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?
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!
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
Totally agree with Terry Pinnell. I live in London and do only 5000 miles
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.
For direct contact replace nospam with schmetterling
"joe_tide" < email@example.com> wrote in message
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?
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.
Who needs a life when you've got Unix? :-)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, John G.Burns B.Eng, Bonny Scotland
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.
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!
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
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:
I now want to cry.
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
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
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
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