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Driving a BMW Rear Wheel Drive in the Winter Snow and Ice

Why Are BMWs Rubbish in Winter?

How come the world’s best car is rubbish, dangerous, and useless when a bit of snow and ice appears?

This article explores some of the reality of BMW winter driving, looks at reasons for their poor performance, and considers the solutions.

It is written from a UK perspective where we have occasional snow. Winter tyres are an unfamiliar concept, and the four wheel drive BMW is a rarity rather than the norm.

Have Your Say

Two Disappointed Owners

First of all, a couple of experiences of the trickery that a BMW on ice represents.

My neighbour attempts to drive to the shops in her BMW One Series.

She gets stuck on the camber of the road with the car sliding all over the place. It is going sideways rather than forward, and cannot get over the massive incline that a normal road camber suddenly represents.

She gives up, car is in the middle of the road, and asks me for help. I am a reasonably confident and experienced driver but I don’t own a rear wheel drive.

After five or ten minutes of gently trying to persuade the BMW to navigate the icy road I give up. I reverse it into a passable imitation of a deliberate piece of parking – it’s off to the side of the road, no longer blocking it – and there is no hope of driving it anywhere or putting it back on her drive.

When I use my front wheel drive Toyota, no problem at all. Any skidding is purely for fun – I love doing handbrake turns when the roads are iced up. Yeah OK, I’m just a big kid – but when no one is about and the roads are sheet ice – it’s an opportunity to practice controlled slides.

The Million Mile Driver

A colleague of mine has driven about one million miles over thirty years.

If I were to point to what I would call an experienced driver, he would be it.

He has had a variety of company cars – one every three years for thirty years – and does thirty thousand odd miles a year.

Two years ago he got a BMW 3 series – good mileage, low CO2 and all round ticks the boxes for company taxation benefits.

He says he will never get a BMW again. In winter it is an absolute menace with loss of grip, a no goer in the ice and snow – he sees it as dangerous.

His company won’t stump up the extra money for winter tyres so he will suffer this car until it is time for the next model.

"Brother Gary's Beemer is stuck on the M25 in one inch of snow but he hopes we have a good supper"

"Brother Gary's Beemer is stuck on the M25 in one inch of snow but he hopes we have a good supper"

What’s the Problem?

I can’t believe that BMW’s are rubbish cars. They are desired by many drivers and they are great to drive.

So why do they turn into an object of ridicule over winter?

The BMW driver is the one parked up or sliding across the road – while the theoretically crappy 1.1 Panda sails serenely along – unaffected by a bit of snow or ice.

One theory is that BMW drivers are badge obsessed idiots who don’t know how to drive properly.

Scroll to Continue

Well that’s a theory but it doesn’t help when you have gently tried to negotiate a road camber in the ice using years of driving experience.

Let’s ignore that and put it down to the opposite of badge obsession – badge jealousy.

The main problems are…

Rubber - the compound for summer tyres is effective down to about 7 degrees Celcius. Below that it hardens rapidly. The winter tyre silica rubber mix is optimised for lower temperatures.

Rear wheel drive – an eye opener for someone like me who drives a front wheel drive. I could not believe how much harder to control a spinning back wheel is compared to a spinning front wheel.

Weight distribution – the perfect 50/50 of the BMW’s is not as good as the engine over the front wheel drive arrangement for winter conditions.

Tyre width – there are complex arguments about grip distribution and the actions on snow. I am not a physicist.

Run flat tyres – I am dubious about these anyway. They seem like a compromise to me, or maybe I am just being old fashioned.

Performance – the BMW tends not to be a gentle car to drive, it is a power machine.

One of the key elements, and one that is hard to get round, is that in cold weather the rubber of the summer tyre hardens. It becomes naturally less grippy, at a time of year with leaves, wet, ice and snow when you need it most.

Every rear wheel drive BMW should come with a free snow shovel

Every rear wheel drive BMW should come with a free snow shovel

What Is That Juddering Sound?

That sound is the noise made when the automatic anti-slip systems come into play.

If a wheel loses grip - either when braking or accelerating - the power or brake will be temporarily interrupted.

This enables the worst of the slipping to be controlled.

It is a sign that you are driving too hard or the roads are particularly slippy. In any case you should take it as a warning and be as gentle as possible.

Danger - BMW Ahead!

Danger - BMW Ahead!

Cheap Solutions

There are a few short cuts which might improve things, or might make your car even more dangerous.

These are purely down to you, and your experimentation.

Driving technique. All the old boring stuff about starting in second gear, being gentle, leaving lots of space, anticipation. All very well and good, but if the car cannot negotiate an icy camber on a road, it doesn’t really matter how skilled a driver you are.

Weight in the boot. Sandbags, cement, kerbstones – anything that gives a degree of extra weight over the rear wheels will probably help traction. At first I thought that would be a great idea until I read about weight distribution and the need to be able to steer as well as move forward!

If you overload the rear weight, you may compromise the steering at the other end.

