I need some advice on tyres and wheels over the winter months
I currently have 205/45/17 runflats at the mo and they literally DRAG me across the whole road! Admittedly, I find it fun but with only been driving since Aug this year, this could be quite dangerous with the combination of snowy, icy and general english weather and my inexperience
I'm thinking of just buying the standard mini one wheels; 175/65/15 or something similar. I know they won't look brilliant but I suppose it could be safer? And I would only be using them for a few months anyway
I am new to the forum, and I have purchased a new mini one with the 15 inch wheels and 175/65/15 tyres we have had snow today in the north east of England and the mini handled excellent in the conditions,my previous car ( not a mini had 18inch wheels with low profile tyres and they were poor in the winter conditions) it is a well known fact the wider the tyre the less grip they have in snow and winter conditions.
Hope this is of help
It's very hard to tell if the 'dragging across the road' is you skidding on ice or snow and so the car not going when you expected it to, or just that if you run along the side of an unploughed bit of snow, it tries to 'drag you in'.
If it's actual skidding, then you aren't driving according to the conditions - I'm a great fan of winter tyres but even they won't let you drive as though you are on a dry or wet road, and not an icy or snowy one.
Is there a tyre that allows you to drive 'normally' in all conditions? No - what with that contradicting the laws of physics an' all.
The standard (ie, summer) 175 width tyres are certainly better in poor conditions than the 205 width ones, but not by enough that the conditions can be ignored.
If you're talking about being dragged off the side of the unploughed/undriven bit of road, then winter tyres of almost any size are amazingly effective - it can be hard sometimes to feel if you are driving on the bare tyre tracks of the cars in front or on the snow either side. 175 summer tyres won't help much compared to 205 summer tyres for this behaviour - it's the tyre type and tread pattern that matters for this.
I suspect that what you need most is not to try to buy a cure, but to learn to drive according to the conditions. Most drivers don't - for example, they just drive at the same speed on wet or dry roads, so they have a huge margin of safety on dry roads and a small margin on wet roads. These folk are best advised to stay home in snowy and icy conditions as expecting to drive 'normally' will lead to little bumps and scrapes where they can't stop or steer like they usually do.
To learn to drive on winter roads, there is just no substitute for practice and being able to make mistakes where they won't result in a crash. Sadly supermarkets and shopping centres nowadays clear their car parks of snow, so they aren't the great training ground they used to be, but it's worth hunting out other big car parks to practice on - I can think of quite a few on the edge of the city here where folk go to walk their dogs and those are generally empty in snow.
The trick is to learn to feel when you have reached the limit of grip (you seem to have got there already!) and then practice regaining grip. I would say the single most important thing is to learn that stamping on the brake pedal is the wrong thing to do 99% of the time as that guarantees a skid and once skidding you aren't deciding where the car will go.
I had a Norwegian spend maybe ten minutes 'teaching' (mostly complaining at my ineptness) about snow driving and the bit I now find instinctive is that when I start skidding, I disengage the clutch and don't brake - this means that at least neither the engine nor the brakes are trying to make the tyres slip and so gives them their best chance of steering where I want to go.
And remember, cars don't skid on their own - it's the driver wot done it.
The standard runflats are awful, the first thing I did when I bought my car was get rid of them. I now carry one of those emergency puncture repair kits (a bottle of tyre foam and a small compressor). During the non winter months I have 215/40/17 Yokohama Parada Spec 2's on some R90 alloys which are so much better than those runflats - it's like driving a diferent car!
When it gets cold and slippy I swap them for the standard rims which are now fitted with Winguard Sport winter tyres. They are a budget winter tyre but they are a lot better than the Yokos at this time of year. They're only £61.70 each from mytyres.co.uk
On my smart roadster I could not get out of my road when it snowed. I got x4 steel rims from smart at less than £30 a wheel and had avon winter tyres on them. It is unbelivable what winter tyres can do. I think for my cooper S i will save and pick up another cheap set of alloys and run decent winter tyres for 5 months of the year. This will have to be from next winter as funds are dry after buying the car . From my experience it really has to be done. The summer tyres most use do not operate well in cold conditions. Winter tyres are designed to work well at 7 degrees or lower.
The AutoGuide.com network consists of the largest network of enthusiast-owned enthusiast-operated automotive communities.
AutoGuide.com provides the latest car reviews, auto show coverage, new car prices, and automotive news. The AutoGuide network operates more than 100 automotive forums where our users consult peers for shopping information and advice, and share opinions as a community.