How well does a Dodge Charger drive in the snow? If you’re planning on buying a Dodge Charger, that’s, of course, a relevant question, especially if you live in areas where snow is widespread. Let’s start with a quick answer:
The Dodge Charger does well when driving in the snow when equipped with the proper winter tires. Owners of the Charger are generally positive about its performance as an RWD and AWD car in snowy conditions. Furthermore, the car has several safety features that make it a safe car in the snow, such as traction control, ABS, and ESC.
However, that doesn’t tell the whole story. Below we’ll start with a selection of curated comments from owners about the performance of the Charger in snowy conditions. After that, we’ll take a deep dive into the specific of the car, such as tires, drive systems, and electric support systems. Finally, we’ll talk about the ground clearance, the weight distribution, and the wheelbase. We’ll finish with a few suggestions for optional traction devices that can provide even more grip. Read on!
Also read: The Expected Mileage Of A Dodge Charger
Experiences Of Dodge Charger Owners
First, we feel it’s important to have some Dodge Charger owners chip in about the subject. For this, we went through numerous forums to see what the general opinion is about this car. What we found is that owners of the Charger are generally pleased with its performance.
There’s even a lot of RWD owners who say the car handles just fine. The general advice is to invest in a good set of winter tires since this does seem to make all the difference. Let’s start with a few memorable quotes. After that, we’ll look deeper into what makes the Charger a good and/or bad car in the snow:
I’m in Buffalo NY and I drive my Charger HC every single day, all winter. The car performs way beyond expectations and has never given me a problem I didn’t put myself into (getting stuck in my own driveway). I’ve driven through all of the weather Buffalo has to offer and couldn’t be happier.Source
This has been the best handling RWD car I’ve owned. Mind you I did put winter tires on it. Keep in mind that it is a 4200lb RWD car, so I wouldn’t be doing any rallies in the snow but if you are mindful of the road conditions, the car will take care of you.Source
As a Canadian I felt obligated to throw in my two cents. I drove an RT Challenger for several years with no problems and will be driving an SRT 392 Charger this winter. Spend the money and get a good set of winter tires and you’ll be fine.Source
Does A Dodge Charger Have Snow Tires?
Straight from the factory, the Dodge Charger is equipped with all-season tires. All-season tires are good for general use, but they aren’t that good when driving in the snow. The reason for this is the fact that these tires generally perform best in temperatures above 45 degrees.
Once the temperature drops below this point, as it will do when driving on the snow, the rubber in the tires hardens. This means they start to lose traction, making it unsafe to drive with them in freezing conditions even when the pavement is dry.
If you want to drive a Dodge Charger on the snow, we advise you to install winter tires. Winter tires are made of a different rubber compound than all-season tires. This special rubber compound stays flexible in freezing conditions. This gives the Dodge Charger more traction.
Furthermore, winter tires also have microscopic pores that allow them to wick the thin layer of water created when the ice underneath the tires starts to melt. We advise you to put winter tires on in November and take them off again in April.
If you want to buy snow tires, we advise you to use Tirerack. They have a great tool that allows you to find the perfect fit for your exact model, so you won’t have to worry about fitment issues. Furthermore, they also offer free shipping on most of their orders. Check out their store here!
Also read: The Exact Bolt Pattern Of A Dodge Charger
What Drive System Does A Dodge Charger Have?
The Dodge Charger comes standard with rear-wheel drive, but some SXT, GT, and R/T models also have all-wheel drive (read more about this in a blog we wrote earlier: What Dodge Charger has AWD or RWD?). In general, we would consider the rear-wheel-drive version of the Charger less ideal for driving in snowy conditions than the all-wheel-drive versions.
The reason for this is that rear-wheel-drive cars generally have less weight over the driven wheels. Of course, the reason for this is that the engine is in the front of the car, whereas the tires are powered in the rear.
This means that the car can be tricky to steer in challenging conditions. This increases the risk of the car’s back-breaking out, and it can also mean that the rear of the car has difficulty getting traction on icy roads.
However, as mentioned, the Dodge Charger is also available as an all-wheel-drive car. If you intend to drive the Charger in snowy conditions, you should opt for this drive system.
The reason is that all-wheel drive allows the engine to send power to all wheels at the same time, although each wheel gets a different amount, thereby increasing traction and decreasing the risk of accidents. Furthermore, it’s good to know that the all-wheel-drive system can be manually turned on and off (switching between RWD and AWD).
Although unlikely, it’s good to know that the Charger does not have 4-wheel drive and is therefore not an ideal car for off-roading in the snow. The difference between all-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive is that 4-wheel drive provides equal power to each wheel. This can increase traction for trucks and SUVs during off-roading but is generally not used in cars like the Charger.
What Electronic Systems Help The Dodge Charger In The Snow?
Electronic Stability Control
First of all, it’s good to know that modern Dodge Chargers are equipped with electronic stability control (ESC). This helps the Charger control its direction and stability when the road is slippery (during rain and snow).
