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Driving Rwd In Snow -- Suggestions?

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Hi. Brand new to this Forum. Just brought an IS-250 (RWD) from Az to Michigan. Its been a very snowy season here.

I've driving what seems like a zillion cars in snow over the years w/ success, but having tremendous difficulty w/ this car. Clearly, its probably one of the least favorable cars for snow considering the monster width of rear tires (255/40-18), etc...

- I'm unfamilar w/ the Snow Traction or when/why/where to use it. Snow?? Still get stuck nearly every day.

- I just bought 300# of salt (for H20 softener) and am now storing that in truck.

- Filled up tank to top (will keep it full w/ this snow).

- I 'try' not to give too much gas, but the darned car just slows, then stops. Its like the Traction is fighting and loosing.

- Tried a few times w/ TC off. Just spinning/sidesliding, then ESC kicks in and slows car and am back to same prob.

- I DID just order a set of Rear Conti Tires from the TireRack -- hope this will make the difference.

I thought I was doing all the right things, but still have been stuck/no-go over a dozen times. Embarrasing. :-(

Essentially, does anybody have any suggestions to aid in getting this car to move in the snow?? Any added tips, tricks, suggestions that you might have would be helpful. Calling into boss claiming 'working from home' is getting old.

Thanks!!

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Snow tires, snow tires, snow tires, snow tires.

Get four heavy duty winter tires -- the ones with the mountain/snow flake logo on the sidewalls. You would probably be better off with the smaller and narrower 17" tires but that would require an extra set of wheels.

I don't have an IS but my RWD 00 LS does infinitely better in the snow with my Blizzak snow tires. I bought a set of cheap wheels from Tire Rack to use with my snow tires. I wouldn't dream of driving it in the snow with my summer (not all-season) tires -- I wanna live!

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I have the Conti Extreme Contacts on my IS350. When I went Ohio last month there was freezing rain. The streets and roads were icy. I just took it a lot slower starting and stopping and had no problems. VDIM kicked in on turns a couple of times, straightened the car out quicker than I could and just kept on going.

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Most probably you are driving on Arizona summer tires.

They simply don't work under 40 degrees, DON'T work!

Get a new set of winter tires and you'll be having a totally satisfactory experience.

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Yes, tires were the Arizona kind.

Well, Not Anymore!

The New Tires from TireRack.com arrived super fast (yesterday aft, 2-days std shipping!!). Again stuck yesterday, spent half an hour having neighbor push me back up my street, then spent another two hours running my snowthrower down the entire sub to a main road. I had ALL the watersoftener salt in the truck AND a full tank of gas and still the bugger would not move. Flat surface, NO move. In fact, it would only move Sideways!!

Finally, once on mainroads (w/ fresh salt and fresh plow), car was Fine. I went straight to the tire shop to have the new rears installed.

Bought the 255/40-18 ContiExtremeContact All-Season. $250 delivered to my door. Sweeeet. (I get a decent discount from Continental)

I can't believe I was such a dumbo buffoon. Can't believe the difference. WTF was I thining.

OK, no forget EVERYTHING I had posted until today. I'm a moron.

The answer was simple -- Tires, Tires, Tires.

NOW, I'm "having a totally satisfactory experience."

:)

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You think the all season conti's make a difference. You would not believe the difference with real snow tires! I'm just across the boarder getting the same crappy weather as you. Although I don't use snows on my GX470 AWD I do on my Acura TL ( I know its likely going to get replace by and IS250 AWD) and would not even consider driving them without snow's. Its the compound in the tires that make them stick to snow and ice.

Good Luck

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The compound and the tread design matter in snow. The tread blocks need to be "self cleaning" so they keep a biting edge. Tire treads packed with snow are about as good a slicks.

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Since you already had dedicated summer tires, I would have gone with a set of dedicated winters, and swap them every fall and spring. Michigan gets a fairly respectable winter, and it's worth the investment.

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All great points! Thanks so much.

I do agree that Winter/Snow tires indeed would've been the way to go. Cost was a factor here however, so went w/ what I thought would be the best way. (thus only rears)

Another note that I probably subconsciencely left off was that the rears that were on there ended up being darned close to the end of their life. I really never checked them seriously (i recall noted them having decent tread in the fall), however, the guy at the tire shop couldn't believe I could even drive the car on plowed/salted roads -- he said they were atrocious.

