Snow driving – traction control or not?

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  • Snow driving – traction control or not?
  • Premier Icon Stu_N
    Subscriber

    What do the masses reckon? Never had a car with ESP until now.

    I'm certain it helps once you are moving but for getting going are you better banging it in third and easing it away without, or relying on the TC to do it's thing in 2nd?

    We're strugging with about a foot of snow and there's no been sign of a snowplough for a week. Fortunately we have a grit box and most folk have had a bash at the bit outside their house so it's not completely impossible to get about. It's just getting started that's the problem. Keeping going is the easy bit!

    Premier Icon jamesgarbett
    Subscriber

    You will probably need to disable it to get going in snow but once on the move stick it back on unless you get stuck again, the manual should cover this

    grahamt1980
    Member

    Not got it on my toledo, too old a car and have been driving on snow and ice all week. Thus far I haven't had a slide or slip that i could feel, unless I had done it deliberately πŸ˜€ which admittedly happened on a few roads over the past couple of days.
    I personally don't want it either, at least without it I have the option of using the engine power or not rather than some electronics deciding for me.

    Premier Icon BoardinBob
    Subscriber

    Despite having every traction contol gadget under the sun on my mini cooper s, there was no way I could get it up the hill I live on. Tried switching various gubbins off, pulling away in 1st/2nd/3rd, high revs, low revs, taking a run up etc but nothing could get my up the relatively shallow incline. Had to be abandoned on the street corner. Wide, low profile tyres are just crap in the snow.

    Triumph toledo…..??……engine power????

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    On. Definitely.

    It's exactly what it's designed for and (in my car at least) it does a pretty excellent job.

    Smee
    Member

    Depends on the driver's skill level. I keep it on, but it rarely kicks in. πŸ˜€

    allthepies
    Member

    >Triumph toledo…..

    Seat Toledo probably πŸ™„

    uplink
    Member

    We used to drive around happily in the snow in big rear wheel drive things like petrol 3 litre Capris & Cortinas etc.
    Wasn't half as difficult as my current front wheel drive diesel with all the electronic aids you can throw a stick at – you expect the opposite wouldn't you?

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    without it I have the option of using the engine power or not rather than some electronics deciding for me.

    and how do you do that? do you have 2 accelerators and 4 brake pedals?

    Premier Icon Stu_N
    Subscriber

    I miss my old Megane in snow. Narrow standard profile tyres and a turbo diesel engine that wasn't far away from a lump of iron with a few holes in it to press them down into the road. Never got that stuck, ever.

    Smee
    Member

    best car I ever had for driving in the snow was a 1.1 k reg fiesta. It would get up anything and was the only thing to get up the only hill in Lincoln when it snowed when we lived there.

    stuartie_c
    Member

    On ice or deep snow, TC off on my car otherwise it just bloody fishtails all over the road as alternate wheels get the power and start sliding.

    Fine once the car is moving apart from the odd light-steering-wheel moment and flickering orange light.

    Wide tyres, torquey diesel engine – shite on snow.

    (Awaits Coffeking to tell me I'm living in a parallel universe…)

    grahamt1980
    Member

    and how do you do that? do you have 2 accelerators and 4 brake pedals?

    yeah alright I guess someone had to pick that up, you know what i mean't.
    I.e. if I wanted to use the accelerator I could and know that the power would go to the drive wheels rather than being stopped by the electronics.
    Not against ABS at all though, good stuff although haven't used that at all recently

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    Yeah but it only stops the power going to the drive wheels when they are spinning. That's kind of the point. πŸ˜€

    anyway, drove from Rosyth to Northumberland today. TC only kicked in a couple of times, but I was glad when it did!

    daves mum
    Member

    You have to love the armchair 'driving purists' on here.

    ESP will be running ~ 200 times per second and is best placed to know what the vehicle is doing. On definitely.

    grahamt1980
    Member

    I can see the point in it sometimes.
    However there are times when it is more of a hinderance than a help, and I suspect it gives some people far more confidence than they should really have in the conditions, lets face it bugger all that traction control can do if you are going sideways into a ditch

    hora
    Member

    Personally I'd forget whats on or off. Keep away from the brake as much as possible (use engine braking) and make sure all lights front and rear are cleaned daily. Soon as you touch your brakes its trouble IMO. If you drive with the mentality that you wont use your brakes you'll lift off sooner/i.e. slow down.

    pacemaker
    Member

    I thought TC and ESP were entirely different types of systems.

    TC is used to monitor and restrict wheelspin from the powering wheels.
    ESP monitors the vehicles stability on the road and uses the brakes to help prevent slides and the vehicle going out of control.

    This is my understanding of it anyway, correct me if im wrong.

    TC is on until i need to get unstuck in deep snow.
    ESP is never turned off.

    Reckon its better off without. I've spent the past few days going everywhere sideways in a series 1 discovery, with no traction control/abs/safety features etc. My mate has a series two with all the aforementioned gizmos, he put it through an electric fence he was having to try so hard to get it drifting!*

    *This logic may only apply if you have the mental age of a 12 year old.

    daves mum
    Member

    pacemaker – you are right in what you say, TC and ESP have different objectives, but they are part of the same system so to speak.

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    Don't really get why anyone would drive about every day with traction control on, and then switch it off during the exact conditions it is designed to help in. πŸ˜•

    You have less inputs, less control and probably react slower than those "electronics".

    Relying on them is dumb, but I'd rather have them to back me up than keep them switched off for misplaced machismo.
    See also: seatbelts, airbags, ABS

    Premier Icon Flaperon
    Subscriber

    TC on, definitely. Very steep hill near me, when it's iced up it's impossible to cars without 4WD or traction control. Turning it off results in a backwards slither to the bottom.