Deflate the tyres slightly. It might help, but it is not an area I would want to get into. You buy a perfectly made balanced driving machine, and then fiddle about with it to persuade it to run ‘safely’ in winter conditions. I don’t believe this is a sensible or safe solution.

Wheel gloves. These are emergency, get you home, solutions for a bit of snow. They do not offer months of safe winter driving, they will last for a few miles that’s all.

Do not overdo the additional weight in the rear or you can affect front-wheel steering

Do not overdo the additional weight in the rear or you can affect front-wheel steering

Solutions – Winter Tyres – Expensive

I believe a set of winter tyres for a One series comes in at about one thousand pounds. That includes wheels as well, because run flats cannot be swapped over like normal tyres. More on run flats further down.

At first glance that seems ridiculous, and of course it is, but then you get used to an amount of excessive pricing with BMW. It’s how they make their money.

Winter tyres would appear to be the right solution, although costly.

In Germany, they are required by law to change to winter tyres for several months. Overall the tyre wear is half as much as normal, because you change twice a year, so the total cost is not much more than just using one set of normal tyres.

There is no such law in the UK, and winter tyres are still a bit of a rarity. Unless you have been struggling with your BMW over the last couple of hard UK winters.

It might be possible to pick up a set of second hand winter tyres for your model, or to cut a more reasonable deal with a local garage.

In my opinion, having read as much information as I can bear on the subject, winter tyres are the only option to keep running through the bad winter periods.

A set of winter tyres for the BMW is astronomically expensive

A set of winter tyres for the BMW is astronomically expensive

Other Less Likely Solutions

Get rid of your BMW and buy something else. After the experience of winter driving this is an attractive idea. But it’s costly to change for something that should just work.

Buy a winter runabout – a secondhand front wheel drive anything – that works in bad conditions. In all seriousness, a piece of ‘crap’ like a 1.1 Fiat will out perform your Beemer. Five hundred pounds and up, plus road tax, insurance, and so on.

Don’t go anywhere. “I won’t be in today, I have a BMW” – a great excuse (not) for avoiding work and social engagements during the winter months.

If only you could test drive a rear-wheel drive BMW in the snow before buying...

If only you could test drive a rear-wheel drive BMW in the snow before buying...

Run Flat Winter Tyres

A little bit more info on these.

Why do you have to buy steel wheels, steels, when it would seem all you need to do is swap the summer tyres with the winter ones and then back again?

It is because run flats are special. They 'might' come off and back on again perfectly well. Or they might not.

So the proper way to do it is to get a spare set of wheels with the winter tyres on, and swap the whole lot come spring or autumn.

The price these tyres are anyway who would want to risk having a few fail when it comes to putting them back on?

Traction Tip

From Dom in the comments.

If you need extra wheel grip to get out of a stuck situation, try turning off the traction control.

This should give you more control over what the wheels are doing.

Another Traction Tip

If you are stuck on an incline with loss of traction it ‘might’ be possible to gain extra traction by using the handbrake.

Apparently it is possible that one rear wheel can be slipping, while the other is not doing anything due to the slip differential (whatever that is).

By using the handbrake, gently!, it can slow down the spinning wheel and divert some power towards the non moving wheel.

In theory this might enable both rear wheels to put some effort in.

I haven’t tried this, it sounds a bit ‘rally’ style to me, but I am prepared to be very impressed if someone masters it.

Emergency Supplies

A lot of cat litter was sold last year. And salt.

Buy now while stocks last.

The cat litter is not for use inside your car if you are, er, stuck without a toilet – it’s for scattering under the rear drive wheels to get some quick grip and get moving.

I’ll add to this list when I get stuck and remember the things I should have brought with me.

Winter coat, drinks, something to wee in, torch, charged phone, keep that fuel topped up, and so on.

Is It Snowing Near Me?

  • #uksnow Map - UK Snow Twitter Mashup
    This useful link from Twitter is built by people tweeting in their local snowfall. Handy if you are thinking of a trip and not sure if it is actually snowing or not. More accurate picture than the official weather maps.
It would be madness to drive out when there is an inch of snow on the ground

It would be madness to drive out when there is an inch of snow on the ground

UK Weather Note

For overseas visitors.

The UK does not normally get a lot of snow so we are unable to deal with it.

One inch is enough to cause absolute traffic chaos.

We had TWO whole inches a while back and some unlucky drivers were stuck in their cars overnight for twelve miserable hours.

Stay at Home When It's Snowing

The great thing about owning a rear wheel drive car is that you won't be expected to come into work.

Every one knows they are lethal in the snow and ice. And nobody wants to be stuck behind one while the owner attempts to drive in a straight line.

So do yourself and other drivers a favour and take a day off.

