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I moved to a climate where there will be more snow and mountain roads than typical. I was wondering if anyone has modified their Volt for better clearance. I have driven in snow and the Volt does well on light snow and ice but I do have concerns about clearance. Any suggestions as far as raising the clearance area?
 

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The easiest starting point would be to remove the flexible black rubber air dam under the front bumper. That is the lowest point. However, that will not make a difference over whether you get stuck or not.

As for lifting the entire vehicle with suspension and/or wheel mods, I have no idea about that. But it is commonly done on other types of vehicles, so the right shop would probably be able to do something with a Volt. One limiting factor is that there is little clearance between the tires and the fenders, so there is not a lot of room to go to a larger diameter tire.
 

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I drove a Cruze ECO Manual through five Denver winters. What I discovered is the smooth under belly of the car, which the Volt has as well, actually helps you get through deep snow. The real problem with snow is it gets caught in the nooks and crannies under the car where it then slows you down.

My recommendations:
  • leave the front air dam in place as it will push snow to the sides and keep it from getting under your car where it will cause problems
  • run ICE to heat the exhaust system to melt any snow that builds up around the exhaust, again removing snow from under the car
  • get dedicated snow tires. The Volt is heavy and dedicated snow tires will provide far better grip than our LRR OEM tires or even a general all season touring tire.
A couple of driving tips - practice smooth driving without sudden starts, stops, or directional changes year round. This will make snow driving that much easier as you don't have the friction between the tires and the road needed to make the radical momentum changes you can do on a dry road. Also, learn to use L for slowing and N for restoring wheel to road grip.
 

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I moved to a climate where there will be more snow and mountain roads than typical. I was wondering if anyone has modified their Volt for better clearance. I have driven in snow and the Volt does well on light snow and ice but I do have concerns about clearance. Any suggestions as far as raising the clearance area?
I live in NYC for eleven years and I hated the snow. So if you wish to avoid snow and never need snow tires or winter clothes, move to a warmer climate as I did fifty years ago. You can take your Chevy Volt with you and not worry about any modifications!
 

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I just noticed you're moving to Denver. One more tip - the first major snow storm of the season stay off the roads until the idiots in their 4 wheel drive pickups and SUVs clear the roads. Many of them will clear the roads by sliding into ditches. I've had front wheel and all wheel drive in Denver and actually had more problems getting stuck with the all wheel drive because the improved ability to get moving simply means you'll get stuck in more inaccessible places.

I don't run dedicated snow tires in the winter. Unless you go into the foothills or mountains a lot there's really no need down here on the plains.
 

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I spent a winter near Denver, and I always noticed that all the vehicles stuck in ditches after each snow storm were the big 4x4s. I also loved that the snow would be completely gone and the roads dry a day or two after each storm.
 

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the air dam helps "plow" snow a little lower to get through most of the front range accumulation. I also use OEM tires with little issue the last couple of seasons nut I have not gone up to the mountains in the volt.
 

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The air dam is the lowest point on the Volt. It significantly improves fuel economy. In the Gen. I cars, the air dam was very low and was constantly getting damaged and even ripped off by curbs and speed bumps and snow. If you buy a replacement air dam from Chevy ($50) the new version is much shorter than the original and greatly improves clearance issues. It is fairly easy to remove and replace.

I suspect the new version would behave much better in deep snow.

Best Regards,

e
 

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I spent a winter near Denver, and I always noticed that all the vehicles stuck in ditches after each snow storm were the big 4x4s. I also loved that the snow would be completely gone and the roads dry a day or two after each storm.
The reason is because 4x4s think they have all the traction in the world, but as soon as they tap the brakes and slide, game over. More weight means more likelihood of losing traction when stopping. I have snow tires on my volt, and the car becomes a beast with great handling in snow with those tires. Alas, I have only driven through 2 snowstorms in the last two years (the tires have less than 2 weeks of wear on them). Otherwise the tires have been a great snow deterrent.

Most people get Michilins or Blizzaks, but I'm the oddball with Yokohama ICEguards. They work great, but I've never comparison tested with any other brand.
 

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the air dam helps "plow" snow a little lower to get through most of the front range accumulation. I also use OEM tires with little issue the last couple of seasons nut I have not gone up to the mountains in the volt.
This reply tells the real story, more or less. You get stuck in snow with any vehicle when the friction of the snow on the underbody exceeds the friction that the drive wheels can produce. Don't remove the air dam.

4X4s get stuck in ditches because the owners don't understand their vehicle. I was in a ditch once after trying to get around a stuck car in the road and easily powered out of that ditch at the end by keeping my truck level, using low gear and not overdoing it with the throttle.

I did beach it once - in a flat parking lot drift because I did not yet understand what I typed in the first paragraph (friction on the underbody). The only way out when you beach it is with a shovel or a tow from another vehicle. This goes for any challenging situation - mud, sand, snow - whatever.

4X4 or all-wheel drive only means you can get going easier. It does not help you go in a straight line, or stop. People who go off-road don't drive like the TV commercials unless they're complete fools. Off-roading means going slow and knowing the limitations of your vehicle.

Snow tires aren't necessary, but if it makes you feel good then do it.
 

