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Snow

Discussion in 'F01/F02 (2009-present)' started by jrjmpls, Dec 20, 2010.

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    MGarrison

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    I think part of the debate here is that there are several important variables involved, each of which can easily be a major determining factor in how well a rwd car gets through the snow, or how well we _think_ it does or doesn't.

    Limited-slip differential: makes a big difference, and huge difference if one's car has no electronic traction controls.

    Traction controls (dsc, asc, etc. etc.): IF a car has them, it can be said that, generally, they _may_ be of some help. They also may be detrimental, depending on circumstances and conditions.

    Junk-in-the-trunk, as it were; As Steven mentions, it's an age-old tip to put some extra weight over the rear axle. I have some lead weights my mechanic made up years ago for just that purpose. Each block weighs 30 lbs, and six in the trunk right over the rear wheels is 180 lbs, optimally placed. However, not every driver will opt to throw sand bags, cat litter, or what have you, in the back, for hopefully some improved traction.

    Tires: snow vs. non-snow, and variables within snow tires; snow tires, as all other tires, are not created equal. Stick a wide, low profile snow tire on a car and compare a narrower, higher-profile snow tire of the same design and compound on the same car, and invariably, the narrower tire will afford better forward traction. However, all drivers won't necessarily make the optimal snow-tire choice, if they opt for them at all. Also, age - a brand new snow tire will have better grip than a worn 5-year old snow tire which has suffered both age and heat cycles.

    Individual standards - there isn't a standard definition for what's "good in the snow". Me, I'm happy to be skidding, slipping and sliding, as long as it's all controllable/catchable, I'm not getting stuck, and I'm still moving and making headway, even if it is slow. Others might consider that to be their worst snow performance ever, particularly if they're not comfortable or experienced with reacting to, catching, and controlling skids. Many might well expect the same step-on-the-gas-and-go-with-no-muss-and-no-fuss that they get in totally dry conditions.

    Weather - hardly like one is going to get the exact same temps or conditions each time there's a snow event. Broad range of conditions may occur, obviously, across the weather spectrum.

    I would feel sorry too for anyone who finds themselves disappointed with their new vehicle's capabilities, particularly if their expectations were far higher than what they end up experiencing. I think we can safely speculate the OP was expecting it to do better than it has, but we don't know exactly what the OP _was_ expecting.

    Considering the OP is jrjmpls, I'm gonna guess that's short for JRJ, Minneapolis - &, if anyone's following the weather up there right now, it's a disaster. I heard on the news they had 800+ accidents in one day, and they've had big snow, topped by freezing rain, with a light snowfall over what's become largely glare ice - treacherous at best. So, I wouldn't be surprised that someone might find their new BMW, or any car, completely lacking in those kinds of conditions, even with every traction aid available, a lsd, and brand-spanking-new high-profile, narrow-width Blizzaks (which have a certain amount of tread-depth optimized for ice performance). Any vehicle will need some traction in order to move. Newtonian physicists, speak up, here's your chance! :p And if mpls is something like Mary, Paul, Larry & Susan instead, I guess we'll just have to keep guessing!
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    dms540i

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    Well, here goes. This isn't a debate. Seems to me the OP is dissatisfied with how his car handles in the snow and he thinks it's his fault, or that he is missing something. He says its' the worst car he has ever had. He owns it and is driving it and telling us what it is like. I don't know where he lives or what his driving experience is, but from what he has written chances are he has driven in the snow in other cars and was expecting better from BMW.
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    MGarrison

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    Ok, substitute "discussion" for "debate". ;) I don't see that the OP may be assuming any self-blame, but otherwise, I think everything you're saying is correct, & I agree with you. Now I just wonder if jrj will give snow tires a shot and report back here on how it goes after that!
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    granthr

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    Slippen and Sliden is what winter is all about!!! :cool: There is a lot to be said about sliding around a parking lot to learn how your car responds. So that when it does slide unexpectedly, you know what to do in complete calm! :D

    MGarrision you are spot on in your description of winter driving and snows. My ix has 175s on it. Very narrow. :)

    I am thinking we scared the OP off a while back. Or maybe he is in MN and is under 8 foot drifts right about now. :p
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    bluewagon

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    If one has a car that is not good in the snow. put it up for the winter . Purchase a winter car. sell it in the spring. Or move to a location that has no snow. I did. But i did drive in snow. I lived in Mass. during the 70s and drove our 2002s all winter. The Inca 72tii was not driven in the winter.
    bluewagon
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    Deutsch Marques

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    It's interesting how there must be two different sub-brands within BMW. Those cars that are excellent in the snow, and those that can't get out of a driveway if two flakes hit the ground. I'm glad my 330i was one of the former. I have no idea which my M3 is, and I have no intention to find out. She's a 'vert, and if I can't drive with the top down, then I don't drive it. (Hey, I'll drive in 38 degree weather if the sun is out with heat and seats turned up, but I draw the line when the sky starts falling.)

