Jeep Grand Cherokee Snow Mode: What You Need to Know

jeep grand cherokee snow mode

Driving in snowy and icy conditions can be nerve-wracking. Slippery roads, poor visibility, and reduced traction quickly turn winter weather from beautiful to frightening. But equipping and properly using the right features can make a world of difference.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Snow Mode is designed specifically to give drivers enhanced confidence, control and handling on snow-covered and icy roads.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Snow Mode in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. You’ll learn what it is, when to use it, how it works, tips for getting the most out of it, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Whether you’re a new Jeep owner or a seasoned winter driver, read on to get the full scoop so you can take on Old Man Winter with less worry and stress. Let’s dive in!

What is Snow Mode in the Jeep Grand Cherokee?

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Snow Mode is a special pre-programmed driving mode that optimizes vehicle performance for slippery, low-traction conditions caused by snow, ice, slush, and other winter precipitation.

It’s part of the Jeep Selec-Terrain traction management system that allows drivers to choose from different modes to match the current driving conditions. The settings for each mode are designed to provide the best vehicle control, stability, and handling for situations ranging from everyday driving to off-road terrain.

Snow Mode fine-tunes various vehicle systems to maximize traction and drivability when road friction is poor. It helps supply power to the wheels evenly to avoid slippage while minimizing wheel spin. It also facilitates smooth starts, stable handling, and precise steering on snowy and icy surfaces.

Activating Snow Mode essentially “winterizes” the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s transmission, throttle, brakes, and stability controls to master slippery winter roads. It’s ideal for drivers who live in areas with frequent winter storms or travel mountain passes and backroads prone to ice and snow buildup.

When Should You Use Snow Mode?

when should you use snow mode

Snow Mode is intended for use when driving in wintry conditions with snow, ice or slush accumulation on the road. It can be engaged proactively when you know you’ll be facing those conditions.

Here are some common situations where it’s recommended to use Snow Mode:

  • Heavy snowfall that covers the roads
  • Driving on snowy and icy backroads or mountain passes
  • Freezing rain or sleet that causes icy road surfaces
  • Driving in blizzard conditions with poor visibility
  • Traversing roads with packed snow ruts and slippery tracks
  • Navigating parking lots or sidewalks covered in snow
  • Driving in freezing fog which hides icy patches

The enhanced performance of Snow Mode helps compensate for reduced traction and gives you extra control in low-grip driving situations. It’s designed to activate the systems that maximize stability and prevent slipping and sliding.

In general, if you’re driving anytime the roads are snow-covered or icy, tap into the specialized programming of Snow Mode for confidence and safety. It can help you handle everything from a fluffy few inches of snow to a sheet of slippery black ice with ease.

How Does Snow Mode Work?

When you shift the Jeep Grand Cherokee into Snow Mode, it triggers various adjustments under the hood to ready the vehicle for the unique challenges of winter traction. Here’s a look at some of the key changes it makes:

  • Throttle response – Snow Mode remaps the throttle for softer, more gradual power delivery. This helps prevent wheel slip by moderating acceleration on low traction surfaces.
  • Transmission shift points – The transmission is optimized to shift earlier and start in 2nd gear for smoother, gentler starts in slippery conditions.
  • Torque distribution – More torque is channeled to the wheels that have the most grip to avoid spinout. This utilizies the benefits of an all-wheel drive system.
  • Traction control – The traction and stability controls are fine-tuned to activate sooner to mitigate slipping and sliding on snow and ice.
  • Vehicle dynamics – Other systems like ABS brakes and steering assist are optimized for winter conditions to improve control.

In essence, Snow Mode allows you to leverage your Jeep Grand Cherokee’s impressive off-road hardware for excellent snow and ice performance. The coordinated changes make acceleration, braking, steering, and handling more predictable and stable when you need it most.

What Settings Does Snow Mode Adjust?

To give you a more in-depth look, here are some of the key settings and parameters adjusted by Jeep Grand Cherokee Snow Mode:

  • Throttle – Snow Mode dials back throttle sensitivity so you get gradual power delivery to avoid wheel slip on acceleration. It also minimizes torque to a slipping wheel to maintain control.
  • Gear selection – The transmission starts in 2nd gear for smoother acceleration from a stop and avoids higher gears that could cause slippage.
  • Axle torque distribution – The all-wheel drive system varies torque front-to-rear and side-to-side for maximum traction. More torque goes to wheels with grip.
  • Brake assist – The ABS pump runs at higher pressure in Snow Mode for improved braking performance on low-traction surfaces.
  • Steering assist – The electronic power steering control is tuned for enhanced responsiveness and stability in snowy conditions.
  • Stability control – Vehicle stability assist activates earlier and controls throttle and wheel braking to avoid fishtailing or spinning out.
  • Descent control – The downhill descent feature maintains a controlled low speed even on steep, slick downhill grades.

As you can see, Snow Mode leaves no system untouched in its quest for ultimate winter traction. Let’s look at how easy it is to activate.

How to Activate Snow Mode in a Jeep Grand Cherokee?

Using the specialized programming of Snow Mode when you need it is simple and straightforward:

Step 1 – Locate the control dial for Selec-Terrain on the center console near the gear shifter.

Step 2 – Turn the dial to the Snow Mode position. An indicator light will illuminate to confirm activation.

Step 3 – Check your instrument cluster for a message that Snow Mode is engaged. The cluster also displays a snowflake icon when active.

Step 4 – Set the gear shifter to Drive and ease onto the accelerator for controlled acceleration.

Step 5 – Drive with extra care and allow extra distance for braking. Avoid abrupt steering inputs.

