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Wednesday, 19 January 2022


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Does Butters like snow?

[He does, especially when it's fresh. Once it gets crusty, it's a little more difficult for him to negotiate. --Mike]

I lived in Eastern Ontario and NYC from 1967 till I moved to Oregon in 1975. I'd drive from Ottawa to Buffalo to NYC on the Throughway in all sorts of weather in all the seasons. In my Triumph Spitfire Mk II! Never thought of using snow tires. Never needed them as it turns out. It snows here once every couple of years. If I want snow I drive 60 miles to the Cascades, but I don't.

Mike wrote, "In those days there were American cars with one-wheel drive (compliments of an open differential) ... "

And an open differential always sent power to the wheel with the least traction.

Damn you, snow!

For some strange reason I didn’t get winter tires (tyres) until I got an all wheel drive vehicle. I guess it’s because I started reading about the real capabilities of AWD vehicles and how nearly everyone overrates their capabilities. But that autumn I did my research and bought Nokian Haakapeliitas. FWIW, winter tires are not so much about GOING, they’re about STOPPING and safely maneuvering. I’ve never looked back.


You live in the land where they know how to clear snow! And yeah, I drive my Swedish sleds (Volvos) around on snow tires at this time of year.

I'm jealous tho--we've only had a couple of inches of snow in the Chicago burbs this winter.


Sometime in late November England's Daily Express has it's annual Snowpocalypse front page; about the only thing it doesn't mention is rampaging glaciers. :]

Of course, it never happens.

I really don't write about cars, but here goes -- Last year there was a bit of snow here in Sheffield England (a hilly city).

4wd isn't always great -- there was one of those crazy large fastback BMW SUVs with very wide tyres (not great for ice) sliding all over the place, eventually managing to get up the hill in front of our house, but only just missed a parked car. Then comes a VW Polo up the hill with no problem.

I guess the 'little ol lady' (no ageist offence meant - quoting the Beach Boys) had been in snow and ice before, and knew how to drive whereas the young macho go-getter (don't know gender - black windows) in the Beamer was just flooring it (getting rubber in all 4 - BBs again)

I definitely remember those years "back-in-the-day" when the snowfalls seemed more robust. Our old 1968 two-wheel drive Chevy 3/4 ton pick up was terrible until we learned the trick of shoveling massive amounts of snow into the bed. The old 396 cu in engine was so heavy in the front that a foot or more of snow just piled up, creating enough resistance to spin the back wheels. The snow in the bed helped but was not a true solution. Later I had a 1986 Suburban four-wheel drive, and it did a very good job in the snow even in Wyoming. However, the best vehicle I drove in the snow was my rear-wheel drive Nissan Xterra. It had a limited slip differential and that made all the difference. It never failed me and did surprisingly better than many 4x4s I came across. Now if it snows, I just stay home.

I had a Toyota FJ40 with 31/10.50 Bridgestone Desert Duelers. The CHP would wave me through when they were requiring chains on American sedans. I had chains for all four wheels if the snow was very heavy.

The 1989 Subaru FWD Hatchback handled light snow well.

Speaking of Quebec (mentioned in your previous post), its highway code requires cars to have winter tires from December until mid-March. All-seasons won't do.

Open Differential: Most modern cars still run with open diff’s and I think your ILX has an open differential. Open diff’s are simple, reliable and will last for decades with little maintenance. About a year ago I stopped driving a 20 year old pickup and started driving a front wheel drive Jeep Patriot (my first FWD and first SUV) and learned that my Jeep has a form of brake traction control called Brake Lock (or limited) Differential (BLD) which is a part of the traction control system (TCS). The TCS is in turn part of the Electronic Brake Control System (EBD, ABS, BAS, HAS, TCS, ESC, ERM, HDC) which is composed of enough acronyms to make my head spin. I finally determined that all this gobbledygook means that if I mount good tires, air down to about 25-30 PSI, and turn off my Electronic Stability Control button (ESC) on the dash, I can drive off-road (or in snow) and maintain good two wheel drive traction thanks to BLD which remains active even with stability control/traction control turned off.

I turn off the ESC because it can throttle back engine torque to limit wheel speed/spin to maintain traction but when off-road I want wheel spin to power through rough spots or to just have fun. It works surprisingly well because BLD controls wheel speed side to side across a driven axle and does not care how fast the wheels are turning, just that they are turning at the same speed. I would imagine that other front wheel drive cars have similar electronic brake traction control systems.

Yes. A four-wheel-drive vehicle with "all-season" tires can usually start up quicker in snow and go faster than a two-wheel drive vehicle.
Problem is, when you want to stop, a four wheel drive vehicle is no different from a two-wheel one.
Being able to stop is a good thing.
I have a set of Bridgestone Blizzacks that I really only need for about 3 months a year, but when I need them I really really need them.

@Danny Roberts: I too live in Sheffield, half-way up one of those hills you mention (in Totley). The best car I ever had for snow was a very old Austin Metro, with a 1275cc A-series engine. The car was as light as a feather (about as strong, too), but it just seemed to drive *over* the snow.

Back in the 80s the buses seemed to do better in snow than they do now, too.

Speaking of weather alarmism, WSB-TV in Atlanta delivers all of its weather forecasts from a set emblazoned “Severe Weather Center 2”.
On the mildest of spring days, with the temperature at 74 and the sky clear and blue, the weather portion of the newscast comes from Severe Weather Center 2. Presented by members of Severe Weather Team 2.

My comment is late to the party, I know but I thought you might find it amusing. I own a 2009 Pontiac G8 and have been very happy with its reliability and low maintenance costs over its lifespan. From the very beginning, I've alternated between summer tires and snow tires as the seasons change.
This for some reason really irritates my wife, as in, "What kind of idiot buys tires you can't use in winter?" I relayed this to a friend who replied, "Guess I shouldn't tell her about my wet and dry tires."

Even in upstate NY (where I lived for 55 years) people would say "but snow tires are so expensive!" The reply, "both sets of tires then last twice as long", seldom got through.
But driving Saabs with four snow tires, I always did.

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