Skip to Content

How Well Does The Nissan Maxima Drive In Snow? (Answered)

If you live in snow-covered areas and want a sedan that can give you stability, performance, and bold looks, then Nissan Maxima is one of the best options out there. Let us now start with a quick answer:

Nissan Maxima comes equipped with Traction Control, ABS, and Intelligent Warning Systems, which helps drive snow. Furthermore, consumer reviews of the Maxima in the snow are positive if the car is equipped with winter tires. However, it has a low ground clearance of 5.3″, which is less ideal for places with heavy winter.

Let’s see what the features that help you in snow are.

Also, read: How Many Miles Can A Nissan Maxima Last?

Features That Help To Deal With Snow

Traction Control System

It is an important feature that helps the car deal with slippery road conditions and prevents losing stability on snowy roads.

 Nissan Maxima comes fitted with an electro-hydraulic traction system. It compares the speed of the car to the tires. Whenever the car tires start moving faster than the car, a slip is detected. It has a wheel sensor that helps to detect which wheel is losing grip. The system will then limit the power going to that wheel and apply brakes on that wheel.

With these actions, Traction Control can reduce tire acceleration and eliminate slipping. This allows your car to grip on the road and prevent it from losing control.

Front-Wheel Drive (FWD)

Front-wheel drive has all the power deviated to the front two wheels, while AWD, on the other hand, distributes power to all the tires evenly. Nissan Maxima comes fitted only with a Front-wheel drive option.

Both Front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive provide improved traction to the vehicle. Most of the engine’s weight in a front-wheel-drive car is above the front two wheels, which puts the drive under so much pressure and improves traction.

AWD is best for driving on rough terrain, gravel, grass, snow, or any soft surface. All-wheel-drive systems are designed to detect traction anywhere. Front-wheel drive cars still perform well on rough terrain and snow.

Another significant advantage of the front-wheel-drive is that the lightweight drivetrain dramatically reduces the weight of the entire vehicle and adjusts its assembly process to the production line, turning and lower production costs. If you are an ordinary daily commuter who lives in an area that only sees snow and light snow each year, say, FWD is the perfect option.

Intelligent Forward Collision Warning System

When driving on expressways, a sudden downturn in the car ahead or a sudden change of vehicle route may present hidden dangers. Intelligent Forward Collision Warning notifies the driver using a clear signal and warning to reduce the risk of a head-on collision.

The Intelligent Forward Collision Warning system uses a radar sensor placed on the car’s front to determine the distances between the two front cars and their speed. This allows the system to check the condition in front of the vehicle. If the system detects that a vehicle needs to slow down due to a sudden change in the front cars, it prompts the driver with a sound warning and blinks the vehicle ahead detection indicator.

If you are in a blizzard or your visibility is very low, this will play an essential role in preventing the collision of your car.

Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD)

The ABS actuator and the power unit (control unit) detect a subtle slide between the front and rear wheels during braking. Then it controls the rear brake force (brake fluid pressure) to reduce wheel slippage and thus improves the vehicle stability.

In simple words, it calculates the brake force distribution needed to all four wheels at the moment of braking or during a turn to prevent the car from skidding or rolling. It comes in handy on winter roads.

Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)

It improves vehicle stability by enhancing the stopping ability of vehicles in sudden braking situations. It prevents the car from skidding by preventing the locking of tires.

Sometimes when applying strong brakes, your tires might lock, and it can cause your car to skid. ABS monitors wheel movement while braking; when the tire locks, the system releases the brakes. This reduces the effect of the brakes on the wheel and stops it from locking in motion.

Also read: The Exact Bolt Pattern Of A Nissan Maxima

Automatic Emergency Braking

The automatic system of brakes is an integral part of automotive safety technology. It is an advanced system explicitly designed to prevent possible collisions or slow down a moving vehicle before colliding with another car, pedestrians, or an obstacle of some kind.

These systems include sensors, such as radar, video, infrared or ultrasonic scans, and use the brakes to control collision and detection.

Intelligent Lane Intervention

This feature is responsible for keeping your car in the lane. The system detects white (or yellow) line signals using a camera located in the upper part of the front windscreen. If the system determines that a vehicle is approaching a white (or yellow) line sign, it plays a warning test and an LI indicator located inside the dashboard light. Intelligent Lane Intervention also uses braking force on each wheel to help get the car back to its original lane, to help the driver stay within the lane.

This feature is essential in snow as in low visibility or tiredness, the car may go out of control, so it helps the vehicle be on the lane.

High Beam Assist

This system automatically changes the setting of the lights to a low beam from a high beam when it detects a car in front. Regular use of high beams allows for early detection of pedestrians, supporting safe driving.

The headlight setting is generally on the high beam of the road and is clear of obstacles. If there is an obstacle or car ahead of the vehicle, it automatically changes to a low beam. Nissan Maxima high beam lights up the road while being considerate to another driver.

