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Author Topic: Weight in the trunk improves traction
bruce down under
Deck the Malls


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Extra weight over the driven wheels in something like a pickup or a van can be a help if they are rear-wheel-drive. Bear in mind that these vehicles are sprung for a load and therefore have stiffer rear springs.

These stiffer springs don't allow as much rearward weight transfer under acceleration (squat) and so can allow excess wheelspin.

Posters are quite correct that the load can increase the severity of a slide in wet / snowy /icy conditions. Good old inertia, as already stated.

If you're not using your pickup / van to carry loads or only for small loads, think about getting the rear springs replaced with a softer set. You'll find it's more comfortable, as well.

In a front-drive car, the back wheels are really just there to stop the tail lights from dragging. Keep the front wheels pointed where you want to go, and use the throttle (gas) pedal with circumspection.

I have a front-drive Mazda and it's a bit of a handful on a slippery road - instant oversteer if I try to turn into a corner while still under hard braking. I'd be interested to try it with some weight in the back - I'll be taking it to a skid pan soon - maybe then.


Bruce Down Under

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
I don't get much opportunity to drive on snow and ice here, but about ten or eleven years ago I had a little Peugeot 205 in semi-rural south east England. It had front wheel drive, and with the weight of a 1.8 litre diesel engine up front the front wheels never lost grip. The rear wheels, however, frequently broke loose on icy roads until I took to putting a couple of 55lb sacks of potatoes in the boot.
It all depends on the car, many don't benefit from more weight in front.

I don't mind that much if the rear wheels occasionally slip on a front wheel drive, it's so easy to fix (except on newer Volvos, who manages to get all the problems of a rear wheel drive on a front wheel drive car...).

quote:
The best car I ever had for snowy conditions was a Saab 9-5. It never seemed peturbed by bad weather.
My favourite (apart from 4WD/AWD of course) was my old Honda CRX that has now gone to the big highway in the sky. You could provoke it as much as you liked, and it always behaved calm and predictably and the only thing needed to regain control was to let go of the steering wheel.

quote:
In a front-drive car, the back wheels are really just there to stop the tail lights from dragging. Keep the front wheels pointed where you want to go, and use the throttle (gas) pedal with circumspection.
That sums it up perfectly!

quote:
I have a front-drive Mazda and it's a bit of a handful on a slippery road - instant oversteer if I try to turn into a corner while still under hard braking.
I've had a couple of Mazdas, and they have always been like riding a charging rhino. Whatever you do, they just want to continue straight ahead. Couldn't even get any decent bootlegger turns out of them.

I've found that each make of car has roughly similar characteristics, regardless of model (within reasonable limits, of course). Mazda is not suitable for winter roads (3 tried), Honda is excellent (5 tried), Volvo sucks big time on winter roads (half a dozen tried) and so on.

--------------------
/Troberg

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Fun with a 9mm
Deck the Malls


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The car I drove while in High School in Ohio was rear-wheel drive and this time every year, my father would come home with a couple of bags of play-sand for my trunk. It was supposed to add weight and if I ever got stuck, the sand could be used for traction. I never actually got stuck, so I never had to use the sand.

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I'm not mean, you're just a big sissy. -Happy Bunny

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.- Verbal Kint

Trespassers will be pelted with jellyfish.- Daniel Cluley

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surfcitydogdad
Jingle Bell Hock


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So, Troberg (or anyone else who wants to answer), if I travel to the Rocky Mountain states this winter (from my home on the shore of the Pacific - seriously; I just took my dog out to the backyard, and I could hear the sea lions and the surf!), I should drive my 1992, front-wheel drive Geo Prizm (a Toyota Corolla sold as a Chevy) in the snow, rather than my 1992 Volvo 740 Turbo wagon (even if I put some weight in the back)?

You don't seem to like Volvos - at least for winter driving - do you? Mine is great for showing that I'm a family guy, and for giving the appearance, to the ladies, that I have more money than I actually do, but you're saying that I should drive my old, Geo (Toyota) in any snow or ice conditions? If I get hit by a Hummer, I'd sure rather be in the Volvo! But, it's highly desirable to stay on the road, too!

Having driven a pick-up truck on snow or ice, I'm apprehensive about driving a rear-wheel drive station wagon, especially when I also have a front-wheel drive vehicle, and it gets much better gasoline mileage (but isn't nearly as safe in the event of a collison). The engine runs great, but overall, I'm not sure I trust it for cross-country travel. The mechanic said he wouldn't drive it to the East coast, but he wouldn't commit either way about a trip to the Rockies or the Southwest. This is why I may HAVE to take the Volvo.

