BMW – Snow – Yes its's another tyre question

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  • BMW – Snow – Yes its's another tyre question
  • mightymule
    Member

    Following on from the Snow Socks thread…

    Having bought the cockmobile as it was the best deal at the time, I am now hearing the doom-mongers’ forecasts of a dreadful winter with a touch of trepidation.

    So. The idea of buying a pair of steel wheels and getting them fitted with winter tyres, then lobbing them on the car for December – March sounds pretty good in theory.

    BUT – does anyone actually have any real-world experience of this (rather than theoretical knowledge)? I realise this sounds rather cynical but I want to know how much difference this would actually make in practice, rather than in theory.

    I don’t expect to suddenly have Land Rover capability in the snow, but to put it bluntly times are hard and tyres are expensive, and forking out for a decent set of winter tyres and still getting stuck in half an inch of snow is definitely not going to fill my little world with joy.

    So – real world experiences please?

    Winter tyres on steelies FTW

    Ho hum
    Member

    A friend did it on his 3 series and was very impressed with the results.

    pdw
    Member

    I use winter tyres on my 3 series, and it makes a huge difference. It will be better than the vast majority of other cars running on standard tyres.

    I think part of the reason the difference is so pronounced is because the standard tyres are so bad – what little tread they have runs around the tyre rather than across it.

    Liftman
    Member

    Our neighbour used to put a paving slab in the boot during the winter.

    My missus has 4 winters for her 1 series (still not fitted this year!).

    Q: are / will you be on run flats?

    pdw
    Member

    I’d add that it doesn’t have to be that expensive. I got a set of alloys very cheap from ebay by buying some with tyres already on, and then selling the tyres on. The winter tyres (Falkens) are less than half the price of the summer tyres, so by using them for half the year, I probably save money overall.

    Premier Icon benji
    Subscriber

    Drove a 5 series in Sweden on propper studded winter tyres, it was a real eye opener how capable it was. Same as seeing a Volvo 740 (rwd) come driving past me and a colleague whilst skating on a frozen river in Stockholm.

    Right tyres makes all the difference, after that good throttle control and thinking before you get into a situation.

    idea of buying a pair of steel wheels and getting them fitted with winter tyres

    4 wheels recommend though, not just a pair.

    phunkmaster
    Member

    Have just put winter tyres on my Civic. Last winter I wrote off my X-Trail on black ice on the Strines Road and this is just a peace of mind thing for me and my wife.

    The guy at the garage was very honest. He said that winter tyres are for temps below 6 degrees and wet roads. Snow and ice are always going to be slippery. Especially in a RWD.

    FWIW, he has put winter tyres on his mum’s BMW.

    So far, although it is probably all in my head, I believe there is a difference. The car feels far more uneventful and planted in corners. They were expensive but the two ways out of New Mills towards Stockport are both hazardous so I went for it.

    I would say go for it.

    Premier Icon howsyourdad1
    Subscriber

    Hey from Sweden. It is law to have Winter tyres with studs in after 1st December . They make a big difference, really do. However I have still managed to put a car in a ditch , they are not infallible

    pdw
    Member

    He said that winter tyres are for temps below 6 degrees and wet roads. Snow and ice are always going to be slippery.

    Well they do make a huge difference on snow. They also make a decent difference on ice, but the difference between ice and tarmac is so huge that winter tyres are unlikely to be the difference between crashing and not if you hit ice unexpectedly.

    maxtorque
    Member

    I would answer the following questions honestly before you plump for spending money on winters:

    1) do you actually have to drive when it’s very snowy? Staying at home for a few days a year is a good option if work allows
    2) How skillfull a driver are you. If you have good skills and can feel what the car is doing, and have good forward planning and observation, then you can get along on std tyres tbh
    3) How much traffic do you drive in? For me, winters do not help me get to work, because everyone else is stuck, causing gridlock!
    4) Can you put some weight in the boot. The only reason a bmw is less good than say a focus is the fact it has less % of its weight on the rear wheels. a couple of slabs, or some bags of sand makes a suprising difference
    5) prepare yourself: snow socks, jack, towrope, and maybe some old bits of carpet can get you out of a pickle!

