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Old 12-09-2009, 05:06 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, 08:34 AM   #2
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good snow tires are the most important thing to consider IMO if you live in an area that gets much snow/ice
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:51 AM   #3
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Same here. Get yourself a pair with a good set of teeth!
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Old 12-09-2009, 11:13 AM   #4
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Slush, which is the bulk of what you were driving through, is the hardest for the Yaris as it is so light that it "floats" on the stuff rather than biting into it. It is disconcerting at first but if you learn to relax, and to not force the exact line you want to be on all the time, that the car will track fairly well. You'll learn that swinging a few inches in either direction really isn't that big of a deal, especially since you're in a narrower vehicle to begin with.

That said, the proper speed during inclement weather like that is a maximum of 35 MPH, and you found out why. Stick to 30-35 MPH next time and you'll do fine.
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Old 12-09-2009, 11:26 AM   #5
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Did you check your tire pressure?

I know I forgot to check mine when the temperature dropped, but luckily the dashboard light woke me up :)

I my Yaris
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Old 12-09-2009, 11:48 AM   #6
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snow tires would help a great deal,
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Old 12-09-2009, 12:01 PM   #7
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Are there any low cost yet good snow tires? I cannot afford to outfit my car with something $300-400 in the horrible money sucking month of December.

My first drive was horrible too, first snow in my 09 and at one point I went through a slow motion slide towards a railing on a turn... I heard a crunching noise (idk, maybe the snow, or the car?) and the brake pedal felt like it wasn't going down.. is that normal..?

Thankfully, it was so slow and the car stopped right before the railing.. I get paniced thinking about driving to work now, before I couldnt care less about the car I drove during other winters.
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Old 12-09-2009, 12:01 PM   #8
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In that kind of weather, why would you want to go faster than 30 anyways? It's better to make it home later than to not make it home at all, ending up with a busted vehicle and a headache from getting it fixed.

I drove home last night around 1130 from Ann Arbor to Garden City, I don't think it was as bad as your drive up there but it was still a good amount that was coming down. I wasn't sure how my car would handle due to this being the first winter with it being lowered with shocks, springs and thick rear sway bar (last winter only thing done to my car was a TRD sway bar, this time I have the UR 23mm along with the suspension mods). Also the thing I wasn't sure about was how the car would react since I changed those rear axle bolts up to the higher placing since doing that the cars reaction when steering is much more responsive and direct.

Overall, I'd say my car did better than I thought it would. Better than when it was stock height I dare say.
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Old 12-09-2009, 12:39 PM   #9
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You started out nervous and expecting the ride to suck and it did... surprise! Seriously you gotta relax somehow and the car will handle better if your not all uptight. I lived right next to lake michigan for 20+ years and know the conditions well. Best advice is to make sure the tires are in good condition and inflated to what the manual says. Too low and they float too much and too high and the snow traction sucks. This is not the time to be squeezing out every psi for hypermiling. Take the car out somewhere safe and spin it a couple of times and you will get the feel for it and better know when you are about to loose it. Beyond that sometimes you just have to drive slow and carry a bucket of kitty litter to throw on the snow if you bury a tire in a drift and can't get out. (having some spare gloves hat and a flashlight aren't bad either) good luck.
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Old 12-09-2009, 12:42 PM   #10
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snow tires >>> all seasons
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Old 12-09-2009, 12:52 PM   #11
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If you were running on the OEM mexically all-seasons your observations are no surprise.
Buck-up for some WINTER tires pronto.
Adding a rear anti-swaybar will help it cope with the heavy crosswinds which I'm sure could send a OEM shod Yaris completely off-course and with little chance of timely recovery, which may be disastrous.
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Old 12-09-2009, 01:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MUSKOKA800 View Post
Adding a rear anti-swaybar will help it cope with the heavy crosswinds which I'm sure could send a OEM shod Yaris completely off-course and with little chance of timely recovery, which may be disastrous.


I drive in an area that sees hurricane-force winds and not once have I ever been pushed out of my lane, or even come close to it, even in the depths of the biggest winter storms up in the mountians.

Save your money and some resources and don't bother with a sway bar.
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Old 12-09-2009, 02:01 PM   #13
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Someone just told me to buy the heaviest salt bag and put it in the trunk to make the car heavier and to have incase you get stuck in snow. Wonder if that would fit in the hatch and be worth it.
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Old 12-09-2009, 02:14 PM   #14
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Thanks for the comments guys, BailOut I think you might be right about the slush making it that much worse, 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'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, 02:21 PM   #15
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snow tires. all you need. putting a huge heavy salt bag in the trunk will lift weight off of the driving and steering wheels, making the vehicle less controllable.

i live in Alaska. i drove my yaris on the OEM bridgestones for a week after buying it in december '08. i did alright, except in corners. our roads here are ice all winter long, and occasionally there is a snow storm that piles the stuff in the streets. last one we had i was plowing through the streets with my bumper and i made it around just fine.

i have a set of General Tire Altimax Arctic studded snows, and the car holds the road like a mountain goat.
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Old 12-09-2009, 02:31 PM   #16
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Oh, thanks for the info, I didn't think realize it would lift the weight up in th front.
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Old 12-09-2009, 03:19 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiirenet View Post
Are there any low cost yet good snow tires? I cannot afford to outfit my car with something $300-400 in the horrible money sucking month of December.

.
When it comes to prices for snow tires whats you and your families life worth?
Get some Bridgestone Blizzaks for about $75 each.
And paulyd0021 did you really think you could get through a northern winter with no snow tires?
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Old 12-09-2009, 03:20 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BailOut View Post


I drive in an area that sees hurricane-force winds and not once have I ever been pushed out of my lane, or even come close to it, even in the depths of the biggest winter storms up in the mountians.

Save your money and some resources and don't bother with a sway bar.
Our Canadian air must be more dense.
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