BMW Sales Spiel

"Yes Sir, these are the best cars money can buy.  A drivers machine, engineered, precision, expensive.  Winter driving? Oh well, you'll need to buy another car if you want to do that"

"Yes Sir, these are the best cars money can buy. A drivers machine, engineered, precision, expensive. Winter driving? Oh well, you'll need to buy another car if you want to do that"

Some Hard Questions for BMW Dealers

If you are lucky enough to be purchasing a BMW then you might like to wipe the smile off the dealer's face.

Ask him if they recommend winter tyres for their real wheel drive cars. Watch him squirm.

Ask him how much they cost and whether they will be thrown in as part of the deal.

Once you have negotiated that part then ask how they plan to service your car - swapping the tyres in and out for the winter season.

Where are they going to store the tyres?

They suggested to a friend that she take the tyres home and store them in her garage!

Yes, four tyres and wheels in the back of a One Series - for a lady owner to manhandle in and out of her car. Not what I thought the BMW owner image was about.

Ask them if they think that is the sort of service BMW should be providing? In Germany the garage stores the tyres and swaps them at NO cost.

You would think as BMW have a connection with Germany they would provide the same service for UK drivers.

If you have just realised how poorly a rear wheel drive performs in the snow and ice you might also ask your dealer - why didn't they tell you about winter tyres being a necessity not a luxury?

Yeah well. Good luck with that!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Seventh Dwarf on August 30, 2020:

I remember being on a date. I offered to drop the lady home as we had the “beast from the East” and trains were cancelled. She lived up a hill. Say a 20% gradient. In front, a BMW 730 Li fish tailing and unable to get over. The driver baffled as he got out and said: “I don’t understand it has all the power.” It started to slide back down so he got back in. The car went through a three point turn of sorts with all the slipping and sliding. He then proceeded to reverse up the hill but struggled quite a bit. Looking at me, the good lady was worried and asked whether she should walk a mile in the freezing snow. I told her not to worry and the front wheel drive VW Golf on all season tyres just glided up the hill. I then spent the next 5 minutes explaining to her about rear wheel drive. I married her in the end and she wanted a Mercedes. I bought winter tyres and she’s never had a problem in winter. We see other rear wheel drive cars parked up and some on the road we keep well away from! The winter tyres have seen three winters so far and still have sufficient tread. It’s a rural area with adverse camber and no grit on the roads come winter.

Snowey on February 12, 2020:

campaign for a better service from local authorities and the government to keep roads clear of snow and ice...benefits all drivers

charmin99 on November 15, 2019:

dxcuk To be honest, if you had to put up with the utter drivel we have on here about BWM's in the snow you would be pissed off as well, people like yourself can't even be bothered to read back through the thread, you will see your response and almost every other piece of crap people mention is has already been covered and often many times, of course we condone winter tyres, but what has that got to do with a BMW being rubbish in the winter...

if I fitted a tracked caterpillar wheel system to it it would also be better.... if you bothered to read back you will see myself and many others agree, but why should you have to and more important where do you store them and who fits them for you, in other parts of SNOWY Europe BMW do it as a free service... not here buddy.

This is one of the very reasons Mark started this blog... and as far as I'm concerned idiots like yourself should keep it to themselves, I know more about winter tyres, compounds, pressures and sizes, four wheel drive or not... than an owl who has just passed an owl I know everything course...

dxcuk on November 14, 2019:

Two comments.

First, Charmin99 is anything but - his/her comments are consistently dismissive of others views. A sad inditement of attitude.

Second, my own experience of driving a BMW Z3 for the past 10 years as well as many other cars alongside this, is that winter tyres do work. I have a set of Nokian winter tyres with wheels bought on eBay that I keep in my garage and change twice a year. It is a pain but a worthwhile one.

Snow is rare in the UK but has a major impact when it arrives. I choose to be prepared for it when it does. Last winter my Z3 was one of very few cars on the road that was not 4WD that I saw in the NE of England over a number of days of proper snow. I got many surprised (and sometimes worried) looks from the other drivers on the road that I was able to drive a car that is well known to be challenging in winter weather. With good winter tyres - I use Nokian - it is entirely possible though care is needed.

In Switzerland I understand that vehicle insurance is invalid if winter tyres are not used in winter. And my son, who has lived and worked there as a professional driver, tells me that most cars get through in most situations. Winter tyres are the answer. All you need to do is be prepared to make the effort and pay the price for them, dependent on how many days you expect them to be truly needed.

motherboard on July 08, 2019:

I grew up in Canada's north. I drive a manual rear wheel drive BMW. You need winter tires. The rubber they are made from will not get hard in the cold which is how they maintain traction beyond the grip of the tread. Front wheel drive or mid engine will always fare better on all season/summer tires because the weight is over the driving wheels. This however can create the illusion of grip which will be shattered when you try to stop or turn. I lived in the UK for a while you tend to get very wet snow (there are different kinds of snow) this will polish into ice very quickly under slipping all season tires. Most BMW's put down the torque ft/lbs quite strongly with the wrong tires it will become an ice patch making barely controllable machine. Spend the money get the tires. Make sure you get both front and rear snow tires. The grip/tread are factors but the proper rubber compound is the single most crucial element for winter grip.

