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Winter tyres - would you bother now?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@mooney058,

Many thanks. What is more likely to prevent progress? Losing grip when stopping or not being able to get sufficient grip to pull away?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Badbobby, I had a 630 which was completely unusable in anything remotely snowy/slushy/icy. I put winter tyres on and it transformed it to just terrible. Winter tyres are still a good idea for the cold weather, but big fat tyres on RWD is not a recipe for success. Personally, I'd avoid taking it anywhere that might be snowy.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@foxtrotzulu,

Many thanks.

Changing the mrs' focus for a kuga shortly so useful to know whether I should pony up the extra for 4wd. Sounds like it would be useful in the uk if it ever snows!
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@foxtrotzulu,

Many thanks.

Changing the mrs' focus for a kuga shortly so useful to know whether I should pony up the extra for 4wd. Sounds like it would be useful in the uk if it ever snows!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Badbobby, I don't know where you live in the UK, town or country, north or south, nor do I know how often you go to the Alps, but....

In most cases the sensible choice is 2WD plus socks/chains. It will get you pretty much anywhere and be more economical. Personally I love having 4WD, but I think that's really only a good idea if you go off road a lot, which I do, and you buy a 'real' FWD, rather than a road car with a bit more traction.
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Chains are a must if your spending any time in the Alps even if you have winter rubber. They are are also a legal requirement in certain parts of the Alps.
I've been driving up to Val d'Iere before and the police had a road block in place and pulled everyone over and forced them to fit their chains before they would let you drive up any further. People who had no chains got turned around and sent back down the road.
As mooney058 says gentle braking and cornering etc is the way forward.
Also for rear wheel drive cars I've heard of owners going to a hardware store and getting a couple of 25kg bags of pea gravel or sand and leaving them in the boot of their car.
The theory is It weighs down the back end of the car slightly to help get traction.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@@247snowman,

Yes, the ballast is a common BMW owners trip in any location!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Don't bother with 4WD. FWD, good winter tyres and decent chains you can put on in a twinkling of an eye will get you there and save you money.
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Oh yes, I forgot. I also used to put 75kg of sand bags in the boot. It was still rubbish!
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A Ford Focus with the right tyres would be perfect. You still must carry chains, of course.
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http://youtube.com/v/r7smPnIvmJE
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Badbobby wrote:
@mooney058,

Many thanks. What is more likely to prevent progress? Losing grip when stopping or not being able to get sufficient grip to pull away?


Losing grip when stopping could terminally prevent progress, whereas not being able to pull away should only be temporary.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Quote:

Losing grip when stopping could terminally prevent progress, whereas not being able to pull away should only be temporary.



Very true but with winter tyres on an M5 will stop just as well as a less powerful car. The power is an issue if you get heavy footed on bends or there is just too much torque when pulling away.

We had a 535D which is obviously not as powerful but has a huge amount of torque. In theory the secret was to use a higher gear to reduce the chance or wheel spin but the semi-automatic transmission had a habit of changing down even when in manual mode.

In fairness we never invested in winter tyres but we live on a steep hill in the UK and it stayed on the drive when it was icy and we never took it to the alps before Easter (and had chains with us then).

We have a 4wd estate now but 2wd is fine with winters. Personally I'd prefer FWD for snow but opinions differ.

On the kuga - just check out compatibility with chains. We have had a few stories about SUVs that don't have enough clearance for chains which is beyond ridiculous.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Badbobby, @foxtrotzulu, not sure how much difference tyre sizes make but on my (somewhat less powerful) rwd I fitted the smallest available size when buying winter tyres and had plenty grip in their first 2 seasons in some snowy conditions here in Scotland, without ballast. Probably not as good as fwd with the same tyres, but far better than I'd experienced with fwd on summer tyres. I imagine the M5 and 630 would however specify a significantly larger minimum wheel/tyre size than the 205/16 my little 325 takes in winter!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I have 17s as that's the minimum for clearing the calliper. It's the width at the rear that kills it. Manual at least helps with using 2nd gear. Maybe it'll snow this year and I can practice!

Good tip re the kuga snow chains.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Badbobby wrote:
I have 17s as that's the minimum for clearing the calliper. It's the width at the rear that kills it.


Good choice, just the wheel width tends to increase with diameter so you'd be unlikely to get e.g. a 205 width on an 18" BMW rim. 16s on mine clear the calipers by about 5mm, and balancing weights just about touch them.

edit: nice car btw, but even with grip a limiting factor I've found in snow can be ground clearance. Been in fresh snow up to the sills ok but it is the raised section between tracks where you may sit lower than other cars that got through which scrapes along and could cause damage.
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@balernoStu,

I had not considered ground clearance - that's a very useful observation.

Thank you, it's an absolute weapon. I've been considering all sorts of changes to the "fleet" but actually you can't beat an old M5 with a young family in rear facing seats, esp when Mrs BB insists that they be rear facing until age 3/4... So I think i'll keep that as my "sports" car until it dies.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
[shameless plug] If your new Kuga has 235/55 x 17 wheels I have a set of Maggi Trak chains (ideal for cars with limited clearance) and RUD snow socks which would fit it for sale in classifieds [/shameless plug] Toofy Grin
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If you have the tyres and you're going to the Alps, put them on the car.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
If you have the tyres and you're going to drive in the UK, put them on the car.

FIFY Toofy Grin

I get mightily p****d when roads are jammed or blocked by *heads who get stuck on 1 in 1000 gradients when there's been a slight snowfall Madeye-Smiley
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Hells Bells wrote:
If you have the tyres and you're going to the Alps, put them on the car.