    The woman who owned my 330i now says it's horrible in the snow. And she was tempted to sell it. (YES PLEASE! I want it back!) But when asked, she didn't run winter tires, and the tires I sold it with were ultra-high-performance-summer-tires! What was she even thinking trying to drive it in the winter with those on!?

    Maybe it's not the car after all. Maybe it's a combination of driver ability, winter know-how, and what equipment the driver chooses to use.

    jrjmpls guest

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    mpls does stand for Minneapolis. Turning off DSC has helped so it's ok now. But I never even considered snow tires for a car before in the 43 years I've lived here.
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    CRKrieger

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    Studded tires are illegal in Minnesota. Wisconsin, too.
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    Garrison is right. . . mostly

    A quick aside: Our Florida blue-car fan says:

    If one has a car that is not good in the snow. put it up for the winter . Purchase a winter car. sell it in the spring. Or move to a location that has no snow. I did. But i did drive in snow. I lived in Mass. during the 70s and drove our 2002s all winter. The Inca 72tii was not driven in the winter.

    Yeah, well, THAT certainly helps! But at least you didn't tell him to use Miracle Shine on the paint, or whatever the hell it is. . . .

    Meanwhile, back to the original topic:

    Traction comes in two brands, acceleration and deceleration. It is determined by tire-contact patch and the coefficient of friction between that patch and the road surface. So obviously a 4X4 will get up the driveway---assuming there is some friction. Ultra-high-performance summer tires on ice? Not so much. . . .

    Bruddah Garrison may have mentioned another element besides selecting proper snow tires: You want them as skinny as possible, because you don't want them riding ON TOP of the snow, you want then digging down THROUGH the snow---to the road surface, if you're lucky.

    Yes, I have spent my time with front-drive cars, rear-drive cars, and the mighty iX. I have crossed Donner Summit in a blizzard in the @#$$! roadster, for God's sake, on summer Dunlop Sport Maxx tires; if it weren't for the M's limited-slip differential, I might still be there.

    When we first had Party A's 335i, we stayed overnight in Seattle when it snowed and froze. On level ground, I had to gingerly rock the damn car to get it moving. Ohhh, myyy---does that mean a rear-drive, non-LSD BMW is hopeless in snow? Oh heavens no: a set of seventeens from the Tire Rack, mounted with Pirelli P Zero snow tires, and the car was fine for a run through the snowy Siskiyous (although I would have driven MUCH faster in my iX!).

    Another aside: The thing to remember if you have AWD is that your car may well get you going down the road, but stopping and turning will still depend on the friction of those contact patches. . . . :eek:
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    granthr

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    Sorry to hear that, they make a huge difference! Move to Penna.
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    CRKrieger

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    No ... I've been to Pennsylvania. I prefer states over commonwealths.
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    dms540i

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    granthr

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    Now CR you know deep down that Commonwealths are better than States!! :D:D
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    granthr

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    Pyewacket1

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    I been saying for years that most folks really have no clue to the actual mechanics or design characteristics of the car they buy, so this is just one more example.

    IMO, far too many people buy a car based on (and probably in the order listed)...

    1-Looks
    2-Monthly payment
    3-Functionality
    4-Actual need
    5-# of cupholders
    .
    .
    .
    100-Mechanical design.
    • Member

    granthr

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    Great list, but I don't think it gets beyond number 6 when you have #5 twice, in position 1 and 6. :D
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    Getting back to the original subject. . .

    Can the original poster (Seveneezer Scrooge?! Somebody STOP me! :eek:) get back to us after purchasing a decent set of wheels-and-by-God-snow-tires from the Tire Rack or elsewhere, mounting 'em up, and actually driving this winter sleigh?

    It would be nice to see whether our advice and counsel is useful or whether we're all full of sheiße.
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    granthr

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    We are full of sheiße!! :D

    301630 guest

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    OP is a lost cause

    Satch,
    I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the OP to buy a set of snow tires.

    He lives in MN and would not consider buying a set of winter shoes? And he owns a 2011 740i? Lack of such basic logic baffles my mind.

    At least he dropped a few Andrew Jacksons for a CCA membership, so he has some sense - again, my head hurts trying to follow his logic.

    Happy motoring everyone...

    jrjmpls guest

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    Thank you so much for your kind reply. I can see that I shouldn't expect to get much help or support from the BMW CCA. I wish I had saved my money.

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