Snow driving my new Prius

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by Sleeper, Jan 20, 2007.

  1. Stefx

    Stefx Member

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    We need to make a list on this site, or a survey: (for those living in snowy winter conditions - thanks patspark)

    1-Who has winter tires and says the car is fine in snow
    2-Who has winter tires and says the car is not ok in snow
    3-Who does not have winter tires and say the car is fine in snow
    4-Who does not have winter tires and say the car is not fine in snow.

    Maybe break it down further between pre-2006 and 2006+ to acount for TC software improvement?
     
  2. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    One more question, who hasn't got winter tyres but it's OK because they live in sensible location without snow?
     
  3. Mike Dimmick

    Mike Dimmick Active Member

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    Up until yesterday I would have said 'me' but overnight it was -4C and snowed, and today it's about 0C and the snow isn't melting. Had to wipe about 5cm of snow off the car this morning (no garage, uncovered street parking).

    The roads were a bit snowy - while I think they had been salted, there were definite tyre-tracks that you wanted to stay in. VSC kicked in at one point and there was a little slip at another, but generally no problems.

    Still, it doesn't make a lot of sense to go and get winter tyres for the few days a year when it snows!

    It also seems difficult to find winter tyres here - tyreshopper.co.uk lists a Pirelli Snowsport 210 in the right size at £388 for four, fully fitted, but I think you'd have to take the all-season tyres home in your car, and heaven knows if you'd find someone prepared to swap the tyres over in March (perhaps - I bought the car at the beginning of April last year and it snowed about a week later!) The main fitters, Kwik-Fit and ATS Euromaster, don't list any winter tyres.
     
  4. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    We do get a frost now and then here in winter, just cold enough that it feels like a proper winter. It's nice having 4 seasons a year rather than winter and August.
    I wouldn't bother with snow tyres for 4 or 5 days of snow every year. Of course this stinking hot weather can take a hike any time it likes. 6 days straight over the old 100f and more to come.
     
  5. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    Hmmmmm

    Touche
     
  6. bac

    bac Active Member

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    I own a 2008 which does very well in the snow, and I LOVE the traction control. I find that many just don't understand this feature ... just like with anti-lock brakes. Hence, the issue.

    Perhaps the 2008 models have improved TC ..... I don't know.

    ... Brad
     
  7. nyprius

    nyprius Member

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    Tires and traction control are two separate issues. Traction control is flawed because it brings the wheels to a full stop when it senses slippage. It does this less when good tires are on it. But it should never do it. Other TC's don't do this.

    Having good tires is important. But that does not mean that Toyota should not fix the flawed TC. That's the point I'm making here. You seem to be saying that there is nothing wrong with the TC. It's obvious that the system is flawed because it bring the wheels to a full stop.

    If you had the best snow tires possible on the car, you would still get stuck in some situations because of the TC. If the TC was limited slip, you would get stuck less.

    TC is very dangerous for new Prius drivers who don't know that the wheels might stop while going up a slippery hill. That's what happened to me. I fixed the problem by getting better tires and learning how to override the TC, so that the wheels never stop.

    But people who aren't familiar with this problem might get stuck in life threatening situations because the TC unexpectedly stops the wheels.

    My car stopped on a hill because of the TC and tires. If the TC didn't stop the wheels, the car would have made it up the hill, even with crappy tires. In other words, TC and tires combine to make traction worse.

    It sounds like you're saying that it's OK for TC to bring the wheels to a full stop. If that's your position, I think experts would disagree.
     
  8. nyprius

    nyprius Member

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    This comment has been made in other threads. But I've never seen proof of it. Can you point to a credible source that shows the TC was improved in the 2006 model year?
     
  9. nyprius

    nyprius Member

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    There is a way to override the TC. You put it in a service mode, but you have to be careful about not spinning the tires too fast. My dealer told me it wouldn't hurt the car as long as I don't let the wheels spin freely. In other words, you control the spin, as any good snow driver would do.

    The way to override TC is shown in other posts. If you want, I can post it here.
     
  10. rdt09

    rdt09 New Member

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    Newbie here w/ an 09. Forgive me if I'm pretty much repeating other comments, but I just headed straight to the last comment since I read this thread several weeks ago prior to trading an FJ on what we call the "Pope Pious."

    We've had the car for less than 600 miles, but I'd read about the vsc loss of traction/ loss of power problem here and was a little concerned since we have a cabin in Breckenridge on an extremely steep hill w/ a couple switchbacks that are often frozen solid w/ ice from sliding cars. I've got a friend w/ a rear wheel drive mercedes w/ aggresive snow tires that often has to park at the bottom of the hill and NEVER drives his car down our driveway, which I found out at move-in some time back, the local tow truck knows very well (as he pulled out our moving truck and a few days before pulled out the prior owner's moving truck and mentioned he'd been to our driveway on numerous occasions in the past few years).

