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Ford F-350 & F-450 In Snow & Winter Driving? (Explained)

The Ford F-350 and F-450 are part of Ford F-Series truck line. While hardly as popular as the F-150, the F-350 and F-450 Super Duty trucks are favorites of contractors, farmers and people who need to haul heavy equipment.

They offer generous towing ability, impressive off-road performance, and smooth ride quality.

Let’s find out whether these powerful trucks can drive well in winter.

Here’s the short answer to whether the F-350 and F-450 are good for snow and winter driving:

With their sturdy build and powerful engines, the F-350 and F-450 can handle snow, and anything else winter may throw at them. These trucks have several features, including 4WD capability and Stability Control, which make them safe to drive in the harsh conditions prevalent in winter. 

Is a Ford F-350 & F-450 Good in the Snow?

If you asked for recommendations on a vehicle suitable for driving in snow, pickup trucks would likely dominate the list. And why not? Pickups such as the F-350 and F-450 have various features that make them ideal for traveling in snow.

The Ford F-350 and F-450 has an impressive ground clearance of over seven inches, which allows it to navigate snowy terrain safely.

They also have big engines that provide enormous power necessary for pushing through snowed-out roads.

The F-350 and F-450 come with a standard gas 7.3L V8 engine that delivers 430 hp and 475 lbs.-ft of torque. Owners can opt for the available 6.7L V8 turbo diesel engine that produces a formidable 475 hp and 1,050 lbs.-ft of torque.

Moreover, trucks have sizable weight, which gives them good stability in deep snow. For instance, the F-350 and F-450 weigh over 11,000 lbs–a quality that makes it balanced in thick snow and slush.

The F-450 is even wider, which further increases its footprint and bolsters its stability on slippery terrain.

As far as we can tell, the F-350 and F-450 are superb vehicles for winter and are recommendable for anyone living in a region where heavy snow is common.

Are you wondering whether Ford Super Duty trucks last long? Check out our comprehensive article on the topic for more information.

What Features Will Improve Winter Driving?

Several F-350 and F-450 owners have confirmed the model’s excellent performance in winter conditions. Here are features that improve winter driving on Ford F-350 and F-450s:

Four-Wheel-Drive (4WD)

Four-wheel-drive makes driving in winter easier by increasing traction in wheels. On F-350s and F-450s, you must activate the 4WD for it to work.

Under normal driving, the 4WD system sends torque mostly to the dominant axle, which is the front for F-350s and F-450s. However, if you so choose, 4WD will adjust engine performance and send power to the rear and front axles.

Sending power to all four wheels decreases the likelihood of any wheel losing traction, which is a common occurrence in wet driving conditions.

It also keeps your vehicle stable because the wheels won’t slip or spin out of control.

Electronic Stability Control

The Electronic Stability Control system keeps your vehicle stable always. It ensures your car doesn’t go out of control on slippery surfaces. And even when it does, the ESC feature will prevent it from veering off the road and crashing.

The ESC constantly monitors your vehicle’s operation to determine its stability. It uses sensors located on your vehicle to measure the following:

  • Steering wheel angle
  • Wheelspin
  • Yaw rate (car’s angle and rate of acceleration)

Analyzing such pieces of data, ESC can assess your vehicle’s level of stability. It can detect when you might lose control of your vehicle and will activate to prevent an out-of-control situation.

Should your truck be on the verge of becoming unstable while in motion, the ESC will combine engine braking with brake application to kill the vehicle’s speed. This makes sense because slowing down the vehicle can help restore control.

When you lose control of your vehicle, ESC will reduce engine RPM to ensure the vehicle doesn’t hurtle off the road at high speed. It will also activate the brakes to correct the course of your vehicle.

For example, you could lose control while making a left turn where your vehicle moves to the right instead. In that situation, the ESC system will apply brakes on the vehicle’s outer side (the right) and force it to drift leftwards.

This allows the truck to get back on track and keeps it stable. 

Traction Control System

The Traction Control system is similar to the Electronic Stability Control because it also stabilizes your vehicle while driving. However, while the ESC can affect the vehicle’s steering, Traction Control cannot.

What Traction Control can do is prevent wheel slippage that could render the vehicle unstable. It tracks wheel rotation to detect if any wheel is spinning faster than others, which signals slipping.

If a wheel starts slipping, the TCS will reduce engine power to increase contact between the wheel and the road. This prevents slipping and improves traction in that wheel.

Traction Control can also apply brakes to the wheel to reduce its spinning and reduce the likelihood of slipping. This is great for winter driving where wet surfaces cause tires to slip out of control.

