What Does Snow Mode Do In A Jeep Cherokee?

If you've ever looked at the different driving modes and wondered how to operate them, you're not alone. Snow Mode is one feature of the Jeep Cherokee, and if you have this vehicle, you should know how it works. So, what does Snow Mode do? We did the research so that you will know for certain how to operate this mode.

Engaging Snow Mode in the Jeep Cherokee allows for the power to be variably distributed between the front and rear axles. This will give the Jeep Cherokee maximum traction when driving through snow, ice, slush, or sleet conditions.

Now that we know what Snow Mode does for a Jeep Cherokee, we'll take a detailed look at how it can be operated. You might also be wondering how fast you can drive the Jeep Cherokee in Snow Mode or if you can switch to Snow Mode while you are driving the vehicle. For the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post to see what we've uncovered in our research.

Tire in winter on snow road. Winter tires with car detail - What Does Snow Mode Do In A Jeep Cherokee

Operating Snow Mode And Other Modes

Select models of Jeep come equipped with Selec-Terrain Traction Management Systems. These will allow you to alter the vehicle's traction based on various driving conditions. There are a total of five driving modes, any of which can be switched to by turning the dial to the desired setting.

Auto Mode

This mode provides the smoothest steering and the best handling. It is perfect for regular driving on the city streets or on a highway commute. This should be the default mode you operate your Jeep Cherokee in.

Snow Mode

Snow mode, as mentioned earlier, is best for winter conditions. The torque being better distributed over all four wheels makes gripping cold and wet pavement an easier task for the Jeep Cherokee.

Whether the roads have been plowed or not, Snow Mode will let your Cherokee travel over these surfaces with a lot more ease and a lot less headache. 

Sand Mode

Engaging Sand Mode will improve traction over gritty surfaces and reduce the strain on your Jeep Cherokee's throttle. This will allow you to traverse your Jeep in dry off-road terrain without constantly spinning the tires. 

Mud Mode

This mode will greatly improve the Jeep Cherokee's performance when driving it in wet and muddy off-roading conditions. By minimizing tire spin, it keeps the Cherokee from getting stuck in the mud and watery ruts that you might encounter.

This gives your Cherokee just the right amount of torque for handling deep and slick mud.

Rock Mode

This mode is called for when you encounter off-road conditions that require more traction. This function is only available in 4WD Low. Your Jeep needs to maintain a low speed when in this mode but will still have enough power to traverse rocky terrain.

Your Jeep Cherokee owner's manual will give you full details on each of the above modes as well as the specs on the engine's performance while any of the modes are engaged. Be sure you are fully aware of how a mode functions prior to engaging it. 

How Fast Can You Drive In Snow Mode In The Jeep Cherokee?

There isn't a set speed at which your Jeep Cherokee has to drive when it has Snow Mode engaged. The Jeep's gears will be elevated to begin in second, giving a bit more power. But this will not limit how fast your Jeep can drive.

But just because you can drive that fast in the snow doesn't mean that you should. Maneuvering any vehicle, no matter what sort of traction control system it comes equipped with, takes practice and proper consideration for the potential dangers of driving through them too quickly. 

Drive only as quickly as the conditions will safely allow, and don't be tempted to travel faster than your experience has prepared you for. A safe arrival for you and your passengers will depend on it. 

Cinematic low angle shot of vehicle having problems driving along the snow covered trail.

Can I Switch To Snow Mode When Driving?

Having the luxury of different traction modes comes with the responsibility of knowing not only how to use them but when they should be engaged. If you have Snow Mode in your Jeep, you'll definitely want to know when you should turn the dial to access it.

Snow Mode can be engaged while the vehicle is in motion. But you should always engage it before the conditions warranting its use. This will give the engine and its onboard computer time to prepare the traction that is going to be required to safely maneuver the Jeep Cherokee through the snow.

When the conditions are beginning to get too treacherous, engage Snow Mode before it gets too slick or the snow gets too deep. This will make your journey much smoother from the start. 

photographed nature during the time after a small snowfall,

Is Low Tire Pressure Better For Snow?

There are all sorts of little tricks that can make for safer and easier travels through the snow and ice. Some are very effective while others are pure myths. Others can be counterproductive altogether.

Studies have concluded that lowering the tire pressure by recommended amounts can indeed increase the level of traction your vehicle has on snowy surfaces. Doing so by 10-15 PSI shows the best results.

Just be sure you don't drive on underinflated tires, as this will cause too much of the tire to come into contact with the road surface and make the vehicle harder to control.

But do so with caution. Driving on bare pavement will produce too much friction and cause the tires to overheat. This will damage the tires and cause blowouts. So if you decrease your PSI to travel over snowy roads, do so with care, and be sure to reinflate them as soon as conditions allow.

Checking tire pressure with pressure gauge

Are Lighter Cars Better In The Snow?

This is a topic that has probably been debated since cars were first produced. One argument is that more weight will yield better traction, making heavier vehicles perform better in slippery conditions where better grip is an advantage. A counterargument is that a lighter vehicle will be easier to control overall.

Both sides represent valid points of view. More weight, especially with a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, is very helpful. But heavier cars that have much more mass, take a lot more to control when they are up to speed, and are a lot harder to stop. 

The above is why a lighter front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicle will yield the best performance in the snow. But more important than the weight of the car is the level of experience you bring and the amount of care you take when operating a vehicle in adverse driving conditions.

Tire in winter on snow road. Winter tires with car detail.

In Closing

The Jeep Cherokee is one of several Jeep vehicles equipped with multiple traction modes that allow for the best amount of torque and engine RPM to be used under specific circumstances.

Driving safely in the snow takes a lot of caution and experience and should always be done by an alert driver. For better traction, you can always reduce the PSI of your vehicle's tires. Just be sure to reinflate them when you resume regular driving to not damage them. Drive safe!

If you found this post on the Jeep Cherokee to be helpful, take a look at these others:

How To Check Coolant Level Jeep Cherokee

Jeep Cherokee Won’t Start —What Could Be Wrong?

Can You Flat Tow A Jeep Cherokee [By trim levels]

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