Lee Rhodes on June 02, 2019:

I live in snow country USA. Am on my 3rd RWD 3 series since 2001.

I ski....and snow shoe. This is my only vehicle. The secret...good snow Bridgestone Blizzaks...or Michelin Ice-X3's. I've been stuck once in 370,000 miles in a 3 series.....when I was high centered.

RWD Guy on May 27, 2019:

As both a BMW 330i and Mustang GT driver, using a manual transmission, and running both summer and winter tires, I have experience with two distinctly different RWD platforms. Both require winter tires for best results in the snow, but the Mustang puts the BMW to shame in the snow for one simple reason - traction lock differential (posi-traction) versus open differential. The BMW can only control slip by braking the spinning wheel, whereas posi-traction seems to better control the power to both rear wheels and seems better suited to dealing with poor traction situations. For the few snow days encountered each year that might see some small benefit from AWD or FWD, I would never trade out all the benefits of RWD throughout the rest of the year.

Charmin on April 02, 2019:

Hi Lance,

Thanks for that tip.... I don't think anyone thought about doing that, great idea and thanks.... after all a new set of tyres in the UK is only about £1,300 for the four and I'll probably buy a spare to stick in the trunk just to round it up £1.5K... probably worth it for.... actually NO snow in Southern UK this year..... hmmm interesting... anyway, not to worry, it's particularly generous of you... so if you could forward your details I'll get the invoice off to you as soon as my dealer swaps out the tyres, do you want the old ones sending to you... ? and of course as soon as it does snow here I will obviously let you you know how the improvement goes... of course if you were to read back you will see I bought a 4 X 4 especially for the very snowy occasion, bizarrely it cost less than the new set of tyres you have offered... haha, you have to laugh, but I prefer the BMW, well apart from in the snow...

Anyway, thanks again and I'll get straight on to it just in case, we did have snow here in April once in 2002 and it lasted for 3 days, total chaos, I ran out of bread and milk... never again.


PS We spell Tires, Tyres... the proper way.... haha... just to avoid any confusion on the invoice.


Lance Dugger on March 31, 2019:

No need to fit special winter tires just replace all the run flats with regular all season tires. Run flats are useless once they have been flatted, needing immediate replacement anyway. They were just a manufacturer dodge to avoid having to furnish a spare tire thus saving them money by touting a new high tech, though useless, replacement. Driving on snow presents no problem if you’ve equipped your rear drive vehicle with tires that offer reasonable road grip in winter conditions. You learn by driving under those conditions, and how to enjoy your vehicle even in the throes of winter.

Charmin on March 05, 2019:

mostly the X-3 and X-'s exactly, four wheel drive... that's not what is being discussed on this group.... find the right group...

In a few of EE states eg. Sweden, Norway, French mountains, in the winter you must have snow chains, not winter tyres when you go to certain areas, however NOT in the UK, we have snow in the south for a few days, in the north a few weeks if lucky, some people invest in chains up there, but we are talking general terms here... BMW's not X or no snow chains or winter tyres, yes we all know about winter tyres... are crap... simple statement. I know, Iv'e tried one in the snow... mine,using every bit of advice off here, better but crap... Cheers. PS great in the dry... haha, I've almost killed myself both ways...

George on February 18, 2019:

In European Union, if you don't have all year tyres or winter tyres in winter, your car gets impounded.

You really shoould get a set of winter tyres, you wont regret it, especially with a BMW.

Rider13 on February 12, 2019:

You do not have a clue on what you are talking about. I live in an area where it snows heavily, and a large amount of the population here drives BMW's, mostly the X-3 and X-'s. There is a reason why people who live in snowy areas buy BMW's and that reason is not congruent with your off the wall comments. Sorry pal, go write an article on a subject you actually know something about.

Charmin on January 27, 2019:

Hi Redrook, clearly you have not a clue what you are talking about, you must be a BMW driver... haha.. you should get your facts sorted before making inane comments... garages will NOT remove and then try to refit Run flats... they do NOT guarantee a run flat (as used on BMW and many other cars ) will re seat properly onto the rim, so they just won't do it, hence why you need another set of rims... try reading past posts here before you make an even bigger fool of yourself, and who is gonna spend over a thousand £ on such for a few days of snow which is normal in the uk, if that.... what a plonker Rodney.... haha.

Mark Ewbie (author) from UK on January 27, 2019:

@redrook - yeah the dimensions may be the same. But swapping run flats - winter for summer and vice versa - is apparently not so easy, simple, straightforward as normal tyres. So IF you want winter tyres, which many do, then a separate set of wheels is required.

redrook on January 26, 2019:

"I believe a set of winter tyres for a One series comes in at about one thousand pounds. That includes wheels as well, because they have different dimensions to the usual wheels.

Note. I'm not sure about the dimensions being different. It may be because they are run flats, see below."

Complete nonsense. There is no need to buy different wheels. People buy winter wheels to protect the summer ones, that's all. What do you mean "usual wheels"? There is no such thing.

