Tyre Pressures - Snow - What say you?





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  1. #1
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    Default Tyre Pressures - Snow - What say you?

    Hi Guys and Gals,

    With the weather we are having it seems that herds of people are going to go looking for snow this weekend.

    Next week I am doing a few days at Rhodes in the Eastern Cape in the Southern Drakensburg, and quite frankly I am a little pooperug.

    I think we all understand the general wisdom of tyre pressures. Deflate moderately for gravel. Deflate a lot for deep sand so that the wheels can float, and use lots of momentum. etc etc

    Now the subject of this thread - What tyre pressures do you use in Snow.??

    In snow I am pretty sure that floatation and momentum arent your best friends. So I am guessing small hard footprint that can break thru the surface and reach solid ground.

    Maybe somebody who really knows can answer this for us. I am thinking specifically our overseas members who drive in the stuff on a day to day basis.

    Situation with and without snow chains would be appreciated.

    WHAT SAY YOU.
    Last edited by Fluffy; 2011/07/29 at 01:33 PM.
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  2. #2
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    I have driven in snow a couple of times. (read twice)

    I have come to a few conclusions.

    deep snow on tar:

    1. - you do not drive in snow, you hang on for dear life and experience religion.
    2. - if you do get some traction for a few seconds in amongst the sliding around it just makes things worse.

    deep snow on gravel.

    1. this is better than tar.

    2. 'better' is a relative term. for instance, is it better to be shot in the head or stoned to death? the result is much the same, it's just how long it will take.

    I'll just watch this one for any more useful comments

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    Fluffy, my experience, snow is like mud, ie, there are various types/categories so depending on the type/depth, flotation or hard pressures will be required.

    A single shallow fall of snow, hard pressure to get to ground underneath.

    Multiple layers of snow, deep, ie, like in Iceland, big tyres and lots of flotation

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    And of course varying degrees in between

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    This is how I view snow:

    Cold
    Wet
    indicative of ice.
    nasty
    cold
    wet
    looks pretty through a window with a large fire blazing away and a glass of red wine in your hand.

    its the kind of stuff that makes me people do stupid things - like, one of your mates WILL think it would be HILARIOUS to throw a big lump of it at you, making cold wet stuff go down your collar and in your ear and genrally making you feel miserable, and cold and wet, and then you have to put up with the whining noise from your friend who thinks it's less funny now that you have broken his fingers.

    that kind of stuff. easier to just avoid it I think.

    the only advantage is that you can drink red wine, light a huge fire, and stay in bed with beloved until temperatures reach sensible levels again.

    in closing, the only sensible answer to "what should I do if it's snowing" is in fact "stay in bed"

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    It is not the snow that is the problem, it is the ice below the snow on the surface of the solid ground/tar. If you break through the snow onto the ice, you will have very little traction. That is why the cold countries have studded tyres that can break through the ice.

    Best we found in the Kokstad area was to treat it like soft mud, soft tyres making use of grip, floation and friction. Well, that is what worked for me.
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  7. #7
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    If the depth of the snow does not impede you, the thing to watch out for is ice on the road surface under neath the snow. This requires a set of circumstances though such as a wet road surface, then freezing, then snow. Can be patchy but tree overhangs are areas to keep an eye on as dew drips off during the day, freezes at night and then you get snow on top.

    As I know you will be doing a sensible speed, if you hit this type of surface and your vehicle starts going sideways, like that custardy mud on top of a hard surface, give some throttle and keep steering in the direction you want to go. Works most times.
    Hard tyre pressure is best to cut through to road.

    This is where chains are handy.

    I dont think you will have to contend with driving on top of snow that is 6ft deep as this would need a full winter and successive layers to build up.

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    When I still lived in the UK we had many experiences of driving in snow in a normal car and I never heard anyone talking about changing pressures.
    What I do remember is my front wheel drive car went to places that rear drive could not.

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    Subscribed........

    Keith, there is snowfall in Kinmel again today........Corneile mentioned that the couple of times they drove on snow down there required them to deflate, like you would when driving on soft sand. You would also not brake, but use low range to de-celerate (slow down) the car.

    I think that the biggest problem will however be MUD.
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    One thing I can say is driving in snow is awesome fun, spent many years driving in it in the UK. I would nt change you tyre pressures at all.
    J
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  11. #11
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    We leave pressures as per normal and have no problems in snow, however things get very interesting when you hit black ice on the road as you can't see it or when there is a layer of ice under the snow.

    Councils here are quite good at gritting/salting main routes when it snows which does help but not if you are off of the main routes.

    Interesting though is that in the UK if you have 2" of snow most things come to a stand still as they did last winter

  12. #12
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    Snow: No the pressure can be left as is...however driving in snow you need to have tyres with some kind of more aggressive tread pattern. You also want to stay away from too wide a tyre...Marie biscuit width is much easier to control than 275/55/17 or the like _ The narrower tyres supposedly pushes through the snow to packed stuff underneath providing better grip and control. My ML was a real handfull in snow until I started using Hancook's all terrain all season tyres...Michelin was pure adrenalin and Dunlop did not last until Winter came around! Those wide 275's made the car think it was a sled!! Lower pressures will widen the track slightly and this bodes not nice for control and grip in snow...(Then I must also add that I never had a high speed skid on snow or ice in the 10 years we lived there - actually once, but this was only at 80 kph and scary as all hell! - ...naturally 4x4/AWD was a big help)
    In the Northern hemisphere there are tyres dedicated to winter driving...wide open treads between blocks. Softer rubber compound, with very thin wavy lines cut into the blocks, this apperently allows for better grip in icy conditions as the tyre spreads its foot print and sticks in more places...
    Driving in snow in SA - not really a lekker thought! I wish I was there now!
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    Personally I think hard tyres when fresh, soft ice/snow. But pressure down a bit when snow and ice is completely compacted
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by apocalypse View Post
    i have driven in snow a couple of times. (read twice)

    i have come to a few conclusions.

    deep snow on tar:

    1. - you do not drive in snow, you hang on for dear life and experience religion.
    2. - if you do get some traction for a few seconds in amongst the sliding around it just makes things worse.

    deep snow on gravel.

    1. This is better than tar.

    2. 'better' is a relative term. For instance, is it better to be shot in the head or stoned to death? The result is much the same, it's just how long it will take.

    I'll just watch this one for any more useful comments ;d
    ;d;d;d

  15. #15
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    Maybe I missed it, but did someone mention snow chains? I mean, if all else fails...

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    Quote Originally Posted by zebras View Post
    We leave pressures as per normal and have no problems in snow, however things get very interesting when you hit black ice on the road as you can't see it or when there is a layer of ice under the snow.
    Councils here are quite good at gritting/salting main routes when it snows which does help but not if you are off of the main routes.
    Interesting though is that in the UK if you have 2" of snow most things come to a stand still as they did last winter
    You get snow in Wiltshire ?? LOL We missed all the fun in England last winter. Pleased to have been in South Africa.

    A lot of councils used brine last winter on the roads as salt wasn't working. So check under the car for chassis rot. The brine has made short work of a lot of chassis.

    I don't change tyre pressures for ice or snow.. Just pray that the car doesn't fall over.
    Margaret

  17. #17
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    i drop pressures if im not too cold
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    I prefer pap tyres in snow...1bar on a trail
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    experienced this weekend flat tires is better
    Corne

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    Would you drop your pressure when having snow chains on?

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