I feel safer in the Volvo (and it's in better shape, mechanically), but the Geo/Toyota - which is fun to drive, and reasonably comfortable, but not luxurious - still gets 30mpg (I don't know how many "liters per kilometer" that is) on the hiway, while the Volvo only gets 20! I've driven them both on the Coastal Hiway during storms, and the Geo actually blows around in the wind a little, though neither slides on the wet road. If I had family with me, I think I'd feel better about the Volvo, which is a tank, relative to the other car!

The Geo has 181K miles on the odometer, the Volvo has 165K. My mechanic has advised me to drive them both "into the ground," meaning they are good vehicles and I should keep driving and maintaining them as long as it's cost effective to do so. Obviously, we rarely encounter snow or ice around here! Short trips, yes. Traffic, yes.

I've driven in the snow in the Four Corners states, in Nevada, and perhaps in the Sierras (or even the Tahachapis, in the south) in California. I spent two years in Colorado, where I did some sliding around in standard-equipped Ford fleet vehicles. Once, I couldn't get the chains on my ex's Subaru (front-wheel drive) wagon, between Flagstaff and Sedona, but a plow came along, so I didn't need to. Another time I spun my Dodge Dakota 180 degrees on a patch of black ice on a windy mountain road just outside of Taos. I think I had sandbags in the back, over the axle, but in the sand and snow of the Santa Fe streets it didn't help much.

If my Volvo had front-wheel drive - and much better fuel economy - I'd feel much better about ANY travel! I've always wanted one, and recently inherited it, but I may have to trade it in for a hybrid, if I can afford one. I understand that the Mercury Mariner compact hybrid SUV is safe, reliable, and fuel efficient, and highly rated by Consumer Report, but it costs $30K! Any comments about Mariners, other compact SUV hybrids, or hybrids in general?

I'd be more inclined to buy a "tri-brid," rather than a hybrid (although I think ethanol in the US may be a flawed option; like hydrogen, it takes too much oil to produce), and one with a plug-in recharger, as well. Or, a diesel hybrid, diesel already being a flex-fuel engine, originally designed for bio-fuel. Any help or suggestions on that topic, besides the winter driving tips? I can wait for newer, more inovative models to come on the market. Actually, I hate to buy a new car that uses petroleum-based fuel at all, and I don't think ethanol is the right way to go (in this country ), either. But other options aren't forthcoming.

I really don't drive much, save for a possible trip to the Southwest this fall, winter, or spring, so I may stick with the two cars I have. but I do drive more town than hiway, so a hybrid would be a good option for me, although a sedan rather than an SUV might be more prudent, unless I move to New Mexico. You wouldn't believe how many Volvos there are in Santa Cruz, and now, how many Toyota and Honda hybrids!

Thanks all, for the tips so far, or for any additional advice for winter driving - specifically related to the discussion topic or not - or for vehicle recomendations!

Oops! I wrote another long one, but you guys got me thinking, and remembering past adventures, as well!

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Only when we remake ourselves can we remake the world.
- Outer Limits (2001)

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LittleDuck
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Surf, I would take the Volvo if for no other reason than the safety or it VS the Geo. Toss a couple of bags of sand (or even cat litter) in the back for help with traction and don't forget to bring tire chains just in case.

Every year AAA (auto club) publishes advice for winter driving and putting sand or litter in the back of a rear wheel drive car is always on the list.

I prefer cat litter because it's relatively inexpensive (non clumping, non scented) and provides decent traction.

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"Silly customer, you cannot hurt a Twinkie." -Apu (The Simpsons)

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surfcitydogdad
Jingle Bell Hock


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Thanks Dead Duck. I'm definitely leaning that way. I hate to put more carbon into the atmosphere, but I suppose I've earned credits, due to not driving much (seldom more than 5000 miles per year), and my safety (and even comfort) counts for something! I'm not going to fly, as it's such a hassle, and I enjoy the scenery and freedom of the roads. In the past, I've had several memorable adventures driving in the West.

I used sandbags in my old Dakota pick-up, which, unfortunately, got wet, froze (and thus couldn't have been used for traction), and then slid around, but that wouldn't be a problem inside a station wagon. I have AAA (though I've never needed them on a faraway trip), and I appreciate the kitty litter tip!

What do you think - 200 pounds? I forgot to mention I have third-row seating folded under the cargo area; that adds a lot of weight already. Maybe only 100? There would be some luggage, but not more than 50lbs, I expect. No wonder I get such poor fuel economy, but a station wagon is handy, since I no longer have a pick-up.

