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I understand the importance of good tires, but I have a 2017 Highlander and it's dreadful in the snow. I have the stock Bridgestone Ecopia tires with 18k miles. There was about 5-6 inches of wet snow at the end of my driveway. There's a small incline of maybe 10 degrees between the road and the sidewalk (about 3-4 feet). I lined up straight and tried to slowly back up between the side of my house and another car. I couldn't make it without having to accelerate quickly (much faster than I'd want) to power through it. What I find interesting is I feel that the traction control prevents the wheels from doing anything... I also tried the "snow" feature. Obviously I can't see the tires from inside, but it basically felt like the tires weren't even spinning. The tires still have decent tread on them so it seems like a waste to get rid of them now. Makes me miss my 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee...
 

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The stock tires are super garbage from what I’ve read and experienced so far - I plan on replacing them once they wear out with what users on TN have recommended for our Highlanders
 

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My 2016 HL AWD has the Dueler H/L 422, quite decent; the Ecopia on the other hand, I have seen some good (for Southern areas) yet more negative ratings from people driving in the Northern side of the country. Given the rating and some shared real-life experience with the Ecopia, personally I would consider either replace or getting a separate set for the winter season. You may want to check if any tire store or dealership would pro-rate (or take trade-in) on your Ecopia for a different model/set; or even sell them on eBay yourself (not my personal choice for convenience).
 

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We're in t he middle of a 2+ day snow storm. So far a little under 20". I've been out several times already. Not a problem at all.

Mechanically - tires are going to have the biggest impact. I don't have snow tires....just good all-season tires (Cooper Discoverer SRX).

I've never been a fan of Bridgestone tires. Might be worth looking into new tires.
 

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2018 Highlander in Alberta, Canada
2018 Highlander
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Our 2018 Highlander is very good in snow and on ice. Mind you, it is our first AWD vehicle. I bought winter tires at the Toyota dealer because it was complicated due to changing from aluminum to steel rims. It cost $1500 for four rims and Michelin tires. The tires are a different size than the summer tires that came with the new vehicle.

A young woman next door couldn’t get her truck with summer tires into her driveway with snow on top of ice last week. She was just spinning the wheels, which just makes less traction. I drove it in for her with no trouble going really slow and not spinning the wheels.
 

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First problem is the stock tires.. Like others said, get winter tires and you won't believe the difference. I run a separate set of wheels/winter tires for winter on both my cars.. Even a more aggressive all season would be way better than the smoothies that came on it..but I 100% won't go through a winter where I live without winter tires..
 

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To zup28w OP, just thought of another option for you to improve traction to "some extend" (by no means close to the traction from a set of winter tires); if you don't really care too much about your Ecopia tires yet don't desire to spend the extra money for a set of winter tires either, you can ask your local Discount Tires to do what is called "Siping" on your existing tires... You can research Siping on the web for more detail, pros and cons.
 

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I understand the importance of good tires, but I have a 2017 Highlander and it's dreadful in the snow. I have the stock Bridgestone Ecopia tires with 18k miles. There was about 5-6 inches of wet snow at the end of my driveway. There's a small incline of maybe 10 degrees between the road and the sidewalk (about 3-4 feet). I lined up straight and tried to slowly back up between the side of my house and another car. I couldn't make it without having to accelerate quickly (much faster than I'd want) to power through it. What I find interesting is I feel that the traction control prevents the wheels from doing anything... I also tried the "snow" feature. Obviously I can't see the tires from inside, but it basically felt like the tires weren't even spinning. The tires still have decent tread on them so it seems like a waste to get rid of them now. Makes me miss my 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee...
My wife and I have a 2016 XLE with 127k miles on it. The first set of factory Bridgestone lasted about 50K. Our second set of Michelin MDX M/S now have 77K and we will have no problem getting 90K . (NOTE) They are not cheap but you get what you pay for. Costco recently had a sale on 18" Labor, material out the door was $825.00.
 

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My wife and I have a 2016 XLE with 127k miles on it. The first set of factory Bridgestone lasted about 50K. Our second set of Michelin MDX M/S now have 77K and we will have no problem getting 90K . (NOTE) They are not cheap but you get what you pay for. Costco recently had a sale on 18" Labor, material out the door was $825.00.
I'm amazed abs dumbfounded how many miles some push their tires. 50K on stock BS is insane and not recommended. Stock are great in the dry but with some wear they simply need to be replaced if you drive in rain at all. I think BS are far better than most reviews, but they do wear faster.
 

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I understand the importance of good tires, but I have a 2017 Highlander and it's dreadful in the snow. I have the stock Bridgestone Ecopia tires with 18k miles. There was about 5-6 inches of wet snow at the end of my driveway. There's a small incline of maybe 10 degrees between the road and the sidewalk (about 3-4 feet). I lined up straight and tried to slowly back up between the side of my house and another car. I couldn't make it without having to accelerate quickly (much faster than I'd want) to power through it. What I find interesting is I feel that the traction control prevents the wheels from doing anything... I also tried the "snow" feature. Obviously I can't see the tires from inside, but it basically felt like the tires weren't even spinning. The tires still have decent tread on them so it seems like a waste to get rid of them now. Makes me miss my 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee...
I can't remember, but do 3rd Gen owners have a VSC/TRAC button that turns those systems off? Important to know, because on the 2nd Gen turning off the VSC/TRAC system is the difference between night and day, even compared to the Snow button/mode, and has allowed me to move with confidence up 15% slopes of solid ice.
 

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I can't remember, but do 3rd Gen owners have a VSC/TRAC button that turns those systems off? Important to know, because on the 2nd Gen turning off the VSC/TRAC system is the difference between night and day, even compared to the Snow button/mode, and has allowed me to move with confidence up 15% slopes of solid ice.
Sure do and yes, can be turned On/Off. The switch is right under the dash on the center console near the USB plug...
 

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Sure do and yes, can be turned On/Off. The switch is right under the dash on the center console near the USB plug...
Although the AWD system in the 3rd gen is part-time compared to the 2nd Gen's AWD all the time, I highly recommend 3rd Gen owners use the VSC/TRAC button to turn off those systems in low-traction situations. Consult your owner's manual, which will provide details that pretty much reflect what I mentioned above. By my experience in snow and ice, shutting off VSC/TRAC is the difference between night and day.
 

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Although the AWD system in the 3rd gen is part-time compared to the 2nd Gen's AWD all the time, I highly recommend 3rd Gen owners use the VSC/TRAC button to turn off those systems in low-traction situations. Consult your owner's manual, which will provide details that pretty much reflect what I mentioned above. By my experience in snow and ice, shutting off VSC/TRAC is the difference between night and day.
Yes, turn off VSC/TRAC so you can get some much needed wheel spin and speed going.

Our AWD Highlanders with snow tires will climb trees. Seriously.
 

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Get snow tires. Even a Corolla on snow tires will run circles around a Highlander on all seasons in the snow. Far more important than awd.
 
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