Choosing the Right Car for the Snow

As the snow swirls around, the temperature drops it’s tempting to just stay inside. But eventually we all have to venture out and when we do we need a set of wheels that will pull us through. If you are a classic car owner, perhaps you don’t have the option of a modern car. Or if you have a modern car, perhaps you recall slithering and sliding around in the ice and snow last year. So we decided to take a look at what makes a good snow and ice car. And do old cars really work better in the snow than new ones?
The first question to ask, of course, is whether you should use a classic in the snow at all. In the face of salt and safety, the answer is probably no. Classics like to rust a lot and they are somewhat bereft of the nannying features like airbags, Car Maintenance Schedule Chart ESP, ABS and the like which keep modern drivers so well insulated from their actions. But if we just decided never to use them in the snow then it wouldn’t make much of an article frankly so lets assume we’re talking strictly hypothetically.
To work well in the snow, conventional wisdom has it that a car should be either 4 wheel drive or front wheel drive. This rules out most classic cars, which are resolutely rear wheel drive. And, to be fair, much more fun. For example, my Ford Capri may have been rear wheel drive but it is a lot of fun in the snow and copes extremely well. Which may be down to 14 Car Companies Control 54 Brands the second rule for snow driving success – narrow tyres and high profile rims. The Capri runs on 175 r14 tyres, which might be laughable in today’s world of 245 20 inch rims but it was us laughing as we sailed past the stranded BMWs and Mercedes. Narrow high profile tyres literally cut through the snow and ice rather than skate across it, as fat tyres do.
Snow-plugging cars also need to be light – or have four wheel drive. A light car needs less power to keep going and is inherently more nimble when the going gets tough. On a slippery hill a low power, light car will keep going when a powerful, heavy car gets stuck. Plus, it has the added advantage of being much easier to push out of trouble. Classic cars also have the advantage over modern cars because they lack so-called driver aids like ESP (traction control), which prevents cars losing traction. ESP cuts power to a spinning wheel. This is great news on damp roads or sudden sharp bends, but unfortunately the car can’t differentiate between these and a snowy, icy road. Consequently, when the going gets tough in the snow and the wheels need to spin to clear the ice and gain traction, the ESP system simply cuts power to the spinning wheels. So the car can’t move.
The trick with maintaining momentum and traction in the snow is to select a high gear and manipulate the clutch and throttle. This tends to be easier in older cars which have mechanically operated clutch, gearbox and throttle, giving the driver greater feel and control compared to modern ‘fly by wire’ type systems.

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