So my 2924 focus se hatch has traction control. This is the first vehicle I've owned with it. In the past I have used studded tires during the winter. My question is how much does traction control help? Should I still run with studded tires?
I do better in the winter with traction control off using all seasons (currently ContiPro DWSs). The traction control is too aggressive. Also this is my first car with traction control. Manual transmission. I can't say how it is if you have the automatic.
I would say its dependent. On the factory tires the TC was a pain when taking off from a stop. It would kick in and almost kill the car. I would say with all-seasons that you might be better with the TC turned off.
When I put dedicated snow tires on the car the TC would hardly ever kick in from a stop. I would kick in when needed but it wasn't to often.
I completely recommend dedicated snow tires. I have never used studded snow tires, so I don't see the need.
I use snow tires in the winter. I live in Montreal (Canada) and we have a lot of snow during winter. Traction control is too dangerous in my opinion. Almost got into an accident last year because of it on the highway in snow and I was unable to go up hill (2 meters only) in the snow. Engine would die right away. Rolled back (slip on snow) into the road and also almost got into an accident. If I didn't have TC turned on, I would just have pushed till the top.
Tire selection is def. based on conditions where you drive. If you're doing the passes in WA studded snow tires would be a great option IMHO.
Traction control in these is unfortunately difficult/time consuming to turn off. When there's a button to disengage it, it works great as a warning of slip you can turn off when it activates as needed. Having to go through a menu to turn it off, it's better IMHO to do so BEFORE any situation where you really wouldn't want it to interfere such as hill climbing.
Got rid of the all seasons that came with the car when I got 17" wheels & summer performance tires, haven't been using it in the winter for a while. Might break down & get a set of Snow tires for the stock 15" wheels this year so I can use the car in the winter again sometimes.
Before I moved to sunny Miami I lived in Long Island for 32 years. 17 years I always had all seasons and never used snow tires. Never had a problem crunching through the snow. Then again, I never lived in rural upstate New York either.