That wasn't quite the question. The OP wanted to know whether snow tyres on an M5 was still going to be worse than useless.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
foxtrotzulu wrote:
Hells Bells wrote:
If you have the tyres and you're going to the Alps, put them on the car.


That wasn't quite the question. The OP wanted to know whether snow tyres on an M5 was still going to be worse than useless.


Correct!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I had 5 serries before with 218 hp and rwd - no problems in AT, CH or FR mountains. But I always had good winter tyres and used to driving on snow/ice.
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@mooney058, You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din.
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The M5 has a rear axle LSD, so actual 2WD
With Decent winter tyres you have more traction than the majority of 2WD production cars, FWD or RWD
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Badbobby wrote:
@foxtrotzulu,

Many thanks.

Changing the mrs' focus for a kuga shortly so useful to know whether I should pony up the extra for 4wd. Sounds like it would be useful in the uk if it ever snows!


My wife has a 4WD Kuga but I still bought a set of winter wheel/tyres from mytyres.co.uk - ENZO W 6.50 x 16 (LK 5/108, OS 50) with Nokian WR-A3 235/60 R16 104H. Ford don't quote a 16 inch rim but the combination is TUV approved and has all the necessary certifications so there shouldn't be any insurance issues.

This shows the difference between 2WD and 4WD


http://youtube.com/v/mfuE00qdhLA
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Gaza, the Kuga should be good to get you up the access road next time this happens at Hillend on an LSRA night then:

https://www.facebook.com/euan.mcghee/videos/670416810075/

It was pretty quiet as not many made it up once the snow came on heavy.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Laughing

We were there that night @balernoStu. Not skiing unfortunately but I was meeting Emma for my induction.

It was a bizarre night. Torrential rain on the bypass but less than 0.5 of mile up the road heavy ❄!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Adding to this thread as it’s the first chance I’ve had to use my BMW M5 in the snow with its winter tyres and slightly smaller wheels.

Disaster! It was good in reverse (as that’s effectively turning it into a front wheel drive!) but useless forward.

So I would not recommend anyone use a rear wheel drive car in snow even with winters.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:

This was Birmingham today.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@jbob, Laughing Laughing or should that be snowHead snowHead
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
{I would not recommend anyone use a rear wheel drive car in snow even with winters.}

I've used my BMW M235i in the Alps in snow quite happily. It's 322 BHP and RWD. No problem in the snow from a standing start, on an incline. I do set the appropriate Traction setting as BMW directs (DSC=Off, DTC=On & TRACTION), which probably also helps. I agree an M5 may be a handful, although the power/weight ratio isn't that different than my lighter 2 Series.

I'd grant that winters have their limits, and given the conditions otuside at the moment, I would probably put my chains on, if just to be sure of getting up the slope outside the apartment block.

But I'd copletely disagree that all RWD casr with winters are useless in the snow.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
My E Class estate manages just fine in the snow with winters on it.
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I find all the doom and gloom over rwd cars rather amusing. How did we ever manage to get around in the snow and ice before the advent of fwd cars ? I recall coping without much difficulty back in the early 60s driving to and from Aviemore every winter weekend. And we had rather more snow in those days, with no winter tyres. The difference ? Narrow wheels and skinny tyres, on what would be considered today as underpowered cars.
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deerman wrote:
I find all the doom and gloom over rwd cars rather amusing. How did we ever manage to get around in the snow and ice before the advent of fwd cars ? I recall coping without much difficulty back in the early 60s driving to and from Aviemore every winter weekend. And we had rather more snow in those days, with no winter tyres. The difference ? Narrow wheels and skinny tyres, on what would be considered today as underpowered cars.


You’re half right. Those skinny tyres were made of a much, much softer compound than today’s ‘normal’ tyres. Consequently, they weren’t as durable but they did work better in winter. Today’s winter tyres are much closer to what people drove as normal tyres in in the 60’s.
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and, en revanche, @LaForet, @endoman, @deerman, had she not been inconveniencing me (!) the lady in the little FWD car with 74 plates and snow tyres mashing the accelerator on a tny short gradient but getting nowhere...rather illustrates your point.

No tech will help if you really don't know what you are you doing.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
LaForet wrote:
But I'd copletely disagree that all RWD casr with winters are useless in the snow.
I had a rental Mercedes C-Class from GVA last year, allocated to me with great pleasure by the desk agent at Hertz as it was such a large and free upgrade from the economy car I'd booked. Despite having winter tyres and all the usual traction control gubbins it was the worst car I'd ever driven in the Alps. Progress up and downhill to Les Arcs was extremely sketchy, and on the final day I pre-positioned the car down the hill about a mile as the forecast snow overnight meant I'd probably not be able to get out of my apartment without fitting chains to getaway for an early flight. Next time I'll refuse the upgrade and stick with the economy car, especially if I'm offered a big RWD.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Top tip. If you keep winter tyres on steel rims and swap them yourself in winter and spring, don't forget to put copper grease on the hub/spigot so that they come off easily when changing, or even worse in event of a puncture.
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On the rocks wrote:
Top tip. If you keep winter tyres on steel rims and swap them yourself in winter and spring, don't forget to put copper grease on the hub/spigot so that they come off easily when changing, or even worse in event of a puncture.
Good tip, although I’ve found that even alloy wheels can glue themselves to the hubs sometimes.
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yes I meant grease the alloys in spring too
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