Opposite Lock: Time for Winter Rubber

Featured Posts, Interesting | December 29th, 2011 by 17
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It’s been some time since we’ve talked winter tires – three seasons to be exact. For those of us living in the Northern hemisphere, snow …

It’s been some time since we’ve talked winter tires – three seasons to be exact. For those of us living in the Northern hemisphere, snow and ice have given us the gift – or curse – of slippery roads.

I say gift because slippery roads can be fun-filled treasures covered in solid water. If you have a wild side that loves to explore the performance of your car, then you likely look forward to a good snow fall. In fact, you may even hope for it, checking the weather periodically to see if the sky’s ultimate gift to winter roads is on its way.

A slippery road surface decreases the traction coefficient such that you can reach the limits of grip at much slower (and safer) speeds. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to drift, or control understeer, no better venue could be had than a snow covered road or parking lot. It’s the perfect time to learn performance driving, this blustery time of the year.

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Being the procrastinating sort that I am, I’ve still got the Yokohama Advan Neova AD08’s firmly wrapped to my car. These, after countless track days and months of on-road driving, are looking somewhat worn. Summer performance tires should never be driven in the cold, much less over snow or ice. There is simply, no grip. Worse yet, on the phone with Yokohama, a chemist told me that my tires will actually shatter if I hit a bump well below 0′ Celsius. The nano technology engineered into these tires for wicked high-temperature grip means that at low temperatures, they will literally solidify as water turns into ice, and shatter, forever destroyed. That sounds so cool I almost want to try it – minus the expensive price tag that experiment would carry.

And so, for a second year I am prisoner to the cold, only able to drive my car when it’s warm enough not to shatter my tires. I need to sneak down to Southern Ontario where my Blizzak LM-25s are stored, carefully orchestrating my schedule with the weather forecast. Once they’re mounted, the winter is mine to enjoy. I should probably get on that, as the Detroit Auto Show, better know as the NAIAS is soon to be underway, and on January 9th, I’ll be there reporting live. I’ve never been to a Detroit Auto Show where it didn’t snow – and I’ve been going since I was a toddler.

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It’s probably a good time to re-visit a tech article I wrote on the merits of winter tires two winters ago. Click here to give it a read. In short, it develops the argument that winter tires are critically important to winter driving and are, in fact, likely to save you money.

BMWBLOG would like to wish you a New Year full of winter driving bliss!

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17 responses to “Opposite Lock: Time for Winter Rubber”

  1. Nobody says:

    It’s been about 4 weeks since you guys talked about winter tires, just sayin’… =) 

  2. Adesign49 says:

    Honestly, I’ve had all season tires on my 330i and i’ve had winter tires on it as well, and trust me when I say this….winter tires makes one heck of a difference! My best friend has an Audi B6 3.0 with quattro and winter tires and every time we have a snow storm here in central Jersey, we like to drive around it in since nobody is on the roads and we can get some great sideways action. I’m able to go anywhere and yes, I do mean ANYWHERE, he goes with his car, I can go without a problem. And i dont mean a measly inch or so of snow, we’re talking easy, at LEAST a foot of snow. With my all seasons, I wouldn’t even be able to drive away from my parking space (on a flat road).

  3. LaMa says:

    never had a winter tires in my life. and never needed one.  I live in Florida :-)

  4. Pimenito says:

    I dont know what kind of idiot doesnt need winter tires and drives with summer tires in the snow! I’ve experienced that this winter when i had a small crash with my summer tires! The snow surprised us early this year and i didnt have the money to buy me some new Michelin’s… The difference is HUGE in performance on any kind of surface in low temperatures!

  5. Tyrol says:

    In my country and other North European countries, winter tires are mandatory during the winter. Trust us, winter tires make a HUGE difference. I don’t understand why Canada and some Northern US states have not made it mandatory yet, it will save lives.

  6. Major company provide what is called “Clearance Auto” reduce the rates for long-time auto insurance customers. They just now reduced my rates! need to save money gas prices is killing my travel

  7. PHZ says:

    My thoughts on winter tires is that they should be matched with summer tires. Summer tires offer better performance in dry/wet braking and wet weather traction vs all seasons.

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