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Winter Driving - are you prepared?

24

Comments

  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    kitty litter - a staple of all snowbelt drivers!
  • pour it on the tires. it softens up the rubber for better traction. used to do this when I drove delivery trucks.
  • bigdog, can you give us some review on those snoclaws after you use them? I am very interested in its overall performance, such as snow/ice traction, handling, noise, ride comfort, and wear and tear.
    Thanks.
  • Hi folks, just found and joined this board today, Glad i found it. I live in the midwest (but heart is downsouth another story) but one of the absolute best winter time things I've found to carry with other than those already mentioned is..... Kitty liter that's right the cheap stuff and a medium sized plastic drinking cup to toss it with, if you find yourself on a slick surface and just can't get any traction toss a couple of cupfuls in front or back of your drive tires depending on the direction you are wanting to go and wa-la you be moving in a heart beat. works every time unless of course there is a few feet of snow in your way. Once the bag is opened I keep it in a garbage bag with a tie top so it doesn't get all over the car, but believe me it's gotten me out of trouble more than once. I now insist that my wife and kids carry it in the winter as well. I once got a large gas (propane hauling truck) un-stuck out of my drive way with it and used less than a couple of handfuls under each tire. What I don't use I just store in the shed until the next winter. Once you try it you will be a believer!!!
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 20,659
    That's good advice. I've gotten out of the habit of carrying Kitty Litter since our cats went to the Big Litter Box in the Sky.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • Hey, sorry I didn't notice this question earlier. Yeah, I would be happy to give a review of the snoclaws.

    At first I was a bit surprised at how bumpy they were, but thats really just on hard surfaces. As soon as you get on the soft stuff they smooth right out. Its really amazing how well they work. I have an AWD Element and I tried them out on the front with no difficulties whatsoever. I would highly recommend them.

    I can't wait to try them out in the sand and mud.
  • la4meadla4mead Posts: 347
    Were you able to get a "feel" for how durable they were after you used them? Or, better yet, if they look like there were any weak points after you used them that might cause them to fray in the future. I'm concerned that they might come apart while driving, and take out an ABS sensor, brake line, or fender.

    I've had great success with "Z" cables on my motorhome (equipped with ABS) and RX300 with elect traction/ABS in the steep icy inclines at Mammoth. But always looking for something smoother, lighter, easier to deal with, and less potential for vehicle damage.

    Thanks for the "road test report".
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    what are we all doing to prepare for SUMMER driving?

    I'm packing sunglasses and a windshield sunshade to keep my car not so hot when I go to park outside in the burning sun.
  • needgneedg Posts: 13
    Hi all,

    I could use some good winter driving advice to help select my next car. I don't deal with snow daily, but make 12-15 trips each year to tahoe on the weekends and need a car that can handle moderate snow levels. Because I won't be driving in snow on a daily basis, snow tires are not an option.

    If I get an AWD system (looking at the new G), when would it be necessary to put chains on? Do you put chains on all 4 tires in that case? And, when Northern CA has the road restrictions to "chains or AWD with Snow Tires" would I be able to get past with AWD and all seasons?

    I apologize if these seem like silly questions to winter drivers (born and raised in AZ where we just have to worry about how much sun block to wear), but before I buy a car with AWD I would like to know how much use I would be able to get out of it. I like the idea of AWD, but if I have to put chains on when road restrictions are posted then its not worth the hassle.

    If I get RWD car, do I just have to put chains on the rear tires, or fronts as well? And, would a 300hp RWD car with traction control be unwieldy in the snow with chains? I have a 200hp FWD without traction control that is manageable, but still feels a little too out of control at times for comfort in icy conditions.

    Thanks for any advice.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    What are you looking for in terms of price range? You could get anything from a Subaru Forester XT to a Lexus GS AWD or a BMW 330xi, or a G35 AWD or a Volvo AWD. I would get ESC/traction control, which I believe is available on all of these model in 2007.

    As for the road restrictions, I think I call is in order to the CA DOT. Good luck.
  • needgneedg Posts: 13
    Thanks for the response. I would most likely get a 2007 G35x if I went the AWD route, but I would think other AWD cars would perform comparable enough.

    All the cars that I am looking at have traction control, but I have no experience in the snow with AWD, RWD or FWD with traction control(with 260+ hp/torque). My snow experience has been FWD, 200hp, no traction control and I have driven through light to moderate snow storms with it. I would like to hear from people with the other types of drive systems (AWD, RWD, or FWD with traction control), and their experiences in the snow.

    Also, I have only had to deal with chains on a fwd car, so I would like to know if chains are placed on all four tires for RWD and AWD(when mandated). If anybody has tried to pass road restriction checkpoints with AWD and all-season tires I would also like to hear their experiences.

