Unbelievably poor performance on snow

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by Dolgon, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. Dolgon

    Dolgon New Member

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    We just purchased our new Prius a couple of weeks ago after being on a waiting list since May. In almost every aspect of the car we have been thrilled, but I have to say the car's performance on slippery roads following our first snow surprised and scared me today.

    Last night we got 2.5 inches of snow that was packed on the roads by the time I left for my commute. I was shocked when from a stop on a SLIGHT incline the best I could do was cross the intersection at around 1MPH as the rest of traffic sped by in the other lane.

    This evening when I arrived home I was even more exasperated. Our driveway has a steep slope so we always clear it as soon after a snowfall as possible, as I did this AM. The driveway was 100% clear and dry when I arrived home tonight. I pulled off of the snowy street (1/2 inch packed snow) onto my dry driveway, got about 5 feet when the car came to a stop. It had lost traction due to the snow left on the tires from the road. Mind you, this is on a snow-free dry surface. It took several minutes to finally get the car into the garage. I was so dumbstruck following this incident that I walked down my driveway to confirm that there was no hidden layer of ice, etc. My driveway was dry as a bone.

    I had no preconception that the Prius would be a stellar performer on wintery roads, but following today's experience it seems the performance is unacceptable to the point of being dangerous!

    I have seen some other threads suggesting it is almost mandatory to put snow tires on the car for winter. I wish that I would have known ahead of time so that I could have budgeted not just $30,000 for the car, but an additional amount to immediately replace the tires.

    Now that I have finished my rant, does anyone have suggestions for snow tires?
     
  2. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Nokian RSi (or the new one that's replacing it) or Michelin X-Ice Xi2 (hope I got the name right. It's the 2nd generation X-Ice)
     
  3. dr_d12

    dr_d12 Member

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    It's a good idea in a winter climate to use snow tires. (although I'm still considering whether to buy some this year since I don't have to drive every day).

    I drive on some pretty icy streets (beside my parking, see pic) and the first time it snowed I went out to test the car's traction so I knew what to expect. I read complaints on here that the car is basically useless when its slippery so I was worried. I took a video that I should put on youtube.

    The traction control helps but the car doesn't handle on ice and snow any better or worse than any other car I have driven in the winter. I adjust my driving habits when it gets slippery, and if I drove frequently I wouldn't do it without snow tires. In any car.
     

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  4. bestmapman

    bestmapman 04, 07 ,08, 09, 10 and 16 Pri

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    You experienced the traction control. It is a very good feature, but operates differently than other vehicles I have owned. The biggest difference to get used to is that when you push the accelerator down, the wheels just do not spin. In fact they won't move at all. This is normal and it takes some getting used to. I have found that the car will go more places then a traditional car. Sometimes however, it feels like the car is not doing anything. I think that if the Prius is stuck, a normal car would be stuck also. Get used to the system and you will know how to make it work.
     
  5. morpheusx

    morpheusx Professor Chaos

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    Seriously its the OEM tires, the Integrities are just horrible in any wet weather not just snow. Take a look at a website called Tire Rack - Your performance experts for tires and wheels and read some reviews on them. You don't need to necessarily get snow tires, but you do need to get a competent set of all seasons. I now have a set of Goodyear Assurance TripleTreds so far no complaints this winter here in the Cleveland area where we have already had a decent amount of bad weather.
     
  6. donee

    donee New Member

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    Hi Dolgon,

    If the wheels start to slip, hold the pedal at the level they start to slip (yellow flashing icon on the dashboard), or maybe advance another 1/4 inch. If both wheels are sliding, that's it, the car will cut power. But if only one is, then the car will muddle through.

    The trick to it, is do not demand a power level that will slip. The car will cut power. Sneak up on it.

    Another issue is the peddle has little pushback. So, when wearing boots, you can easily push it too far, before you even feel it. Learn to expect the pedal where it is, not where you feel it through your foot. You will know when your pushing it, by what you see changing out of the windows.

    The basic problem is that the MG2 motor has so much torque, and as its electric reacts very quickly. The torque is similar to a large V6, if not a small V8, but the tires are hardly as big as a car with such an engine. If you were driving a normal car, you would be pushing a little further, then pulling back, to get the engine to react quickly. But do that in a Prius, and MG2 will have both tires slipping by the time you even peak the pedal.

    For your steep drive, you may need winter size 16 tires on your Touring. I think that Blizzaks are one of the few tires that come in that Prius size. You could buy 15 inch rims, and put on a wider variety of tires for winter.
     