Anti-Lock Brake System

Because winter roads are slippery, it’s quite difficult to brake on them. On occasions, you might need to slam the brakes hard to force your vehicle to stop.

The problem is such braking actions can cause wheel lock, which happens when you brake too hard. Should your wheels lock at high speed, your vehicle could enter a skid and crash.

The F-350 and F-450’s Antilock Braking System stops wheel lock by reducing the impact of hard braking on wheels. It will modulate brake performance to ensure your wheels don’t enter lockup when you brake hard.

Electronic Brakeforce Distribution

The Electronic Brakeforce Distribution system works with the Antilock Brake System to avert wheel lock under hard braking. However, it does the job differently from ABS.

The EBD doesn’t modulate brake performance to prevent wheels from locking. EBD spreads brake force generated when you brake evenly across wheels, hence the name “Electronic Brakeforce Distribution”.

By distributing brake power among the wheels, EBD preempts a situation where a wheel receives excess brake pressure under hard braking. This is because wheel lock occurs mainly because a wheel got too much brake force when you slammed on the brakes.

Brake Assist

Brake Assist safeguards you from the danger of longer stopping times on winter roads. Due to the low traction, stopping times on winter roads are higher than average.

This means your vehicle will be harder to stop, increasing your chances of getting into a crash or collision.

Brake Assist on the F-350 and F-450 reduces stopping time, especially on wet surfaces. When you press the brakes, the BA system will increase brake power generated. This forces your vehicle to stop faster and decreases the risk of a crash or collision.

Heated Seats

Heated seats won’t necessarily make driving in winter safer like the features discussed previously. However, they can make winter driving more comfortable by keeping you warm during cold rides.

You don’t want to be shaking from the cold while driving, do you?

Does an F-350 & F-450 Have Snow Mode?

The F-350 and F-450 don’t have a Snow Mode feature. However, a hack suggested by owners is to select 4H (4×4 High) on your F-350 or F-450’s 4WD system.

This will adjust vehicle operation for greater drivability in deep snow and slush, just like the Snow Mode system does.

Make sure to also check our article on Ford Super Duty facts and statistics.

Can You Install Additional Snow Gear on F-350 & F-450?

It’s possible to install additional snow gear on an F-350 or F-450. Snow gear can help improve your Super Duty’s handling and driving in snow, which makes it less risky.

Here are snow gear that would be great for your F-350 or F-450:

  • Snow tires
  • Snow chains
  • Snow socks

How Much Snow Can an F-350 & F-450 Handle?

The F-350 and F-450 have about 7.9 inches of ground clearance, which means it can wade through deep snow without getting stuck or stalling.

Based on its ride height, we estimate your F-350 or F-450 should be able to drive through snow up to six or six-and-half inches.

With enough weight, good driving skills, and the right tires, these trucks will probably take you anywhere during the winter. You just have to be careful.

Please also check out our article about winter tires and gas mileage.

How Do F-350 & F-450 Handle Low Winter Temperatures?

Early carbureted models were often difficult to start in cold weather because they had to warm up for minutes. In fact, some would refuse to start at all.

The F-350 and F-450 have no issues with running in low winter temperatures because it uses fuel injection. Fuel-injected vehicles hardly need to warm up before they start–even in freezing temperatures.

Can an F-350 & F-450 Drive on Ice?

Thanks to 4WD, the F-350 and F-450 can drive in slippery conditions, including icy terrain. However, we’d advise caution because the F-350 and F-450’s high center of gravity predisposes them to high rollover risk on ice.

And make sure to get quality winter tires.

If you frequently drive on ice, check out our article on how thick should ice be to drive on.

Does the F-350 & F-450 Have 4WD?

The Ford F-350 and F-450 have optional four-wheel-drive (4WD) capability. As explained before, 4WD ensures safe winter driving by providing adequate traction in wheels.

What About Older F-350 & F-450 Models and Winter Driving?

First-generation F-350 and F-450s came with ABS, Traction Control, Stability Control, etc., which enhance safer winter driving. Going by this, we can say the older F-350 and F-450s are suitable for driving in winter.

Do F-350 & F-450 Need Snow Tires?

If you’re planning to drive in winter, your F-350 and F-450 will need snow tires. Snow tires are better on winter roads compared to all-season tires as they offer better traction, control, and stability in slippery driving conditions.

Can You Mount A Snow Plow on an F-350 & F-450?

You can mount a snowplow on the F-350 and F-450 as well other trucks in the Super Duty lineup.

We’d advise you to buy an F-350 or F-450 with the optional Snow Plow Package. Such models have been designed with heavy-duty components to allow them handle the rigors of snow plowing.

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