    I am currently in touch with the CA DOT, but their response is the same "AWD with snow tires". I would like to know if this in enforced during light snow storms, as my experience with cars flying by me without chains leads me to believe that not all of them have snow tires.

    Thanks for the help.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 20,659
    chains are not neccessary except in the most extreme conditions. Modern snow tires are fantastic and four of them combined with a good car and modern traction control systems work pretty well regardless of which wheels are driven.

    I used to commute to work in New Hampshire employing cars that had FWD, AWD and RWD, always equipped with good snows and ABS brakes.

    The CHP may have a different view and I am not familiar with conditions in Cali.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I drove a 330i for a few years without snow tires. One of my cars is an AWD turbo and it is fast. I didn't have any issues with driving it on the snow. You have to get used to the car.

    As far as AWD with snow tires, I think you got the answer.
  • I watch the Weather Channel carefully and plan any driving trips around the weather. Also, I try not to drive whenever conditions are poor. The Long Island Railroad worked okay during last year's blizzard and I made it into NYC for a concert at Carnegie Hall.

    Just in case, I have a Subaru Outback with AWD with Bridgestone Blizzak winter tires on all four wheels. They should last four years and by switching out of my summer tires I extend their life also. It's like buying an insurance policy and never really wanting to collect on it.

    Thanks to all posters. I learned alot from your great tips.
  • bigfurbigfur Posts: 649
    Chains??? Here in Minnesota you get a huge fine if you put chains on your tires and are caught driving on public roads. Two best rules i have learned in driving FWD RWD and 4WD in the snow is this. One, slow down. Leave extra time to get where you going. As they say, speed kills. Two, if its THAT bad...call in sick. If you absolutely must get into work on the worst days of the year (dr ems fire fighter police etc etc) get a 4WD with plenty of ground clearance.
  • Chains are required on I-50, I-80 going to Tahoe. Be advised. Some tips:

    As a rule, always carry chains when you go to the mountains to be on
    the safe side.

    Where can you buy chains?

    Costco, Walmart, any auto parts stores just about

    How to install chains?

    Suggest you try practicing chain installation in non-snow conditions
    to perfect it. Have a auto tool kit handy with gloves, ice scraper,
    de-icer, flashlight (the one which you can wear on your head is good
    since it frees up your hands and don't forget the batteries).

    Follow your chain installation instructions. Worst case scenario - pay
    the Tahoe chain installers to install your chains at a fee of $25
    (last I heard).

    What's the best chains for my car?

    Should I buy snow tires? What's good?

    Call. Shop around. Ask your tire expert questions. Ask your friends who bought snow tires.

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  • Not silly questions at all. Silly is when you go to Reno without chains, had them put on the wrong axles by the road-side 'chain monkeys' and then falling off on top of Donner Pass (actually happened to us)... No fun driving one ONE chain on the wrong drive wheel.

    All seasons and snow tires are different, but you maybe to get away with 4WD and all seasons depending on how bad the roads are and the level of 'Chain Control' the DOT requires, see below.

    The DOT has 3 levels of 'Chain Controls':

    http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo/chcontrl.htm

    Basically:

    R1 - 2WD chains required. 4WD all tires okay.
    R2 - 2WD chains required. 4WD snow tires required.
    R3 - ALL vehicles (2WD & 4WD) must have chains.

    You should be able to get by with AWD only in most situations (R1). R3 is not common (but does happen) and pretty bad road-wise, probably should stay home unless you really have to be there that day. R3 is where we got stuck with one chain on the wrong 2WD drive axle. No fun!

    On a 2WD, you want to put the chains on the drive axles, rear for RWD, front for FWD, etc. I suppose you can put chains on all wheels if you like, but the DOT doesn't require it.

    Oh, and try to get some -20 or -30 degrees windshield washer fluid when you get up there. The regular stuff they sell in no-snow area freeze badly in a blizzard.
  • I'm concerned that my desire to be economical and save a few bucks is going to get me killed. We just bought and financed a new Accord, and have a lot of student loans to pay off, so we're trying to get a little more mileage out of our 1997 Nissan Sentra (I'd ideally love to get to Spring of 2008 before buying another car). It's got 120K miles on it, and runs okay. And I only drive 20 miles a day (10 miles each way to work) and then park it on the weekends. I don't need a lot of car, in other words. I just want something that will be reliable and safe, and otherwise, it's going to sit in a parking lot all day, and my driveway all weekend.

