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Winter Driving - are you prepared?

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  • 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: 18,661
    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.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • 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: 18,661
    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. ;)

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • 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: 1,622
    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.
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