Is my N-Reg a dinosaur?

On a family trip from East Grinstead to Norfolk on Wednesday, on a snowy/icy stretch of the A140, I had a scary moment when I thought I'd seen my last Christmas! Although I was doing only about 35 mph in a
well-spread convoy, I suddenly lost control of my BMW 328SE Auto. Skidded wildly for a few seconds, when I reckon I was at one stage almost broadside on to oncoming traffic, but happily recovered.
Chatting with my two nephews later, one a Mercedes dealer manager, the other a Lotus engineer, they were both confident I wouldn't have had the problem in any modern car, as "even the cheapest have traction control, and the high end models have more advanced stuff like ESP..."
Thinking back, I'm guessing that the initial skid was because I must have accelerated slightly (I'd seen the leading car move ahead a little). Coupled with the fact that I'd not taken the precaution of switching to the 'Snow' setting, plus a potential 192 bhp at the rear wheels, that took me from 'Rotten journey, wonder how late I'll be,' to 'F*** - I'm about to get badly hurt or worse!'
Are they right in proclaiming my beamer a dinosaur?
--
Terry, West Sussex, UK

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One thing I would say is that so much power + ice + summer tyres distater. You will find any BMW transformed by snow tyres and a set of cheap 15 or 16" wheels to mount them.
--
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Email: snipped-for-privacy@unixnerd.demon.co.uk, John G.Burns B.Eng, Bonny Scotland
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Thanks. But the problem with that, of course, especially for a low mileage driver like me, is the hassle and cost. How many days in 2005 was it snowing widely? 5? Whatever the number, on only 1 of those did I have to make a significant journey - last Wednesday!
--
Terry, West Sussex, UK





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Terry,
It only takes one snowy day to create a disaster, as I'm sure you know.
The extra feeling of security in conditions like that makes me feel a lot better - and who knows how many days it might snow in a given year?
It only takes me 45 minutes to change all four wheels and tires using the jack and tools supplied with the car. Having a floor jack would speed that up a bit. Of course you should also have a torque wrench to torque the wheel bolts correctly.
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Totally agree with Terry Pinnell. I live in London and do only 5000 miles annually.
And I have no suitable storage space.
When I lived in Hamburg 20 years ago (OMG I am ageing fast) I had winter tyres and a place to put them. BTW I still have those tyres (company paid for my removal back to the UK and that included all my goods and chattels) and I use them as buffers in my garage.
DAS
For direct contact replace nospam with schmetterling
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For very first time in my life I spent Christmas out of the UK. My wife and I went to Germany (Cologne & Marl) and I was surprised to see that the *majority* of cars had winter tyres. In fact I gather that, from 1st Jan, there is some legal motivation?
--
Terry, West Sussex, UK

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That's certainly the case in Norway. I think they make you use studded tyres, they also don't grit the roads. As a results of this (and the high price of new cars) there are loads of really nice 70's and 80's cars still on the roads.
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John Burns wrote:

I do not mind the "grit". Sanding the roads when icy onl;y makes good sense. It's the rampant use of salts (calcium chloride mostly) on al;l the highways here in the US that causes the fast auto body decay.
Unfortunately, I am having to deal with this on my '95 3 series. I've just now got the thing running like a top (after ~4 years of ownership) having replaced and repaired all the usual suspects at 100k miles and wouldn't you know it, the dreaded body cancer is showing up along the right rear wheel well.
Arrrgggh...
--
-Fred W

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Fred W wrote:

Hear hear. The people that decided that all roads should be salted should have been stringed up and made to pay for all the damage to the cars and the environment. Some places in Norway they have found excessive amounts (about 14000 times more than normal) of calcium chloride in the ground water. Nasty!
--
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John Burns wrote:

No, this is not entirely correct. You are required to use _winter_ tyres (M+S), but not studded. In some cities it's not allowed to use studded tires, unless you have bought a kind of ticket, or paid "studded winter tyres tax". This is the case for Oslo.
During winter you are required to have winter tyres on all four wheels of your car, and if you car weighs 3500kg or more you need to have snow chains for all four wheels, ready to be put on if conditions apply. Such as ice, or otherwise diffcult road conditions.
The period you are absolutely required to use winter tyres is from November 1st to April 15th (up north it is from October 15th to May 1st).
The minimum tread depth of the winter tyres need to be at least 3mm. You can, if you are so inclined, use winter tyres during the summer. Not that I get the point in doing that. Minimum tread depth for winter tyres used during the summer is 1.6mm.