  7. 2001red

    2001red New Member

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    I have a 2008 and just drove on snow for the first time. I purchased Michelin MXV tires at discount tire. They work very well including stopping.
    Good Luck
     
  8. diversified

    diversified Junior Member

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    I had the same lousy experience with my 2007 Prius last winter, to the point were I refused to drive my Prius at the slightest hint of snow. Last month I put a set of Bridgestone all season tires on. While we really haven't got any real snow, the little snow we have got, the Bridgestones are 100% better. The OEM tires put on the Prius at the factory destroy the Prius, which otherwise is a great car!
    BTW, the OEM tires will give you at best about 30,000 miles.
     
  9. Rae Vynn

    Rae Vynn Artist In Residence

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    OEM tires are crap. Replace them.
    I drove on glare ice, slush, and rutted snow all last winter on Michelin Hydroedges, with no problem at all, besides the usual non-mid-summer conditions of torrential rain.
     
  10. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    It's the Goodyear (lack of) Integrity tires. Get rid of those suckers as fast as you can. I run Micheline MXV4+ Energy all season tires in the stock size, and they do fine for our snowy Michigan winters. Real snow tires will be even better.

    Tom
     
  11. effwitt

    effwitt Paparazzi Magnet

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    If you can improve your throttle control, you can save the cost of a new set of tires. Before I purchased my Prius, I read the horror stories of how bad the Integrities were in the snow and braced myself for the worst. When last winter came I was pleasantly surprised how well they worked. Granted my expectations were very low, but it was no worse than my last car, a Nissan Maxima. The throttle was so touchy on the Maxima, it seemed if I only breathed on the gas peddle, and the tires would spin if it was wet. I needed to develop a very soft right foot to make it through the winter.
     
  12. Dolgon

    Dolgon New Member

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    Thanks for everyone's replies thus far.

    Small world effwitt, I'm also in Eagan, MN, maybe you could swing by and try my driveway with your Prius and the stock tires. I'd love to see if it's just me.
     
  13. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

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    I threw away the stock tires as soon as September came last year (got Pearl in May). Put on Nokian WR tires. REAL all season tires. Work very well in snow and on ice, work very well in rain, and work very well on warm dry pavement. Don't wear out on dry pavement either. Normal wear.
    Bonus, I don't have to deal with wheel changes, TPMS lights, etc.
    Bonus 2. I don't have to deal with sliding into other vehicles, barriers, lamp posts, trees, etc. The cost of that is greater than the cost of the tires. You can get a set mounted and balanced for less than $500.

    They have the snowflake symbol on the sidewall and so are legal when snow tires are required.
     
  14. carjon

    carjon New Member

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    Don't have my Prius yet and snow is my concern. I assume the traction control can't be turned off (via a button) because on other cars that has a great benefit going up hills in snowy weather.
     
  15. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    No, it can't be turned off for normal use, nor would it help. The Prius has such incredible low end torque that it would be dangerous without traction control, even on dry pavement. Drive train damage would be very likely.

    Tom
     
  16. Flying White Dutchman

    Flying White Dutchman Senior Member

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    can the TC not be reprogrammed
    the post 2005 models have better TC
     
  17. onerpm

    onerpm New Member

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    Hey Dolgon,
    I'm in Eden Prairie. Don't worry, once you have Blizzaks or something like them on your Prius, it will do fine in the snow. Keep in mind that it really isn't costing you anything, as you'll be resting your OEM tires during the winter. (Just the cost of mounting and balancing, unless you buy dedicated snow wheels, which I did and recommend.)

    I no longer have a Prius...I just put Michelin XIce2's on my Miata, and while it helped quite a bit compared to my OEM tires, I'm still in much worse shape than I was the the Prii...a light car with rwd just doesn't work that well, even w/snows. And we haven't really had any snow yet!

    rpm
     
  18. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    Dolgon, it's always helpful if you say where you are (or list it on your avatar), then those who suggest, can get an idea of what kind of conditions your winters are. It wasn't until your last comment that we could figure out where your winters are. Some states allow for studs, which is what we use in MT. But any snow tire (as everyone already said) will do.
     
  19. Turbogizzmo

    Turbogizzmo New Member

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    I have played a little with my 08 with stocks (I dont want to throw away new tires) but today in Northern Colorado we are getting ~5-7" and i chickened out and dug out my Nissan Pickup, I am more worried about other people and I need the car for a upcoming trip.
     
  20. effwitt

    effwitt Paparazzi Magnet

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    Dolgon, your profile indicates that you have the "Touring" edition which I thought had Bridgestone tires instead of the Integrities. Anyone have any experience with those?

    You also have a PM from me regarding testing your driveway.
     
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