    The catch is, I don't feel especially safe in the car on these roads, and know that we are just biding our time on reliability. We just moved this summer to Northern New Jersey, so this is my first winter driving here, and my first winter ever driving in winter conditions (we're from the southeast). Plus, the drivers here are very aggressive, and anyone who knows the '97 Sentra knows it has NO power--zero. I get blown off the road every day driving to and from work on the highways here, and just hold my breath those 20 miles hoping I'm not in a major accident.

    AND we haven't even had bad winter weather yet here in NJ. So, after all that build-up, I guess I'm wondering what I can do to make sure this car is as ready for severe weather as possible, if there really is anything I can do to prepare, or am I kidding myself and just need to accept that if I want these cost savings we're getting each month the trade off will be some safety/security.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 20,659
    The best things you could do to make your old Sentra safe for winter driving:

    1) Get a set of four dedicated snows and put them on, you'll have no trouble with traction or braking except in the most severe conditions. It's relatively expensive but you'll save wear and tear on your regular tires.

    2)When it does snow, find an isolated, empty parking lot and throw your car around a bit on it to become famiar with the limits and behavior of the car.

    3) Stay home if it's really bad out or take public transportation.

    You might have truoble grasping this if you're from Dixie but winters in New Jersey are usually fairly mild with only one or two bad storms (6" or more). Anyone from upper New England or the Great Lakes States would tell you they're a peice of cake. ;)

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • Driving/Performance and Handling

    Background: My name is Amy, and I guess by the name it tells you I’m a girl. I live in Central Vermont, and went to school in Michigan so I had my share of winter driving and got stuck way too many times. I work in a rather professional office so I wear a lot of skirts and dresses. I have a 2003 Mustang with manual transmission and a 2006 Mustang with automatic transmission. On this particular night I had my 2006 Mustang, it has all season tires on it, and this was the first time in the snow with it. I had left work about 7pm, we had a 3 inch mixture of snow and ice on the roads and cars, it was still snowing lightly. Actually due to my being somewhat of an air head I had to let the car warm up about 15 minutes because I neglected to put a snow brush and ice scraper in the car. So after warming the car up, I struggled to get the car our of my parking space and out of the parking lot, and managed to make my way to the entrance ramp to the interstate, a normal 10 minute drive which this night took about 30 minutes. The entrance ramp was clogged with cars trying to make it up, so I thought that I would drive to my tennis club to burn a little time and use the ladies room because by now I had to go sooooo badly. The club is located in a part of an industrial complex, I turned onto the road leading to the club, and was not picky as to where to park which was a parallel parking space in front of the building, only to find the place closed. The area where my club is, is not widely traveled and you somewhat have to go out of your way to find it. Once back in the car I found myself stuck so badly, spinning my wheels helplessly. Not that I mind being stuck, because for me I feel sexy and helpless spinning my wheels in my Mustangs, and you often meet some real cute hunks who are more than gladly to rescue the “damsel in distress”, however I was really not going anywhere, and I was getting frantic because of my need to use the ladies room also. I think I was there for a total of two hours, when a plow operator who plows the club parking lot came by and helped me out of my situation. I finally made it home about an hour or so later.

    Question: I would like to know from you guys other than getting new tires, which might or might not of helped what a girl should keep in her car so that she was have a decent chance to getting out of a situation (if I want to) again I know there are going to be times when I might not be able to do it on my own, however I would just say like to have an 80% chance at it. I really would like a list which could be a survival kit for female drivers in the snow.

    .
  • wtd44wtd44 Posts: 1,211
    Put weight in the trunk, like sand bags. Carry a grain shovel for the snow. Keep ski pants, or at least jeans in the trunk. Be careful who you attract for help. Use your cell phone. ;)
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    I see they moved your post to a better forum, and you toned down the racy parts, eh? ;)

    Best thing you can do with a Mustang in heavy snow is not drive it. Even with all season tires, the combination of high torque, rwd and a light rear end does not for a good snow vehicle make.

    But if that's not an option, best things you can do to try to compensate for the Mustang's issues are:

    - bags of kitty litter or sand or salt in the trunk. They'll weight your rear down some, which will help with traction. Also, you can sprinkle the aforementioned contents on the ground to provide a traction path.

    - collapsable shovel. You can dig down to the pavement under your wheels.

    Finally, in those situations, start her very gradually in second gear to minimize wheelspin, and go really easy on the gas pedal.
  • traumertraumer Posts: 19
    For your Mustang put on 4 Winter Tires and you will get around much better. Put those winter tires on wheels of their own so you can istall them yourself next winter.
    You can go to tirerack.com for winter tires and wheels specifically rated for your Mustang. Also drive in a lower gear in deep snow and on ice.

