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Hi guys,

This is my first year driving a BMW in the snow and I just got a bit of a fright in a hire car I'm currently using (a 2010 118d Sport) - my usual car is a 2006 320d Saloon but I'm guessing the issue I'm going to describe applies equally.

As many will have experienced - its a bit snowy and icy at the moment so I was taking it easy on the way home tonight. Straight road - dual carriage way - most of the cars were doing about 35mph. I was probably doing about 30 as it was the first time I'd driven a BWM in the snow and it wasn't my car so I was being extra cautious.

Anywho - driving along this perfectly straight road and the back end starts to slide out. This is with no steering applied, no breaks and minimal throttle. My arse starts to go a little - but I manage to guide the car back onto the straight. A few seconds later, the same thing happens - only a bit worse and I end up in the right hand lane very briefly. Had a car been overtaking at that moment - we could have had a problem.

So I end up driving the rest of the way home even slower than I was going before -which I know must have been pissing people off because they were all overtaking me and seemed to be perfectly capable of driving a good 10 - 20mph faster than I was without any hesitation whatsoever. I could tell that if I tried that it would not have ended well at all.

As I say - I haven't been driving all that long and have never driven a BMW in icy conditions before - but if thats the way the car handles - I literally couldn't use it in the snow - it would literally be like playing russian roulette.

Can anyone answer the following for me:

1. Why were all the other cars able to go so much faster than I was? Bear in mind I had my slide on a dead straight at about 25mph. These boys were doing 35+ and not one of them seemed to have a problem changing lanes. I'm not bothered by the fact that they seemed to be able to go faster than me - its just they seemed to be able to do it *safely*

2. Given that my car seems to be literally lethal even at very low speeds - would winter tires make a big difference? Are we talking the difference between drivable or not?

I literally won't drive my car now in the ice based on what I've just seen - which is clearly a bit of a problem for the next 2-3 months!

Are you guys all fairly happy in the snow? I was really shocked at how bad it was - bearing in mind its a brand new car with brand new (admitedly summer) tires.

Many thanks in advance for your thoughts/advice

S
 

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The most likely answer is the other cars could go faster because they are front wheel drive so they have better traction.

I wouldn't worry about them though because if you were driving slow then you were driving appropriately for the conditions :thumbsup

Winter tyres will definately help and so will putting heavy stuff in the rear to help the rear wheels have more traction :thumbsup If the roads are icy,snowy then driving with the traction control off will also help.

Ideally if you don't need to use the car then don't use it but if you have to then take it slow and easy,if other people want to drive fast then it's their concern and not yours....
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Winter tyres will definately help and so will putting heavy stuff in the rear to help the rear wheels have more traction :thumbsup If the roads are icy,snowy then driving with the traction control off will also help.
Thanks for that matey. To be honest - I think getting some winter tires are the only way I'm going to be able to drive if the weather keeps up.

Do you happen to know how much it costs to get them swapped in spring?

I know the tires will last 3+ years, but I'm not sure how much a garage will charge to put on tires I already own?

Also, how do I actually get the "spare" tires home after each change? :confused

Does the garage store them maybe? Or do I just need to make a couple of trips?

Thanks for your help

S
 

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Just chuck them in the boot, 2 in there, 2 on the back seat with a cover on it. Even with the tiny boot width on my coupe I can get 2 front tyres in there and the wider rears will sit on the rear seat :thumbsup.

You're not the only one having problems snow/ice driving by the way... :hihi

Local tyre shop shouldn't charge much to swap them over. Get on the blower to a few local places and ask for prices. Can't imagine it being much more than £25-30 which is well worth doing for peace of mind if the weather is gonna be owt like last year.
 

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Just the joys of driving rwd in the snow/ice matey ;). I know how you feel though, last year i had my 330ci sport and got stuck at work due to the not so nice hill outside of the industrial estate i work on. I'm usually ok in the snow if i can keep moving but due to the accidents that day it was stop start and i got half way up and couldnt get traction. All i could do was a 180 and ride it out at work for a few hours till the roads cleared :frown. Have heard though winter tires do massivly improve things though and have thought about investing in some and a cheap set of 17s but at the moment money wont allow it so if it get to bad ill just have to have a couple of snow days. One thing i deffinatly will try this year is chucking a few bags of cheap sand in the boot to get more weight over the rear axle, a full tank of fuel should help as well.
 

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I had similar experience this year already, easily scariest drive of my life. As everyone says, its the rear wheel drive versus front wheel drive. RWD wins everytime - when its not icy/snowy on the roads :thumbsup This is the price we pay for pushing rather than pulling.

Winter tyres will help, but won't solve the ultimate fear. I'm seriously considering snow chains, just so I can at least use my car when its like this - still drive slow, but at least there will be some sort of grip!

Never feel bad about going as slow as you are comfortable with when the weather is like this - thats why 99% of accidents happen at this time of year, because people didn't slow the fook down enough! Anyone can drive fast, its knowing when to drive slow that displays peoples real driving skills.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
get on ebay and find a set of cheap E46 alloys to put some winter tyres on...a set of 7 spoke 16's should be v cheap ;)
Hi Matey,

I've noticed a few people talking about getting second hand "rims" when discussing winter tires. Can you tell me why people need to get an entirely new set of wheels just for the winter tires?