    There are some dicks out there. The sooner it becomes the law, especially in Scotland, the better !

    dave661350
    Member

    Don’t get caught up in the “stay at home if the weather is bad”. What if you are out and the weather turns? Leave your car at the roadside to get hit by a plough or another vehicle? There goes your NCD
    Putting sufficient weight in the boot to make a difference is going to stuff your rear suspension costing you in the long run. Winter tyres work far better than ordinary tyres at anything below 7 degrees, so when it’s 3 deg C in the morning but not actually frosty, they are a good bit better than “summer” tyres. Also look at the fact that if you use winters, your other wheels/tyres are safely tucked away so in reality, they don’t cost that much extra to run, so long as you don’t swap your car frequently.
    They do work very well on the 1 series and hopefully they’ll work well on my Z

    mightymule
    Member

    @ Maxtorque

    I’m not talking about very snowy – I just mean when there is moderate snow and untreated roads. With regard to the RWD situation – my tactic is to fill the boot with everything heavy that I own – along with a bag of rock salt and a shovel.

    Without wishing to sound like a boastful arse, I do know how to drive in snow – I’m pretty experienced at it, however every advantage helps!

    gribble
    Member

    I have a 320d touring auto, so probably the worst combination of rear wheel drive and automatic gearbox (for driving when slippery).

    Car came with a spare set of alloy wheels (official BMW ones, so overpriced), with winter tyres fitted. Made a huge difference and allowed me to he home last winter following the end of a week of training, 90 miles away from home. Snow really started to pelt it down on the road between Milford and Haslemere, lots of fwd cars in the ditch, unable to get up some of the hills, but I got through fine. Only trouble I had was getting into our shared driveway, which has a short but steep incline. Postman and local kids helped! I don’t credit me getting home to my driving skills, so think the winter tyres do work. I know they are not snow specific studded tyres, but lots of slippery leaf mulch and wet roads round here, so would probably always get a set if possible.

    Premier Icon Woody
    Subscriber

    So. The idea of buying a pair of steel wheels and getting them fitted with winter tyres,

    This has been discussed at length (fitting to drive wheels only) on other threads. Much much better and safer to have winters all round.

    Also, extra weight in the back helps with rear traction but at the expense of reduced steering and braking capability .

    Premier Icon nitrambocg
    Subscriber

    My take…

    A 2wd car with (newish) Winter/Snow(M+S) tyres is as good as a 4wd with normal tyres.

    A 4wd car with M+S tyres is the best you can get.

    M+S tyres have 11mm tread when new (as oppose to 8mm for the normal Summer tyres) but are shot (though still legal at 4mm tread depth) when down to 5mm.

    The grip for M+S tyres in dry conditions (above 07C) is inferior but way better in Icy/Snowy/Muddy conditions when it gets cold.

    Above 07C M+S tyres wear quicker than normal Summer tyres because the
    rubber compound is different.

    If you leave M+S tyres on all year round the wear rate will be high.

    Best to swap a set of wheel/tyres November and March if you want to have the benefit of Normal(Summer tyres) and M+S for Winter.

    Roter Stern
    Member

    It’s also compulsory over here in Germany to have winter tyres. IME you can drive almost normally in snow without any worries when you have them on. Our new car is fitted with four season tyres and they are nowhere near as good in proper snow. Just as a foot note… there is a slight slope near our house which gets pretty slippery after a few weeks of constant snow (the city have a policy of only clearing main roads) and the only cars that get stuck on it, even with winter tyres on, are BMWs!

    CaptainSlow
    Member

    I fit winter tyres in Oct ish – as soon as the weather starts getting toward low double digits to singles.

    To the original question, yes, they make a huge difference in the snow. The main obstacle to you will be other road users who haven’t fitted them.

    As others say they make a difference also when the road is cold and not snow covered. If you can afford a nice car it’s silly not to fit them really.

    Mine go on the existing alloys.

