Unbelievably poor performance on snow

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

  1. wiiawiwb

    wiiawiwb Junior Member

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    This is my second Prius and, for what little my opinion is worth, I don't think you stand a chance in winter without dedicated, hard-core snow tires. The tires on the car in the video didn't look to have snows but I couldn't tell for sure.

    Last week I put Hakkapeliitta Rs on my Prius. At least I'll give myself every chance possible.

    I hate my Prius in winter. I think it is a potentially dangerous car so I avoid driving in winter conditions if I can.
     
  2. Shawn

    Shawn New Member

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    I live in Ottawa, Ontario Canada which is the third coldest capital city in the world! We have 32cm of snow or about 13 inches yesterday. I put new snow tires on about two weeks ago. I had very little problem getting to work. Stopping and starting was fine. The traction control came on frequently and worked properly to keep me moving.
    I think that I'll be fine.
    By the way, we had one early snowfall of about 10-15cm and I didn't have the snow tires. While I didn't get stuck, I'm an experienced Canadian driver, I di notice that the car did not handle well.
    Conclusion, you need snow tires!
     
  3. BAllanJ

    BAllanJ Active Member

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    Shaun.... how did you get to work with no problems yesterday? There's a transit strike in Ottawa and traffic is a nightmare, from what I hear.
     
  4. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Some people new to snow driving may not realize it, but really cold weather is much better for traction than transitional temperatures. Snow and ice are slippery because pressure from tires or feet melts a thin layer of water, which lubricates the surface. It's not the ice that is slippery, but the layer of melted water. That is why ice skates work: they transfer the skater's weight to a very small surface area, creating a lot of pressure.

    When it gets really cold, it takes a lot more pressure to create the thin layer of melt water. At the freezing point, it is very easy to get water. That's why dense, slushy snow and wet ice are the worst for driving, and also why really cold weather is lousy for skating.

    Tom
     
  5. donee

    donee New Member

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    Hi Dolgon,

    It looks like you are loosing traction near the house. Is it possible heat from the house, or water from the roof is filling in the surface of the driveway there?

    Kinda late now, but when you do your asphault sealing, use the brush end of the spreader to put a cross-ways tooth into the sealant. Do not just squeegie it on. They also sell that sand-filled sealant, but without professional mixing equipment, its not easy to ge the sand dispersed evenly enough. I think allot of your problem is with how slick your drive-way sealant is. You must have put it on on a 90 Degree day. And it flowed out glass smooth. At least it looks that way on the video.

    Right now, you may want to take a wood saw, and scratch up that area just short of the stoop. Drag the saw sideways, cross-ways across the driveway. You may also need better drainage by the stoop. Time to call the "This Old House" guys. Does the stoop gain heat leaked from inside the house someway?

    The problem may be the Turanza tires. This link seems to confirm the poor ice traction of the Turanza tires : Consumer Survey Results By Category
     
  6. PriusSport

    PriusSport senior member

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    I have a relative who has had a Prius for five years in Minnesota, and drives to work every day without any problem on OE tires. He did email me the other day, and said his tires were ready for replacement, and what tires would I recommend.

    If you have to drive in snow, get snow tires. Period. All-season tires like the Integrity are no good in snow. The all-season rubber is designed to keep good traction in cold weather, but the tread is not adequate for snow.

    As for the Integrity tires in normal driving, including wet roads, I haven't had any problems.
     
  7. nooaah

    nooaah New Member

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    This thread is scaring the piss out of me. Am I not going to be ok in Manayunk (VERY hilly part of Philadelphia)?
     
  8. Celtic Blue

    Celtic Blue New Member

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    Yep, it's been just shy of two decades since I last experienced a real winter, but I haven't forgotten what is really treacherous. Now that I'm back for a real winter again I'm being extra cautious. It's the early season ice/snow mixes that concern me, partly because the conditions are some of the worst, partly because I'm rusty, and partly because even the locals need to recalibrate for new conditions at the start of the season.

    Down in Northeast Texas the few snows we got usually had anywhere from 1/2 to 1 inch of sleet underneath them. Mix in summer compound tires and many over confident Bubba's in 2WD pickups who had no clue as to how to drive in such conditions, and I learned to stay off the road for the first day unless forced to go out.
     