ESC achieves this by correcting for oversteering and understeering by applying the brake on the appropriate wheels to ensure that the vehicle is going the direction it was intended to go. At the same time, engine power can be reduced to achieve the same goal.
ESC uses sensors that determine in what direction the car was intended to go and compares this to the actual path of the car. The ESC light lights up on the dashboard when appropriate, and the ESC system is applied temporarily.
Traction control is another useful function that you’ll find on most cars these days and that the Charger also has. Traction control works by monitoring if one of the wheels of the car is slipping. If this is the case, the car automatically applies the brakes on this wheel to stop spinning.
At the same time, this means more engine power can be directed to the wheel that wasn’t spinning on the same axle. This creates more traction for the car as a whole.
Anti-Lock Braking System
The ABS is another function that you’ll find on most modern cars, including the Dodge Charger. The Charger makes use of the ABS to make sure that the wheel won’t lock up during an emergency braking situation (something that can more easily occur during driving in the snow).
The ABS makes sure the wheels don’t lock up, which allows the driver to steer to safety. The alternative would be that the wheels lock up, the driver can’t steer and collide with whatever is in front.
Rain Brake Support
Rain brake support is another useful function on the Dodge Charger. Rain brake support is active when the windshield wipers are in low or high mode. The system will temporarily apply a small amount of brake pressure on the front brake rotors to remove any water buildup on these rotors. In turn, this will improve the grip of the rotors and, therefore, the brake performance in rainy or snowy conditions.
Ready Alert Braking
Ready alert braking is a function that’s active in rainy or snowy conditions and whenever you drive the Charger. Ready alert braking monitors how quickly the driver releases the throttle.
If this is done rapidly, the system will anticipate an emergency brake and prepare the electronic brake controller. This will result in a faster stop which makes the car safer to drive in snowy conditions.
All of these safety functions were found in the owners manual of the 2021 Dodge Charger.
Weight And Distribution
If you intend on driving the Dodge Charger, then the tires, drive systems, and electronic helping systems are the most important. However, other factors certainly play a role. In this case, weight and the way it’s distributed also have to be taken into account.
As you can see in our article about the weight of different 2006 – 2021 Dodge Charger models, it becomes clear that a Charger has a curb weight between 3.727 – 4.586 pounds. This is not excessively light or heavy for a car this size. In general, a heavier car has more traction in the snow, but we would like to say that this is a neutral point for the Charger.
Furthermore, the weight distribution is important. It does not matter that much for cars with AWD because, as discussed earlier, the car can provide tractions to the wheels with the most weight.
|2021 Dodge Charger Model||Weight Distribution F/R|
|SXT and GT||52/48|
|SXT AWD and GT AWD||53/47|
|SRT Hellcat (Redeye)||57/43|
However, as shown in the table above, most models that don’t have AWD (and therefore have RWD) still have most of their weight on the front tires. If you have a Hellcat, this can even be as much as a 57/43 split. Therefore, we would say that the AWD is most likely the best option for snowy conditions. The RWD may have some traction problems when things become really slippery.
Furthermore, ground clearance is another important aspect to consider when you want to buy a car that’s good in the snow. It has to be said that this is most likely the weakest point of the Charger.
The reason for this is that most Chargers (depending on the model year) have a ground clearance of about 5 inches. For example, the 2019 Charger comes in at 4.9 inches and the 2021 version at 5.2 inches.
Now, this may not be a major problem if you live in an area that may get a few inches of snow at a time. However, if you live in areas where snow can pile up overnight, you may be best advised to look for an SUV or truck.
For example, SUVs normally have a 6-8 inches clearance, whereas trucks operate within the 8 – 11 inch segment. This is definitely one of the biggest cons for the Charger.
Finally, we want to look at the wheelbase (the distance between the front and the rear tires). The wheelbase is partially responsible for how easily a car can slip and get out of control.
See, cars with a shorter wheelbase normally slip easier than cars with a longer wheelbase. This is because it takes more time for a car with a longer wheelbase to start sliding, giving the driver more time to correct.
For example, a Ford F-150 has a wheelbase between 122 – 163 inches depending on the specific model you have. A 2021 Dodge Charger (and almost all models of this car) have a wheelbase of around 120 inches. That’s not terrible; it’s not outstanding either. We would say this is a neutral point for the Charger.
What Traction Devices Can You Use On A Charger?
If you live in an area where a lot of snow tends to still be on the road when you’re about to drive, then you can, of course, buy snow chains to provide the car with more grip. In the owner’s manual of the most recent Chargers, Dodge makes a few suggestions for these ‘snow traction devices,’ as they like to call them.
Mainly, for the SXT, GT, and R/T RWD models Dodge advises a ‘Peerless Chain Super Z6 Low GT Profile or Equivalent’. You can find those here on Amazon. Please note that Dodge advises against using any form of snow chain for the Scat Pack models.
For the SXT and GT AWD models Dodge advises an S-class snow chain which can also be found here on Amazon. Please make sure that you buy the correct size of snow chain that fits the size tire of your car.
Also read: 19 Common Problems Of A Dodge Charger