Kizashi Club

Your Kizashi Owners Club and Forum 

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 #46144  by sgtsampay
 Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:03 pm
Good morning all. This past fall I bought myself a lovely, southern 2012 Kizashi S trim AWD car. Overall I love the car and it reminds me of a much better looking and fun SX4 which I used to have and loved. The only difference I have noticed is the awd system seems to not always respond during the past snow storm.
Example: If I’m at a stand still and slam the gas it only spins the front two wheels and then after a couple seconds it may use the rear or if you let up the pedal and then press it again. Or if you are making a turn it will keep under steering for a couple seconds. Which esp off it doesn’t steer as bad but still doesn’t feel like the tank the sx4 was.

During the same storm I went down a road with about 8in of snow in it and made it through but at the end the awd system says it overheated and was turning off. So restarted the car and it worked fine with no more message. I also turned off esp at that point and it never gave me a message again.

Finally, that same day I had to back my car out of the garage in about 8inof snow as the driveway still wasn’t plowed, and it did it but then said the awd overheated, so I restarted the engine to clear the message.

Can someone please tell me what’s going on and if I’m doing something wrong or something? I feel like I’m missing something here or perhaps the car has an issue.. thanks all.
 #46145  by FrankoLaMoya
 Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:54 pm
That's very interesting. I never had that ''overheating'' message and I plowed through a good 10 big storms with a good 25-30 cm of snow without any issue. I don't know what the issue is, but it is definitely not normal as 8 inchs/20 cm of snow is not much. I actually had prepared my camera last week to take some footage from my hood as 35 to 45 cm was announced. I laughted when I got out and did not install the camera on my hood as we only got about 15-20 cm after all.
 #46148  by CG1
 Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:23 pm
I can't comment on the overheating, but the actuation of the AWD system in my Kizashi is as you described, employed with a significant delay followed by overcompensation at the rear wheels. That being the case, I had the same reaction that you did the first time I drove the car in snowy conditions (which always includes trying to drift in empty parking lots). Needless to say, that fantasy ended abruptly. Considered a driving 'aid' it's probably more of a hindrance, in anything but a slow section of mud/snow that the car may need trudge through in a relatively straight line.

So, yeah, +1 on the letdown. (That AWD drive badge on the trunk still makes me feel a bit filthy every time I see it).
 #46149  by KuroNekko
 Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:57 pm
WESHOOT2 wrote:Might consider having both diffs and transfer case fluids changed.


Yes, start with this.

Second, tires are more important than AWD system. If the AWD isn't working to your satisfaction, get better winter tires. A FWD with winter tires will grip snow better than an AWD with A/S or Summer tires.

Lastly, as you suspected, the Kizashi and the SX4 don't have the same AWD system. The SX4 used a system that allowed a center differential lock from what I recall. This is said to greatly help in deeper snow. The Kizashi on the contrary uses a FWD-biased AWD system you can't lock. Much like the Kizashi is a better road car than the SX4, the SX4 is a better AWD vehicle for the purpose of driving off of the pavement and in inclement weather conditions.
 #46150  by sgtsampay
 Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:10 pm
Thanks for the reply’s. I have brand new aftermarket rims with some nice new tires. Not the eco summer type that was one it. They are very good in the snow for sure. I also did change the rear diff fluid when I bought the car. The dealer changed it along with the antifreeze as part of th deal and they are the only dealer I trust in Maine. Lol. I haven’t changed the front diff fluid and didn’t know about it. I knew about Tranny fluid but not front diff. Finally, how does one know if the rear tires are engaging for certain? Any ideas?
 #46151  by WESHOOT2
 Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:43 pm
To test my AWD I mash the gas from a slow roll and watch snow spew from each wheel.

I have a different snow-driving experience in my Kizashi, perhaps because by always being on the gas my car 'learns' my behavior and proportions more power to the rears.

Possibly I delude meself :shock:


I drive in the snow often.
 #46153  by Ronzuki
 Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:58 pm
These cars were never designed to 'plow' through 8" of snow, period. Between the super low ground clearance and the flat bottom undercarriage coverings, you'll simply end up on top of the snow eventually and the wheels will lose traction and spin until the viscous coupling overheats and the electronics shut it down to prolong its life. These cars (SX4 and Kizashi) are not equipped with traditional full-time or even part-time 4WD systems. To think in those terms is an error. The K's AWD shines in rainy weather, plowed snow/packed snow that doesn't exceed ground clearance (which is next to nothing) and dry pavement twistie-road rage maneuvering. The SX4s are additionally equipped with an AWD LOCK mode (via switch) that functions up to 7 or 10mph and then disengages reverting back to AUTO AWD as long as the AWD switch is on. It disengages lock above 7 or 10mph because excessive wheel spin heats up the viscous coupling. Too much heat too often and your viscous coupler ceases to exist after a while as far as AWD is concerned. This coupler is not located IN the rear differential, it's externally attached to the rear diffs input pinion, so I fail to see what changing the rear diff's fluid is going to do to cause the viscous coupler to function any better unless of course the diff's factory break-in fluid was never changed at the recommended 7500 miles and has morphed into tar, then I could see the lack of AWD traction and the coupling overheating. If that's the case however, you have much bigger problems.
 #46154  by WESHOOT2
 Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:42 pm
Deep snow tore my rear brake line guides' rubber out.
Fixed it yesterday.

I've already torn off every other underbody panel; the oil pan cover is wired-tied on.
 #46156  by sgtsampay
 Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:14 pm
Ronzuki wrote:These cars were never designed to 'plow' through 8" of snow, period. Between the super low ground clearance and the flat bottom undercarriage coverings, you'll simply end up on top of the snow eventually and the wheels will lose traction and spin until the viscous coupling overheats and the electronics shut it down to prolong its life. These cars (SX4 and Kizashi) are not equipped with traditional full-time or even part-time 4WD systems. To think in those terms is an error. The K's AWD shines in rainy weather, plowed snow/packed snow that doesn't exceed ground clearance (which is next to nothing) and dry pavement twistie-road rage maneuvering. The SX4s are additionally equipped with an AWD LOCK mode (via switch) that functions up to 7 or 10mph and then disengages reverting back to AUTO AWD as long as the AWD switch is on. It disengages lock above 7 or 10mph because excessive wheel spin heats up the viscous coupling. Too much heat too often and your viscous coupler ceases to exist after a while as far as AWD is concerned. This coupler is not located IN the rear differential, it's externally attached to the rear diffs input pinion, so I fail to see what changing the rear diff's fluid is going to do to cause the viscous coupler to function any better unless of course the diff's factory break-in fluid was never changed at the recommended 7500 miles and has morphed into tar, then I could see the lack of AWD traction and the coupling overheating. If that's the case however, you have much bigger problems.


Wow! What a load of information as expected from you guys on this form. Yes, I have noticed the car is very low to ground, and the under the car plastic panels on my car. I don’t have that many and I didn’t have to remove any to change the oil. It was all exposed, so I wonder is someone removed them long ago..

The car ran well last night after work. Most of He main rains were just wet and the couple had some packed snow which to my surprise, didn’t give me any wheel spin even when I pushed her a little hard. I did a roll on full throttle test and then a sharp corner test with no troubles. Mabye that’s the trouble. In the several cases I had troubles with th car it was in non packed snow and deep around 8 or so in.. I guess continuation of testing is needed. I got the car at 58k mikes with no detailed records besides oil changes..