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Discussion Starter #1
First time driving in the snow really, (had the vehicle for years), had just all season Michelin Defender XLT that are almost brand new and was surprised that I noticed little difference between D, and VTM-4 engaged, wondering if that's due to having all seasons, and that I should really have snow tires to really see the VTM-4 benefit.
Curious what other pilot drivers have experienced in the snow?
I did stop on this hill to test its traction capabilities but couldn't get her going.
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I noticed little difference between D, and VTM-4 engaged
That's because VTM-4 engages automatically anyway if it detects slippage.

For extra traction when I'm really stuck, though, I find disengaging VSA helps. That's why they put a button down near your left knee to do that when you need to.

But a dedicated winter tire makes a world of difference. When my new Nokian Hakkapeliittas got me through a surprise dump of 16" of heavy snow in the middle of nowhere last winter, I thought to myself, "Where have you been all my life, Hakkapeliitta?"

How does Pilot with stock tires handle rain and snow?
 

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Just to clear up a common misconception, VTM-4 lock is not used to switch the vehicle from FWD to AWD. In normal VTM-4 not-locked operation, the car mostly sends all power to the front axle and behaves like a FWD vehicle. Continually, the VTM-4 system monitors engine torque, acceleration, and wheel spin to shift power to the rear axle dynamically when it thinks the fronts wheels are reaching their traction limits. So you don't need to do anything with VTM-4 Lock in normal snowy conditions.

VTM-4 Lock is only used at low speeds (below 18mph) and is a special mode that forces torque to the rear axles rather than letting the computers anticipate when torque is needed there. It's generally used when you're stuck as a last resort to free yourself. There are situations where VTM-4 Lock will get you going when leaving it in normal mode won't, but they're in the corners of the envelope. I'm not surprised you didn't notice much difference.

As the previous poster mentioned, if you need to be able to churn yourself out of a dicey situation with wheels spin, you need to disengage VSA.

Dedicated snow tires always make a big difference, but I doubt they would make much difference in how much VTM-4 Lock helps.

- Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Just to clear up a common misconception, VTM-4 lock is not used to switch the vehicle from FWD to AWD. In normal VTM-4 not-locked operation, the car mostly sends all power to the front axle and behaves like a FWD vehicle, the VTM-4 system proactively monitors engine torque, acceleration, and wheel spin to shift power to the rear axle dynamically when it thinks the fronts wheels are reaching their traction limits. So you don't need to do anything with the VTM-4 Lock in normal snowy conditions.

VTM-4 Lock can can only be used at low speeds and is a special mode that forces torque to the rear axles rather than letting the computers anticipate when torque is needed there. It's generally used when you're stuck as a last resort to free yourself. There are situations where VTM-4 Lock will get you going when leaving it in normal mode won't, but they're in the corners of the envelope. I'm not surprised you didn't notice much difference.

- Mark
Right I know VTM-4 is used only D1, D2 and R, and nice explanation of VTM-4 though I was aware about it. I was just surprised that even with VTM-4 I was unable to even crawl up the hill.
 

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Until you get good snow tires, try disabling VSA for a little help.
 

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The VTM-4 system is always engaged and works automatically to send power to the rear wheels as needed.
The VTM-4 Lock button is only functional when in 1st, 2nd or reverse and up to 18 mph.
See this explanation: How Does VTM Work?

Those Michelin tires should be relatively good in snow, but, if you're going to be driving in that type of condition regularly then snow tires would be advantageous.
If possible, go back to that hill and try it in 1st or 2nd and with VTM-4 Lock selected if you get stuck.

BTW, the OP has a 2003 Pilot so there is no VSA to disengage.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
That's because VTM-4 engages automatically anyway if it detects slippage.

For extra traction when I'm really stuck, though, I find disengaging VSA helps. That why they put a button down near your left knee to do that when you need to.

But a dedicated winter tire makes a world of difference. When my new Nokian Hakkapeliittas got me through a surprise dump of 16" of heavy snow in the middle of nowhere last winter, I thought to myself, "Where have you been all my life, Hakkapeliitta?"

How does Pilot with stock tires handle rain and snow?
The 2003 doesn't have the VSA you speak of btw. I mean I did intentionally stop on a hill in very wet snow. With momentum though it got up the hill with no wheel spin.
 

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The 2003 doesn't have the VSA you speak of btw.
OK, then good dedicated winter tires are the way to go if you want the VTM-4 system to work its magic in the snow.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The VTM-4 system is always engaged and works automatically to send power to the rear wheels as needed.
The VTM-4 Lock button is only functional when in 1st, 2nd or reverse and up to 18 mph.
See this explanation: How Does VTM Work?

Those Michelin tires should be relatively good in snow, but, if you're going to be driving in that type of condition regularly then snow tires would be advantageous.
If possible, go back to that hill and try it in 1st or 2nd and with VTM-4 Lock selected if you get stuck.

BTW, the OP has a 2003 Pilot so there is no VSA to disengage.
oh I did exactly that, stuck her in 1st, VTM-4, small pressure on the gas pedal, and just had all wheels slipping. I did this test intentionally up a hill from the main road just in case it failed I could reverse.
 

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Also helps to slowly start in 2nd if you're on a slippery patch.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
And if any owners are wondering about the sliding capabilities of the pilot...I also did an e brake test at an empty intersection on a back road and she slides very well, she rotates around stupid fast on wet snow.
 

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A lot of people seem to think that's how you put in 4wd. It's for getting unstuck basically. I've used it and think it works great. I also use snow tires. Don't use all season tires. There's no such thing. They are three season at best. If it's winter and you get snow, get snow tires. Huge difference!
 