  9. SVPriusFan

    SVPriusFan Hymotioned and loving it...

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    I'm one of those who hasn't noticed super-poor performance from the OEM tires in snow. While I'm not a seasoned snow driver (this is my first winter in Colorado), I do know from previous trips to Tahoe in California to slow down and drive more carefully when the white slushy stuff is around.

    We've had a fair amount of snow here in the past couple weeks and I haven't had any major driving issues in getting where I need to go. Yes, the Prius does slide a bit if you go too fast - but not any worse than most cars I've owned. The ABS/VSC/Traction control systems make my 2008 handle well enough that I feel confident in getting around most places I need to go.

    Without a doubt the car will handle better in snow with better tires than the Integrities, but I don't feel trapped with them (yet). We'll see what happens in January-March when winter goes into full-gear here, but so far so good. Once the OEM's start to wear out I'll definitely replace them with MXV4+'s or something similar - there are some good threads on PC dedicated to tire replacement here.

    Just my 20 Pesos...
     
  10. bablang

    bablang Junior Member

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    I too am scared as hell about driving in the snow. I live in San Francisco where snow is obviously not a problem, but I will going to Tahoe frequently to snowboard so anyone who can share their experience would be greatly appreciated.

    We did have quite a down pour in October... and I must say my prius handled well. I do noticed that sometimes just driving on regular bumpy roads the slip warning light goes off which is alarming to me since its dry.... I haven't lost traction though.
     
  11. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    I think those of you with a 2006 or later don't have as much to worry about. The traction control system was modified after the first couple of years, and many of the complaints have come from people with 2004s and 5s. Still, real snow tires are a vast improvement. The stock tires are only half-vast. :eek:
     
  12. Dolgon

    Dolgon New Member

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    Unfortunately mine (the one in the video) is an '09 Touring with Bridgestones.

    I do want to reiterate that on flat surfaces or at speed I think the Prius does a great job on snowy roads. The place I think you can get into real trouble is if you have to stop on (or travel up at slow speed) an even slightly slick hill.
     
  13. Dolgon

    Dolgon New Member

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    There was definitely no sheet ice on the driveway, only the couple of small clumps of snow you can see in the video. It looks somewhat wet due to the snowmelt I put down the night before. Being in MN we pretty much freeze until late March. There wont be much in the way of water coming off of the roof. :)
    I think the low quality of the YouTube video may make the driveway seem smoother than it is. It's just normal asphalt. We had the driveway sealed professionally this past September. I like your idea of the adding a traction agent. I'll see if that is possible when we get it done again.
     
  14. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Snowmelt will make it worse, unless you use enough to melt all of the snow. We never use it in our climate. Mechanically remove the snow. If you need more traction, use sand after the snow has been removed.

    Tom
     
  15. Dolgon

    Dolgon New Member

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    I manually remove the snow as quickly as possible after snowfall. I think it would be a disaster to let it sit on there. The night before making this video we tried several times getting up the drive and pulled a bit more snow/slush from the tires onto it. That night after manually scraping it off the drive I threw down some snowmelt to get the rest. What you see in the video is the remnants of that. I have since found if I put down enough on an already mainly clear driveway I can sometimes get all the way up the hill (I think its acting like a traction agent in that case.).

    I do plan on getting snow tires for the Prius. I'll be sure and report back with the results.
     
  16. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    That makes sense. Around here the temperatures are often low enough that snow melt doesn't work, or works just well enough to make the surface slippery.

    When I lived in Cleveland, that's all they used. They didn't do much plowing, but instead dumped tons of salt on the roads. It made quite a mess, and rusted cars like crazy. Now that I think about it, it makes sense. Cleveland sits on top of two salt mines, and they make steel in Cleveland. I should have thought of that sooner.

