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Driving Ford Mustang in the snow

edited November -1 in General Discussion
I recently moved from texas to massachusets and was struck by the snowfall on the first day. I never drove my car in snow before and was wondering on how safe it is and what should i be careful about. Its a 2007 Ford Mustang
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  • edited January 2011
    First thing I would recommend is checking out www.tirerack.com and researching some good all-season tires that rank high in the buyer's surveys for winter traction. You'll find out quickly how your existing tires perform in snow and ice; probably not very well.
  • edited January 2011
    If you want to drive your car in massachusettes, it would be safer and more economical to rotate winter tires on steel rims. Otherwise, you. May have to keep buying new all season tires more frequently than winter tires just to get around in snow with your car. Been there, done that and having two sets was always cheaper if you want decent traction.
  • edited January 2011
    Just be thankful it was not one of the original Mustangs. My boss had one and it was a real pain in snow.
  • edited January 2011
    --Four Winter (not "snow") tires mounted on steel wheels.
    --Add weight, maybe 100-200 lbs., to the trunk for traction (sandbags, patio blocks, etc.)
    --Accelerate, brake, and turn slowly and carefully.
    --Increase following distance between yourself and another car
    --Find an empty snow covered parking lot and practice losing and regaining control. I learned to drive in snow in a Mercury Capri (Mustang clone not little convertible). It was FUN.
    --Read Tom and Ray's advice and follow it:
    http://www.cartalk.com/content/features/WinterDriving/
  • edited January 2011
    Unless you can wait for the roads to be cleared every time it snows, you should have good winter tires, preferably on their own wheels for easy installation. You can buy a package from Tire Rack ready to install. Even if you don't buy from them, their web site has a lot of review information on tires.

    With a rear-wheel-drive car, you should add weight to the trunk, keeping it over the axle as much as possible. If you're using sandbags and you're particular about keeping your car clean, note that some of the bags will leak a bit of sand over time, so you might want to put them in a second bag of some sort. If the sandbags slide around in your trunk, get one of those rubber gripper mats meant to be put under rugs on hardwood floors. Also be sure to get a full tank of gas before a snowstorm, partly for the extra weight and partly to stay warm if you get stuck somewhere.

    If you have any steep hills in your area, getting up them may be a challenge. You need to build up some speed at the bottom of the hill (only if you can do so safely, of course) and then try to keep moving steadily up the hill. You may end up spinning your wheels all the way up, but that's normal. (Don't spin them too fast, though.) If you have a stability control system that stops the wheels from spinning, you may need to turn that off temporarily, assuming you can still keep your car safely in your lane. If you get stuck partway up, that's where the real fun begins, as you'll probably need to back down, sliding much of the way, when no other traffic is around.

    You may not have much experience with your ABS brakes. Don't let up on the pedal when they kick in.

    Always leave extra room between you and the car in front of you, even if the roads seem to be pretty clear. If you come up to a slippery spot, you may need every inch of that extra room to avoid a crash. If the car behind you is tailgating you, leave even more room.

    Be aware that bridges are often much more slippery than the rest of the road because they're colder. Curved bridges are especially dangerous.

    Pay more attention to cars approaching on side roads at intersections, especially if they're going downhill. It's not uncommon for someone to slide through an intersection into your path, so it helps if you've already anticipated that.

    The toughest part for a novice winter driver is judging the appropriate speed for the conditions. The generic advice to slow down is really quite vague. In some conditions, like fresh snow on a flat wide-open road, you might go pretty close to the speed limit. In other conditions, like ice on a curve, you might barely go at a crawl. This is something you'll just have to learn with time.

    Make sure you have winter washer fluid in the system, not summer washer fluid.

    Make sure you have boots, a hat, and gloves in the car. You might have to walk somewhere if you get stuck.
  • edited January 2011

    A RWD car, like the Mustang, definitely needs winter tires if it is going to transport you in safety during the winter season.

    In my neighborhood, one of the residents apparently does not learn from experience. A few years ago, while everyone else was getting around okay (albeit slowly) in a moderate snowfall, this guy got stuck while trying to make a turn from the county road onto his own street. The Mustang got bogged down in what was probably no more than 4 inches of snow, and he had to get a tow truck to pull him onto a straight section of the road.

    Well, fast forward to the following winter. Again, a moderate snowfall was causing everyone to drive with caution, even though the roads were passable. Guess what? As I passed the Mustang owner's street, there he was--hung up in just a few inches of snow in the exact same place where he got stuck during the previous winter!

    While it is possible that this guy's driving style is also a factor in his getting stuck, it is also reality that a RWD vehicle is going to have problems in the snow--especially if it is shod with high performance "summer tires".

    Get yourself a set of 4 winter tires (I recommend the Michelin X-Ice tires) mounted on their own set of steel wheels. That way, you can do the seasonal change-over whenever you want, and at no extra cost for each change-over.
  • edited January 2011
    It's not what you drive, it's how you drive it. I managed to get through some unplowed roads in my Mustang GT last winter, on summer tires no less.
  • edited January 2011
    One other thing will help a lot: PRACTICE. Once you get your winter tires find a safe area to practice starting, stopping, and turning. Understand how it feels when the ABS kicks in, and what it can and can't do to help you stop.
  • edited January 2011
    Just an added comment about "mleich" excellent list. The added weight over the drive wheels is what makes fwd superior starting off over many rwd cars.
    It's not that fwd is superior to rwd, it's weight distribution. With proper weight balance many rwd vehicles can be superior to fwd in snow.

    The other big problem with Mustangs, is that regardless of the winter tires, the floating of performance grade, low profile, wider tires works against you. When you do get (hopefully) winter tires for your Mustang, check with dealer about using the narrower, and higher profile tire for winter with the same outside diameter. That is as important in deep snow for performance cars as tread design, and why cars of old may have been better in snow even with older tire technology.
    Apology for excessive typos...iPads are a pain to type with and make corrections and I'm often too lazy to get up and get the remote key board.
  • edited January 2011
    I have 4 Bridgestone Blizzaks on my 2004 Mustang GT and drives great in the snow.
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