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To All The Show Off's With 4X4's In The Snow


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Whilst I agree 4x4 clearly have their benefits, it is the winter tyres that make the most difference.

FWD with good winter tyres or 4X4 with the usual fat 'normal' tyres.

FWD anyday.

Of course a 4X4 with winter tyres would be the best.


A 4x4 is no better at cornering or stopping than a standard front wheel drive car. People drive them like fools in the snow thinking they have more control.

It's all about the tyres. Winter tyres give you more control, better cornering and much better stopping distance than a 4x4 on standard all season tyres.

The only problem with winter tyres is this:

Just like us on HPC, not much point being in the minority as I found out this morning. Being the 1 in 100 with snow tyres I had to wait inline behind everyone else who was stuck :angry:

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I have done winters in canada and kosovo with landrovers, I doubt that the tyres were changed for winter tyres but we managed just fine in the mountains. I think that land rovers come with tyres good enough to cope with anything.

The boxheads used to change their tyres over every year in germany, I never bothered and the only time that I had an issue was in the hertz mountains. They were probably far safer than me but I like to slide :lol:

I think the land rovers normally have the mud and snow all season tyre which are designed for driving off road in deep snow. I would have thought that they would perform very well in the snow.

Winter tyres are made with a high silicon compound which makes them stay soft in temperatures below 7c, where standard tyres would go stiff and lose grip even without snow or ice on the road.

It's good fun watching peoples faces as you overtake them in the snow or when you casually drive past as they are stuck on hills. You expect people to drive like that in land rovers but you don't expect a standard ford focus to be ploughing through the snow ice without a problem :)

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Good questions - in answer to (5) yes, there are several different types of traction control. A common one available these days is one which applies a small amount of braking effort to one wheel only to control a skid.

This can actually be very effective on ice. The biggest problem is that the differential gear will cause a car with one (driven) wheel on ice to get stuck - the differential gear then sends all of the torque to this wheel, and absolutely sod all to the other wheel. D'oh. This results in the car spinning one wheel away and going nowhere.

Some forms of traction control will apply the brake to the spinning wheel, resulting in torque going to the other wheel. This means for a car with this type of traction control, both driven wheels have to get stuck on a grip-free spot, which is less likely. A car fitted with a limited slip differential has a similar advantage, although the torque transfer then is through the differential gear rather than a reaction to the brake.

You should not switch off the traction control if it is of this type - it is very useful! Some people argue ABS should be switched off in snow conditions, because often with snow a locked wheel will stop you quicker (due to the build up of snow in front of the wheel). However, doing this usually involves removing a failsafe in the system, which is not a good idea either. Your insurance company will not be impressed if they find your car has ABS disabled if they recover your vehicle after a crash.

I think that the Astra must have the better type of traction control. A couple of years ago one of the rear wheel bearings went and the replacement was £200 because the hub comes as a unit rather like an Indespension trailer unit. The hub has sensors and electrical connections.

A lot is also down to the tyres. My son's BMW Z4 is stuck outside my house and cannot get any grip. It has huge wide tyres. I saw a BMW 4x4 having trouble and noticed that its tyres were wider than those on a bus.

Snow and mud pose different problems. Snow compacts as you apply force, so a narrow tyre will apply greater pressure per square inch.

Mud on the other hand squishes away under force and a narrow tyre will dig itself down to the axle in no time, so on mud a wide tyre has advantages.

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I wish I had seen these before getting 4 new tyres put on. Seems like Bridgestone have managed to produce the first bona fide 'all season' tyre.


Looks like it runs/wears like a normal tyre in the summer - but then is almost up to winter tyre standards when the cold/snow comes. Even got the M & S rating and legal to use where winter tyres are compulsary.

Seems like a good compromise between using 'normal' tyres and full winter ones.

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