HELP! First Time Snow Driver - Dodge Charger Forums
Wheels/Tires/Brakes/Suspension Discussion about anything involving the wheels, tires, suspension components, etc.

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#1 Old 11-06-2012, 09:03 PM
yashkapoor
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Unhappy HELP! First Time Snow Driver

Greetings to all the members,

Winter is here and i've been getting tons of advice from colleagues and friends to get my charger a set of snow tires. The thing is, i have never driven in snow and i am not sure what needs to be done and what can be avoided... I've done some research on the internet, but too much advice confuses people and i am currently in that state.

My car:
2012 - Charger SE - V6 - RWD - FiberSpoiler (After Factory) - 215/65-17 (Tire Size)

My Drive:
12 Miles to Work, One-Way
of which 11 Miles are on the Interstate - I84, Connecticut

My questions:
1. Do i actually need snow tires? I've been told, i don't actually need snow tires if i am not going to drive in more than 2 inches of snow!
2. If yes, Can i go for used ones? How to make a choice?
3. If i ain't saving enough by getting used ones, Which make of new tires do i buy?
4. A lot of people recommended adding weight to the rear, by putting sand bags in the trunk. Some have suggested against it. How does it matter?

Some people also mentioned about taking extra care of the car with regards to salt sprinkled on the road - Rims and under carriage rusting - Any advice on specific maintenance for the snow season?

And last - Any tips regarding driving itself? Dos and Don'ts...

All help is sincerely appreciated.

Thanks in advance!!
Yash
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#2 Old 11-06-2012, 09:27 PM
Ddaddy
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Well, it depends on where you live. I have driven my SRT with the original RSA tires through several winters without issue. I upgraded to the Continental Extreme Contact DWS 2 winters ago since they are the best all season tires I could find and haven't had any issues.

If you see lots of snow, get full snow tires. If you see only a few inches at a time and the occassional heavy snow, you don't need more than all season tires. The Charger is a heavy RWD vehicle with managable low end torque and traction control. It was far more difficult driving the RWD cars 30 years ago, but we never feared the snow then either. I drove through a 33" snowfall from a Nor'easterback in the winter of 1993 in a '92 RWD Ford Ranger compact pick-up truck without traction control and had no issues

I've seen snow across this kind of range and I have no fear of driving in it with all season tires in my 425 hp RWD SRT Charger...








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2006 Inferno Red SRT-8
Option groups I, II, & III + Sunroof
Built Thursday February 23, 2006
Triple A Performance (AirFunnel, AirHog, Aces IV)


I will drive her until one of us dies! 1/4 mile: 13.388 secs@105.75 mph
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#3 Old 11-06-2012, 10:09 PM
Hazmat11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yashkapoor View Post
Greetings to all the members,

Winter is here and i've been getting tons of advice from colleagues and friends to get my charger a set of snow tires. The thing is, i have never driven in snow and i am not sure what needs to be done and what can be avoided... I've done some research on the internet, but too much advice confuses people and i am currently in that state.

My car:
2012 - Charger SE - V6 - RWD - FiberSpoiler (After Factory) - 215/65-17 (Tire Size)

My Drive:
12 Miles to Work, One-Way
of which 11 Miles are on the Interstate - I84, Connecticut

My questions:
1. Do i actually need snow tires? I've been told, i don't actually need snow tires if i am not going to drive in more than 2 inches of snow!
2. If yes, Can i go for used ones? How to make a choice?
3. If i ain't saving enough by getting used ones, Which make of new tires do i buy?
4. A lot of people recommended adding weight to the rear, by putting sand bags in the trunk. Some have suggested against it. How does it matter?

Some people also mentioned about taking extra care of the car with regards to salt sprinkled on the road - Rims and under carriage rusting - Any advice on specific maintenance for the snow season?

And last - Any tips regarding driving itself? Dos and Don'ts...

All help is sincerely appreciated.

Thanks in advance!!
Yash
Yash,

Welcome to the forums first of all.

With respect to your questions, driving in light to moderate snow isn't what it used to be as Ddaddy correctly mentioned. The V6's are easy to control as long as you keep your speed moderate, start from a stop slowly and don't exceed the limits of the traction control.

