Mini Cooper and Snow

safety
mini
cooper

#1

How well does the Mini Cooper handle snow on the road?


#2

The Mini Cooper should behave just about the same as any small, light, FWD car. Winter tires will be a huge benefit if you live in an area with heavy and/or frequent snowfalls.

FWD means it will dig out of snow and get good traction for starting.

ABS brakes mean decent control when stopping.

AntiSkid means it will help reduce spinouts.

Low to the ground means it will not handle deep snow (like 8" unplowed) very well.

Light weight means that slush on the road will toss the car around a bit when you hit slushy ruts and tire tracks from other cars and trucks.

Overall, it should be pretty good with winter tires.


#3

Ditto!
And, I want to second the recommendation regarding winter tires.

In addition to the obvious advantage of winter tires for start-up traction, you should take into consideration that a car equipped with a set of 4 good-quality winter tires can STOP in a significantly shorter distance than one equipped with so-called all-season tires. Shorter stopping distances can make the difference between hitting another car/person/pole/curb or not hitting anything.

I recommend the Michelin X-Ice tire, as I have had great experience with that model. In addition to the benefits stated above, this winter tire yields decent dry road handling, is not too noisey, and has a far longer tread life than most competing winter tires.


#4

8? More like 4 inches of snow. I’m pretty sure it sits lower than my old Civic did, and 4 or 5 inches of snow would be scraping the underside of it.


#5

If there is more than 4-5" of snow on the road at a given time, something is wrong where you live and time to park the car.


#6

ABS brakes mean decent control when stopping.

Actually ABS works abysmally in snow and ice. Stopping distances are longer than without ABS, and my experience has been that directional control – far from being enhanced – is impeded because wheels lock and unlock at random. About the best you can say for ABS is that if it kicks in, you know you are driving too fast for conditions. Of course, you have to survive the current stop to take advantage of that information.


#7

Thanks to all of you. What about hydroplaning in rain?


#8

You would never make it in Buffalo.


#9

If you keep enough tread depth on your tires you don’t hydroplane. A lot of people think they have hydroplaned when it first starts raining after a dry spell but they are just sliding on the oil that is brought to the surface before the rain has had a chance to wash it away.


#10

We have these neat things called plows and sanders in New England. Even around ski areas where excess snow drops the main roads are maintained and accessible with excess snow and ice. 2nd pretty well too.

I have never run into an issue getting to Jay Peak mountain (annual average snowfall 355") to our family’s place even with using all-season tires in the last 8 years.


#11

Hydroplaning is a function of tread depth of tire as stated but also design of tire to shed water.

Careful purchase of tires (read reviews) coupled to common sense during heavy rain falls(slowing down) usually prevents hydroplaning.


#12

ABS without winter tires adds up to long stopping distances in snowy conditions. If you have tires that get decent traction then your stopping distances will be tolerable and ABS makes the car stop straight. It’s not ABS so much as good tires getting good traction for the conditions. On glare ice nothing is going to help stopping distances short of chains and studded tires.


#13

The roads leading to Jay Peak doesn’t see as much snow as Buffalo/Rochester or Syracuse…not even close.

The main problem with Upstate NY is the Lake Effect snow…10" snow squalls pop-up at a moments notice…You can take a drive on a nice sunny day (not a cloud in the sky)…then within 20 minutes you’re in a 3"/hr snow storm…By the time the plows are dispatched and start plowing there’s already 3" or more of snow on the ground…By the time they get to where you are there could be 6-10 inches of snow.


#14

[b] ABS brakes mean decent control when stopping.

Actually ABS works abysmally in snow and ice.[/b]

The first statement is correct!  Re-read it.  It claims better control, not better stopping distances.  In my experience and the advice from those who acturally do valid testing, control trumps stopping differences.

#15

It claims better control, not better stopping distances. In my experience and the advice from those who acturally do valid testing, control trumps stopping differences.

I don’t exactly disagree except for one crucial thing. ABS claims of enhanced control are generally based on testing on wet and dry roads, not on very slippery roads. No problem at all with claims of improved control under those conditions. It’s what I’d expect and what is reported.

The only test report on ABS on really slippery surfaces I’ve ever been able to find was by Popular Mechanics or Popular Science or Popular something. They reported some improvement in control with ABS. But that’s at 35mph. (Please tell me that people do not drive 35 mph on ice except on test tracks). Since I am confronted every winter with the problem of getting cars stopped at a stop sign at the bottom of a hill across from my driveway. I get to test braking and control at low speeds under all sorts of Winter conditions – sometimes within five minutes of stopping a non-ABS car on the same hill. The directional control at low speed with ABS – at least on our 1999 Camry – really is amazingly poor. It surprised me anyway. The non-ABS cars are much easier to control.

Hopefully Electronic Stabiity Control will fix that. ESC seems to have been tested a lot better than ABS was. It sounds good on paper and the testing I’ve seen sounds like it actually may work as advertised even on ice.


#16

If there is more than 4-5" of snow on the road at a given time, something is wrong where you live and time to park the car.

Yes, something IS wrong; the city is pretty particular about where it plows. I live in the county, yet in the city(weird zoning, the next street over is in the city limits, but my street isn’t.).
I’ve gotten up to get ready for work and the county truck is already heading down my street plowing, but even after working all day, a few streets over in the city limits isn’t plowed at all, just tire ruts all down the street. My Civic scraped snow on a few occasions.


#17

Not arguing, but in my experience most people drive way too fast in icey and snowy conditions. No amount of ABS, traction control, anti skid, etc. will help someone who just is going too fast and exceeds the traction limits of the tires.

Also ABS requires very good tires with good tread and on all 4 tires. If you have one of the 4 tires with poor tread, underinflated, or unmatched tread design the effectiveness of ABS goes way down.

The bad tire will skid before the others and ABS will kick in and cut the braking power to the other 3 good tires. In a case like this the ABS is not going to help at all.


#18

When I did own winter tires not once on ice or snow did the ABS engage. With mediorce in the snow/ice all-seasons I felt a constant buzz of my ABS engaging in slippery conditions.

I wonder if people are equating poor traction to poor ABS performance?