Hi, not really a Sub newbie (had an '01 Forester until a year ago - now have an '08 Impr Outback Sprt) but I am new to the online forums - and after a few searches, couldn't find any info on this specific issue or the best place to post, so here I am.
I recently moved from the US to the Great White North and my car is performing horribly in snowy/slippery conditions. Before the move, I drove it to the mountains once through a blizzard and the VDC light came on a few times when things were super slippery but for the most part I just had to drive VERY slow to maintain control (I have many years of previous winter driving experience). Most cars were passing me. And more recently, it seems VDC's only purpose is to alert me to the fact that the wheels are sliding around (ie. it doesn't seem to actually do anything to help/control it).
Since I've been here for the last couple months - I slip and slide all the time - it's worse than 2 wheel drive vehicles I've driven here! At first I thought it was the tires, but even then it just seems there's virtually no shifting of power away from the wheels that are spinning (it seems like it acts like a regular non-awd car). I've even got stuck a couple times (in a parking spot) and had to have my friend get out to push a bit. How embarrassing.
Then out of desperation, I decided to turn off the VDC today and drive around (snowed quite a bit overnight and the roads are very messy) - and actually it seemed MUCH better - on the road, in parking lots, etc. So I'm wondering if this makes any sense? Could the VDC be disabling the AWD system?
I was planning to take it in to the dealership next week to get it checked out. But just wondering if anyone can explain what might be going on.
ps. I read on a Forester forum that people needed to turn off VDC in order to do donuts - but I was easily doing that about a month ago with the VDC enabled (was in the snow tho).
pps. It's not just braking that I'm sliding (I know that's more about ABS - and that does come into play here and there) - but it applies to accel, driving, etc. It almost seemed as if the VDC and/or AWD (or maybe it's just the tires?) in this car was actually making things WORSE than a regular car for driving in these conditions.
Just went out another time to drive around with VDC turned off - and again, it's like night and day! Sure there's still some slippage here and there but instead of spinning out of control - I can now quite quickly/easily get the car back on track. Was the VDC malfunctioning or maybe it's not compatible with my (I don't believe unusual) driving style?