    All season tires aren't made for heavy winter driving, you can get by with them if your carefull but Winter Tires will really surprise you how easy it is to get around on ice and snow.
  • I had a cell phone, however there are some areas where I live where the mountains actually block the cell phone signal. I don't know what a grain shovel is, however I will look into it. Once with my old mustang I was stuck, and put kitty litter under the tires, it had a clay base to it and made things actually worse for me. I really appreciate your answer and your help.
  • What type of snow tires would you recommend please? Thanks you very much for your help, your answers are very much appreciated.
  • traumertraumer Posts: 19
    A grain shovel is just a large scoop shovel, they now make them in plastic or aluminium, some in heavy steel(too heavy).
  • traumertraumer Posts: 19
    go to this site http://www.tirerack.com/ and type in your Mustang info. I did it for an 2006 Mustang and it came up with 6 different brands of tires with size 215/65HR16 and the Bridgestone Blizzak REVO1 was one of them at $80 each. This is a popular tire. Select that you want wheels with them and you wil get a price.
  • Thank you very much for your time and kindness, you have been so helpful with your answers. I really appreciate you taking your time and helping me.
  • I somehow thought I could get by with All Seasons, I was able to get by with my older Mustang, however it was a manual transmission, and maybe I was used to driving that more. I think though on this night in addition to the snow I might have been stuck ice ruts left by others who parked there. Do snow tires perform better in/on the ice also?
    Again thank you for your help.
  • traumertraumer Posts: 19
    Winter Tires are made with a softer rubber compound so that when its freezing outside the tires won't be frozen stiff and will grab the surface better in cold weather.

    Winter tires are made special to run in snow and on ice. They have hundreds of sipes (small cuts) on the thread surface to grab onto the ice. This is all a very simple answer from me. At tirerack.com read the articles about winter tires and you will find out why winter tires are the best way to go.
  • traumertraumer Posts: 19
    I live in North Dakota and have winter tires on my 4 cylinder Honda Accord and I get around with no trouble at all on ice or snow. I work rotating shift work and have to travel about 80 miles round trip to work on the interstate and then mostly on two lane highway. With my hours I'm always on the road before the snowplows and have to drive on very bad roads at times. After switching from all season tires to winter tires I get around so much easier now.
  • My old Mustang is a manual transmission, with all season. I usually was able to get around most of the time, got stuck a many times, and was usually able to rock it out, occasionally I would need a push, and this is the first year though with an automatic. Of course having to use the ladies room as badly as I had to and not being very picky about finding a better parking location and I think being as frantic as I was did not help, because I am sure that I nailed it at first trying to get out to find somewhere else to go. I do very much appreciate you taking time to help me with my questions.
  • Well eighty miles is quite a trip, mine in only 53 miles one way give or take a few depending upon which rout you would like to take. Normally it takes slightly a little over an hour to get home. One snowstorm though with my 2003 Mustang it took seven hours to get home, most of it due to traffic being slow, I got stuck several times, however there were plenty of helping hands. Some of the guys who got stuck though did not have the help I had, so it goes to show being female at times does help.

    And with my 1995 Camaro being an inexperience driver in the snow, I was once stuck so bad and for so long I ruined the transmission, which was an automatic. Thought you might like to know a little more.

    Once again thank you for the advice and help with my questions. Sorry for all the questions.
  • ontopontop Posts: 279
    Just wondering what snow is?
  • bigfurbigfur Posts: 649
    No offence intended but....shut up! :P haha
  • meateatermeateater Posts: 123
    Just wondering what snow is?

    I think its the powdery stuff that somehow falls to the ground in places where its like living in a freezer.
  • wtd44wtd44 Posts: 1,211
    If you get an aluminum grain shovel, you won't define snow, but you'll be able to throw it away from your car tires with precision and EASE.
  • Not doing anything except lettin er warm up.

    John,
    http://www.dripslipper.com
  • smithedsmithed Posts: 444
    "Do snow tires perform better in/on the ice also?"

    Ice is very slippery. Metal studded tires or chains do better. Snow tires are not much advantage on ice, because the sipes can't grip a solid substance like ice, whereas snow can get into the sipes and provide grip. Stopping on ice is a realy adventure. :surprise:
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,712
    I gotta disagree with you on that.
    I have a 30,000 lb service truck that wasn't very sure footed on ice until I went with siped tires on the steer axle. Once the front tires were siped, I didn't have half the problems.

    So I would have to say that I am convinced.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 20,659
    "Do snow tires perform better in/on the ice also?"

    Yes and no. As previously suggested you need studs or chains to stop well on glare ice but snow tires are made to be flexible in low temps that might cause regular tires to become very rigid and lose grip.