You can put any tyre you like on any wheel. If your BMW has, for example, 235/35/R18 tyres normally, then just buy that size. Runflats is the type of tyre, and has nothing to do with the wheels, or the car, they just happen to be what BMW fit from the factory.

Petros on December 24, 2018:

Well . As my family has 320D (ok it is xdrive) but I know lots of people that own rwd bmw and the things you should learn to do is drive and winter tires. There is a reason bmw does Winter driver training in Switzerland

The Finnisher on December 23, 2018:

A: Proper winter tyres and DTC off. Case solved.

PS. If you have a BMW and cannot afford to buy winter tyres you are a poser.

PPS. People manage to run with their BMW's in Canada, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland... Nuff said!

Sam on September 06, 2018:

Winter Tyres even cheap ones will make a massive difference on a BMW. Basically it drive on snow and climb hills with ease

Scott on July 24, 2018:

I live in Wisconsin, USA; it starts snowing in late October / early

November and it stops in late March / early April.

My 325i has been great in snow with just good all season tires, unless it is over 20 cm deep, I leave my 4wd at home for my commute.

Martin on June 20, 2018:

If you don’t know how to drive then don’t get a rwd. Otherwise you should turn your dtc off in the snow and go play

SM on March 02, 2018:

330d e93 not one serious issue so far thankfully. Done 300 miles in this snow in 3 days, only two almost slip ups, one my own silliness, putting my foot down up a hill, but the car handled it well with a small correction.

I agree, sharp turns and steep hills are hard work and slow going.

What ive done, 200kg over the rear axle (she's riding low), traction control off on local roads when start stop,sport mode on and set off in 2nd.

P.s the handbrake trick works, helped me out of problem 2, round a 90 degree bend on a small incline.

Great cars... keep it reasonably slow, let the car do the work with gentle nudges, worked a charm. I'm impressed, was half expecting it on its roof.

colin on March 01, 2018:

I have a 335 Tourer rear wheel drive using all round tyres on low profiles 45 and i find it great fun in the snow ....this week tested in Scotland and England no major issues yes you loose traction on compacted snow on hills the sames as a front wheel car would however l doesn't take long for the car to regain its grip (on hills when i loose grip i snake the car and turn off the traction it regains grip) i think moving to winter tyres would be a better idea though same as the Germans do ...would like to test the performance of a x -drive in snow to see how they handle

Geoff on February 28, 2018:

I have owned lots of different model bimmers , I agree, they are all useless in the snow. But they are a brilliant car in any other condition.

I have owned and driven most car makes in the uk, as I used to be in the motor trade and in my opinion nothing is as good as a BMW.

Charmin99 on February 27, 2018:

Ps, the 4x4 isn't just in case it snows if some foreigner asks... I've taking up shooting...! it's for the mud..... & the snow....

Charmin99 on February 27, 2018:

Yeaaaa.... we have snow, well not much but I'm hopeful, happy because I recently bought an older Hyundai Santa Fe 4 x4 and I have the daughter's Clio... sounds ridiculous doesn't it when I've got brand new 3 series on the drive... haha.

I'm determined to try the snow straps I made 4 years ago, see older posts.... and see if they work, that's patience, 4 years waiting for snow, back then when we did have bad snow it wasn't until it went did I make the straps so never really tried them... now snow please, something I thought I'd never say.

And Mike, welcome aboard, you will see that sane people know they are crap in the snow, whatever others say or think.... and we know why....


Mark Ewbie (author) from UK on February 27, 2018:

Hey Mike - thanks for your comment. If I need to go anywhere today the front wheel drive diesel Clio will be taking me. I use my own non-slip compensatory function by trying not drive like a wally.

Mike on February 27, 2018:

I have a BMW Series 1. It is useless when there is more than a couple of millimetres of snow. I am old enough to remember when rear wheel drive cars were the norm. They suffered from exactly the same problem, skidding all over the place, abandoned in county lanes and at the bottom of hills.

I am now retired. If I was still in employment and needed a reliable vehicle I would not in a thousand years choose a rear wheel drive car.

Incidentally, when I purchased my BMW I asked the salesman about its performance in winter, he told me about some sort of non-slip compensatory function that is built into the car. My experience is that it does very little.

Do not be misled - rear wheel drive cars, including BMWs, are seriously crap in snow and ice.

charmin99 on January 19, 2018:

OK, the laughing pains are wearing 0ff slightly... so Quote...

Alan Porter

15 months ago UK South

I bought some 16" wheels from a Z3 for my 320D SE E91 which has 17 x 225 x45 tyres. I bought 16 x 205 x 55 tyres. Same circumference so no gearing or Speedo issues. Wheels from eBay.

****** No snow since I got them 3 1/2 years ago********* hahahahaha

Storage, fitting, initial cost... god lets hope it snows sometime... ;-)

Charmin99 on January 19, 2018:

I'll let Mark respond to the latest post as I'm lying on the floor in pain laughing.....

