Ford Expedition In Snow & Winter Driving? (Explained)

With its vast interior and immense storage capacity, the Expedition is a favorite SUV for families.

Will it be able to haul your family when winter hits? Find out in this article.

Here is the short answer about whether the Ford Expedition is good for snow and winter driving: 

The Ford Expedition is ideal for winter driving thanks to Intelligent four-wheel-drive capability and a dedicated Snow mode. It also comes with Traction Control and Electronic Stability Control. The vehicle’s impressive ground clearance and advanced braking systems make it a star in snow.

Is a Ford Expedition Good in the Snow?

The Ford Expedition is a superstar in the large SUV segment. Because of several design elements, the Expedition is lighter, faster, and more fuel efficient than many of its rivals.

If those qualities don’t convince you to buy the Expedition, then maybe its stellar snow driving capabilities will. Particularly if you commute in an area with harsh winters, the Expedition will come in handy.

Why is the Expedition good for traveling in snow?

First, the high ground clearance allows this SUV to brave snowdrifts easily. The Expedition sits high off the ground and can avoid being stuck in packed snow.

There’s also the 4WD drivetrain; this ensures your wheels get enough torque while driving. This gives you a traction boost that’s often necessary for driving on slippery snow-covered roads.

Overall, the Expedition makes for great driving in snow. Outfitted with proper snow tires, your Expedition can take on even extreme snowfalls.

However, before you make up your mind you should read our article here with possible issues around lights on Ford Expeditions.

What Features Will Improve Winter Driving?

The Expedition has proved to be a reliable vehicle in harsh driving conditions, winter inclusive. We explain the design features that enhance the Expedition’s drivability in winter season below:

Electronic Stability Control

The Electronic Stability Control system on the Expedition SUV enables it to maintain stability on surfaces covered in snow and ice. As you know, those surfaces offer little traction, making it easy for your vehicle to lose control. The ESC system’s function is to prevent that.

The ESC will track your vehicle’s performance to prevent a situation where it loses stability.

If your vehicle becomes unstable while driving, the ESC will apply brakes on the wheels to stop the vehicle from going off-course. It will also limit the engine’s RPMs to ensure the wheels don’t spin out of control.

Emergency Braking Assist

Emergency Braking Assist ensures optimal braking effectiveness in emergencies. It is useful in winter where braking effectiveness dips due to low traction.

The EBA system knows how much pressure you applied on the brakes and increases it if necessary. This makes sure your SUV stops as quickly as possible to avoid road mishaps.

Traction Control

Wet surfaces (icy roads, snowed-out pavement) afford your tires as little traction as possible. As such, the chances of your wheels losing their grip while driving increases significantly.

Traction Control prevents this from happening by enhancing traction in such driving conditions. Here’s how it works:

The Traction Control system uses wheel speed sensors to detect if any of your wheels lose grip and traction.

Should the TCS register a loss of traction in any wheel, it will automatically reduce engine power to the wheels that still have traction. This prevents the vehicle from skidding and ensures it remains stable.

Antilock Brakes & Electronic Brake-force Distribution

The two aforementioned features have the same function: stopping your wheels from seizing under hard braking. Wheel seizure is a common occurrence on wet surfaces, so both systems are useful features for winter driving.

The ABS works by monitoring wheel spin while you’re braking. If it detects a rapid loss of speed in one wheel–signaling impending seizure–it will modulate brake force applied on the wheel. (Hard braking typically generates enormous brake force, which can cause wheel seizure).

This way, the wheels won’t seize and you’ll brake safely.

The Electronic Brake-force Distribution system is almost the same thing with ABS, save for a few differences.

Unlike ABS, the EBD system doesn’t regulate brake force.

Rather, it redistributes brake force proportionally to all wheels. This eliminates the threat of any wheel getting too much brake force–and prevents wheel seizure.

Heated Seats & Steering Wheel

Now, this has to do more with comfort than drivability, but it sure is necessary. After all, who wants to drive in winter with frozen fingers and a numb body?

The heated seats and steering wheel keep you warm during drives, and makes winter travel as comfortable as possible.

Intelligent 4WD

Base-level Expeditions sport a 2WD drivetrain, but higher trims have Ford’s intelligent 4WD system. With the aid of various sensors, intelligent 4WD can monitor road conditions and adjust vehicle operation and power distribution accordingly.

Under normal driving situations, intelligent 4WD on the Expedition supplies torque to the rear axle. However, if it detects less-than-ideal road conditions (ice, snow, slush), it will send more torque to the front wheels.