    Snows are also designed to trap snow in their grooves and this packed snow actually helps keep the tire from slipping
    as it makes contact with snow on the pavement.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • ray80ray80 Posts: 1,655
    I think that kinda depends also. The studless winter tires are made of softer compound that is better on ice then the studable winter tires that may be harder compound.
  • Yes and no. As previously suggested you need studs or chains to stop well on glare ice but snow tires are made to be flexible in low temps that might cause regular tires to become very rigid and lose grip.

    Snows are also designed to trap snow in their grooves and this packed snow actually helps keep the tire from slipping
    as it makes contact with snow on the pavement


    I find this response rather uninformed.

    A modern winter friction tire has very good traction on ice. The physics of ice driving are that ice is slippery due to the water layer on top of the ice. The ~ 1000 pounds of pressure exerted by the tire on the ice also acts to melt the ice somewhat. That is why black ice that forms near 32F is so deadly... there is always a substantial water layer. At very cold temperatures, you actually get decent traction on ice since there is no water layer.

    What modern tires do is place lots of siping cuts in the tire to displace the water layer. The rubber compound is also much softer than a summer tire or all-season tire and this aids grip in cold weather.

    On ice, the weight of the car is a really big factor. A 5,000+ pound AWD SUV will perform much worse braking and cornering on ice than a 2500 pound FWD car equipped with equivalent tires. I run the studded Nokian Hakkapeliitta SUV on my Mountaineer. I'd been running Nokian Hakkapeliitta Q friction tires on my recently sold VW GTI. On ice, the VW with friction tires out-performed the SUV with studs.

    I just bought another GTI and I'm doing my research since friction tires have evolved since the last time I bought them. Last year, Consumer Reports rated the Michelin X-Ice as their top performer. Aftonbladet, a Swedish newspaper, does extensive winter tire reviews and rated five friction tires as a tie. The X-Ice and the Nokian Hakkapeliitta RSi were on the list. I'll likely either get Tire Rack to ship me a set of X-Ice mounted on wheels with tire pressure monitors or buy Nokians locally and find used wheels from a take-off.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I run the studded Nokian Hakkapeliitta SUV on my Mountaineer.

    You don't run them on the east coast. :)
  • ray80ray80 Posts: 1,655
    But it may be a good time to check tire pressures (not that we don't all the time anyway ;) ). We had our first pretty good storm last week and I found myself slipping a little more then I should (even with good winter tires) and checked pressures this weekend........... Down abot 10 lbs from where they should be :mad: after only being on the car about a month and a half (25 degree temp change in that time). Much better today after correcting.
  • Hi. In lieu of not being able to find a suitable AWD vehicle for Portland OR, I am now deciding to equip my trusty Malibu Maxx with 4 winter tires until the right car shows up.

    Blizzak series 60 seems to be the most promising tire I can find.

    However, because I live on a 500' high mountain in Portland, we are plagued with "snow thresholds" that can give us occasional snow and ice while the surrounding areas get rain.
    The mountain makes for hills, and I have a FWD traction control system that cuts power rather than brakes the spinning wheel. I can turn the traction system off as needed.

    Can forum members here tell me how the Blizzaks hold up in cold, rainy circumstances with occasional snow and ice? Will the tread wear as fast as it would on a dry road? How many seasons of use can I get from the tires, assuming I don't rev or spin them a lot?
  • ny540i6ny540i6 Posts: 518
    Can forum members here tell me how the Blizzaks hold up in cold, rainy circumstances with occasional snow and ice? Will the tread wear as fast as it would on a dry road? How many seasons of use can I get from the tires, assuming I don't rev or spin them a lot?

    I've used other Blizzaks in NY, however I am not familiar with the WS60 - I think they are the newest of the Blizzaks. My first set had the multicell special snow compound that gave great snow/ice traction. They were also very good in rainy, cold weather. The only knocks against them were that they were a bit "squishy" for me, though I don't see this as a problem for the Malibu, and that you have to be very vigilant about swapping them out once snow season is over, else they wear like crazy...

    As for how many seasons, I was able to get about 25 thousand miles (2 seasons plus) from my first set. There was still some tread left, and they were actually fine as all seasons, however I wanted to try something else, so I got my current set of LM22s, and I'm happy with them too.

    Hope this helps.
  • Opps..! Have been away for a while, I recently had a baby, who is keeping me very busy right now.
  • ray80ray80 Posts: 1,655
    'Opps..! Have been away for a while, I recently had a baby, who is keeping me very busy right now'

    They have a tendancy to do that, congrats BTW
  • thanks for info, ny540i6.
    sounds very promising!
    anyone else ?
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