I await word from Sweden. Troberg will take into account, I hope, that I intend to stay primarily on the main hiways and plowed city streets, and that snow would be incidental to my travels; it won't be a ski trip. When you get out of the mountains, and down to the desert, snow is generally not a big problem. But, I have been in Colorado when it snowed at the end of May (and although I went to the beach Sunday morning and Monday night, I'm sure it's snowed in many parts of the West already), so fall or spring snow in the mountains or high country of the West is certainly something I need to be prepared for, and even at lower elevations in the winter, whenever away from the coast.

If I wait long enough to travel, perhaps I'll have a Mariner hybrid, but I don't know how a Honda Civic hybrid or a Toyota hybrid would do in snow. Maybe no one far from San Francisco even HAS a hybrid (yes, I loved that episode of "South Park!"), so I'm not going to get any feedback on that! Hey, Boulder and Denver - anybody?

Although front-wheel drive is great, a nice, heavy Volvo gives me a more secure feeling. They're made of steel rather than aluminum, aren't they?

--------------------
Only when we remake ourselves can we remake the world.
- Outer Limits (2001)

Posts: 559 | From: Santa Cruz, CA | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
So, Troberg (or anyone else who wants to answer), if I travel to the Rocky Mountain states this winter (from my home on the shore of the Pacific - seriously; I just took my dog out to the backyard, and I could hear the sea lions and the surf!), I should drive my 1992, front-wheel drive Geo Prizm (a Toyota Corolla sold as a Chevy) in the snow, rather than my 1992 Volvo 740 Turbo wagon (even if I put some weight in the back)?
I don't remember when Volvo finally left rear wheel drive, but if I remember correctly, the 740 is rear wheel drive. In that case, my advice is:

* If you are used to driving in snow, use the Volvo. It's larger and safer, but it tends to wiggle its tail at the slightest provocation. I like that in women, not in cars.

* If you are not used to driving in snow, use the Toyota. Front wheel drive is much easier. I've seen people who where used to FWD on ice in a RWD car and it was not pretty (although very amusing in a slapstick kind of way). Also, take it easy, make a few skids in safe places just to get a feel for it.

What tires you have on them should also be a factor in the decision. A bad car with new studded tyres is better than a good car with worn summer rubbers.

quote:
I feel safer in the Volvo
OK, then I'll spare you some Volvo stories...

quote:
You don't seem to like Volvos - at least for winter driving - do you?
I have 20 years experience of winter roads, in many different cars, and I consider myself a fairly good winter driver. I play around a lot and often go through intersections (with good visibility of course) sideways just for fun and still have good control. At six times, I've gone off the road.

1. Mazda 626. Perfectly smooth ice, with some snow on top, which is pretty much the worst conditions imaginable. Something effs up with the brakes on a straight piece of narrow road (Only straight piece on that road and only time I didn't have any oncoming traffic. God protects idiots...) and the left wheel locks just like that at maybe 90 km/h. Car starts swerving, I counter it, get into a bigger counterswerve, repeats this a couple of times, all the time giving some gas (the usual advice is to clutch, but with one wheel locked, the car would have spun out of control, so I had to drag the car straight) until I finally slam sideways into a pile of snow at about 80 km/h. Strangely, there was no damage at all on the car (probably, the wheels absorbed most of the force as they went into the snow first), and banging at the the brake caused it to release.

2. Volvo 740. Roundabout with a fountain in the middle. Someone had put soap in the fountain, and the foam had blown onto the road. Swoosh, spin and I'm on the grass beside the roundabout. Ten meters more and I would have dropped into a tunnel for pedestrians... No damage.

3. Volvo 860 (or at least the 8xx series). Nice clear winter day. Lost grip in a long, wide curve. countered, but it started wiggling and went off the road. No damage.

4. Volvo S80. Snowstorm, long drive, tired, late night, 15 cm wet snow on road, difficult to see edge of road. Got two wheels outside the road, jerked the wheel to get back up and immediately spun a full 360 and ended up in the opposit ditch. No damage.

5. Honda CRV. New car which I had hardly driven and not in slippery conditions. Wet snow and slush all over the road, very early morning. Highway, maybe 130-140 km/h. Moose jumps out. I don't want to hit it straight on as they slide over the hood and straight through the window, so I turn the wheel and yank the parking brake in an attempt to hit it with the passenger side instead. The AWD has much better grip than I anticipated, so the manouvre fails miserably (at least as it was intended) and I more or less drive straight into the ditch. The moose just looked at me and walked away, and the AWD made it easy to just drive back onto the road. No damage.