    Dales_rider
    Member

    maxtorque – Member

    I would answer the following questions honestly before you plump for spending money on winters:

    1) do you actually have to drive when it’s very snowy? Staying at home for a few days a year is a good option if work allows
    TRUE
    2) How skillfull a driver are you. If you have good skills and can feel what the car is doing, and have good forward planning and observation, then you can get along on std tyres tbh
    FALSE
    3) How much traffic do you drive in? For me, winters do not help me get to work, because everyone else is stuck, causing gridlock!
    TRUE
    4) Can you put some weight in the boot. The only reason a bmw is less good than say a focus is the fact it has less % of its weight on the rear wheels. a couple of slabs, or some bags of sand makes a suprising difference
    FALSE
    5) prepare yourself: snow socks, jack, towrope, and maybe some old bits of carpet can get you out of a pickle!
    TRUE

    Just my thoughts but probably TRUE

    Premier Icon bruk
    Subscriber

    Last year my wife and I had a 3 and 5 series Touring respectively.

    With the 1st lot of snow my wife was unable to get up the hill to our house. As she was on call she had to return to work and sleep in her office. I had kitted both cars out with shovels, sleeping bags, salt and mats. She was 6 months pregnant at the time and kind of annoyed that the winter wheels ordered online came about 3 days too late.

    As soon as she got the winters on she was able to get around no bother and we had quite a bit of snow last year. I only got home because I borrowed a 4×4 from work.

    [/url] Untitled by Moose, on Flickr[/img]

    This year we have already put the winters on both cars though having changed the wife’s car I have sold the set to her dad for his 3 series.

    While they won’t turn it into a perfect car for the weather they do make a massive difference.

    shooterman
    Member

    I put 4 Continental winter contact on my 3 series. I have to say I didn’t really notice much improvement!

    trail_rat
    Member

    I find it impressive that driving skill allows you to bend the laws of physics.

    Maybe in south of englandshire

    Premier Icon nitrambocg
    Subscriber

    ‘Mine go on the existing alloys. ‘

    I have a spare set of alloys with M+S fitted so that I dont have to pay local tyre fitters to swap the tyres twice a year (but if I am feeling lazy I do pay them to swap the wheels over instead of doing it myself)…

    2) How skillfull a driver are you. If you have good skills and can feel what the car is doing, and have good forward planning and observation, then you can get along on std tyres tbh

    Agreed. In Germany they have recently introduced a law mandating winter tyres on almost all vehicles. It’s called the WinterReifenAufAlleWagenAusserWagenDieVonGuterPlannungUndVielGuterTechnicHabenLeuteGefahrenSindGesetz

    Premier Icon iainc
    Subscriber

    Aye, that point 2 is nonsense really. I have had various off road driving tuition for work, over a 20 year period so am probably better than average on the skills, planning etc. I can quite easily get my 520d tourer stuck on a nearly flat road. The bottom line with fat tyres and rwd is that if you have moderate driving skills and a bit wide road with no precious obstructions and keep the speed and momentum going then you might get where you want. Put same into a traffic situation and they’re crap, regardless of the awesomeness of the driver

    pdw
    Member

    +1 to iainc. On standard tyres, I’ve been unable to get my 3 series off my completely flat driveway in a few inches of snow. Not really much chance for “driving skill” to enter into it.

    The problem is a combination of wide tyres, less weight over the driving wheels, and a truly hopeless tread pattern on the standard tyres.

    CaptainSlow
    Member

    nitrambocg – Member
    ‘Mine go on the existing alloys. ‘

    I have a spare set of alloys with M+S fitted so that I dont have to pay local tyre fitters to swap the tyres twice a year (but if I am feeling lazy I do pay them to swap the wheels over instead of doing it myself)…

    It doesn’t cost me more than a beer. I may consider a second set of wheels in the future if that were to change.

    Unless you’re seriously hard up I dunno why ppl need to justify them. If you’re riding a decent bike you’ve summer and winter tyres on that so why not same for the car.
    the difference is the same and it doesn’t have to be snowy or that cold to feel a difference. Excluding cost of wheels or changing tyres it costs no more long term as you’re spreading the wear over 2 sets.

