transmission start off in second gear which minimizes wheel slippage if you’re coming from a standing start. 

The Dodge Dart does not come with a Snow Mode or have a Snow button.

It does make up for it with an array of advanced stability and braking features to keep you safe on the road. 

Snow mode is really something that’s nice to have but not necessarily crucial.

You can just step on the gas a little more lightly if the road conditions are a little too slippery for your taste.

You can also shift the Dart’s transmission into manual mode and select second gear for snow starts to replicate what the Snow Mode does.

However, as mentioned in the Electronic Stability Control section, you can also turn off the ESC system if you find yourself stuck in the snow and you need some wheelspin to power out and drive away.

Please also read our article: Dodge Challenger in snow and winter driving

Can You Install Additional Snow Gear on a Dart?

If you regularly deal with snowy and icy driving conditions, it’s best to fit a set of snow or winter tires on your Dart.

They’ll give you significantly more traction in cold weather than all-season tires, and you won’t have to rely on all the driving aids and safety features as much.

You can also fit snow chains, snow socks and studs on your Dart if you need to drive in really bad weather.

However, you need to first check if driving with such extreme snow gear is allowed on your local roads.

How Much Snow Can a Dart Handle?

The Dodge Dart has a ground clearance of only 4.4 inches, which is comparable to other compact sedans. 

You can fit winter tires with a higher tire profile to give you a little more ground clearance, but the Dart is really not meant for plowing into very deep snow. 

At most, you can probably safely get away with driving in 2 to 3 inches of snow.

How Does the Dart Handle Low Winter Temperatures?

The Dodge Dart uses modern fuel injection which means that it will automatically adjust to extremely low temperatures, as well as different altitudes. 

Compared to a car that uses carburetors, you won’t need to need to deal with hard starting problems in cold weather when you have a fuel injected engine.

You also won’t need to let the Dart’s engine warm up to operating temperature before driving off. 

However, cold temperatures are especially hard on your car battery.

If the battery is left unattended for a long time, you might have problems turning the engine over to get it started.

So make sure your battery hasn’t gone bad yet, and keep it charged using a battery tender if you have to store the car for a long time. 

Can a Dodge Dart Drive on Ice?

With all the driving aids and safety features that the new Dodge Dart has, it’s perfectly fine to drive it on icy roads as long as you’re careful and not excessively speeding or slamming on the brakes too much. 

The Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control and ABS systems of the Dart will keep you from sliding all over the road even on snowy or icy roads.

It’s also important to fit your Dart with the right snow tires to give you the best traction possible. 

Does the Dart Have 4WD?

None of the modern Dodge Darts have a 4WD or AWD system. They’re all front-wheel drive compact sedans. 

The front-wheel drive layout of the Dart makes it easier to control, compared to a rear-wheel drive vehicle, even if the roads are a bit slippery. 

What About Older Dart Models and Winter Driving?

Prior to the reintroduction of the Dart model in 2013, Dodge Darts were all rear-wheel drive compact cars made from 1959 to 1976. 

These classic Dodge Darts lacked modern safety features like Traction Control, ABS, airbags, or even three-point seatbelts. 

Compared to the modern front-wheel drive Dodge Dart, the older Dart models are a lot more difficult to drive in the winter, especially for someone who’s more used to driving with a lot of modern driver aids. 

You may also be interested in our article: Hyundai Elantra in snow & winter driving

Does the Dart Need Snow Tires?

The Dodge Dart comes with all-season tires which are great for all-year round driving except during really bad winter weather. 

When temperatures drop, the rubber used on all-season tires starts to harden up and can’t provide as much grip and traction as they would normally do when the weather is fairer.

This is why you need to switch to winter tires when temperatures drop to below 45º F. 

Winter tires also come with deeper tread patterns that give you better traction in the snow. 

Can You Mount a Snow Plow on a Dart?

Mounting a snow plow on a Dodge Dart will likely damage your bumper and other bodywork.

In addition, the car doesn’t have the traction, ground clearance or engine power to do the job effectively, so we strongly advise against it.

Resources

https://www.dodge.com

https://enginepatrol.com/how-long-dodge-dart-last/