6. Volvo 240. A friend had plowed a race circuit on a frozen lake and we spent an entire day having fun with a beat up old 240. We went off the track many, many times, but it was great fun. Once a skid went out of control, it was almost impossible to regain control. A controlled skid was fine, but once it started wiggling, you could just as well give up. Damage? Lots... [Smile]

1 was a technical failure, so I don't count that. 5 was me completely misjudging the situation. 6 was expected to go that way, but it still provides some insight. 2, 3 & 4 was situations that I could easily have resolved in another car.

What to bring on a winter trip. This is my advise:

* Warm clothes. Really. You should be able to survive in relative comfort for at least a day. Trust me, it's not fun when your car is in half a meter of snow beside the road and you are wearing snakers, jeans and a T-shirt.
* A blanket or two. Handy for lots of things. Heat, traction, signalling.
* A small shovel. If you get stuck in the snow, this is what gets you out.
* Something to put under the wheels if you get stuck. Some say sand or gravel. I say screw that. It's good if you're on ice, but on loose snow it makes no difference at all. You need something solid. Two pieces of corrugated steel, bamboo beach mats, two planks, something like that. Drill holes in one end. Why? Because sometimes you have to drive a while before you get to a point where you can stop without getting stuck again, and you may not want to walk back to fetch them. Just use the tow cable to tie them to the tow hook, and they will follow the car like a puppy on a leash. That will also prevent you from shooting them far into the forest.
Even better is snow chains or traction crosses (a device that you put onto the wheel that provides four metal toothed edges that really digs into the ground, I don't know if this is the proper English term). Don't drive around with them on, but keep them around if you get stuck.
* An extra tow cable. If you go off road and need help, sometimes the other car has to pull from a position further away.
* Heating candles and a lighter. I don't know what they are called in English, but it's those short, stout candles in an aluminium cup. Buy a big bag of them. If you should get seriously stuck on some back road, the give off a surprising amount of heat.
* Lots of spare washer fluid. Slush is surprisingly dirty.
* A flashlight. Actually, you should always have a flashlight in the car.
* Mobile phone and credit card. The universal problem solving team that never fails.

Of course, as anyone who gives advice, I don't follow these guidlines myself and have none of this stuff in the car. I'm stupid, so do what I say, not what I do. It's not fun when you are driving home at 2 in the morning, all alone on a winter road, at -40 degrees Celsius, at least 30 km from the nearest house, and suddenly you realize "If something happens now, I'll die.". We almost never got that cold, -30 is rare, but it does happen. When I got home, I took my coat out of the trunk. It was so stiff from the cold that I could lean it against the wall...

Driving in snow:

Be gentle. No sudden manouvres. Drive like you had an egg under each foot. No quick accellerations, you'll just spin and get nowhere. No hard braking, you'll just skid. No hard turns, you'll skid.

Find a safe spot and try it out. Skid a little to get a feel for it. Brake and see what happens. Make it a habit to test conditions by sometimes braking or otherwise provoking a slight skid, just to see when it happens. If you go into a skid, clutch and steer, don't try to brake and go as straight as the situation allows. Do not start spinning the wheel wildly if you get a skid, instead turn the wheel back towards the front until it gets a grip, then carefully start steering again.

As usual, know your limits. If you are unsure, go slower. It's better to be known as the late surfcitydogdad because you arrive late than because you never arrived at all.

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/Troberg

Posts: 4360 | From: Borlänge, Sweden | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
I await word from Sweden. Troberg will take into account, I hope, that I intend to stay primarily on the main hiways and plowed city streets, and that snow would be incidental to my travels; it won't be a ski trip.
I wrote my response before I saw that post. Use common sense and adjust accordingly.

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/Troberg

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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When driving on snow (I recommend not driving on ice, which is pretty much what we get around here in the winter), use gravity as much as possible: if there is a stop sign/signal at the top of the hill, coast up to it, and use your brakes only as necessary. When it is time to go, do as Troberg recommends and use the gas as if there were an egg under it: no pedal to the metal madness. Downshift when going down hills (keep an eye on your RPMs).

And, above all, leave plenty of space all around you: absolutely no tailgating!

Since you're not going to be going to ski resorts, your chances of needing a specially-equipped vehicle are pretty limited.

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"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."--George Bernard Shaw

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
I recommend not driving on ice, which is pretty much what we get around here in the winter
Ice is slippery when it's fairly warm. When it gets to -15 Celsius or lower, it becomes less slippery (something like wet asphalt), especially with studded tyres.

On wet ice or ice covered by snow, it's more like driving a hovercraft than a car...