Magnus on January 18, 2018:

But come on! Just buy winter wheels, should be a requirement to drive in winter conditions anywhere. As someone living in Sweden I’m used to both snow and mandatory winter tires and find your whining about having to swap tires quite rediculous.

And by the way, I love driving my BMW in the snow, traction control off, it's so much fun! A front wheel drive car though is pure scary, it doesn’t give you any feedback about the poor traction until it just keeps going straight in a situation way harder to do anything about.

Lee Rhodes on December 15, 2017:

I live in Colorado....and I ski...a lot!

Winter tires (not all seasons)....have worked fine on my 3 series. In 16 years (350,000 miles) with 3 different RWD BMW's (3 series)...I've been stuck once...where the car was high centered. I've used Dunlop Wintersports and Pirelli winter tires....and have been very pleased. I am now looking at the Michellin X Ice 3's.

Charmin99 on December 11, 2017:

Hi Jim,

I think that is the general agreed conclusion plus... BMW are designed to distribute the weight of the car evenly across both axis, this is good for sport but no good in the snow.

Wide flat tyres especially on the rear where they are often wider is like a ski, rather than thin like a sled runner which grips into the snow.

Rubbish UK warm weather tyres that go hard at +5° is the worst part, but to replace them is almost impossible for just a few weeks / days, see other posts, can't remove and refit run-flats... wheels in UK £400 each.

So the best thing to do is as I have, bought a Renault Clio just for the winter, extreme but it works, might need it this week.

And anybody else on here who says.. yea it's easy, never had a problem, don't listen, white coat and straight jacket comes to mind...

Jim on December 11, 2017:

Many years ago all cars where rear wheel drive apart from minis,

We didn’t have all these problems then is it because we didn’t have super wide wheels an tyres.

Charmin99 on November 21, 2017:

Hi Si sU,

Firstly your name really played he'll with my predictive text, took longer to force that in than write this....

So good to hear your advice, yea I don't think anyone on here knew that, well apart from the 20 other times it's been mentioned, and the detailed explanation I have on how it works about 3 years ago, but thanks anyway.

Clearly you either have an X 4x4, or winter tyres or live in Australia, or all, we have been through this dozens of times and "we" defy anyone to drive and control a STANDARD, reasonably new BMW in moderate snow safely, it is just not physically possible. I am a very good experienced driver, as are dozens of others on here, I have tried it twice now in extreme weather, both times I just went home as soon as I could slide it there...

We know, snow tyres are the only real answer, if you read back you will learn s few things I'm certain.

Here's to thick snow this year, I've bought a Clio just for the 5 days of snow we might get....


Si sU on November 21, 2017:


"I don't use snow tyres or socks or put grit on my wheels, all I do is press the dtc button (keep hold of it for about 5 seconds and a different icon appears which turns off everything not just the traction) put it in 2nd gear and then just clutch control and it just gives the right amount of slip to bite into snow and it soon gets into a stride, once rolling press dtc button once and all systems turn back on and leave it in 2nd until at the top of snowy hill...."

Learn to drive a bmw and it's the besty car, period.

Charmin99 on February 03, 2017:

Cheers Dan... yes 255's on the back, M suspension, it is e90 so ECU much the same, LCi but can't see that making much difference, Bridgestones RFT, no snow... so looks like won't get a chance this year... Now it's funny you say 335xdrive tourer, good friend has one 2 years old and he still plans to leave it at home if it snows... never tried it but thinks to risky... so afraid BMW have lost the confidence of their customers.. If you read back you'll see I've made up some snow straps I want to try, basically giant tie wrap that can thread through rim and over tyre, clip it tight, 5 per r wheel, can be quick released, they are industrial use for hanging ventilation ducting apparently... so hence waiting for snow... haha.


Dan on February 03, 2017:

Hello Charmin 99, car is a 320d efficient dynamics , 225/45/17 all round, tyres bridgestone potenzas RFTs.... Again we had some snow a couple of week back since I wrote this had about a day of snow, didn't get stuck.... Does your car have the wider rears ? 255? That won't help.... Also your car been a petrol is Alot more free revving than my sluggish diesel which helps with revs and clutch control.

Also yours is an msport model? Again the firmer suspension and I assume bigger alloys and wider tyres won't help your car.

Fresh snow never had a problem, how ever compacted snow takes a fair while to get moving.

I'm that happy with my car I'll be trading it in for a new shape 335d xdrive tourer soon.

Also is your car an older model which doesn't have as good computer systems, my current 320d is a e90

Charmin99 on January 10, 2017:

Dan... this is either a wind up or you have winter tyres fitted and don't know it... I've got the 320i M and have used and tried turning off the DTC and DCS (5 second push) in the snow, yes it is a fraction better but we are talking about trying to get the car off my drive... a slight camber, get the rear wheels in the gutter and that's it.... dig it out of 2 inches of snow... !! trying to actually go up a hill in the snow is something most of us BMW drivers can only dream of. Perhaps you've got a 4x4 as well and didn't know it, or are you certain it's snow...? in the rain I agree you could do it, just about... haha.

