Smart Car of America Forum banner

1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
120 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, after 10 hrs of snowing and 5 minutes cleaning off the Smart Car I decided to try her out on the high snow in the Mobile Home Park I live in and head to the mailboxes. The ABS brakes and traction control was fantastic. I have only owned this car since September and was a little worried about the upcoming winter storms but not anymore. Not sure i want to travel on major highways or real busy streets with the crazy drivers, but my short trips to the store etc, will be as safe as I can make it with this Smart Car. It drove great through mounds of snow with no problems at all and stopped on a dime.

So glad I purchased this car, wish they still made them.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
29,234 Posts
They are even better with actual winter tires, but as long as the roads are plowed the stock tires are OK. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
603 Posts
Well, after 10 hrs of snowing and 5 minutes cleaning off the Smart Car I decided to try her out on the high snow in the Mobile Home Park I live in and head to the mailboxes. The ABS brakes and traction control was fantastic. I have only owned this car since September and was a little worried about the upcoming winter storms but not anymore. Not sure i want to travel on major highways or real busy streets with the crazy drivers, but my short trips to the store etc, will be as safe as I can make it with this Smart Car. It drove great through mounds of snow with no problems at all and stopped on a dime.

So glad I purchased this car, wish they still made them.
What tires do you have on the car?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Hey I’m from Ohio! But I live in Denver. Just got some Continental WinterContact snow tires on the rear and the regular Continental ProContacts on the front. Cost about $600. It handles the snow amazingly with them on.

I was trying to put it out of control and it just kept its traction. Very confident with it. Have to try really hard to get it to do a donut with the traction control on.

I tried to get all four snow tires but it seems like continental stopped producing them. Maybe? Not sure. Pretty low stock I the US and my tire guys claimed they ship a lot of the winter tires to Canada.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
436 Posts
With my 2008 I had some some issues with the shiftmotors that caused the traction control to be disabled due to errors the first winter I had it. The car is a wholly different beast without TC in the snow, if you aren't trying to get anywhere it could be fun, but otherwise be happy it has TC. :p
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,827 Posts
Stay away of those snow ruts, when changing lanes on the highway. White knuckl! I hated that!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
121 Posts
Had 2014 Smart ED that had nice traction in snow, however clearance on Smarts is low. Always drive on plowed roads, there is plastic "tray" like feature under car so in ~8" of snow, your car could get stuck. My 2011 Pure ICE car with TC was problem driving in snow w/o snow tires. Simple solution: leave it in garage and drive SUV/ truck with AWD. Around Denver metro area where I live, one needs AWD in winter. My residential streets do not get plowed. Ruts build up fast. Save your Smarts for 3 season operations and prevent issues with rust build up on rear suspension... see issues with ABS rings rusting. Problems reported on this forum.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,827 Posts
Had 2014 Smart ED that had nice traction in snow, however clearance on Smarts is low. Always drive on plowed roads, there is plastic "tray" like feature under car so in ~8" of snow, your car could get stuck. My 2011 Pure ICE car with TC was problem driving in snow w/o snow tires. Simple solution: leave it in garage and drive SUV/ truck with AWD. Around Denver metro area where I live, one needs AWD in winter. My residential streets do not get plowed. Ruts build up fast. Save your Smarts for 3 season operations and prevent issues with rust build up on rear suspension... see issues with ABS rings rusting. Problems reported on this forum.
That’s the place where my smart car sits. In the garage, when there’s over 7-8” inches of snow on the ground.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
603 Posts
Tried my Blizzak ws90s the other day for the first time this season. They worked great. Better by far than OEM Continentals or Khumos on dry roads below 40 degrees. And on snow, no problems in 3-4 inches. (All we got so far.) I've got a set of WS80s that I put on another of my smarts, but haven't had a chance to test them yet. Nor the Nokian studded tires...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,827 Posts
The Blizzak , are suppose to be great, on icy roads too. Tire Rack, did a test, of two of the same cars, on a ice skating rink. one car had Blizzak, the other all weather. The Blizzak sticky tire compound brake, and accelerated great. the all weather tires slid all over the place.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
603 Posts
I used to think all season tires were sufficient, but I think there's enough evidence out there to show that they're mostly a poor compromise. I'm convinced. Have winter tires for all of my Smarts now. If you need to drive in winter weather, winter tires are a wise investment. They are a far cry from the snow tires I remember my father pulling out every winter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
We live in Maine. I bought a 2009 Pure four years ago for my daughter to use in Ohio at college. After driving it from Maine to Ohio four times and being impressed with how well it goes on the road, how reliable it is, and how good it is in the snow, we bought a fully optioned 2013 Pasion Cabrio.