--------------------
/Troberg

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Well, it doesn't routinely get (or stay) that cold here.

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"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."--George Bernard Shaw

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Roadie
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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Also be careful of shifting. If you have an automatic, an unanticipated shift can catch you unaware and cause a slip 'n' slide.

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"The little local company I buy from has CHEAP shipping and I have met their goats." (snapdragonfly)

"And that's one lost erection I'll never get back! You hear me Dan! I'm owed an erection!" (I'mNotDedalus)

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Deranged LunaTech
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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My first car was a 1976 Ford Pinto wagon, and was the best snow car I've ever had. I used to put about 100 lbs of rock salt in the back end during the winter, and I was able to mush through 40+ miles of unplowed back roads to get to work in the morning.

The added weight definately helps fore-and-aft traction in rear-wheel drive cars. The down side was that the added weight increased the chances of the back end sliding sideways during turns.

Of course, when driving through 1-2 feet (or more) of unplowed snow, you weren't racing and taking turns at high speed anyway (at least, not most of the time [Wink] ).

Also, as was pointed out - with sand/salt/gravel in the back, you also have it there to put under the tires if you get stuck....

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"Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing." --William James

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surfcitydogdad
Jingle Bell Hock


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Thank you, Troberg, and others I have not previously thanked, for the tips.

I'm a preparedness nut, so I have a lot of emergency equipment in the cars (actually, I'm in the middle of getting things reorganized). I have a 72 hour earthquake kit for the home, and I keep quite a few things in the car, such as water and towels for the dog, so I'm not likely to go off to a cold climate unprepared, even if I'm not expecting snow in the fall or the spring.

I have experienced -40 F in Logan Utah, and -20 in Winnemucca, Nevada, but the Dodge Dakota started right up (when it was fairly new). The Geo always starts up, but I live in Santa Cruz. The car did have its first few owners in Massachusetts and Connecticutt, though, and I have the salt rust damage to prove it, besides the Carfax report.

I'm not entirely used to the Volvo yet (a '92 740 Turbo wagon with automatic transmission), but I'm working on it. I drive it around town with the sun roof open, and the dog hangs his head out the window. I did have the chance to drive it in rain and wind (right by the ocean) early this year, when it rained for all of March.

BTW, the coldest I'm aware that Santa Cruz ever got was while I was travelling in much colder places, and it got down one week to 20F. All the locals lost their banana trees, and much of the hiway shrubbery died. It seldom gets below 40F here, or above 80F. That's one reason housing is so expensive here!

My two winters in Colorado - as a Mormon missionary - didn't seem too cold, but I was young then! I did slide cars - Ford Fairmonts without snow tires - a few times in snow, but nothing serious.

I will copy and print all this info for further study!

--------------------
Only when we remake ourselves can we remake the world.
- Outer Limits (2001)

Posts: 559 | From: Santa Cruz, CA | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
tommi
The First USA Noel


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Heh. It's funny I'm reading this now. I was just about to leave to go into town, looked out and saw it was snowing, and said Ehhh I think I'll wait a little while.

Roadie said:
quote:
Also be careful of shifting. If you have an automatic, an unanticipated shift can catch you unaware and cause a slip 'n' slide.

AMEN to that. I have a 96 Thunderbird, V8, rear wheel drive. The kind of vehicle that makes people say "Oooohh" and look at you pityingly when talking about winter driving. I cringe when I see the ruts of snow, perpendicular to the road, in front of someone's driveway (caused by their backing out) because I know there's a good chance I'll skid driving across them. More than once I've started fishtailing just from the slight jerking of the vehicle when it changed gears. My advice is to be aware of at what speed/RPM your vehicle shifts gears (you'd be surprised how many people don't know) and adjust your driving so that you won't be changing gears in the middle of a patch of ice on a bridge, say. Maintain a steady but slow speed (but remember that while slower is better in winter conditions, too slow is as hazardous as too fast).

I also totally agree with the previous advice about using the pedals very, very gently. Start stopping much sooner than you would on dry pavement, and stop more slowly. Accellerate much more slowly too. It never hurts to "practice" handling a skid in an empty parking lot or something.

I usually put 2-4 25lb bags of play sand in the trunk for winter, right over the wheels. I think it helps somewhat. I can't say if it makes skids worse because fortunately I've only had one bad skid in this car (although a large part of that is probably because, in the really bad weather I either ride with someone else or just don't go). That skid was caused by getting out of the tracks made by previous traffic while making a turn. Some people I know put cement blocks (on in one case, a couple of those geese) in their trunk, but I like sand better because it can be molded around the wheel well to take up less room. Be aware though that sand can shift and if any moisture gets into it it will harden. Nothing like trying to get an oddly-shaped bag of sand-turned-concrete out of the trunk come spring.

