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Old 12-09-2009, 05:05 AM   #1
paulyd0021
 
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HELP!? HORRIBLE drive home during first REAL Snow in Michigan,

Hey guys, so tonight I was driving down M15 from Davison to Clarkston and it had been snowing for a long time before I started driving and was just starting to rain and sleet. Anyways there was about 3 inches of fresh snow on the roads and its 2AM so no plow trucks have really come through yet.

I was a little nervous to venture out, but also a little excited because this is my first winter with my 07 Yaris Hatchback and the first time I've driven it in the snow. My last car was a Hyundai TIburon and that thing was awful during the winter.

So my drive home...was GOD AWFUL. I expected the yaris to not handle that well in the snow, but man, this drive home was like a drive through hell if it had frozen over. I could barely keep control of the car. Literally if I went over 35 I had major problems keeping her steady or from drifting.

The roads were bad, but not bad enough that I should have to drive under 30 mph in order to avoid certain death. Every time oncoming traffic neared me, I was half way sure that my life was about to end, especially where there had only been one path carved out by cars so both directions were using it.

SO basically I'm hear to ask for any help and advice you might have for me on how to "winterize" my yaris. After tonight I'm definitely thinking about investing in a set of good snow tires. Any suggestions on which or any other ways to not make driving this winter a death sentence?

Thank you in advance for your replies.
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Old 12-09-2009, 05:07 AM   #2
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So.. I'm from California, but I hear those "winter tires" work sorta well. But I hear thats just a rumor
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Old 12-09-2009, 05:34 AM   #3
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Blizzak WS60's if you can afford it.
One seperate 14" rims if you can afford it.
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Old 12-09-2009, 05:57 AM   #4
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thanks for the tip on the blizzaks, i found this article on them..

http://www.usroads.com/journals/aruj/9712/ru971202.htm
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:27 AM   #5
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I'm sorry to hear about your experience. Unfortunately the OEM all-seasons (as on most cars) are selected based on cost. In my experience, the Yaris, even with the OEM all-seasons, can handle reasonable amounts of snow.

Any dedicated snow tire (with the little mountain logo on the sidewall) should outperform an all-season tire in winter. I would suggest going with any reputable brand that's on sale at the moment. I have used Blizzaks on similar cars (Scion xA) and had good experience. Michelin just had a $70 discount, and their "X-Ice" tire looked pretty good as well.

Whatever brand of snow tire you decide to get, keep your expectations reasonable.
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:40 AM   #6
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nokian tires hands down
i have their hakka5s with studs on my rav4 and that thing is like a racecar it just sticks to the road
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:57 AM   #7
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Any snow tire is better than the crap stock tires in snow.
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Old 12-09-2009, 10:58 AM   #8
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If you have an 07 and new tires haven't already been put on it your tires are probably near the end of their life, and in winter driving the tread depth becomes a lot more important.
If they will need replacing soon anyway, you may want to just consider a new pair of all-seasons. Also the Goodyear tires seem to hand a LOT better then the Bridgestone.
I've driven though there in many weather conditions and never had a problem. If its consistently pulling to one side you may have an alignment issue, that's just more obvious in slippery conditions.
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Old 12-09-2009, 02:19 PM   #9
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Thanks for the comments guys, I think the slush last night was making the drive worse than normal... and when there wasnt oncoming traffic or anyone behind me I did try to do some weaving while going slow and I did have more traction that I thought. I figured I'd almost spin out if I did that but again i was probably going 25 when i tried it. And I was pretty nervous so everytime the car when in a direction I didnt want it too it I thought I was surely going to end up in a ditch, but I never did. Still my confidence has definitely been lowered. I'm going to try putting a couple salt bags in the bag, and if that doesnt help I may have to dish out some $ for some good snow tires. I figure it might be worth it in the long run since it'll cut back on the wear of my regular tires. I hear Blizzak WS60' or the Michillin X-Ice's are really good so I might try to find some of those. I just put a flash light, some gloves and boots in my car incase I get stuck in a ditch. Next I'm going to lower the PSI in my tires down to 33, the recommended for my yaris is 32 and i'm running them around 37 right now, so I'm sure that didnt help any.
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Old 12-09-2009, 02:30 PM   #10
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You will be best-served by studded snow tires. You are definitely running too much pressure, even at 33psi. Try mid-20's. Sand bags in the back aren't gonna do squat, other than preload your rear springs; you have a FWD car, and sandbags are a trick for RWD cars that are light (pickups) over the axles. Of course, the sand might help you get unstuck when you are in an icy ditch, but the goal is to avoid that.
Some practice maneuvers in a snowy lot will help you find the limits of your Yaris, which is generally reputed to be a decent snow car, but it will never be a subaru, so don't expect it to be.
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Old 12-09-2009, 02:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulyd0021 View Post
thanks for the tip on the blizzaks, i found this article on them..

