Crossfire Snow Tires

winter

#1

My with got a Crossfire convertible this past summer and loves the car. However, the dealer told her that it will not be drivable in the snow even with snow tires. Does anyone have any experience with a Crossfire in the snow? Our winters are mild (Greater Cincinnati area). But we do get at least 1-2 heavy snows a year.


#2

It’s low slung, rear wheel drive sporty car that is fairly powerful for it’s size. It’s also is based on previous generation Mercedes Benz design. None of these things bode well for driving around in the snow. Even with snow tires it’s going to be a harrowing experience.


#3

I disagree - this car will be no different than a BMW or MB. Good snow tires will make it driveable. Not as good as a FWD car, but driveable. And Cincy (where I grew up) is not bad.

I would go to Tire Rack, get a set of high-profile tires mounted on steel rims sent to me, and switch them out myself.


#4

I would put some concrete patio blocks in the trunk and test the configuration on the first snow. I don’t know anything about the Crossfire, but it can’t be any worse than a Camaro with little to no rear end weight.


#5

You are aware that traditionally BMW’s and MB’s are heralded as some as the absolute worst cars to drive in snow/ice?


#6

I disagree. Buy some performance winter tires(tirerack.com) and you will be fine. It will be on par or slightly better than a FWD equipped with all-seasons in moving, it will be absolutely superior in stopping and cornering vs any all-season equipped vehicle in winter conditions.


#7

I know. But there’s thousands of them driving around much worse climates with no problem. Snows plenty in Germany. Without snow tires, I agree because Crossfires often come with low profile summer tires, but good snow tires will make the situation very manageable.


#8

If you get four aggressive snow tires, you should be fine. Stay away from all-season tires.

TireRack is a great resource to learn about various tires and how they actually perform. When it comes to purchasing the tires, I and others on this forum, have found that local independent tire shops will easily meet or beat Tire Racks’s prices.


#9

Get some good winter tires, preferably a bit narrower than your regular tires if the car allows it. Put a few bags of sand in the back, directly over the axle if possible. If it’s an automatic, check if you have a feature to start in second gear, which will occasionally come in handy. The car probably won’t be great in snow, but it seems like you should be able to get around.


#10

Well, I looked at Tire Rack, they have 18" snow tires, but no wheels, and no 19" snow tires. The Cincy Sams Club listed a couple of 19" snow tires, about $300 each (these were 35 series, what are your tire sizes?) OUCH!


#11

I really don’t know about this vehicle…but there are some cars no matter what you do will NOT do well in snow. My 69 Firebird was one of them. I had 300lbs of sand bags in the back and excellent snow tires at all 4 corners. Anything over 1" and the car was very difficult to drive.


#12

You should get your wife four good winter tires. You also might experiment with puting a bag or two of pet food or kitty litter over the rear axle. It might increase traction. Kitty litter (the cheap kind, not the kind that clumps) might also come in handy if she gets stuck in the snow.


#13

There is no precise answer to this one. It is a matter of degree. It has some potential negatives as have been pointed out. Low ground clearance, high power and RWD. None of this are fatal.

Winter tyres will make a big difference. I don’t suggest adding weight to the trunk. There is not much you can do to increase ground clearance, but a choice of tyre size for those winter tyres (may require a set of rims which will make changing over winter to all season tyres easier).

The only time I have ever had problems in the snow in Cincinnati area was during one of the blizzards about 10 or 15 years ago. Then even McDonnalds closed down so there was little reason for driving anyway and then they had the streets cleared by noon.

The dealer was dong overkill.


#14

In Minnesota, I see a few of these every day, but I can’t recall ever seeing one in the winter here. It has such a short wheel base it’ll spin like a top. I’d save it for spring and get a winter car.


#15

Mini’s do quite well with winter tires or all-seasons and are the “definition” of short wheel base.


#16

But they’re FWD, not RWD


#17

And therein lies a significant difference in terms of being able to handle winter road conditions.


#18

But it also makes you wonder how we survived all those years when FWD was a myth, like $0.50/gallon gas. :stuck_out_tongue:


#19

I thought they were RWD, still great handlers.

I know Miata owners who buzz around though with winter tires. Not the vehicle for deep snow but <4"(rare on roads) they get about fine in my area.


#20

Thinking back to yesteryear, I know that people did not commute very far to work in those days–or at least that was true in the area where I lived. Prior to the days of FWD cars, most people whom I knew either worked in the same town where they lived or only had a fairly short (10 miles or <) commute. And, public transit was more readily available in most areas years ago.

Another factor is weight distribution. Up until the '60s, most of our RWD cars had the engine placed much further back in the chassis than is now common. A RWD car with a more rearward-placed engine–as was common years ago–will have inherently better traction than the more modern RWD cars with their engines placed much further forward. While a RWD car (sans traction control and/or modern winter tires) will never have the traction of a FWD car, it is definite that the RWD cars of yesteryear had inherently better rear wheel traction than modern RWD cars, simply because of their better weight distribution. And, the relatively low torque of many of those old cars was also an advantage, especially since so many of them had a manual transmission that allowed the driver to start up in 2nd gear.

I can vividly recall being a child in the early-mid '50s, when very few people even took their cars out on the road until the plows had done what needed to be done. Nowadays, people don’t want to defer gratification of any kind, and they tend to be impatient to do whatever is on their agenda. As a result, the roads can be jammed at morning rush hour, even in a snow storm. The presence of so many cars on the road can tend to impede the progress of the plows, and that slows things down even more.

So–think about it. Back in the days before FWD was commonplace, people did not drive as many miles per year as they do now. Everything moved at a slower pace, and people were not as impatient as they are nowadays. People were more willing to stay at home in inclement weather conditions. And, I think that people were also more cautious when driving on winter road surfaces, simply because they understood the limitations of their cars and their tires.