I swear that having a full gas tank also helps with traction but that's me...but keeping a full gas tank in winter weather is just common sense IMO.

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Nion
We Three Blings


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The best winter vehicle I had was a Ford Festiva . . . seriously! I actually think the fact that it was so damned light is what kept it from losing control half the time. I also got it stuck all of once, and it got itself out.

I actually had a lot of fun with my RWD Toyota pick-up. As another Snopester mentioned doing, it was maneuverable enough in slides that I could gracefully drift around turns and such. It saved me once from literally burying it in the snow at the bottom of a hill. It split at the end in a T shape. The hill was covered in snow and yep, I was sliding for the middle. I managed to bring it sideways and the extra drag left me perfectly facing the route I intended to take. [lol]

The car I was most disappointed with was an AWD Subaru Outback I drove for a short time coming from Vermont to Iowa. We were in what was more-or-less a blizzard on the highway in Vermont. Every damned bridge we crossed, the car wanted to go nuts and break loose. I just lightly touched the steering wheel and eased off the accelerator when it started wiggling and it would settle back down again.

As for Volvos, well . . . As I've mentioned before, that XC70 was the most solid, predictable ride I've ever had, and in a number of conditions. [Smile]

Relic "black ice + mailbox = spilt Coke" Man

*Edited to change a negative to a positive. [dunce]

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It can't rain all the time.

Posts: 1102 | From: Iowa | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
surfcitydogdad
Jingle Bell Hock


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My Volvo has a tachometer - which seems odd because it's an automatic transmission - so I'll keep an eye on that to see when it shifts. It also has a needle to let you know when the turbo kicks in.

Great stories, everyone. No snow or ice here, but there's a road near my home that dips a bit at a stop sign, and during certain times of year the waves splash up unto the road, and even onto any cars at the intersection. Salt, sand, and seaweed - must be good for the brakes!

I caught your remark about wiggling tails, Troberg, and I agree.

Snowing already in Michigan, tommi? Well, I'm off to walk the dog by the ocean before sunset. No jacket required. But, one of many trade-offs is that I'm not very experienced at driving in snow! Sideways rain, sand, and salt water, high winds, and thick marine fog, yes! Not very often, though.

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Only when we remake ourselves can we remake the world.
- Outer Limits (2001)

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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One more thing you really, really should have when driving in snow, probably the most important object:

Good gloves. If something goes wrong, your hands will invariably have to touch cold stuff. Engine parts, pushing the car, removing snow and so on. You need gloves.

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/Troberg

Posts: 4360 | From: Borlänge, Sweden | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
surfcitydogdad
Jingle Bell Hock


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Yep, thanks; I keep leather work gloves in the cars, more for hot or sharp engine parts than for cold, but I'll do that, and have nice warm ones for driving, working in the cold, or for being trapped in the cold.

I never did figure out how to put chains on tires! It was 15 years ago last time I attempted it.

My old pickup had "all weather" tires, and they worked reasonably well in the snow. Keep in mind that no one here has snow tires. I know that in Colorado you might have some and you have them put on when the snow starts, but here, several inches of rain in one week would be the more common problem.

I tend to be overprepared much of the time (although I'm in the process of reassembling kits for both cars, so I don't alway have everything with me). I may not be spontaneous, but I'm very safe to be with! [Smile]

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Only when we remake ourselves can we remake the world.
- Outer Limits (2001)

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
I never did figure out how to put chains on tires!
Some links open. Open them. Put the chain around the tyre. Close the links and make sure it's a snug fit.

I can't see where the problem could be?

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/Troberg

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surfcitydogdad
Jingle Bell Hock


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Tougher than it sounds. First time. Not actual chains, but cable. Should have practice ahead, maybe did. Wife from Colorado; didn't know how either. Then plow came by. Never needed them again on that or any other trip.

Keep in mind that if I step outside now I can SEE the Pacific Ocean. I had to water the lawn yesterday. It snowed here several years ago, down to the 500ft level. I drove the dogs up there so they could play in it, then we went down to the beach to watch the sunset. This is why I never learned to put chains on tires.

Thanks for the help, though. Maybe I should just lug you along on any winter trips!

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Only when we remake ourselves can we remake the world.
- Outer Limits (2001)

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erwins
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by surfcitydogdad:
Tougher than it sounds. First time. Not actual chains, but cable. Should have practice ahead, maybe did. Wife from Colorado; didn't know how either. Then plow came by. Never needed them again on that or any other trip.

