Are Toyota 4Runners Good in the Snow?

By Derrick •  Updated: 06/25/21 •  7 min read

Toyota 4Runners are excellent vehicles for cruising through off-roading terrains. Snowy or icy roads present many difficulties for drivers, which is why Toyota has done its best to improve its lineup for these conditions. Will you be able to drive your 4Runner in deep snow, or have the upgrades not been enough?

Toyota 4Runners are good in the snow because it has 4WD and a traction control system to handle sudden slips in dangerous winter conditions. The 4Runner has a nine-inch ground clearance and weighs 6,300 pounds, which is enough to provide optimal traction in varying weather patterns.

Throughout this article, we’ll discuss various 4Runner features that allow it to traverse through snowy roads without a problem. We’ll also cover why snow tires are an absolute must, whether or not your 4Runner needs snow gains, and how to improve it for unpredictable weather.

Toyota 4Runner in Deep Snow

Are you thinking about taking your 4Runner off-roading into deep snow or on icy roads? Snow can be difficult to navigate, but the Toyota 4Runner makes it as easy as possible. Everything from the ground clearance to multiple useful features makes it one of the top vehicles for treacherous on-road and off-road conditions.

Here are five reasons the Toyota 4Runner is good in deep snow:

  1. The 4Runner uses Toyota’s multi-terrain monitor. This system lets you analyze everything below and in front of the vehicle, preventing you from driving over unknown objects and dangerous snow patches. You can keep an eye on the road without rolling down your window or risking damaging your vehicle.
  2. It comes with a traction control system for quicker braking on slippery, unpredictable surfaces. This system supplies the ideal amount of power to the brakes and engine to conquer deep snowy areas without slipping. You can enjoy the added traction by clicking the ‘TCS’ button.
  3. Toyota 4Runners include 4WD transmissions to improve its traction and handling. Four-wheel-drive places power in all four tires, which prevents your vehicle from getting blocked or relying on two tires. It’s best to activate the 4WD mode before heading into snowy roads and off-road areas.
  4. The nine-inch ground clearance prevents this vehicle from getting stuck in the snow. Being too low to the ground will put your 4Runner at risk of scraping the ground or not being able to clear large obstacles. The vehicle’s ground clearance can be improved with lift kits and bigger tires.
  5. US News shows the 4Runner has a 4.0L V6 engine, which is enough power to cruise through deep snow. Power is a crucial component when driving in snowy conditions because it determines how well you can push through the powder. Furthermore, the 4Runner is heavy enough to improve its traction.

To see the Toyota 4Runner’s multi-terrain system in action, watch this helpful YouTube video:

Are Off-Road Tires Good for Snow?

Did you purchase the 4Runner’s off-road package or add brand-new off-road tires recently? Off-road tires are a top choice for many Overlanders and off-roaders, but they’re a questionable solution for driving through snowy conditions. Below, we’ll discuss the two most important factors to consider when using off-road tires while driving in the snow.

Off-Road Tires Are Suitable for Loose, Shallow Snow

If you’re driving the 4Runner off-road and want to use your off-road tires in the snow, you’ll find them perfectly suitable. They’re great for fresh, powdery snow that’s not dense, packed, or icy. Off-road tires are designed to move with the ground, which is why flexing snow isn’t a problem.

Snow Tires Are Better for Deep Snow and Icy Roads

Those driving on snowy roadways should switch to all-terrain or snow tires. General Tire explains off-road tires don’t provide enough traction on icy roads, making them a liability and endangering the driver. If you’re stuck between snow and off-road tires, there’s no better solution than all-terrain tires.

The 4Runner TRD package comes with off-road tires, which are perfect for dirt, mud, sand, and snowy off-road conditions. However, they’re not the best for dense snow. Take it slow and use Toyota’s traction control features to prevent the vehicle from slipping.

Toyota’s stock TRD off-road tires aren’t bad for snowy roads, but snow tires and all-terrain tires are better. When it comes to driving in off-road snow, the TRD’s stock tires are as good as it gets.

How to Make Your 4Runner Ready for the Snow

If you’re preparing for the upcoming winter season or want to drive up to the mountains, you’ll be interested in the three helpful tips in this section. The 4Runner comes ready to deal with snowy roads and icy conditions, but there are a few improvements you can make to make it much easier to navigate.

Try one or more of the following helpful tips to drive your 4Runner in the snow:

  • Consider getting a lift kit for your Toyota 4Runner. According to Big Chief Tire, lift kits range between 1.5 to 6 inches higher than the vehicle’s stock height. Sitting higher allows the 4Runner to stay above the snow and ice below it. The minor difference makes it taller than the Tacoma and Tundra’s stock ground clearance.
  • Compare all-terrain vs. snow tires. Off-road tires are great if you’re driving in snow, mud, and other wet winter conditions. However, all-terrain tires and snow tires should be your new go-to choice if your 4Runner is your daily commuter on snow-packed winter roads. They have better traction and treads designed for dense ice.
  • Familiarize yourself with the previously mentioned multi-terrain monitor and traction system. Even if you rarely drive in the snow, you should learn how to use these systems. They could be the sole factor between getting your vehicle stuck or slipping around the roads and a safe trip through snowy mountain roads.

Unless you’re driving through a blizzard, your 4Runner is likely ready to drive through snowy roads right off the car lot. However, adding these safety suggestions to your to-do list will provide priceless peace of mind, top-notch traction, and much less stressful snow-driving situations.

Does a 4Runner Need Snow Chains?

The 4Runner has a 4WD transmission that rolls through snow and almost any other terrain you’ll come across. By using all four tires, you don’t have to worry about the front or back set getting stuck in the snow.

Many roads require snow chains; So, will you have to attach them to your 4×4 4Runner, or are you good to drive through?

The 4×4 4Runner is well-equipped to handle snow and ice without using snow chains and other tire attachments. Most people feel comfortable driving their four-wheel-drive SUV through snowy roads, but snow chains aren’t a bad idea if you’re not accustomed to these conditions. You can attach chains for steep hills, too.

The Security Chain Company Tire Chains are an excellent, budget-friendly choice for those who want extra safety. They’re designed for traction control systems, AWD, 4WD, and many other features found on the 4Runner. These chains are easy to install and take less than five minutes, almost instantly making your vehicle safer to drive in snow, ice, and everything in between.


The 4Runner offers many exclusive features to help it navigate through snow without breaking a sweat. From its active traction control to the multi-terrain monitor, this vehicle is prepared for any weather conditions that come its way. You can rely on the 4WD transmission rather than using snow chains unless you’re worried about ultra-steep hills with icy roads.