    ESP seems to be handy for getting round sharp icy corners going uphill without losing traction – spin the steering wheel and about half a second later the car turns quite neatly.

    Having seen the Fifth Gear demo I would never consider turning ESP off for normal driving. In fact, on the last Ford I drove it would re-arm automatically above 40MPH and even if disabled would react in the event of a spin with the brake pedal depressed.

    0091paddy
    Member

    just floor it.

    aviemoron
    Member

    Got a 4 wheel drive VW van and I leave all the gizmos on and recently have had to lock the diffs too, but must admit with winter tyres on driving at the mo is a hoot. p.s. with gizmos off managed some lovely on-the-spot "doughnuts" in a local deserted carpark – do we never grow up?

    daves mum
    Member

    lol @ paddy!

    spanishbarry
    Member

    Snow chains ,better than all the electronic gizmos

    hora
    Member

    Lower your psi. Or just go for a ride.

    mattsccm
    Member

    The tc on my missus's new Alto got her home today up hills where many cars slid to a halt. Equally I have a mates Jag outside which wouldn't move . who cares? I drove 50 miles each way today to go up the Brecon Beacons. Suzuki Jimny in 4wd and road tyres. Just been out and felt smug that the Landy 110 pulled off where jap pickups were sliding. πŸ˜†

    Premier Icon scaredypants
    Subscriber

    I've a 12 yr old big heavy automatic car with quite wide tyres & some sort of traction control thingy

    bloody awful in snow/ice. TC off is better, but still hardly any real "clutch" control.

    deadlydarcy
    Member

    Wow, I'm in awe…you're all such great drivers πŸ˜›

    chopperT
    Member

    Check out this, I suspect the narrator might be a Subaru fanboi, and talks shite, but very interesting video

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6-ERc-DfhA&feature=related

    Premier Icon rangerbill
    Subscriber

    good tyres or snow chains

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    Snow chains ,better than all the electronic gizmos

    Rubbish on UK roads where main roads may be completely clear but side streets are not – as you're not supposed to use them on cleared roads.

    Also no use when you suddenly need grip on a patch of blown snow on an otherwise clear road (as caught me out today).

    Plus you're limited to 30mph.

    iDave
    Member

    i hover above the snow on a cushion of smug superiority induced by thinking regularly about how great a driver I am compared to mere humans who struggle to cope with the conditions wrought by natural climate change

    Suppose it may differ from vehicle to vehicle but here is the merc line and it follows pacemaker quite closely. Appreciate that mercs are RWD

    TC/ASR This is what is says on the tin. Itsa tractioncontrol or anti skid/slip reduction. Basically it will detect when one of the wheels is spinning dissproportionately to its opposite wheel and will brake the wheel which has MOST traction. Imagine nailing it around a roundabout and lifting the inside wheel. It will detect this and brake the wheel getting drive untill the other wheel has enough traction. This is brilliant in 99% of cicumstances BUT useless if you are stuck in snow or mud. It will detect the spin and actually brake the wheel getting drive so in effect slow you down. Getting up a hill will be impossible. I actually took a VW T5 into the show field at Hit the North. It got stuck and kind peeps tried to give it a push. They started getting annoyed when they said i kept stopping. It wasnt untill i noticed the ASR button that i cottoned on and turned it off. So if you want to get out of a stuck situation then ASR/TC off. I dont turn it off unless i get in a situation where i know this is important as otherwise its a blooming good indicator of road conditions as you get a warning light on the dash.

    ESP – Well this is basically Electronic Stability Programme. It doesnt usually have a switch to turn it off as it is working all the time. it works on the Steering/brakes and inertia of the vehicle. Imagine driving around a muddy bend too fast. You are turning right but the muddy conditions mean the car is actually travelling straight on. This is detected and controls throttle and all four brakes to go the way you are steering. There would be little point in turning this off to gain more traction as it probably wouldnt even be doing anything in a stuck situation.

    Me i would switch the asr/tc off to get going then switch every thing back on as soon as you get going

    solamanda
    Member

    In my experience I found the best TC system is a RWD manual car, hold the clutch and throttle steady. Use the ye'olde handbrake for traction control and balance it off the throttle.

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    Me i would switch the asr/tc off to get going then switch every thing back on as soon as you get going

    seems fair. I can't say I've noticed it holding me back when I'm getting going, but then I haven't got properly stuck yet.
    So far just pulling away carefully in second has always got me moving on the snow.

    I might consider flicking it off temporarily if I thought it would help in that particular situation. But it would be set back on immediately as soon as I was moving.

    samuri
    Member

    As goan said, if it activates, you're driving wrong, or you're just messing about. The only time mine lights up is when I want it to.

    Setting off in icy conditions should be done in second gear if it's really slippy.If you've got a big old 2 litre diesel, all you need to do is gently lift your foot off the clutch, you don't need the accelerator until you're moving.

    Same with braking, slowing down in snow and ice should be done with the engine, if you really *must* brake, kiss the pedal like your were licking snowflakes off connie's tummy. (again, unless you're just messing about in which case bang it)

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    As goan said, if it activates, you're driving wrong, or you're just messing about.

    Overtaking two HGVs on the dual carriagway today.
    The road had been completely cleared and was wet, but both lanes were free from snow and had been for miles.

    I'm alongside the second HGV when we suddenly get to a patch where a decent pile of snow has obviously been blown across the lane from the central reservation.

    I see it but can't brake, cos I might skid and there is someone close behind me anyway. I can't pull in because of the HGVs alongside. So all I can do is hold the wheel firmly, hit the snow at speed and hope the TC does its job (which it did without too much drama).

    I don't think I was particularly "driving wrong". It was just unfortunate conditions really. But either way I was glad to have TC switched on!

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 69 total)

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