Those old cable chains were horrible. I had that kind about 7 or 8 years ago, and would really dread having to chain up. Now I have the newer kind that have the big rubber "O" tensioner. They are much, much easier. Sounds like you'll need to carry chains (and maybe chain up) on your trip. I definitely recommend getting the newer kind. The last time I had to chain up, it took about 5 minutes.

erwins

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lazerus the duck
The First USA Noel


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Keep a weight in the back of the trunk, the Mafia swear by it.

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All the world's a face, And all the men and women merely acne.

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Roadie
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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surfcitydogdad, if your "all weather tires" are marked "M+S" (mud & snow), you're good through R1 conditions. And remember if you have to chain up, chain up the tires that are power-driven. I laugh here at the number of cars I see in the winter with chains on the wrong set of tires. I'd also advise you have snow boots on hand, because if you get stuck, tennies aren't real comfy sloshing around in the snow.

BTW, you're wrong, wrong, wrong! HB will always be Surf City USA!

Roadie, formerly of Huntington Beach. [Big Grin]

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"The little local company I buy from has CHEAP shipping and I have met their goats." (snapdragonfly)

"And that's one lost erection I'll never get back! You hear me Dan! I'm owed an erection!" (I'mNotDedalus)

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surfcitydogdad
Jingle Bell Hock


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I haven't been sued yet, Roadie!

Indeed, Lazarus. I was just thinking it odd that no one had suggested using the ex for the weight in the trunk! There was a bumper sticker like that a while back, remember? "Ex in trunk," one of many responses to the "Baby on Board" fad at the time.

Actually, I don't have all-weather tires on the Geo or the Volvo. The "all weather" tires - Goodyear Wranglers - were on the '87 Dakota, and they lasted for 80K miles! The truck only lasted for 120K!

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Only when we remake ourselves can we remake the world.
- Outer Limits (2001)

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jamira
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Over the years I've had a number (over 15, 16 coming up) of vehicles which behave entirely differently. Brief summary of the oddballs:
77 Honda Civic-sucked in winter, could not keep it on the road in slush. Added weight made it worse.
77 Pontiac Sunbird-V6 with RWD, lotsa fun in parking lot slaloms with horrible understeer. Added weight was not necessary.
84 Chrysler Daytona Turbo-lots of spinouts with FWD, but was able to pass a 4X4 going uphill on glare ice, due to egg under gas pedal driving.
78 GMC 2WD pickup-constantly had to add about 100 pounds in box, or fill it with snow to go anywhere. Stuck in the driveway a few times.
78 Mercedes 300D, and 81 BMW 733i, both awesome traction in winter with no added weight.
01 Pontiac Grand Prix GT-awesome traction with no added weight BUT definitely requires snow tires. Horrible with all seasons.
88 Ford Bronco II-didn't have to add weight...ex-wife was 260 pounds when she drove it. (I know...that was uncalled for!) seriously though, lousy traction unless 4WD engaged.
00 Honda Magna motorcycle-caught in snowstorm. Was warm in the morning, snowed while at work. Almost laid it down coming into driveway, horrible understeer. [Smile]

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
77 Honda Civic-sucked in winter
Wierd, my old 79 Civic was a dream in the winter. Ice, snow, slush, packed snow, it didn't matter. The light frame and the wheels far out in the corners made it predictable and easy to handle, even in really bad conditions. I could do a bootlegger turn with a free width of less than a meter more than the length of the car without any problem at all.

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/Troberg

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Radical Dory
God Rest Ye Merry Retail Clerks


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I have a '90 Volvo 740 GLE. I never had a problem with it when I drove it around Boone, even if the snow was heavy. My parents never had problems with driving any of the Volvos they had in snow, be it here in NC or when we lived near Denver. Just take it slow and careful and you're generally fine. (And by coincidence, surfcitydogdad, my last roommate drove a Geo Storm. Also did just fine in the snow).

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"But about the reindeer...what kind of a nose shines? How did he get it? Maybe it's not a reindeer after all. It could be something else."

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
I have a '90 Volvo 740 GLE. I never had a problem with it when I drove it around Boone, even if the snow was heavy. My parents never had problems with driving any of the Volvos they had in snow, be it here in NC or when we lived near Denver. Just take it slow and careful and you're generally fine.
Lot's of people here drive Volvos, but the problem is just that: you need to go slower than you would with another car, because of its nasty tendencies for wiggling its tail.