All wheels getting enough torque means your vehicle’s traction in snow/ice receives a boost. This lets you drive in wintry conditions with ease and confidence.

Please also read our article about how long Ford Explorers last.

Does an Expedition Have Snow Mode?

As part of the intelligent 4WD system, the Ford Expedition comes with a Terrain Management System. The TMS has several drive modes designed to enhance driving in various road conditions.

One of these is the Snow/Grass/Gravel Mode that calibrates torque distribution and transmission gearing for increased traction in slippery conditions, especially snow. So, yes, the Ford Expedition has a Snow Mode feature which improves its snow driving ability. 

Can You Install Additional Snow Gear on an Expedition?

You can install snow gear on your Ford Expedition. Proper snow gear can enhance vehicle performance and improve traction in snowy conditions. Here are some snow gear ideas for your Expedition SUV:

  • Snow Chains
  • Snow Tires
  • Snow Socks

Note: Ensure you take proper measurements before you buy snow gear for your Expedition. Using undersized/oversized snow gear can severely affect your vehicle’s drivability in snow.

How Much Snow Can an Expedition Handle?

The Ford Expedition has a class-competitive ground clearance of 9.8 inches. This means you can expect your Expedition to drive safely in deep snow without problems.

If we were to give estimates, we’d say the Expedition could handle driving in snow up to eight inches. At this rate, only a mighty blizzard may stop your Expedition from driving when the snow hits.

Make sure to check out our article on 11 Ford Explorer statistics.

How Do Expeditions Handle Low Winter Temperatures?

Given that it’s fuel-injected, the Expedition’s performance is hardly affected by low winter temperatures. Even in subzero temperatures, you should have no trouble starting your Expedition.

That being said, your Expedition may fail to start in some conditions. For example, if your battery is bad or has low power, your Expedition SUV may not start on cold winter mornings.

Other problems that could cause your Expedition not to start in winter include dirty spark plugs, clogged fuel lines, blocked air filters, etc.

Can a Ford Expedition Drive on Ice?

You can definitely drive the Expedition on icy roads. The combo of antilock brakes, brake assist, and electronic brakeforce distribution lets you brake safely and quickly on icy ground.

Traction Control and Electronic Stability Control also provide needed traction on slick ice-covered pavement.

However, you must remember the Expedition is an SUV–and a big one at that. And the large body mass increases the chances of slipping and rolling over in ice. Careful driving should protect you from having to deal with such mishaps.

Does the Expedition Have 4WD?

The Expedition has a standard rear-wheel drive (RWD) drivetrain, which is a form of two-wheel drive. Despite this, you can get 4WD if you upgrade to a higher trim or pay for the 4WD package.

A 4WD-equipped Expedition is advisable for anyone planning to do a lot of winter driving. With 4WD, you can send power to all four wheels, increasing traction in harsh terrain such as ice and snow.

You should also read our article on how long Ford vehicles usually last.

What About Older Expedition Models And Winter Driving?

The older Expedition models have varied capabilities for winter driving. First generation Expedition models (1997-2002) had 4WD, ABS, EBD and Brake Assist. This shows the vehicles have advanced winter driving credentials.

However, the second generation Expeditions upwards is better suited to driving in winter. This is because they had more features that enhance winter performance compared to their predecessors.

For example, Traction Control and Electronic Stability Control arrived in the second iteration of the Expedition (2003-2006).

If you’re in the market for a winter-ready Expedition, consider a 2003 Ford Expedition or anything after.

Do Expedition Need Snow Tires?

Most people advise using snow tires in winter, and we concur with that position. The truth is, no matter how stellar your all-season tires are, they cannot match a set of regular snow tires in winter.

Snow tires are better suited to traveling in winter than any other tires. Manufacturers of snow tires often use special tread compounds that enhance performance in wintry conditions.

More importantly, they have ingenious features such as sipes that increase traction on wet surfaces by expelling water from the tread. 

All-season tires may be the more cost-effective option, but ‘cheap’ doesn’t translate to ‘better’.

If you want to make your winter driving experience as safe as possible, purchase a set of replacement snow tires. Swap out your stock all-seasons for the snow tires in winter and do the reverse in summer and fall.

Can You Mount A Snow Plow On An Expedition?

The Ford Expedition can carry a snow plow for snow removal.

You may need to consult a professional to know what modifications you need to do before mounting a snow plow on your Expedition. This is important because wrong installation of a snow plow on your Expedition can cause problems.

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