Smartcars are common in Quebec city, so I had confidence they must be good in snow. They are even used as commercial vehicles like restaurant delivery. Quebec is like San Francisco with VERY steep streets and LOTS of snow. So if they work well in Quebec then they'll work anywhere.

I can attest that even though the all season tires worked well, Conti WinterContact snow tires are a game changer. Put it this way... we have a Honda Odyssey with Blizzaks and a Hummer H2. If its icy and less than 4" of snow on the roads, we take the Smart. I tell people its a snowmobile. Several times when very icy or couple inches of snow, all the SUVs will be poking along in the right lane and I can confidently drive right by them at speed. Mercedes did a miracle on the Smart with the skid control and stabilization. You cannot get the Smart sideways.

Caveat... I'm speaking from my experience and driving skills. The laws of physics apply to every car and every driver. Every driver needs to know their limits and be considerate of other drivers around them. Accidents have consequences.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
603 Posts
I've got Blizzak WS80's on one smart, WS90's on another, and soon to have a set of WinterContacts on the third, so I'll be in a good position to provide some comparisons (should we get snow in the DC metro area).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
I'm a die-hard Conti fan for all season and summer tires. I have them on everything. For snow tires I've had great experience with Yokohama Iceguards. I got the Conti WinterContact only because it was the only thing available when I decided I needed them on the Smart.

But hands down, my experience that there is nothing that compares to Blizzaks for winter traction and longevity.

If you can get Blizzaks I wouldn't bother with the WinterContacts. They work well, but the Blizzaks are better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,827 Posts
I used to think all season tires were sufficient, but I think there's enough evidence out there to show that they're mostly a poor compromise. I'm convinced. Have winter tires for all of my Smarts now. If you need to drive in winter weather, winter tires are a wise investment. They are a far cry from the snow tires I remember my father pulling out every winter.
i live in the Midwest, snow belt. Occasionally, we get dump on by snow. Have all weather tires, on all our car. The Jeep too. Our city pretty much has the snow cleared on the streets. the following day. If I lived farther north, I invest in snow tire. The smart car sits in the car.
65186
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
603 Posts
I'm a die-hard Conti fan for all season and summer tires. I have them on everything. For snow tires I've had great experience with Yokohama Iceguards. I got the Conti WinterContact only because it was the only thing available when I decided I needed them on the Smart.

But hands down, my experience that there is nothing that compares to Blizzaks for winter traction and longevity.

If you can get Blizzaks I wouldn't bother with the WinterContacts. They work well, but the Blizzaks are better.
Yes, from what I've read, Blizzaks are hard to beat, unless you jump to Nokians. I got the WS90's last year - 185/55R15, and had no snow. The WS80's were being blown out earlier this year, so I got a set. 175/65R15s. They are narrower and taller, but I put EV springs in my 2015 Pure, and they fit fine. There seems to be some debate as to whether snows should be a bit skinnier than regular tires. I don't have an opinion one way or another yet. The WinterContacts are being blown out now, so I figured I'd throw a set of them on my third smart.185/55R15s. Even if we don't get snow, I like the idea of the cold weather tire rubber compound formulations. And if we actually get some decent snow, all the better. The DC area has gotten hammered in the past. Snowmageddon and Snowpocalypse in the last decade. I'm sure the smart has its limits in snow, but I'm keen to see what they might be. The main roads are usually plowed pretty quickly, but major storms can leave side streets and back roads untouched for days. And in the case of hell freezing over, I've got a set of Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9 studded tires - 185/60R15s.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
86 Posts
The Blizzak , are suppose to be great, on icy roads too. Tire Rack, did a test, of two of the same cars, on a ice skating rink. one car had Blizzak, the other all weather. The Blizzak sticky tire compound brake, and accelerated great. the all weather tires slid all over the place.