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I agree with most previous comments. The Volt does very well in urban snow, it is not going to perform like a 4x4 in really deep stuff no matter what you do. The best upgrade you can do is dedicated winter tires on a different set of rims so you can swap them out in your garage with the season changes. I do that with all 4 of my vehicles and it makes a huge difference. I'm not saying the stock tires won't work, just that winter tires are better.
 

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I moved to a climate where there will be more snow and mountain roads than typical. I was wondering if anyone has modified their Volt for better clearance. I have driven in snow and the Volt does well on light snow and ice but I do have concerns about clearance. Any suggestions as far as raising the clearance area?
I live in the outskirts of Denver, my car handles just fine without any modification in inclement weather... mountain driving will be a different story though, I avoid the mountains during bad weather
 

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4X4 or all-wheel drive only means you can get going easier. It does not help you go in a straight line, or stop. People who go off-road don't drive like the TV commercials unless they're complete fools. Off-roading means going slow and knowing the limitations of your vehicle.

Snow tires aren't necessary, but if it makes you feel good then do it.
"4x4" and "all-wheel" drive are not the same thing, though misuse of the terms is making them increasingly meaningless.

"4x4" as it was used applied to "Jeeps" and trucks, later migrating to pickup trucks. One drive shaft ran from the transmission to a differential powering the rear wheels. On the side of the tranny was a PTO (power take off) with a shaft running to a front differential. It was never intended for use on pavement! Everyone knows, or should know, that differentials are required because in a turn the outside wheel turns faster than the inside wheel. One should also know that in a turn, the front wheels turn faster than the rear. With a "4x4" powering all 4 wheels, the front driveshaft spins at the same rate as the rear. When turning, the different speed of the front vs rear is taken up by tires slipping on mud, dirt, snow or something similar. On pavement with good traction, even intermittently so, a true 4x4 is very difficult to turn! Force the issue and the whole drive will buck if not break. Either a ditch trip or tow hook is a likely outcome for on street 4x4 use.

"All wheel drive" adds a third differential placed between the front a rear driveshafts which allows for powering all 4 wheels while on-road. Audi was the first to be commonly available with AWD, followed by Subaru (at half the price) and now many others.

Snow tires? Colorado tends to dry snow, Michigan to wet. Here, snow tires are magic, making my 2WD on snows roughly equivalent to my Audi Quattro on all-seasons.
 

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"4x4" and "all-wheel" drive are not the same thing, though misuse of the terms is making them increasingly meaningless.

"4x4" as it was used applied to "Jeeps" and trucks, later migrating to pickup trucks. One drive shaft ran from the transmission to a differential powering the rear wheels. On the side of the tranny was a PTO (power take off) with a shaft running to a front differential. It was never intended for use on pavement! Everyone knows, or should know, that differentials are required because in a turn the outside wheel turns faster than the inside wheel. One should also know that in a turn, the front wheels turn faster than the rear. With a "4x4" powering all 4 wheels, the front driveshaft spins at the same rate as the rear. When turning, the different speed of the front vs rear is taken up by tires slipping on mud, dirt, snow or something similar. On pavement with good traction, even intermittently so, a true 4x4 is very difficult to turn! Force the issue and the whole drive will buck if not break. Either a ditch trip or tow hook is a likely outcome for on street 4x4 use.

"All wheel drive" adds a third differential placed between the front a rear driveshafts which allows for powering all 4 wheels while on-road. Audi was the first to be commonly available with AWD, followed by Subaru (at half the price) and now many others.

Snow tires? Colorado tends to dry snow, Michigan to wet. Here, snow tires are magic, making my 2WD on snows roughly equivalent to my Audi Quattro on all-seasons.
I think it's the outside wheels that want to rotate faster than the inside ones that causes 4x4s to buck.

Also, unless you have limited slip differentials, often times a 4x4 will shut off one side and send to power to the other side. After watching some Subaru videos in the showroom, the asymmetric AWD seems really compelling, enough to cause us to buy a Crosstrek for the daughter in preparation for Snowageddons 1 and 2 for her time in Boston. Now she's in Atlanta where AWD is not needed unless she goes off-road (she does like to go hiking). Watch out Atlanta, every place she takes this vehicle gets pummeled with snow. We're already having extreme weather patterns this season.

For you GOT fans... winter is coming
 

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"4x4" and "all-wheel" drive are not the same thing, though misuse of the terms is making them increasingly meaningless.

"4x4" as it was used applied to "Jeeps" and trucks, later migrating to pickup trucks. One drive shaft ran from the transmission to a differential powering the rear wheels. On the side of the tranny was a PTO (power take off) with a shaft running to a front differential. It was never intended for use on pavement! Everyone knows, or should know, that differentials are required because in a turn the outside wheel turns faster than the inside wheel. One should also know that in a turn, the front wheels turn faster than the rear. With a "4x4" powering all 4 wheels, the front driveshaft spins at the same rate as the rear. When turning, the different speed of the front vs rear is taken up by tires slipping on mud, dirt, snow or something similar. On pavement with good traction, even intermittently so, a true 4x4 is very difficult to turn! Force the issue and the whole drive will buck if not break. Either a ditch trip or tow hook is a likely outcome for on street 4x4 use.

"All wheel drive" adds a third differential placed between the front a rear driveshafts which allows for powering all 4 wheels while on-road. Audi was the first to be commonly available with AWD, followed by Subaru (at half the price) and now many others.
It's a bit more complicated these days:
 
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