    With regard to a lot of the above, it also depends where you live. IR Bandito has just put the steelies and winter tyres on his Focus up in Hexham; it hasn’t even crossed my mind on the Isle of Wight.

    pacemaker
    Member

    [video]http://youtu.be/mfuE00qdhLA[/video]

    Premier Icon rickmeister
    Subscriber

    Re cost, yes to get four steelies and tyres is an outlay but they will last a few winters. Your not using the summer tyres whilst the winters are on so its not like paying to run two sets at the same time, if you follow my thinking…

    Premier Icon nitrambocg
    Subscriber

    ‘If you’re riding a decent bike you’ve summer and winter tyres on that so why not same for the car.’

    Quite so… I have 3 sets of wheels for my Trek Fuel 90.
    Tubeless Furious Freds on CrossMax Disc for Summer dry conditions.
    Schwalbe Racing Ralphs on Bontrager Race X-Lite for Wet/Mixed.
    Schwalbe Nobby Nick on Bontrager Race X for extreme conditions.

    Dependent on the conditions I change the wheels and tyres rather than change the tyres on one set of wheels (its way quicker).

    Premier Icon takisawa2
    Subscriber

    Do you have to inform your Insurance Company if you put Winter tyres on…?

    Premier Icon bruk
    Subscriber

    Re insurance. Depends. Informed company last year and no charge but wanted to know details ie fitted sizes recommended by manufacturer. (Direct Line)

    This year sent them an email and reply was thanks but you don’t need to tell us. (Groupama)

    Best option is to tell them. As long as fitting sizes recommended by manufacturer then should be able to argue no additional cost.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    OP yes it will make a big difference not least as typical BMW rear wheel drive with sports tyres are terrible in snow.

    pdw
    I use winter tyres on my 3 series, and it makes a huge difference. It will be better than the vast majority of other cars running on standard tyres.

    I think “vast majority” is a bit optimistic, I have an A6 Quattro which performs brilliantly in the snow with standard tyres, driven it a lot in the uk and alps in winter snow and ice, I’d be very surprised if a BMW on winter tyres was better.

    trail_rat
    Member

    If by performs brilliantly you mean – can move. My experiance in quatros is that they aint much better than 2wd .

    One of our rear wheels was spinning and it was game over get out and push . Wasnt driving mind you.

    What goods 4wd if it lets you spin up 1 wheel ! – 1 wheel on each axel i can understand.

    Cant beat a good lsd in the back axel and a centre diff thats more than unicorns and rainbows.

    maxtorque
    Member

    trail_rat
    I find it impressive that driving skill allows you to bend the laws of physics.

    Not bend, but exploit.

    For example, only stop on slight downslopes
    Use 1st and rev to rock yourself into motion
    Use the handbrake to turn the car at low speed to avoid the front tyres acting like snow plows
    Use the clutch to prevent yaw building on cambered roads
    Release the throttle as the rear wheels spin up, rather than accelerating harder
    Let a lot of air out of your tyres to get more heat and flex into them
    Have good enough clutch control to pull away without any throttle input
    Pre empt other drivers to help avoid the need to brake or steer suddenly
    Understand the difference between grip and traction
    Understand mass transfer and how to exploit it

    All of those^^ things make a small difference and they add up. yes, you might struggle to get going (carry a shovel and some old carpets and string (put carpet infront of rear tyres, tie carpet to tow hitch with 5feet of string (saves having to stop and pick up carpet!)) But once you’re going you’d be amazed where you can get too!

    If you go to places like scandinavia, they generally drive normal 2wd cars, often rwd, without issue (ok, they do use winter tyres a lot, but they have a LOT more snow than us!)

    Now i’m not saying winter tyres are a bad idea, of course they are not, but there is no absolute requirement to go out and spend £1k on a set for two days of light snow a year………

    zokes
    Member

    If you go to places like scandinavia, they generally drive normal 2wd cars, often rwd, without issue (ok, they do use winter tyres a lot, but they have a LOT more snow than us!)

    One thing to bear in mind is that ice/snow is at its slipperiest when it’s nearly thawing. I found driving in the severe winter of 2009-10 much easier than in milder, -2 –> +2C conditions

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