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I have to agree with everyone’s posts on this , a good brand of winter tires with the mountain logo or snow flake on the side walls will be the best choice in the winter time for our pilots. I have plowed through snow up to 2 feet easily, only thing I hate is the auto disengage after 20 mph so
You can’t ramp up any speed to hit those heavy hills . Unlike the r50 pathfinder or any closer to A real 4x4 truck.
 

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The reason why the VTM4 fluids require changes every 15k miles is because this feature is continuously (more like continually--not all the time) engaged in automatic fashion. Continuously and automatically? Hmm, let's explain--it is not on all the time but engages at certain situations (automatic) with the driver doing nothing. VTM4 engages automatically everytime the vehicle is at full stop (in the morning or at the stop light) and you press the gas. However, once the vehicle reaches 18 mi/hr, the VTM4 disengages (this is the time when it's no longer engaged continuously but still in automatic mode--ready to engage at anytime). Until the next stop (and you press the gas again!). If the front tires spin, it, again engages to assist you in a slippery slope/road (no pun intended, lol) and, once again, disengages upon reaching 18 mi/hr and reverting to front wheel drive, again, as it normally should! A few inches of snow is not considered severe condition, nor a big rain. But they still present some challenges at times (esp when stopped at the light or parked after snow). This is when the auto engaged VTM4 is most effective--and you don't even have to know it! Normally though, any front wheel driven system can easily manage those situations. And so, it is there when you need it (like anti lock brake system) but doesn't intrude much. Now, there are instances when you want to disengage the automatic. Why? Some situations no longer suited for auto engage. You want to override the auto and lock it so it is forced to continuously engaged (and not disengage when you still need it). Like when you're stuck in mud, snow or going uphill with a heavy haul and it's raining. But be aware that once you reached 18 mi/hr, it will disengage again (so watch the speedometer). Why? To protect itself from overheating. This system is less costly than full time system--less fuel consumption, less maintenance and repairs, less parts to break, less weight and very reliable as proven by many thousands still in the road today! This is Honda"s version of having our cake and eat it, too! Not a perfect system but it works!
 

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VTM4 engages automatically everytime the vehicle is at full stop (in the morning or at the stop light) and you press the gas. However, once the vehicle reaches 18 mi/hr, the VTM4 disengages (this is the time when it's no longer engaged continuously but still in automatic mode--ready to engage at anytime).
From what I've read, the VTM4 system, while "on" all the time, doesn't deliver power to the rear axle unless it thinks the front tires are losing traction or about to lose traction. Someone driving around for a day with modest throttle and dry paved roads likely would never have the VTM4 system engage the rear axle. And I think the 18-mph number is simply the speed at which VTM4 Lock feature automatically disengages and has no bearing at all on the VTM4 system unless the system is in VMT4 Lock mode.

- Mark
 

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The reason why the VTM4 fluids require changes every 15k miles is because this feature is continuously (more like continually--not all the time) engaged in automatic fashion.
Yes! Beyond the interesting conversation on VTM-4, I appreciate someone who was paying attention in English class during the lesson on continuously vs. continually. (But who was perhaps out behind the dumpster smokin' a doobie during the lesson on paragraphs. :))
 

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From what I've read, the VTM4 system, while "on" all the time, doesn't deliver power to the rear axle unless it thinks the front tires are losing traction or about to lose traction. Someone driving around for a day with modest throttle and dry paved roads likely would never have the VTM4 system engage the rear axle. And I think the 18-mph number is simply the speed at which VTM4 Lock feature automatically disengages and has no bearing at all on the VTM4 system unless the system is in VMT4 Lock mode.
Have you read the explanation of how the VTM-4 system operates? Evidently not.
Here's the link to it, again: How Does VTM Work?
The VTM-4 system will send some torque to the rear wheels whenever the throttle pedal is depressed.
 

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Yes! Beyond the interesting conversation on VTM-4, I appreciate someone who was paying attention in English class during the lesson on continuously vs. continually. (But who was perhaps out behind the dumpster smokin' a doobie during the lesson on paragraphs. :))
Lol! I'll be better next time, sir!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The reason why the VTM4 fluids require changes every 15k miles is because this feature is continuously (more like continually--not all the time) engaged in automatic fashion. Continuously and automatically? Hmm, let's explain--it is not on all the time but engages at certain situations (automatic) with the driver doing nothing. VTM4 engages automatically everytime the vehicle is at full stop (in the morning or at the stop light) and you press the gas. However, once the vehicle reaches 18 mi/hr, the VTM4 disengages (this is the time when it's no longer engaged continuously but still in automatic mode--ready to engage at anytime). Until the next stop (and you press the gas again!). If the front tires spin, it, again engages to assist you in a slippery slope/road (no pun intended, lol) and, once again, disengages upon reaching 18 mi/hr and reverting to front wheel drive, again, as it normally should! A few inches of snow is not considered severe condition, nor a big rain. But they still present some challenges at times (esp when stopped at the light or parked after snow). This is when the auto engaged VTM4 is most effective--and you don't even have to know it! Normally though, any front wheel driven system can easily manage those situations. And so, it is there when you need it (like anti lock brake system) but doesn't intrude much. Now, there are instances when you want to disengage the automatic. Why? Some situations no longer suited for auto engage. You want to override the auto and lock it so it is forced to continuously engaged (and not disengage when you still need it). Like when you're stuck in mud, snow or going uphill with a heavy haul and it's raining. But be aware that once you reached 18 mi/hr, it will disengage again (so watch the speedometer). Why? To protect itself from overheating. This system is less costly than full time system--less fuel consumption, less maintenance and repairs, less parts to break, less weight and very reliable as proven by many thousands still in the road today! This is Honda"s version of having our cake and eat it, too! Not a perfect system but it works!
Never seen the VTM-4 fluid, do you mean rear diff fluid?
 
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