By on December 31, 2008

A few months ago, I asked TTAC’s Best and Brightest if I should drive my Mustang in the snow. After very little soul-searching, and very much viewing of Mustangs, Supras, Bimmers and Porsches doing snow donuts on YouTube, the decision practically made itself. So, I had the car anti-rusted and bought a set of Kingstar W411 winters (made by Hankook) on black wheels and off I went, with no extra junk in the trunk (hey – it might ruin the steering). I’ve driven it almost daily; it’s faced Montreal’s harsh winter with gusto. Even during the heaviest storm of the year to date, I had no problem getting around. Obviously, I’m delicate on the throttle and I pay attention to the brakes, lest I lock up the wheels and transform my little pony into a giant, lead sled. One caveat though – freezing rain. One day where we received all manner of precipitation (rain, then freezing rain, then snow) the car got stuck in a parking space in a street the city of Montreal had characteristically forgotten to clear. A little back-and-forth pushin’ and rockin’ while a good samaritan floored the gas and she was soon free, but I almost missed a dinner date. Lesson learned for next time: Bring a shovel and carry traction-aids.

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19 Comments on “Ask the Best and Brightest Follow-Up: Snow + Mustang = OK...”


  • avatar
    dgduris

    Successfully single men are always prepared for all pre-date, date and after-date activities!

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    A snow shovel is a required accessory. Especially if a plow actually DOES come by your parked car.

  • avatar
    lprocter1982

    I’ve got the Canadian Tire Hankook I*Pikes on my Impala – it’s like a 4WD truck now – the tires are great. I haven’t gotten stuck anywhere, even on my backroad which my municipality characteristically forgets to plow.

    By the way, great front plate! Go Habs Go!

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    The SUV craze was based on deceptive advertising and was a colossal fraud. The average SUV with all season tires is far worse in the winter than a simple minivan with snow tires.

    We have had a record snowfall here this winter. It is the worst driving conditions – ever. More than six feet of snow has fallen since the first of December. I have been stuck with a rental GM minivan shod with studded snow tires.

    It is amazing. It has traction control, and will literally bust through drifts towering over the top of the hood. On icy roads, it easily blows away the white-knuckled driving of standard SUVS.

    The fact that you have had few if any problems with your Mustang does not surprise me. I drove my first generation Miata one winter with snow tires and it was great.

  • avatar
    JG

    Toyooooooo!!!! (Shouted with Japanese accent…)

    Here’s my winter beater, showcasing some take-off rims from ebay w/TPMS! and Toyo G02 Observes:

    http://i36.tinypic.com/15eb8dg.jpg

    You’ve got to drive like a sane person, but you can still enjoy the sounds (exhaust/rattles) and sensations (people cursing at you for driving a mustang in the winter) year round.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    No reason your Mustang can’t get through the snow…my Volvo 760 has been doing it for several years in Idaho and Utah, with various forms of Michelin snow tires. Only does the rearend get out if I want it too, and occasionally I do!

  • avatar
    Emro

    its all about the tires… any vehicle, no matter what drive type is fine in the winter, provided it has the right tires (not being a white-knuckled wuss helps too).

  • avatar
    dmk1976

    I am on my fifth year with rear wheel drive and snow tires. I have become a believer. I spent one year in a 92 Camaro and the rest in my 05 Mustang. I will never go back to front wheel drive.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    Re: “I had the car anti-rusted”

    “Yah, but I’m sayin’, that TruCoat, you don’t get it and you get oxidization problems.”

    Did you go to Ziebart or something like that or just wax the car heavily?

  • avatar
    Samir

    I got it sprayed with mineral oils.

  • avatar

    Nice! I’m guessing you don’t have a Trac-Lok (LSD for the non-Ford people) and that’s all you need to finish up the winter transformation. Of course, if you do have one, you still need to get in there and slap a set of 3.73s in the pumpkin. And a quick switcheroo to an aftermarket cat-back system…since you’re under the car!

    Sweet.

  • avatar
    brownie

    Good for you! RWD + snow tires > AWD + all season tires. I hate the “AWD is great in the snow” myth and the kamikaze SUV drivers it has spawned.

  • avatar
    dgduris

    @brownie,

    AWD isn’t the enemy. AWD is great in the snow! The enemy is the high-center-of-gravity, poorly braked and totally isolated from road feel vehicles that are popular because…

    …@Larry P2, people who drive them “feel” more in control of the road so they like them better. Ford did pretty intensive research on potential customer preverences, attitudes and psychographics in designing the Explorer. Then, they built what the research told them would be successful.

    They were right! And non-drivers everywhere bought these jacked-up land yachts that drove like the direct descendants of the original Crown Vics.

    Marketing isn’t to blame – say I – poor driver training across America is!

  • avatar
    bunkie

    As many have discovered, the real scam is the “all-season” tire.

    With a set of 4 (don’t mix tire types!) proper winter tires and a delicate touch at the controls, you’re all set. An added bonus is that you can then get a good set of summer tires for even more driving pleasure in the warmer months.

  • avatar
    MBella

    ^ Agreed, snow tires are awesome. AWD can help you get going, but it’s not going to stop you any faster.

  • avatar
    Sanman111

    In my opinion, a $500 beater (properly maintained) + snow tires is the best bet.

    Fwd + snow tires = good
    Awd + snow tires = great
    Beater + snow tires = The best because you won’t care even if you do let slide into a gaurd rail.

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    Go one step further and throw a Torsen in the pumpkin. You’re good to go, whatever comes at you.

    Phil

  • avatar
    AGR

    How come you don’t have a couple of sand bags in the trunk, its a Quebec staple to increase traction.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    I wonder how many trillions of barrels of oil are wasted every year because “SUVs are good in the snow?”

    I agree with one of the points made above: the higher center of gravity of SUVs makes them WORSE to drive on slick roads. 99 percent of SUVS never go offroad anyway, and would be terrible at it if they tried. Capable off-road vehicles can be counted on one hand. The more capable off-road they are, the less capable they are on-road.

    The worst tires for slick roads are the best off-road: Mud terrains. The shorter the vehicle and the more clearance, the better off-road but the worse on slick roads.

    So-called “All Terrain” offroad tires are better than mud-terrains and all-seasons on winter roads. Few SUVs come equipped with decent All-Terrains. Wrangler RUbicons come equipped with excellent Mud Terrains, which again are awful on winter roads.

    So virtually any Rwd car, including corvettes, miatas, and 350Z’s, with decent snow tires easily outperforms any SUV with the usual OE all season radials. Stock SUVs with OE all season radials are awesome examples of engineering malpractice: they are terrible both off-road during the summer and on-road in the winter.

    This minivan with traction control and studded snow tires with FWD has been a real eye-opener.


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