Is it just for ease of replacement each year or is it actually really hard slash/impossible to put winter tires on my existing alloys?

Apologies for my ignorance - I know even less about tires than I do about the rest of my car! :confused

Thanks matey

S
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I had similar experience this year already, easily scariest drive of my life. As everyone says, its the rear wheel drive versus front wheel drive. RWD wins everytime - when its not icy/snowy on the roads :thumbsup This is the price we pay for pushing rather than pulling.

Winter tyres will help, but won't solve the ultimate fear. I'm seriously considering snow chains, just so I can at least use my car when its like this - still drive slow, but at least there will be some sort of grip!

Never feel bad about going as slow as you are comfortable with when the weather is like this - thats why 99% of accidents happen at this time of year, because people didn't slow the fook down enough! Anyone can drive fast, its knowing when to drive slow that displays peoples real driving skills.
Hey,

I had heard that rear wheel drives weren't good in the snow because the weight of the engine isn't over the drive wheels - but I didn't realise it was quite as bad as it was last night! I definately shat myself a bit. I haven't been driving in the snow all that often so it was a bit of a shock when I ended up in the wrong lane for a second (fortunately it was a dual carriage way).

I've been looking about for comparisons of summer vs winter tires online and it looks like they can make a serious difference. Might actually make my care usable for the next 2 or 3 months!

S
 

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Hi Matey,

I've noticed a few people talking about getting second hand "rims" when discussing winter tires. Can you tell me why people need to get an entirely new set of wheels just for the winter tires?

Is it just for ease of replacement each year or is it actually really hard slash/impossible to put winter tires on my existing alloys?

Apologies for my ignorance - I know even less about tires than I do about the rest of my car! :confused

Thanks matey

S
Thinner tyres are better in the snow, also cheaper to buy as well! It also saves money in the long run as it would cost anywhere between £20-60 to swap over.
 

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Rather than have the hassle of getting tyres swapped on & off to suit the weather you can buy a set of compatible wheels off an older car (E46 as suggested above) and have winter tyres fitted to them. If you buy a set with worn tyres you should pay no more than £10 a rim. You can have winter tyres fitted to your existing rims but its a trip to the tyre place every time you want to swap them over.

I have a set of easy clean 7 spoke E46 rims with winter tyres for use on my two E36 Tourings. As soon as the snow falls I put a pair on each car and and put a bag of gravel in each boot. I very very rarely get stuck, but I had to help two people in front wheel drive cars (Megane & Astra) yesterday!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thinner tyres are better in the snow, also cheaper to buy as well! It also saves money in the long run as it would cost anywhere between £20-60 to swap over.
Hi Ian,

Thanks very much for that.

So if its say £50 to get a straight wheel swap, how much would it be roughly just to get them to pop the tires off each time I want them swapped?

I'm guessing pulling the tires off is a fair bit harder than just swapping the whole wheel?

I might need to speak to a local garage for advice as I would have no idea what to buy off of ebay! The car I'd actually be doing this to is a 2006 E90 320d

Thanks again for your help

S
 

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Hi Ian,

Thanks very much for that.

So if its say £50 to get a straight wheel swap, how much would it be roughly just to get them to pop the tires off each time I want them swapped?

I'm guessing pulling the tires off is a fair bit harder than just swapping the whole wheel?

I might need to speak to a local garage for advice as I would have no idea what to buy off of ebay! The car I'd actually be doing this to is a 2006 E90 320d

Thanks again for your help

S
That is a rough price to swap tires over on your existing wheels assuming you have the winter tires already. Swapping the wheels to a spare set is a simple diy job.

I am now looking for a cheap set of e36/46 wheels to get some winter tyres on.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
That is a rough price to swap tires over on your existing wheels assuming you have the winter tires already. Swapping the wheels to a spare set is a simple diy job.

I am now looking for a cheap set of e36/46 wheels to get some winter tyres on.
Ah - OK now we're talking. So if I bought a set of blizzaks or nokians myself, you reckon a local garage would pop them on and off the existing rims for around the £50 mark give or take?

That would be doable I think.

I'll speak to them when I go in about how to source some second hand rims as I think even I could manage to pop the wheels on and off!

Thanks

S
 

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You might as well just buy a set of E46 rims already suggested @ about £50e and then only have to pay once to have winter tyres fitted so £100e done and dusted v's £100e every winter ? thats £50e on and £50e off v's £100e = £50e for the wheels and £50e to have tyres fitted. Yes there's the price of the winter tyres but you would be buying them either way so which is cheaper in the long run ?
 

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The guys I know charged me £20 to fit all 4 tyres (they are new) onto my spare wheels. However, up to £15 per tyre fitted is possilbe. Some places will not be happy to fit tyres they did not supply.

Some places like mytyres or pneus online will deliver the tyres from Germany to one of their partners in the UK to fit.

Ian
 

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Hi guys.

Im driving about with nine large coils of fire alarm cable in the boot of my E91 tourer & traction control turned off. So far no problems & the roads are crap up here in Newcastle.

In the morning I am taking the BM & the wife can have the Transit, I dont trust her:D
 
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