http://www.usroads.com/journals/aruj/9712/ru971202.htm
BTW - your article is from 1997. You might want slightly more up-to-date info, as tire compounds have come a long way since then.
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Old 12-10-2009, 01:40 AM   #12
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ozmdd lol, yeah sorry, i didnt even realize that, thanks for the point out. Ok, so here's what i've decided to go with. I can't afford the Blizzaks, although I got Bell tire to match an online price of $77 per tire, after all the extra charges and tax it ended up being $424 out the door. THats a bit more than I can afford at the moment. So I looked at their website and they have Cooper Weather-Master S/T's for $62 each, so I'm going to try to get 4 of those, and i have a $20 off coupon, so it should cost me about $322 for 4 of those. Unless I can convince them to sell me 2 tires at one place and 2 at another then i'll save another $20 with another coupon. Anyways, so before I do, just wanted to see if anyone had any objections to this. I hear good things and mediocre things about these tires, but for my price range, and just wanting anything better than what i have (Kelly Gold Navigators), I think this may be the best deal I can get. Its either this or try to survive the winter and then move someplace snow doesnt exist.
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Old 12-10-2009, 04:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulyd0021 View Post
So my drive home...was GOD AWFUL. I expected the yaris to not handle that well in the snow, but man, this drive home was like a drive through hell if it had frozen over. I could barely keep control of the car. Literally if I went over 35 I had major problems keeping her steady or from drifting.
This sounds about right. My last car was a 2001 Echo with whatever Michelin tires that were OEMs on it. Driving through NE Indiana and NW Iliinois during winter was about the same from your experience. If I went faster than 30 - 35 mph I was skidding.
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Old 12-10-2009, 01:45 PM   #14
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Stock tires, especially on the 07 model, if that makes any difference, are not good at all during the winter.

Having wider tires on rims I will tell you is even worse. Get yourself seperate winter tires as recommended.
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:54 PM   #15
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As the above post said. Skinny tires are very good in winter. The skinnier the better, to a point of course. But a good set of snow tires are a must. The extra weight from sand bags or salt (and will probly help you out if you get stuck more than sand) will give you some more stability in the hatch. I to drive an 07 hatch in about the same area as you (bay city saginaw) and more often then not the back swings out more than the front looses grip. I still have yet to get new tires(broke) for the winter but I am going to in the next month or so. But back to the point I believe the weight distribution on the hb is something like 60/40 so some extra pounds in the back would help a lot, same with any light truck would.
On a side note, I almost died the day after the storm on the 675 75 off ramp going north. Everything was plowed and salted but the mouth of the exit. Witch was a foot deep and the hole lane wide. 75 mph plus that kinda snow was a crazy almost spun out into merging traffic fun. Lol!
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Old 12-11-2009, 09:07 PM   #16
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Seriously, for something this safety-critical, don't skimp on $100 to get second or third-rate tires or avoid getting seperate rims.

Realize that the winter tires will last for 3 or more years, because you'll only put about one or two oil changes worth of miles on them in a given winter season. The rest of the time? They sit quietly and dryly in your garage. =^.^=
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