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Sunday we had about 4 inches of snow here with larger drifts. We took the smart shopping for several hours in town. Did great in the snow (blizzaks on steel wheels). We never went on the highway as everything we needed was in town. Blasted through some fairly high, albeit not lengthy, drifts. Temps were cold so snow was more powdery than usual.
When we got home, we parked in the back garage (unheated, uninsulated). Then we got a deep freeze here- temps dropped to below zero.
So, last night we took car to family get together. As soon as we got on the highway, there was a BAD vibration. Felt like we had a massively bent wheel or something. Couldn't even stand going 50 mph. Pulled over and found problem relatively quickly.
Snow had packed onto the inside of the rear wheels on sunday. Then frozen and stuck to inside of the wheels. I wonder what a tire balancer would have read- lol. Luckily I was able to remove the ice buildup fairly easily, and, problem solved.
Sharing this on the off chance that someone else has the same circumstance.
Side note: Shopping was a hoot. Once again car did great in the snow...
Brian
Appleton Wi
6 degrees currently
 

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The smart reminds me of the beetle with its weight over the rear wheels. That car went everywhere; our little cars have electronics with stability control built in which helps a great deal. I found that I learned a lot through experience when I lived up north.
One can't push a stuck car when the front wheels are not in a favorable position. That is vital.
One must keep momentum and not come to stop if possible. One should keep a distance from other cars just to keep the momentum and brake well.
The problem I usually encountered were others; they did not know how to drive.
 

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My old beetle didn't need snow tires. 4" of snow is really nothing. Any of my small front wheel drive cars can handle that, with out snow tires. You need a good 7-10". Thats when the fun starts in a smart car. A nice heated garage is home for my smart car.

That is one thing about any car snow and ice, it will build in side the wheels, it throws off the balance.

 

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Discussion Starter #4
Usually smart sits in insulated heated garage but for 2 days we had to rearrange cars here. I used to have a beetle back in the day too (along with a Thing and a bus). Yep, kinda the same principle only smart has real heat...
And, I agree 4 inches isn't much. I think it was the larger drifts that help pack the snow in the wheels.
 

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Our poor little smart, has no heat. Its a big ice ball sitting outside right now. The heater blower motor is completely dead for the second time. No fixing it.
 

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I drive my smart frequently in cold and snow, and it does OK. More than once I have had to de-ice the wheels (steel in winter) to keep it from shaking. And those who think it is better than a 4X4 in the snow are wrong. I have both and in slippery, snowy weather I take my truck. With the short wheel base on the smart it comes around quick if it starts to come and I prefer to have a little more time to react.
 

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Four inches can cause real problems! Depends on the temps and the snow. We had that amount a couple weeks ago. On the two hills I needed to climb to get back home from church, I encountered three stuck FWDs and one RWD van. I was not in the smart but in my Jeep Grand Cherokee with it in part time 4WD - front axle locked so both wheels were driven. Walked right up both hills and around stranded vehicles. Not certain what the smart would have done. From my experience with my '62 Beetle and '65 Squareback 1500S (black market vehicle as the Squareback didn't come here officially until '66), I expect the smart would have climbed both hills.
 

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My smart has never spent a night outside since I got it. I'll have to remember this for when I drive it to work in the snow, though. Minimum 6 donuts before parking. Should clear those wheels out good. The fisrt snow here, I had a lot of fun with the traction control off. Very capable winter vehicles.
 

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Not just a smart, a few years ago while still living in the woods of Maine (thank the lord we smartened up and moved to FL) we had the same thing happen to our Range Rover. Driving to work the front end shaking all the way. The steering wheel was hard to hold. The cure was a day in my shops heated garage. oh an moving to FL
 

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My smart has never spent a night outside since I got it. I'll have to remember this for when I drive it to work in the snow, though. Minimum 6 donuts before parking. Should clear those wheels out good. The fisrt snow here, I had a lot of fun with the traction control off. Very capable winter vehicles.
Donuts? I thought it did Cheerios!:D Chumly
 

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And those who think it is better than a 4X4 in the snow are wrong. I have both and in slippery, snowy weather I take my truck. With the short wheel base on the smart it comes around quick if it starts to come and I prefer to have a little more time to react.
I'd say it heavy depends on both vehicle and driver. My mum has a 4x4 GMC Envoy XL with worn out tyres. My smart will dominate it in the snow any day of the week. Whereas my mum will endlessly spin all fours on our sloped driveway, I could effortlessly climb into the garage without as much spinning a tyre.

Now, I'm not saying smarts are super snowmobiles, just that the notion that 4x4s are always better in the snow does have exceptions. :D
 

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I'd say it heavy depends on both vehicle and driver. My mum has a 4x4 GMC Envoy XL with worn out tyres. My smart will dominate it in the snow any day of the week. Whereas my mum will endlessly spin all fours on our sloped driveway, I could effortlessly climb into the garage without as much spinning a tyre.