    Anyway I tested the prius in the mountains last week, but first switched to snow tires. I just want to say the 09 w/ snow tires (Hankook w409 size 185 55 or 65? 15 not studded) performs as well as our all wheel drive and four wheel drive up the hill. I held my breath as the vsc light flashed a couple times, but the drive up the snow/ice packed hill was pretty much uneventful. Also, no issues up or down the driveway which had just a couple inches of unplowed new snow- not even a vsc complaint.

    I also want to say prior to this car, I was a performance auto nthiuisast with a conscience. Forget about that- this car is fun in so many other ways. My only disappointment, some loss of mpg on the snows, but that's the case with all cars.

    Caveat: No new snow on this drive, just packed snow and ice over a steep and switchbacking gravel county road. Results may vary, particularly w/ fresh snow on packed snow / ice.- but I doubt it.
     
  11. ronhowell

    ronhowell Active Member

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    Seems to me that many of those posters to this thread who live in areas where they encounter snow and ice would be better off buying snow chains for their tires, rather than going to the expense of an additional set of snow tires. While the chains limit your speed, maybe that is what is required anyway.

    Other than that, I agree with Patsparks comment. Better to live in a snow-free climate, and drive something other than your Prius in the snow and ice. There is nothing on 4 wheels that is really safe at any speed in that latter conditions.
     
  12. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    rdt09,

    Glad to hear your Pious reached the peak with the non-studded rubber. ;-)
     
  13. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    There is a PDF document from Toyota with a list of improvements. The list includes:
    - More headroom in the rear
    - More accurate gas tank
    - Soft Interior panels
    - Improved less aggressive traction control
    - etc...

    I can't find it now. I will post when I find it. Does anyone has that doc?
     
  14. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Many of us live in areas that don't allow snow chains. In this area you have snow driving all winter, not just going up a mountain pass. Even if they were allowed, snow chains wouldn't work at the speeds we drive in the winter.

    Tom
     
  15. tkddad

    tkddad New Member

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    We have a 2008 and live in Ottawa, Canada. There is a long stretch
    of road where we have to go up hill. It's not too steep but there is
    a traffic light in the middle of the climb up. I am having the same
    problem going up with the TC stopping the wheels as indicated by
    nyprius. Whenever it snows, I would take a detour and avoid said hill.

    I am sure snow tires would improve the situation. I will make sure
    I have them before next winter. There is a big shortage of snow
    tires this year due to the mandatory snow tires law in Quebec, our next
    door province. Yes, every single car in the province of Quebec
    is required to have snow tires.
     
  16. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    With aggressive modern studded snow tires, the Prius does very well on glare ice and snow
     
  17. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    I want them. Damn our archaic laws.

    Tom
     
  18. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    When some States, and the Province of Ontario, banned studded tires, they based the decision on pretty outdated and poorly done studies. Even more current testing, does not match a modern, "sticky" pliable tread, studded tire against "all season" or studless tires

    Even testing done in the EU by Goodyear, Nokian, and Michelin, all favor their own brand of modern studded tires, to their studless tires. They refer to their studless tires as "all season" capable, but for true ice traction, their factory studded tires test superior

    Example, the ice storm we had last Monday. For giggles, I drove the Prius down my 25 ft glare ice driveway, which has a very slight grade to it. When I stood outside, I slowly slid all the way to the street, it was that icy. There were videos posted of kids skating down the highway

    The Prius, with the studded tires, had no trouble at all going back up the driveway. The FJ, I drove it out to the street, then started backing up into the garage again. It struggled a bit on the studless winter tires

    Studded tires and road "damage." The Swedes, with the VTI road research institute, have put that to bed. Additional road wear is almost negligible. The Swedes redesigned their studs around 15 years ago, the new studs cause far less road damage, and offer *better* ice traction

    Further testing by the Swedes found far more road damage resulting from freeze/thaw cycles, salt application (Especially bridges, for some reason rebar doesn't like salt), and even sand application

    The interface of tire rotational action to sand on the roads not only creates a fine carbide/silicon dust (Depends on sand source), it acts like a fine polishing compound on road surfaces. The dust is very fine that greatly contributes to PM10 problems in winter
     
  19. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    I still can not find that PDF but found a thread that Tideland Prius put together.

    2006
    Changes:
    - Advanced front airbag system (w/ occupant detection system)
    - Tire pressure monitoring system
    - Tinted headlight covers
    - Chrome grille
    - Chrome LED brakelight compound
    - HYBRID emblem
    - New dashhboard/door capping material
    - Rear seat lowered by one inch
    - Engine ECU updated (for TRAC)
    - 4 new colours - Classic Silver Metallic, Magnetic Grey Pearl, Barcelona Red Metallic, Silver Pine Mica
    - Higher resolution screen for models with backup camera
     
  20. robbyr2

    robbyr2 New Member

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    The good news for me is that I haven't had to test the Prius in the snow. That's why I kept the old Blazer. On our few winter weather days, I've just taken it to work.

    Of course, my concern is not so much with how the Prius will handle in the snow, but what the other drivers might do to my Prius!
     
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