    Tom
     
  17. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    I think there's some truth in the variability of experiences being due to the type of snow. It's very wet here, and any accumulation will alternately melt and freeze. With layers of ice and water and snow on hills that wouldn't be out of place at a ski resort, it's no wonder I have trouble. When the choice is to slide through the intersection or steer into a parked car, I'll walk. Hiking boots have excellent traction, and can traverse almost any slope. :)
     
  18. bruceha_2000

    bruceha_2000 Senior Member

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    From the link in post #85 by Donee:
    Consumer Survey Results By Category

    Bridgestone Turanza EL400 21 61% 2.3 5.4 5.7 6.2 6.8 6.4 4.3 3.3 3.7 6.1 5.5 3.8 3,881,933

    The 'light snow, deep snow, ice' values are in RED. 2.6 to 4.5 is "Fair". In other words 'do not try this at home'. These tires were never meant to run in the winter. At least not REAL winter. Also note the horrible 'would buy again' value of 2.3. That rates at the high end of "Unacceptable". The REALLY ugly thing? The Turanza EL400 is the HIGHEST ranked (21 of 27, 61% compared to best in category) of the 5 Bridgestone Turanza's in the list.

    "All Season" doesn't necessarily mean "ALL seasons".

    Sorry, but the Turanzas are the Integrity equivalent in 'Standard Touring All Season'.
    Goodyear Integrity 17 58% 2.9 4.6 4.8 5.3 6.4 5.7 4.2 3.6 3.4 6.3 6.0 5.4 41,779,521

    The Integrity actually got a slightly higher 'would buy again' value of 2.9, squeaking into 'Fair but still [email protected]" :) I don't know why Toyota insists on putting REALLY low end tires on the Prius.

    Compare the Turanza "Standard Touring All season" with the GoodYear TripleTread "Passenger All Season":
    Goodyear Assurance TripleTred 1 100% 8.1 9.1 9.2 8.9 9.3 8.9 8.6 8.0 7.9 8.4 8.0 8.6 27,330,319

    'would buy again' of 8.1 is 'Excellent' (6 - 8.5)

    And a HIGH end Touring All Season:
    Yokohama AVID TRZ 2 99% 8.3 8.7 8.7 8.6 9.0 8.6 8.0 7.2 7.3 8.7 8.5 8.6 8,588,197

    Obviously all 'All Season' tires are not created equal.

    Now compare the Turanza to a good SNOW tire:
    Dunlop SP Winter Sport M3 3 98% 9.2 8.7 8.7 8.1 8.4 8.2 9.2 8.7 8.1 8.5 8.2 8.4 6,794,661
    'would buy again' of 9.2 is 'Superior' (8.6 - 10)

    Tire Rack doesn't carry Hakkapellitta so I can't give you comparison numbers for the 'R' which I guess replaced the 'RSi' tires that are on both my car and my wife's.

    I ran TripleTreds on my '04 for 3 winters after not being able to make a hill (on the OEM Integrity with maybe 2K miles on them) from a dead stop that HAD been plowed. This hill is steeper than your driveway. The car came to a dead stop (pedal to the floor) then SLID down the hill until it hit a patch it could grab. Repeat all the way up (about 200'). Two steps forward, one step back. With a 10 MPH start, the TC kicked in from time to time, pretty fussy but no stopping. Beyond that, they would SLIDE coming to a stop on the greasy stuff left over after plowing and salting and would slip trying to start on the same stuff.

    By comparison, the TTs NEW with the plastic labels barely worn off (5 miles) similary came to a halt on that hill in 6" of UNPLOWED snow and did NOT slide back down. I had to let up on the accelerator so the car would ROLL back to a 'grip spot'. With a 10 MPH start, the TC kicked in from time to time. Later in the day, after it had been plowed, the TTs made it up from a dead stop with the TC kicking in occasionally. With a 10 MPH start, not a hiccup.

    So, yeah, it IS your tires :) My guess is the Turanza's tread just packs the snow in. Clearly the tread was not designed to grip or shed snow.
     
  19. bruceha_2000

    bruceha_2000 Senior Member

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    HUH? If you are using stock alloy rims, why buy new center caps, lug nuts and trim rings???? And WHY buy 4 TPMS sensors (at $100+ EACH) if you are going to cover the light with tape all summer rather than have the Toyota dealer register them to the car (for a price I am sure)?? You don't NEED the sensors. They serve no purpose OTHER than allowing the system to 'notice' one tire is significantly lower than the others.

    Sounds like you are made of money, maybe you can help with all the bailouts :)
     
  20. bruceha_2000

    bruceha_2000 Senior Member

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    Depends a LOT on the 'All season' tire.
     
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