I've been driving in snow for close to 30 years and the best tips I can offer you are these:

1. Lane transitions are the most dangerous part of snow driving since accumulated slush and snow can force the tire to lose contact as you change lanes. If you're new to snow driving, try to stay in the same lane on your commute.

2. Never exceed your own personal limits. It's OK to feel uncomfortable if you've never driven in snow before but if it the thought makes you queasy, you're better off letting someone else drive you.

3. Leave plenty of stopping distancein front of you in case you need to stop suddenly due to an obstacle or slow moving traffic.

4. Practice. No really, I mean this. If you can take your car to an empty parking lot with a bit of snowfall this will give you a great idea as to how it handles and what the limits are. Go 15 miles and hour and slam on the brakes to see what happens. It's a great way to understand when the car is simply wagging the rear and when it's at the limit for traction.

5. As much as possible, try to keep moving and avoid stopping in deep snow. If you do need to start from a stop, do so gently to avoid as much wheelspin as possible. Traction control will be a big help here.

I don't personally go for the sandbag route but in Oklahoma, where most people drive 2WD trucks with light rear ends, people swear by that tactic. I would think that a full tank of gas, which weighs around 160 lbs. is more than enough to hold the rear end to the road.

Due to salt content in the Northeast (we mercifully use sand here) I would at least get an undercarriage wash when you can and at the very least pressure wash everything off of the wheels and body whenever possible. Make sure you've waxed your baby before the season starts to at least protect the finish as much as possible.

More than anything else, relax and take your time. Don't let anyone pressure you and don't feel rushed. Once you understand your limits and those of your car, you'll be fine.

Good luck!

2013 Charger R/T
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#4 Old 11-06-2012, 10:19 PM
Ddaddy
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Good points! ^^^

I would add one old trick I've always used...when trying to stop or turn in extremely slippery conditions, put the tranny in neutral to take the power off the wheels. It will help to make the stops and turns far more easily controlled, and after you complete the turn or stop, put it back in to drive to regain power.

It's very surprising how few folks know this trick, and after they try it are impressed at how effective it is.
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#5 Old 11-06-2012, 10:23 PM
Hazmat11
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Originally Posted by Ddaddy View Post
Good points! ^^^

I would add one old trick I've always used...when trying to stop or turn in extremely slippery conditions, put the tranny in neutral to take the power off the wheels. It will help to make the stops and turns far more easily controlled, and after you complete the turn or stop, put it back in to drive to regain power.

It's very surprising how few folks know this trick, and after they try it are impressed at how effective it is.
I've always driven a stick and this is my first auto. I used to do that when I had a clutch but never thought of dropping to neutral now that I don't.

Nice tip sir. I'll be sure to use that one.
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#6 Old 11-06-2012, 11:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yashkapoor View Post
Greetings to all the members,

Winter is here and i've been getting tons of advice from colleagues and friends to get my charger a set of snow tires. The thing is, i have never driven in snow and i am not sure what needs to be done and what can be avoided... I've done some research on the internet, but too much advice confuses people and i am currently in that state.

My car:
2012 - Charger SE - V6 - RWD - FiberSpoiler (After Factory) - 215/65-17 (Tire Size)

My Drive:
12 Miles to Work, One-Way
of which 11 Miles are on the Interstate - I84, Connecticut

My questions:
1. Do i actually need snow tires? I've been told, i don't actually need snow tires if i am not going to drive in more than 2 inches of snow!
2. If yes, Can i go for used ones? How to make a choice?
3. If i ain't saving enough by getting used ones, Which make of new tires do i buy?
4. A lot of people recommended adding weight to the rear, by putting sand bags in the trunk. Some have suggested against it. How does it matter?

Some people also mentioned about taking extra care of the car with regards to salt sprinkled on the road - Rims and under carriage rusting - Any advice on specific maintenance for the snow season?

And last - Any tips regarding driving itself? Dos and Don'ts...

All help is sincerely appreciated.

Thanks in advance!!
Yash
Welcome Yash!

A couple of things to mention...