I am hoping it snows down here on the south coast UK, well one day on a Sunday will do just to try everything out again and have another play just to remind me how bad it is, was...


Dan on January 10, 2017:

I live in UK, Yorkshire at the bottom of a steepish hill (especially to think about getting up when covered in snow).

Yet my 320d (manual) has never once got stuck any where in the snow and I'm not one to shy away when it does snow.

I don't use snow tyres or socks or put grit on my wheels, all I do is press the dtc button (keep hold of it for about 5 seconds and a different icon appears which turns off everything not just the traction) put it in 2nd gear and then just clutch control and it just gives the right amount of slip to bite into snow and it soon gets into a stride, once rolling press dtc button once and all systems turn back on and leave it in 2nd until at the top of snowy hill....

The only time I have ever had trouble is getting the car to stop on snow, but for Best results I use a low gear to keep revs high (better engine braking) and the brake pedal very very lightly.

Hope this helps some one out (please remember to press dtc button once moving as if depressed for the 5ish seconds it does literally turn off all safety systems except stuff like air bags and means the car won't try auto correct and auto brake on individual wheels if you go into a spin.


Vlad on January 10, 2017:

Completely not true. I have been driving a RWD BMW for 2 years now. Got in alot of snow and ice every winter. It snowed 40cm of snow this week in the area I live. No problem driving it where every other car goes. Does it handle different? It does. But no problem going around.

Caesonia on January 09, 2017:

You know, this bit of sputter fits into the endless arguments about FWD vs RWD in snow, and then there is the rest of the time. Performance cars with performance setups, and performance rubber - AKA summer rubber - all handle like heck in snow. And that includes FWD, I am sorry.

People said Volvos were bad in snow. Really? Winter rubber and I am literally pushing snow with the bumper. I had a separate set of rims, and while the ones for the BMW are more, I think I paid 450$ for a used set with almost new Blizzaks, and the TPS sensors all good. Car is fine until it's simply too deep. I find they will last about 7 years before needing to replace the rubber.

I now have BMWs, because I really do prefer RWD cars, and while it has a harder time than my 240 Volvos, that's no surprise. Stiffer suspension, wider wheels to float, more power, all kinds of things that make it a joy to drive. It will also get away from you faster, if you don't pay attention, because they are sensitive cars, especially the 3 and 5 series. It's still a heck of a lot better than my F350 dually without any weight in the back, and I drive by SUVs sliding all over when I have winter tyres on. Oh...and I can fricken' STOP.

I honestly don't understand the hate here. Get some wheel socks, if you don't want to spend the money on winter rubber. Theya re cheap, and you shouldn't be driving that fast anyways if the roads are that icky. If you ended up in a ditch, you had no clue about how to drive the car, and that's not BMWs fault. IN the US, they will actually give a day's training including how to do complete 380s if you buy a new car from them. That teaches you how to drive the car correctly.

See how well your little econo box Vauxhaul does against your maligned 1 series in the wet, or in the summer. Guess whose wheels will be spinning, and whose won't? The BMW will leave you in the dust. Big surprise.

Sheesh, sometimes I do mountain climb challenges with the car on AS touring rubber in light snow just to see what happens. 95% of the time, the car just goes. 5%, when someone blocks my uphill process at just the wrong moment, I am done. Is it annoying if its a light? Yes, but a little sand behind the wheel and 6 inches and you go. With winter rubber, it wouldn;t have been a problem. And its still FUN. And the car still handles better than any econo box Toytoa.

Just, get over it. Or buy an AWD BMW.

Great white north on January 07, 2017:

Canadian here. BMW 330e rear drive with proper winter tires.

Winter tires are the only way to go in any climate where the temperature even approaches freezing. Winter tires have a HUGE advantage starting around 7 degrees C as the softer rubber compound does not get hard like a hockey puck.

Just drove 3000 km through 40cm of snow on highways in Ontario and Wisconsin. No problems whatsoever. I have a Subaru too and I like the fact that rear wheel drive in the BMW gives me hints that the pavement is getting slippery before I need to use brakes.

Lizzard on October 23, 2016:

So many younger people have never driven a red vehicle. Not as good in the snow but so very much better in all situations, not to mention tons more fun . No torque steer & light precise steering more than make up for a little extra snow drive ability and being pushed through a curve instead of pulled. It is the first feature I look for in a car.

charmin99 on October 06, 2016:

Hi Alan, you never know, the rubber might have perished before it shows again... ;-)

But to be honest, it says it all, "I had to buy a second hand set of wheels and tyres off eBay to be able to drive my very expensive BMW in the snow..." it could have been worse, you could have picked them up in a charity shop...


Alan Porter on October 05, 2016:

I bought some 16" wheels from a Z3 for my 320D SE E91 which has 17 x 225 x45 tyres. I bought 16 x 205 x 55 tyres. Same circumference so no gearing or Speedo issues. Wheels from eBay.