Erh, well - not entirely correct either. Depends on where you are.
In south of Norway they grit _and_ salt the roads. Wich results in horrible conditions for the cars wich usually rust so fast you can hear it.
Also, the roads get black, the cars get black, the pavements gets black, the lights get black. You get the general idea. Everything gets black. The only possible good of salting is that the goverment doesn't have to plow so often, and the braking distance is getting shorter... good thing the latter since you won't be able to see anything before it is right upon you when driving on roads with no roadlights because your windscreen, lights and everything - is black.

Whooppiee - that's a really good one! You had me laughing out load there. Although I will give you right that there are a lot of old cars on the road in Norway, the average age of cars in Norway are 12 years!
So, yeah, you get a lot of old cars running about, most of them are wrecks and should have been put out of their misery a long time ago.
My cars are 15 and 12 years old, they look good for sure, but that's only because the are used import cars from Germany and that I wash them once a week during winter. Also one of them are fully zink anodized.
And, as to the high price of new cars in Norway there is a joke going about: When buying a new car in Norway you buy three cars. One for your self and two for the goverment.
That's how much the cars are taxed. A new '05 BMW 330iA Limosine will cost you approx NOK 900 000 or approx. 134000 US dollars.
See URL for a used one: http://www.finn.no/finn/car/object?finnkodeb91525&sidZ872VTN8521416&pos=1&totf
I now want to cry.
--
BBO


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NORWAY. How can you possibly compare Norway with southern England? We're in the Tropics compared with them.
DAS
For direct contact replace nospam with schmetterling
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Dori A Schmetterling wrote:

> NORWAY. How can you possibly compare Norway with southern England? > We're in the Tropics compared with them.
Indeed you are. I hear they even grow palm trees there.
--
BBO, DoD#2101

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Yes. And, more importantly, grapes for wine, some of which is now fairly drinkable.
DAS
For direct contact replace nospam with schmetterling
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They're also good in heavy rain. Plus you're saving miles on your normal tyres. I'm on them for five months, but I live in Aviemore.
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Yes, well.... how many days of non-rain do you get... ;-)
DAS
For direct contact replace nospam with schmetterling
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Terry Pinnell wrote:

No, it's all about experience driving in the snow. On my '92 535 I had to turn off the traction control because of the sluggish acceleration. Without it the tires will spin a little, but the acceleration is at least twice as fast and it's 10 times as fun to drive! Of course, I have experience skidding around, only having owned RWD cars. Even did a few power slides at work today, with 460 hp and locked diff the rear end came out nicely.
With that said, driving an auto you don't have a clutch to use as an "e-stop".

Ulf
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Terry Pinnell wrote:

Is yours a "facelift" model? From '96 All 3-series were fitted with traction control (ASC) but not DSC. My 2001 has DSC but will still slide (360 if necessary) on power in the snow. Like the manual states it won't overcome the laws of physics. The problem with automatics is that they'll kick down and create a slide whereas in a manual you can leave it in gear or dip the clutch.
In my opinion many tyres are barely good enough even in wet/greasy conditions.
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On Fri, 30 Dec 2005 12:14:53 +0000, Terry Pinnell

Well who's to say that if you don't use the fitted snow setting on your dinosaurs auto box, you won't forget to engage all the wonderful new safety things on a new one?! Auto's can be a pain in snow, sure they change nice and smoothly when you're going along, but a little too much right foot and an unexpected kickdown can quickly result in your "wake up" experience!
I have a 96 325tds auto, and found the snow setting very useful last week, even with my comparatively low power oil burner motor up the front. Most of the time I just pulled it back into 3 or 4 and just drove like that.
Having said that, I had an absolute whale of a time in an empty car park with it in sport mode and my foot firmly planted on the floor :-D
Dodgy.
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