The driving has improved drastically -- more confidence, and no getting stuck anymore. Between 300-400 extra pounds in the rear and the new Conti's, we seem to be good. I tested in my subdivision, deliberately stopping on an uphill grade w/ packed snow/ice, then taking off. Takes off like a tank now. Don't even need the 'ETC/Snow' button now. Am satisfied, but cannot even IMAGINE what true Winter tires would do for us.

I currently drive a 4wd Hybrid Escape and the Lexus is my g/f's car. In bad snow, I'd been taking it, but now we can go back to our own cars. (Trust me, this Lexus is NOT the most popular car to be driving in the MotorCity these days -- I'll let her get the dirty looks!)

The front tires were new last spring, so I opted against buying matching fronts this time ($). Am thinking these two sets may time out just right for replacement around the falltime -- then I think the wise way would be a FULL set of true Winter tires for it. Then come spring 2010 w/ tax$, buy new summers/ then do the swap thing from there on out. Car is near paid off and plan to hold onto it so makes sense both $ and safety wise.

Thanks again, everyone. Ya'll are great!

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All great points! Thanks so much.

I do agree that Winter/Snow tires indeed would've been the way to go. Cost was a factor here however, so went w/ what I thought would be the best way. (thus only rears)

Another note that I probably subconsciencely left off was that the rears that were on there ended up being darned close to the end of their life. I really never checked them seriously (i recall noted them having decent tread in the fall), however, the guy at the tire shop couldn't believe I could even drive the car on plowed/salted roads -- he said they were atrocious.

The driving has improved drastically -- more confidence, and no getting stuck anymore. Between 300-400 extra pounds in the rear and the new Conti's, we seem to be good. I tested in my subdivision, deliberately stopping on an uphill grade w/ packed snow/ice, then taking off. Takes off like a tank now. Don't even need the 'ETC/Snow' button now. Am satisfied, but cannot even IMAGINE what true Winter tires would do for us.

I currently drive a 4wd Hybrid Escape and the Lexus is my g/f's car. In bad snow, I'd been taking it, but now we can go back to our own cars. (Trust me, this Lexus is NOT the most popular car to be driving in the MotorCity these days -- I'll let her get the dirty looks!)

The front tires were new last spring, so I opted against buying matching fronts this time ($). Am thinking these two sets may time out just right for replacement around the falltime -- then I think the wise way would be a FULL set of true Winter tires for it. Then come spring 2010 w/ tax$, buy new summers/ then do the swap thing from there on out. Car is near paid off and plan to hold onto it so makes sense both $ and safety wise.

Thanks again, everyone. Ya'll are great!

Hey Droid, welcome to the LOC and congrats on the new IS. :cheers: One additional consideration, the first time you get good traction with your rears and take off only to find you're losing directional control because you didn't do the fronts as well, you be back in the shop for the other 2 tires if not for some body repair. The car's grip really isn't balanced for tricky road conditions with only two winter tires. Be careful. Go safe.

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After living in Cincinnati (where snow is not a frequent event, but still comes now and then) and driving in FWD cars with all-season tires for 25+ years, I got an RX-8 (RWD) in 2004. I had thought that all-seasons would still be good enough, but I was in for a shock the first night I drove home in 2" of wet snow on unplowed roads. I was all over the place, and couldn't even get up my slightly sloped driveway. After that, I took my 4WD Tacoma whenever it snowed. My lease on the RX-8 ended in December, and I had two choices: commit to the 8 and buy some snow tires or go AWD. Needless to say, I chose the latter. My IS 250 AWD handles the snow exceptionally well, with great straight-line operation upon either acceleration or braking, even with just the factory all seasons.

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My used IS300 came with pirelli p-zero nero's (i have NO IDEA why the dealer put such a ridiculously expensive tire on this car, but they did; and they were new!) and i have had absolutely no trouble with slipping. even in the nasty cold w/ ice and snow and other cars sliding by me the lex sticks. don't even have to use the snow button. REALLY not looking forward to replacing them, though..

unfortunately, with these tires and b/c its an auto it WILL NOT spin wheels, even with traction totally disabled, even in the snow. she just launches. not that i do a lot of spinning wheels, but sometimes.. you know..

at least, i think traction is disabled.. i was (mis?)informed that holding down on the Trac OFF button for a few moments would disable the traction system, and i DID get her to slide a LITTLE bit in the rain one time that way, but i don't know. anyone have more info on this? i really haven't tried more than a couple of times to spin them; i always feel like i'm beating my child or girlfriend..

