Terrain Response / possible to drive with SNOW program on highway ? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

Terrain Response / possible to drive with SNOW program on highway ?


Well-Known Member
February 16, 2017
Reaction score
City, State
Germany / Thüringen
Year, Model & Trim Level
2013 Sport
Terrain Response : Is it possible and makes it sense to drive with snow program on the highway ?

Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

My wife does, there is no issues with it.

It sounds a littlebit .............;)
And yourself, blwnsmoke ?

Terrain Response : Is it possible and makes it sense to drive with snow program on the highway ?
I'm not aware of any speed limitations on that mode so I'm guessing it should be okay on the highway. Having said that. I've only ever used 'Snow Mode' once and that was when trying to get through a large bank of snow the plow had left across the street. Other than that I find 'Normal' mode does a very good job as well.


I played around with it a little bit last year. I think it really just alters the parameters so you can't accelerate so quickly.

Found this little video re 'Snow Mode';


I use it every so often if I'm in traffic. It sort of forces me to accelerate more slowly and not be gas/brake/gas/brake all the time.

I don't see any physical reason it would damage the vehicle.

I used it last December on snow packed highway for about 30 miles and didn't notice any problems with my 2016. I even pulled up the terrine management display to see just how it was handling traction on the road.

So in the Mid Atlantic region we got our first taste of snow today. While I was at work before it actually started, I was hoping someone could clear up a question I had regarding the terrain management system, particularly the snow setting. So my previous vehicle, Mazda CX5, it had an iActive system that adjusted everything automatically on a second by second basis. Now, it seems like the explorer has a similar setup but offers additional settings. My question is, is the snow mode safe to drive in when roads are not completely covered with snow? For example, many areas around where I live will be clear, than snow covered, than clear, and than slush covered as I drive around.

I can't imagine having to flip the system on and off as I drive along based on whether the road is completely covered in snow or not but I am not sure. Is that setting acting like a full time 4x4 system switch where it's better to leave the snow option for full blown snow covered roads? Or will it continue its monitoring of the road and adjust accordingly with just a little extra assistance with the snow mode turned on.

This was brought up I believe last year and as a result of reading the posts I actually used 'Snow' mode on my highway trip back from the city. The highway was somewhat snow/slush covered in some areas and bare in others. I had no issues at all. I'll see if I can find that info.

EDIT: merged the 2 threads


I've used the terrain management system exactly zero times in snow conditions.

It'll be fine in normal. If you put it in snow, it's going to modify throttle mapping a bit, front/rear torque distribution, and most likely the shift schedule. Not sure--but potentially even a slightly more conservative stability program as well. If you leave it in snow on the dry, shouldn't be a huge issue.

I've driven in snow highway conditions several times with snow mode on and all is well. The main feature appears to be how it limits your initial acceleration with a bias towards AWD. Once you go past 40-50km/h, I don't think there's much of a difference!

The 3 things I notice most with Snow mods vs. Normal
1. Throttle is significantly desensitized....meaning, 1/2 throttle(pedal movement) it equivalent to about 1/4 throttle under normal road. I'd say up to about 3/4 throttle is significantly reduced, but after that, it ramps quickly to match full throttle.
2. Transmission shifts much sooner. It gets into higher gears much more quickly.
3. Traction control(and possibly stability) are much more intrusive. Traction control kicks in quite readily when it senses wheel spin.

All this is to reduce wheel spin in the snow.
The display shows more bias towards rear as well, but I don't think I really notice it at all.

That being said, I've used Snow mode a few times in the snow for no real reason other than to try it out. I think it accelerates a little better due to more rear wheel bias, but that's just a guess.

I've used Snow mode more often when in traffic(I mention this above). It seems to help preventing me from going gas/brake/gas/brake by somewhat forcing me to accelerate more slowly.