Tip: You can activate Snow Mode while driving or stopped. Engage it at the first sign of snow or ice accumulation for optimal performance.

The Selec-Terrain dial provides one-touch convenience to take advantage of the Grand Cherokee’s excellent foul weather drivability. Just turn and go with confidence!

Tips for Using Snow Mode Effectively

While Snow Mode can certainly help you maintain control in winter conditions, it’s not a magic button that eliminates all risk. For optimal safety and performance, keep these tips in mind:

  • Only drive in as much snow as you’re comfortable with. Don’t overestimate capabilities.
  • Allow significant extra stopping distance andavoid sudden braking and acceleration.
  • Steer gently and avoid sharp turns to prevent skidding and sliding.
  • Drive with extreme caution if visibility is low or traction seems limited.
  • Keep a light, steady foot on the gas pedal and build speed slowly to avoid wheel slip.
  • Gear down for more engine braking traction to help slow on hills and slippery spots.
  • Don’t rely solely on Snow Mode in severe snow – consider snow tires and chains.
  • Carry emergency supplies like food, water, blankets, flashlight, etc. in case you get stuck.
  • Keep your winter driving skills sharp with routine practice in snow and ice.

Used prudently along with smart winter driving practices, Snow Mode can help expand your vehicle’s cold weather capability. But a little extra care goes a long way for staying safe.

The Benefits of Snow Mode for Winter Driving

Let’s quickly recap some of the notable benefits Snow Mode offers Jeep Grand Cherokee drivers combatting icy and snowy roads:

  • Enhanced traction and torque control – Optimized throttle, gearing, and torque distribution help maximize grip.
  • Minimized wheel slippage – Gentler throttle input and proactive traction control reduce sliding and spin outs.
  • Smoother acceleration – Gradual throttle response and 2nd gear starts make acceleration more controlled.
  • Improved handling – Enhanced vehicle dynamics, steering, and stability control allow nimbler reactions.
  • Increased driver confidence – Specialized Jeep systems give you a sense of security in nasty conditions.
  • Safer winter driving – All the optimizations combine to let you drive more safely in low traction situations.

Snow Mode certainly gives Jeep owners key advantages over drivers of lesser all-weather vehicles. But it can’t entirely compensate for poor conditions, so reasonable precautions are still essential.

Snow Mode vs Other Jeep Grand Cherokee Driving Modes

The Grand Cherokee’s Selec-Terrain system features several driving modes tailored for different scenarios. Here’s a quick rundown of how Snow Mode differs from the other available settings:

  • Auto – The default mode tuned for everyday driving on dry pavement. Less aggressive than Snow Mode.
  • Sport – Optimized for higher-performance driving with later shifts and more engine torque. Not for low traction.
  • Sand/Mud – Specialized for loose, slippery soft-terrain with altered throttle for maximum low-end torque and grip.
  • Rock – Ultra-low gearing allows precise low-speed rock crawling by optimizing AWD torque distribution.

As you can see, each mode is engineered for specific driving conditions to give you peak control and handling. Snow Mode stands out with programming developed expressly for the unique challenges of snow and ice.

Frequently Asked Questions about Snow Mode

Let’s wrap up with answers to some common questions about getting the most from the Grand Cherokee’s Snow Mode:

Is Snow Mode absolutely necessary for winter driving?

Snow Mode is not mandatory but highly recommended for snow and ice. It provides a big confidence and control boost in slippery conditions.

Does Snow Mode work well in deep snow?

Yes, the enhanced traction helps in moderate unplowed snow, but use good judgment based on conditions.

Can I use Snow Mode on dry pavement?

You can, but it’s tailored for low traction situations, so Auto or Sport modes are preferable on dry roads.

How does Snow Mode affect fuel economy?

The transmission and throttle adjustments may reduce fuel economy slightly. But safer winter driving has far more impact.

Will Snow Mode help me get unstuck?

It can help avoid getting stuck, but tread slowly and carry emergency gear in case you need to dig out.

Snow Mode is a smart winter companion for Jeep Grand Cherokee owners who want to feel more secure when the mercury drops. Learn how to maximize its benefits and drive accordingly, and you can master Old Man Winter.

Key Takeaways on Jeep Grand Cherokee Snow Mode

Let’s recap the key pointers to remember about Snow Mode:

  • It’s a specialized Jeep Grand Cherokee setting for low-traction winter conditions
  • Optimizes drivetrain and vehicle systems to maximize winter traction and control
  • Helps supply power smoothly to avoid wheel slip on acceleration
  • Enhances handling, braking, stability, and steering in ice and snow
  • Easy to activate via the Selec-Terrain dial on the center console
  • Provides excellent cold weather capability but doesn’t eliminate the need for safe driving
  • Works best when used proactively before hitting snowy roads
  • Gives drivers added confidence but shouldn’t encourage overdriving conditions


We’ve covered a lot of ground detailing how Jeep Grand Cherokee Snow Mode works and how it can simplify winter driving. The specialized programming integrated into the Selec-Terrain system gives you an expertly engineered tool for taking on icy, snow-covered roads.

Use Snow Mode routinely when driving in wintry precipitation to optimize traction, throttle response, gearing, torque distribution, and vehicle stability. Allow extra stopping distance, avoid abrupt maneuvers, and drive defensively at all times.

With smart preparation and prudent use of its capabilities, Snow Mode can help any Jeep Grand Cherokee driver feel safer and have one less thing to worry about when Old Man Winter comes calling. Just turn the dial and drive on confidently into the snow.

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