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i called around for pricing on snow tires. get this...my local lexus dealer quoted me $4,000....yes, four THOUSAND dollars to install four snow tires (and second set of factory rims). probably already mentioned on here somewhere, but they listed the stock 18" wheels at over $550 each. wow. obviously i didn't buy from them.

i couldn't wait for tirerack (had an accident and winter car out of action)....so a local place installed Michelin Pilot PA3 snow tires on my existing wheels. i'll probably leave the factory wheels for winter driving now and just buy new summer wheels/tires from tirerack.

can't say how the PA3s perform in snow yet...we're just in a super cold snap, but no snow this week.

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i called around for pricing on snow tires. get this...my local lexus dealer quoted me $4,000....yes, four THOUSAND dollars to install four snow tires (and second set of factory rims). probably already mentioned on here somewhere, but they listed the stock 18" wheels at over $550 each. wow. obviously i didn't buy from them.

i couldn't wait for tirerack (had an accident and winter car out of action)....so a local place installed Michelin Pilot PA3 snow tires on my existing wheels. i'll probably leave the factory wheels for winter driving now and just buy new summer wheels/tires from tirerack.

can't say how the PA3s perform in snow yet...we're just in a super cold snap, but no snow this week.

Good reviews on the PA's. And a good decision, I think. This way you've got some time to shop around for new rims/tires instead of having to rush into a winter set of rims/tires. A new summer set will still put you back some $$$.

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Good reviews on the PA's. And a good decision, I think. This way you've got some time to shop around for new rims/tires instead of having to rush into a winter set of rims/tires. A new summer set will still put you back some $$$.

yeah, i decided it would be easier to just swap rubber now and deal with the summer tires later. getting dedicated rims/tires for non-winter use is also pricey, but convenient and safer all around. i hate having tires unmounted/mounted over and over...watching the rims get chewed up by the installation process. ugh. plus, the cost of remounting/balancing adds up over the years too. now i just need to decide if i'll keep the stock tires or sell them...then select the new rims, etc. i don't want anything crazy (expensive volks or whatever is considered "high-end" these days). just something with taste and quality.

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brief update on my snow tires experience w/ the IS350. amazingly, tonight was the first snowfall since i had the snow tires put on weeks ago (unusual for my area). so, out i went to see how the car would handle. friends were complaining how slippery the roads were (no salt was put down and the snow was fresh...no plows). a good 2-3 inches of fresh snow to test with.

now, this is the first RWD car i have driven in the snow and was completely AMAZED at how well it handled. in standard mode it was easy to keep the vehicle under control. i went to a secluded spot and tested a few corners, braking, accelerating, etc....the traction control would kick in and i couldn't make the rear swing out. with snow mode on, it was that much easier...with the power cut, taking off from a stop was simple with no slipping at all. i'm still amazed at how well the car handled.

now i have to wonder how much of a dream AWD w/ good snow tires would handle! haha

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:cheers:

Thanks for the update on the snow tires! Seriously considering a set for the AWD RX for next season. I am not unhappy with the all-seasons and AWD, but the snows must be incredible, as you said.

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if you have the $$$ to get them, then i feel it is a must have. after experiencing the drastic handling (and most importantly, SAFETY) improvements of using snow tires, i can't imagine not using them now. nearly everyone i talk to says "but i have all-season tires". yes, and the will work 99% of the time. IMHO, that other 1% is where the accidents and such come in. safety is king, in my book.

check out the winter tire test videos on tirerack...they show the cornering and stopping distance variations on identical vehicles. it's an eye opener!

(can you tell i'm now a fan of snow tires?!? :P )

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Old thread but Im just going to comment here and see what happens. ;)

I'm soon to be in the same boat as the original poster of this thread. Im in Chandler, AZ (Phoenix area) and soon to be relocated to Pittsburgh, PA this summer. We have a 2014 IS 250 RWD and will be experiencing a Pittsburgh winter in 2015. Im assuming that a set of snow tires will be needed to get through our 1st winter. Our IS 250 is leased and we will have another year on our lease by the time we hit our 1st winter there in 2015. Its my wifes car and she loves it so Im sure we will be getting a new one even after we turn this one in. An AWD will be next on the list for both of us since we will be leaving the desert of AZ to the cold northeast.

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