Now, I'm not saying smarts are super snowmobiles, just that the notion that 4x4s are always better in the snow does have exceptions. :D
That is a non-starter. Defective gear is not the issue. A bicycle is better in the snow than a Smart with a blown engine, but that isn't the question. I have seen lots of folks talk about how superior their Smarts are to 4X4snow, and assuming they are taken care of it is just not the case. They are built for different things and have advantages in their own environment.
 

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My old Isuzu Trooper with TOD is superior in the snow. I take it out every Winter places that only 4x4's can go. I love smarts and all that jazz, but I'm not going to get carried away. It's a great driver in LIGHT snow or ice or Wintry mix conditions. But I'm not taking any 2 wheel drive vehicle through deep snow. No way.

I did drive one of my old fwd vehicles (another Isuzu, this one with about 250,000 miles on it) last Winter (January this year) through that Winter storm "Gandolf" through Utah. It was treacherous and I was driving through blizzard conditions for about an hour and horrendous conditions for about another 3 hours. I only did it because I'm experienced in this weather, but that doesn't mean it isn't intimidating. :cool:

I was driving back from Colorado (not the smart car meet, just a random vacation trip that involved Vail) and stopped overnight at a hotel after checking the Weather Channel reports. They were about 12 hours behind the storm so I decided to sleep for the night. When I woke up the Weather Channel sped up their Winter Storm warning about 12 hours as I'm trying to beat it.

I met up with the storm at the worst possible time and was basically right in the middle of it, starting gently with an ugly sky on I-70 and by the time I got to I-15 I was way way way in too deep. Blinding blizzard conditions, black ice, thick enough snow that it was impossible to pull off the road because all the offramps were wall height thick full of snow, and it was beyond dangerous if even one driver made the wrong maneuver near you.
 

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Donuts?

I can see it now...

During the donuts the car looses traction, drifts and slams into a parked car with a quiet ...oops... coming out of your mouth.
 

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That is a non-starter. Defective gear is not the issue. A bicycle is better in the snow than a Smart with a blown engine, but that isn't the question. I have seen lots of folks talk about how superior their Smarts are to 4X4snow, and assuming they are taken care of it is just not the case. They are built for different things and have advantages in their own environment.
Agreed! My point was solely based on driver ability and vehicle condition. :)

I love to see people feeling all smug at the gas pump with their 90's 4x4 Explorer with tyres so bald they look like they came off a NASCAR racecar! :D
 

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Not just a smart, a few years ago while still living in the woods of Maine (thank the lord we smartened up and moved to FL) we had the same thing happen to our Range Rover. Driving to work the front end shaking all the way. The steering wheel was hard to hold. The cure was a day in my shops heated garage. oh an moving to FL
From "My Cousin Vinny"...You got mud in your tires.....We are famous for our mud......:)
 

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My smart does 100 times better than my awd jeep grand cherokee in the snow...but it doesnt help that I run summer only tires on the Jeep lol

Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App

Both my 4x4 Grand Cherokee's, with MS tires went everywhere in the snow. The smart with it Conti, street tires got stuck on my flat drive way, on the curve, and street. With out snow tires it's worthless.
 

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A few people seem to complain about how poorly the smart does, but I just don't believe it. I'm entering my second winter with my smart (still with the same all-season tires from the dealership on day1) and I still have yet to run into any issues through 6 inches of snow and after an ice storm on treated roads. I've fish tailed very slightly on one curve (I took it fairly quickly into an untreated road from a treated one) but the smart recovers faster than any other car I've driven in winter conditions.

I'm not huge on car mechanics, but I get the feeling that the combination of small weight, RWD, and rear engine help it out a lot here. 4WD vehicles typically have much higher weights, which means a lot more inertia to stop while braking and a lot more friction needed to start up from a stop (I think?). 4WD solves the no friction part pretty well, but a larger FWD/RWD vehicle seems like it'd be at a disadvantage here.

I'm not saying a smart will outpace a 4WD truck with a plow and fully-equipped winter treads, but I also don't see it as a coincidence that my smart does a *lot* better than four other cars I've driven (Mustang, Matrix, full-size Ford van, and Prius) in snow and ice. ESPECIALLY when coming to a stop and turning in slick conditions. The smart is the only car that has behaved 100% safe in bad conditions while driving carefully, whereas with my other cars I lost control at certain points.
 

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FWIW - You hardly ever see cars like the smart, Fiat, Yaris, etc stuck in a snowy ditch...it's always some SUV or full size sedan! :rofl:

4x4 won't automatically make you a snow driving god, you still need good tyres and good skill.
 
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