Driver Attention System (DAA)

The Nissan DAA system is familiar to the individual driver. The DAA monitors directional input patterns (using steering angle sensors) during driving and learns from that, and establishes a base. It detects a change in the driving pattern by continuously comparing the driving patterns with the base using statistical analysis of steering correction error.

When it detects behavior that is consistent with a drowsy driver, the system uses an audible chime sound. It displays a cup of amber coffee by reading the message, “Take a break?” in the display of vehicle information. It also uses logic to help deal with false detections, road changes, route changes, brake brakes, and even adverse road conditions. The system resets automatically when the engine is turned off. It can also be closed by the driver if you wish.

It is the driver’s job always to remain alert. The DAA is the only warning to notify the driver of any driver’s attention or drowsiness. It does not receive and provide a warning in all cases.

All of these features can be found in the owner’s manual of Nissan Maxima.

Also read: Types Of Gas A Nissan Maxima Takes (Explained)


Wheelbase refers to the distance between the front and rear tires. It plays a crucial role, partially responsible for how easily a car can slip and go out of control.

Usually, a car with a shorter wheelbase slips more easily than a longer one because cars with a longer wheelbase take more time to slip, thus giving the driver more time to control and get the car in control.

Nissan Maxima has a wheelbase of around 109 inches which is neither too short nor too long.

Ground Clearance

It is an essential aspect to look in a car for driving in snow. Vehicles with low ground clearance have much more chances of hitting their base with the ground. In comparison, cars with more ground clearance can easily travel in thick snow.

Nissan Maxima comes with a ground clearance of 5.3 inches. Usually, sedan cars have ground clearance around this range as people can easily drive in 4-5 inches of snow. But if you live in an area that has more than 5 inches of snow, then you can’t drive your car over there. You will need an SUV car that can easily drive in the snow of 6-7 inches.

Weight Distribution in Nissan Maxima

Like all FWD, Nissan Maxima also has its engine positioned over the drive wheel, increasing the traction. Nissan Maxima is a heavy sedan with most of its weight over front wheels, lowering the vehicle’s gravity center.

This is beneficial for the slippery road as it reduces the chances of the car turning over.  However, this will work against the car as a low center of gravity will reduce the ground clearance and so we cannot take the vehicle in heavier or thicker snow.

Do We Require Snow Tires On Nissan Maxima?

Nissan Maxima comes equipped with an all-season tire from the company. These tires are okay for snow, but you may still face problems, so they are not recommended for driving in snow.

As soon as the temperature falls below 42° F, all-season tires harden and lose traction. The extreme winter tires make the road slippery, due to which the rubber of the general tires gets a sniff and loses grip, which can be unsafe for the driver.

Therefore, you should buy yourself a good set of winter tires for a smooth experience.

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!

Customer Reviews On Nissan Maxima In Snow

With all these features and good looks (also, read is the Nissan Maxima a sports car?), this sedan got a mixed review from the people. A brand-new car generally performs well, but customers face tons of different problems as it gets older. Some related to its performance, or failure of some parts.

We have curated some of the reviews to get a better understanding.

“I repaired autos for 20 years. I had over 30 cars in my life! And this 07 Nissan Maxima is the worst vehicle I’ve ever had. The CVT transmission is slipping noisy garbage; the front floor pans are rotten? The rear abs sensors short out and burn up the traction control module. The rear brake calipers seized up and burned off the brakes. The ac clutch is grinding when turned on. The blower motor makes a horrible noise when it feels like it? This car in the snow will not go over 20mph, will not stop or steer. 20.000$ cars, and no one wants this p.o.s. Never again. Sad example for a car maker.”


“I have all-season tires. Yesterday it was snowing in Brooklyn. Being a front-wheel drive, it handles okay. Skips on a green light. Had ABS engaged a few times when made turns because I was going a bit fast and wanted to brake it’s started to oversteer. Other than that, it’s not that bad. I’ve had E500 with the rear-wheel drive, and it was awful in the snow.”


“I don’t live on Long Island anymore, but it isn’t very nice. You feel like you’re driving around an FWD boat around. The car has no grip when you turn and takes several additional feet to stop if you stop. All seasons just don’t cut it on non-plowed / salted roads. I’m guessing snow tires will be a lot better; then you just have to worry about the folks whizzing by with 4wd on ice or RWD.

Like lightonthehill said, clearance will still be an issue. Anything over 6″ of snow, I think you’re better off waiting until roads are cleared or not driving at all. Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.”


“Have only had my Max for less than two weeks, but we’ve got two pretty significant snowfalls already.

I had the dealer throw in winter tires, and I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised by how well she handles in the snow. My last two vehicles have been Grand Cherokee’s. The 08 was an absolute beast; it felt like a tank in the snow. The 11 was never great, despite being 4WD. I honestly feel safer in my Max with the snow tires.”