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Old 12-16-2010, 08:51 PM   #1
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Driving in the Snow

Hey all, Been on this site for a few months now and enjoy reading everyone's posts. My cousin has a 01' Focus and I can say we all have great cars!

But anyways, we had our first major snow/ice in Detroit last weekend, just wondering what other peoples experiences are driving their foci in the snow. Coming out of a 07 fusion w/o abs or any traction devices, I like how my focus handles in the slick stuff. Probably could use a set of snow tires, at least on the front, for added confidence during acceleration from a stop, but overall I'm decently impressed. The stability and traction control work well together to prevent skids during turns and a nice click on the switch turns it off when you want to have fun haha. My Mom has a 10' Mercury Milan and driving it last night, you can tell having a heavier vehicle aids in traction as hers was VERY good, as opposed to adequate, in the iced over parts.

Also, anyone with 08-11's have differing experiences based on tire/wheel size. My SES has the 17inchers obviously and was also curious if the SEL's 16's or the SE's 15's preformed any differently in the white stuff.


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Old 12-16-2010, 08:57 PM   #2
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I've got a SE with no ABS and no traction control
I've driven through a winter with the stock Hankooks on the 15s and it was adequate.

I've since upgraded to Toyo Versados and added a 15" 10hole mustang wheel set to it with Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole Positions and they both handle awesome in the snow.
Unfortunately 2 of the Bridgestones were ruined by improper installation of the TPMS bands and had to be replaced with 2 Yokohama Envigors just last month. I haven't encountered snow here with those yet.
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Old 12-16-2010, 08:59 PM   #3
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if you get snow tires, I'd recommend them on all wheels. HIGHLY worth it, but if you do get only two, they go on the back now...

I'm very familiar with the '10 Milan though... it's a neat car.

I don't have TCS or ABS on my focus though, but it does very well regardless.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:01 PM   #4
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My girls 03 ZX3 with ABS and sporting 17inch low pro's have for traction in the snow, it is just horrible, slide all over the place. It is actually a little scary at times
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:03 PM   #5
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maybe she shouldn't be driving on tires with horrible/no water dissipation abilities in the snow?
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:04 PM   #6
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Wow, I actually didn't know this. My old roommate worked at an auto body shop and put a used set of snow tires just on the front wheels on his 06' milan and it seemed to do ok. I'm not sure if I would actually pop for snow tires at this point unless we get some nasty deep snows in Detroit this winter lol
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:05 PM   #7
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^^^ Good questions. I'll try to sum up what I know...

Do a [B]2nd wheelset[B] with snowtires for best performance. DON'T put winter tires on by the 2's... it can easily result in a handling imbalance that'd be worse than if you stayed with AS tires all the way 'round.

Smaller wheels do better. So go -1 from OEM if Tire Rack or equivalent expert says that's OK for clearing the brakes calipers on your vehicle. The reason they do better is because a taller sidewall will allow for more compliance (softness) in the tire. PLUS, the tires that go on the -1s will be cheaper. In general, taller and NARROWER is the winner in the snow. Tire experts will help you get this right so that overall wheel diameter is still close to spec.

My stability control is unhelpful in this stuff so I turn it off. 2010s may be better, but my TCT simply cuts engine power when a wheel starts to spin... not actually helpful.

General Altimax Arctics are a good choice if you do get winter tires. I have them on one vehicle, and Hankook i-Pikes on another vehicle (think: his n hers). They both perform excellently and were NOT the most expensive brands.

If you have a manual, it's sometimes helpful to take off in 2nd. This reduces torque and it prevents you from "stalling" in a challenging situation when you really want to keep your momentum going.

Hope that helps.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:11 PM   #8
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I've put them on the front for awhile too..... from what I understand, it's a fairly new thing. It prevents this handling imbalance a little more by increasing traction in the rear to keep the car from sliding out from behind. 4 is much better than 2 though.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:13 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the replies. I have heard all the generals about smaller tires being better, which makes a lot of sense. Like i said, my buddy had no problem with just the front set, maybe drivers get too confident and forget they lack the rear tires and wind up spinning out lol.

I almost preferred having no electronic gismos on my old fusion, I think it made me a better driver. Fusions at the time had awful Michelin Pilot tires designed for handling and not bad weather so I learned to tough it out. I'd say the biggest difference is the lack of weight of the Focus, although I think the Hankooks on my car will easily suffice for a few winters. To answer ElectricAl, the advancetrac ford uses isn't bad. I will ALWAYS turn it off if I'm trying to accelerate in deeper stuff. My Aunt got her 10' fusion stuck twice in 5 inches of snow/ice because she didn't realize you had to turn it off haha.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:14 PM   #10
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Yea she is trying to save up for normal 15's for snow tire's. I wonder how my wagon will do in the snow with it's all season tire's at stock 15's?
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