That's a good video that clearly shows the difference in performance between winter tires and summer tires on ice.

However, the performance of the all-season tires that they are using is nearer to the performance of the summer tires than the winter tires. If the all-season tires were "Severe Snow Service Rated" like the Vredestein Quatrac tires, their performance on ice would be nearer to the winter tires performance than the summer tires performance.

There's not much choice in the US market of all-season tires that are "Severe Snow Service Rated". It's very expensive for tire manufacturers to develop good all-season tires as they have to perform well in all conditions. Even in Europe, there are only a handful of brands that make really good all-season tires. In tests, the same top brands win the reviews time and time again. Brands such as Goodyear, Vredestein, Michelin, Continental, and possibly Bridgestone. These top brands spend hundreds of millions of Dollars each year improving their all-season tires to the next level.

In the standard 451 tire sizes 175/55R15 and 155/60R15, TireRack are only listing the Vredestein Quatrac 5 as an all-season tire that is "Severe Snow Service Rated". Hence why Vrestein Quatrac 5 are so popular in the US with Smart car owners. If you want a good all-season tire that's "Severe Snow Service Rated", this brand is often the only choice...at least in Smart car sizes.

TireRack have a "Severe Snow Service Rated" box that you need to tick when searching for all-seasons that have the 3PMSF (Three Peak Mountain Snow Flake) symbol.

Vredestein Quatrac 5 175/55R15 "Severe Snow Service Rated"

Vredestein Quatrac 5 155/60R15 "Severe Snow Service Rated"

Here's some information on Wikipedia about snow tires. It's recommended that snow tires are changed when they wear down to 4mm of tread depth for best snow performance.

I get about 30,000 miles out of my Vredestein Quatrac tires before they wear down to 5/32" (4mm) of tread depth remaining. The Vredestein Quatrac 5 tires are rated at 45,000 miles, but that will be until 1/16" (1.6mm) of tread depth is remaining.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
603 Posts
That's a good video that clearly shows the difference in performance between winter tires and summer tires on ice.

However, the performance of the all-season tires that they are using is nearer to the performance of the summer tires than the winter tires. If the all-season tires were "Severe Snow Service Rated" like the Vredestein Quatrac tires, their performance on ice would be nearer to the winter tires performance than the summer tires performance.

There's not much choice in the US market of all-season tires that are "Severe Snow Service Rated". It's very expensive for tire manufacturers to develop good all-season tires as they have to perform well in all conditions. Even in Europe, there are only a handful of brands that make really good all-season tires. In tests, the same top brands win the reviews time and time again. Brands such as Goodyear, Vredestein, Michelin, Continental, and possibly Bridgestone. These top brands spend hundreds of millions of Dollars each year improving their all-season tires to the next level.

In the standard 451 tire sizes 175/55R15 and 155/60R15, TireRack are only listing the Vredestein Quatrac 5 as an all-season tire that is "Severe Snow Service Rated". Hence why Vrestein Quatrac 5 are so popular in the US with Smart car owners. If you want a good all-season tire that's "Severe Snow Service Rated", this brand is often the only choice...at least in Smart car sizes.

TireRack have a "Severe Snow Service Rated" box that you need to tick when searching for all-seasons that have the 3PMSF (Three Peak Mountain Snow Flake) symbol.

Vredestein Quatrac 5 175/55R15 "Severe Snow Service Rated"

Vredestein Quatrac 5 155/60R15 "Severe Snow Service Rated"

Here's some information on Wikipedia about snow tires. It's recommended that snow tires are changed when they wear down to 4mm of tread depth for best snow performance.

I get about 30,000 miles out of my Vredestein Quatrac tires before they wear down to 5/32" (4mm) of tread depth remaining. The Vredestein Quatrac 5 tires are rated at 45,000 miles, but that will be until 1/16" (1.6mm) of tread depth is remaining.
It's easy to see why many opt for "same four". The choices are much greater.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
529 Posts
Just remember Blizzak are like pencil erasers. My stepdaughter has them on her IQ and they scrub off fast in the summer. Too bad studs tear up the road. Videos of yesteryear where sparks are emitting from tires is awesome!
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top