1st, I would HIGHLY suggest you spend some $$ & take a 1 day winter driving course...they are worth their weight in gold & it will absolutely be an 'eye opener' especially for someone with no winter driving experience.

I personally have over 20 years of experience of driving in winter conditions.

I will kindly direct you to this link from Automobile Magazine that (ironically) is actually testing a 2012 Dodge Charger RWD SXT Blacktop of the differences in summer, all season & winter tires...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hvd-rWRBWxo

As for as set of winter tires...after months of research, I went with the new Toyo Observe GSi5 for my 2012 Blacktop. More info here...

http://www.toyotires.ca/tire/pattern/observe-gsi5

Good luck!

Don't drive faster than your Guardian Angel can fly!...Bren
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#7 Old 11-07-2012, 07:35 AM
michiganpat
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a few things....

they really aren't just SNOW tires, they are WINTER tires. besides the tread pattern and siping meant for grip on snow and ice, they also typically have different rubber compounds that stay more flexible and compliant in sub 45 degrees for better grip.

good article w/video

http://www.automobilemag.com/feature...er_tires_test/

I'd have no problem buying used snows, with a few caveats. I'd ask the seller the tread depth, and make sure there's at least 50% tread (can usually find new tread depth measurement on the tire manufacturer's site) and also find out the tire date code. I'm leery of buying used tires more than 5 years old, as the rubber tends to harden as it ages.

here's info on how to find out about a tire's age
http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tirete...jsp?techid=11&

lastly, if you want an all season that works as effectively as a dedicated snow tire, look at the Nokian WRG2 tires when it comes time to replace yours.

'11 Toxic Orange Charger R/T
'06 Dodge Grand Caravan
'76 Plymouth Duster
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#8 Old 11-07-2012, 09:17 AM
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Welcome to the forums. For starters, good for you to realize that you don't have the knowledge/experience and have sought help here.

All of the suggestions so far are good ones. I am from CT originally and drove through 8 winters there from when I was first licensed until I moved away. I also use to drive I-84 all the time between Southbury and Hartford (full-time EMT in Waterbury).

Where in CT are you exactly? Those not familiar may not realize that CT is by no means flat, and the odds of encountering inclines and hills in snow and icy conditions are better than flat, level roads. Also, they may not realize that CT has no county government and all the 169 towns are responsible for clearing their own roads (State number routes excluded). Many do it poorly.

I would consider dedicated winter tires a must in CT with a Charger. Being that it is a RWD, be sure to add some weight (sand/kitty litter) in trunk over the drive wheels. It will help you to get going and if you get stuck, you can always lay down the sand/kitty litter.

Be light on the pedals, think ahead, smooth braking and give yourself more room than you think you need.


EDIT: I just had Firestone Winterforce tires installed yesterday, so I have no winter driving reviews yet, but they are less expensive and should be fine for your needs. Don't need a speed rated Blizzak on your Charger

2008 R/T -Demoulded, Debadged, Daytona grille, Predator
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Last edited by ColdSteel; 11-07-2012 at 09:41 AM.
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#9 Old 11-07-2012, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michiganpat View Post
a few things....

they really aren't just SNOW tires, they are WINTER tires. besides the tread pattern and siping meant for grip on snow and ice, they also typically have different rubber compounds that stay more flexible and compliant in sub 45 degrees for better grip.
Correct! 'Snow' tires have pretty much gone the way of the dodo bird & have for years. Sadly, many folks still use the term 'snow' & 'winter' tires interchangably when they are actually completely 2 different animals.

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#10 Old 11-07-2012, 11:06 AM
Hazmat11
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I have to amend my earlier statements just a bit and reflect on some very intelligent recommendations from Chargermaster, coldsteel and michiganpat. Since you're brand new to snow driving, winter tires are likely a better choice for you. I also like the idea of taking a winter driving course since that will help familiarize you with the way the car will handle in inclement conditions.

For people like Ddaddy and I, who are very experienced and old school when it comes to snow driving we can afford to run without winter tires but for you I would recommend a "better safe than sorry" methodology when approaching winter driving.

Either way, you've received some great advice and we all hope that it helps you.
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