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/Troberg

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Elwood
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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Anecdotally my minivans seem to handle better on slippery roads with either a full tank of gas or some kind of weight in the back. The back end seems to fishtail more easily if nothing is back there. I'll freely admit that it might be more perception than reality, but a couple hundred pounds of kitty litter seems to help these front-wheel drive monsters.

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"If I didn't see it and didn't know it was a real news report, I wouldn't believe it. I mean, how nutty can you get?"-Pat Robertson Oct 26, 2006.

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HighSierra Sherey
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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One other suggestion of what to carry - a cheap shower curtain liner. I now have a Jeep up here in the Sierras, but my first two years here, had a rear wheel drive vehicle and putting on chains while lying on a shower liner versus while lying in cold wet snow makes all the difference as far as one's ability and speed to get the darn things on!
Stop by for a coffee or cocoa if you take 50 through South Lake Tahoe!

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Monza305
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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quote:
Originally posted by jamira:
Over the years I've had a number (over 15, 16 coming up) of vehicles which behave entirely differently. Brief summary of the oddballs:

77 Pontiac Sunbird-V6 with RWD, lotsa fun in parking lot slaloms with horrible understeer. Added weight was not necessary.

01 Pontiac Grand Prix GT-awesome traction with no added weight BUT definitely requires snow tires. Horrible with all seasons.

You have two vehicles that I've had/have.
I had a '76 Monza with a V8 (my screename) and I had the same experience that you had. It went through the snow just fine without any weight in the back. Everyone told me those were horrible in the snow, but my (& your) experience shows that they were actually good in bad weather. All I had on it for tires were all season BF Goodrich Radial T/As. I even pushed a stuck person or two out with it. Too bad all of these cars are rusted out around here. I miss it!

I'm driving a '97 Grand Prix GTP right now. I've had it for two years & I've only driven it in the snow once. All four tires were basically bald. It was one of those days where it was clear & nice in the morning and snowy when I left work. I have never been so afraid driving as I was that day. There was one point when the car was wiggling around like it was going to spin out, and nothing I did made any difference. I couldn't even make it up the hill by my house, I had to park it & walk the last 1/2 mile home.
I've got 4 new tires on it now & I'm hoping for the best. They aren't snow tires & snow tires aren't in the budget either. You aren't making me feel very good for the upcoming winter. [Frown] I think I'm gonna miss my 4WD Titan.

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I've got a pen in my pocket does that make me a writer?
Standing on the mountain doesn't make me no higher.
Putting on gloves don't make you a fighter.
And all the study in the world doesn't make it science. -Paul Weller

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bethntim
Deck the Malls


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I was watching one of the forensic/detective shows on TLC or Discovery, don't remember (damn short term memory) and they were talking about a murder that happened in Minnesota/ North Dakota, Wisconsin (again, damn short term memory) and the victim had blunt force trauma to the head by a large object. They had a suspect in mind but had nothing to pin him with until they looked in his trunk. He had a large parking block that had been broken into smaller more manageable pieces in his trunk that was covered in blood. Apparently that was his weapon of choice and it was very common for people in the northern states to keep large slabs of concrete in their trunks for traction during the winter. I had never heard that before and thankfully I live in Florida and don't have to deal with that. I guess necessity really is the mother of invention. This probably has nothing to do with the validity of the OP but just thought I would throw my two cents in.

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Take only pictures, leave only footprints...

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Illuminatus
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by Troberg:
One more thing you really, really should have when driving in snow, probably the most important object:

Good gloves. If something goes wrong, your hands will invariably have to touch cold stuff. Engine parts, pushing the car, removing snow and so on. You need gloves.

I'll add to that list: Glove or boot warmers. They sell them at ski shops, they are little chemical packs that you mash up and they produce heat for a few hours. It's good to have one around if your fingers get cold, they can heat them up in a hurry.

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"DEAR APPALLED: I see no harm in a group of young women playing strip poker at an all-girl slumber party." -Dear Abby

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bjohn13
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by Illuminatus:
quote:
Originally posted by Troberg:
One more thing you really, really should have when driving in snow, probably the most important object:

Good gloves. If something goes wrong, your hands will invariably have to touch cold stuff. Engine parts, pushing the car, removing snow and so on. You need gloves.

I'll add to that list: Glove or boot warmers. They sell them at ski shops, they are little chemical packs that you mash up and they produce heat for a few hours. It's good to have one around if your fingers get cold, they can heat them up in a hurry.
This is not only excellent advice, but it's also something I had never thought of.

Another item I don't do without when driving rear wheel drive cars in the winter is a couple of 50 lb. bags of water softener salt. Not only do they provide weight, but they also do a great job melting snow.

Posts: 23 | From: Fargo, ND | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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