No snow since I got them 2 years ago.

charmin99 on September 23, 2016:

Hi Jack, congrats on yr new car, so we will all wait in anticipation for the snow and perhaps when your at work and can't get to your old land rover... I personally can hardly wait for you to come back on here and let us know your BMW snow experience, your apologies, your new understanding, your humility for being such a dumb ase before the fact, you will return, the the always do.


Jack on September 22, 2016:

My first three cars were rear wheel drive in the late fifties early sixties front wheel drive was rare. Then we bought an old Landrover for the very bad weather

I have just taken delivery of a new 5series d530 sportI don' expect it to handle very well in icy conditions so I have kept my 20 year old Range Rover

So if you can afford a high powered BMW don't winge buy an old 4*4 to knock about in in bad conditions

Mike on June 04, 2016:

Best cars for the snow were the Sierra and Granada Scorpio 4x4's, the very best forsafe driving in it and much improved roadholding in all conditions. Their viscous coupling diffs were much superior to the other 4x4 cars such as Audi, Skoda, Subaru and so on, they have systems that activate the second axle which usually causes a sudden change, the Ford Ferguson system is continuously connected so works all the time. Winter tyres don't cost a fortune and are excellent, just don't use the stupid run flat ones which are a rediculous price just so the manufacturer doesn't have to provide a spare.

charmin99 on May 31, 2016:

Hi guys... nice round-up, anyway, no snow where I am in the UK since 2013, so still not tried my own design snow straps, this is a real double edged sword, don't want snow... do want snow.. haha.

Anyway to Tommo the tosser, yea fit winter tyres... I make that £1000 x 3 years = £3000 for no snow and a waste of time tyres... cheers dumbo..

It'll snow this year now.... !!


Mark Ewbie (author) from UK on January 19, 2016:

Lol ze - cool friend comment!

ze on January 19, 2016:


im driving a bmw 330d (306 hp) in central europe, i have snoe 3 months in the year... well, driving a bmw in snow its like go out with friend, you know how it starts but dont know how it gonna end... if you have a FWD, you cant drive a RWD in snow, you have to know what the car gonna do, and its very very diferent comparing to a FWD, but if you have good winter tyres and a ligth rigth foot, you can drive all the year, but off course, for those who dont have much expirience with driving in snow and driving a RWD its hard...

Austin on May 14, 2015:

I guess someone never heard of the legendary 325ix... and supprised you didn't mention any of BMW newer AWD X-Drive models. They are far more effective than most AWD cars and certainly more effective than FWD or RWD. Sounds to me like you just want to bash on BMW...Shame on you!!

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on April 28, 2015:

I just saw this in the "Also from Mark Ewbie" area. Too funny! However, I can sympathize on the "run flat" tires. Had 'em on a van. What a nightmare in the cold! We'd barricade the whale in the garage for almost the entire winter since, well, we're in Chicago... land of the never ending winter and "Slip Slidin' Away..." When I had to replace a run flat that did go flat, it was about $400+ USD. When I traded in the van, I got all-wheel drive. Lesson learned. Voted up and funny, of course. Hope it's springtime where you are. We're FINALLY up above freezing and will be doing the happy dance when our May 15 frost date passes. Woohoo!

Nessimmersion on April 27, 2015:

Mmmmm - it appears a lot of people can neither read the manual, drive their car or know the basics about tyres.

Just had a warmer than average winter with less snow than normal, my BM was fine on snow, forestry slopes & tracks of up to 16" snow were no problem, I used hill descent mode to come down back to the public road after skiiing, again no issues - weird eh? and I'm not german!.

Point 1 - snow tyres & winter tyres are different. In the UK there is no need to buy snow tyres. For the last time - sporty rear wheel drive cars with summer performance tyres do not perform well below 7 degrees.

The reason 70's cars performed better in winter is the tyres were more similar to an all weather, were thinner & lest we forget, just how good was a 70s car at a) starting in winter in the first place, b) going fast round a corner in any weather c) remember the Capri - mine went sideways at any roundabout tackled at more than 25 mph !!!.

Small reminder - if you fit winter tyres - your summer tyres aren't getting worn out at the same time - cos they are not on the car.

Drving a car with summer tyres in winter is like driving with defective brakes, there is a reason a lot of conti countries treat this as an offence, inability to stop is hazarding other road users, pedestrians etc.

It's a good laugh poking fun at the average british drivers inability to go round corners in the winter & the way our roads / airports / trains come to a grinding halt in 1" of snow, while the continentals keep going with 10 times as much, but really - it's a bit pathetic as well.

charmin99 on April 06, 2015:

Hi Barney, Woody

We all agree with you, but the question really is, do you fit winter tyres (tires) for a few days snow here in the UK (south) or do you live with the inherent poor handling in the snow without, and just stick to normal tyres.

You see all the cars I've had before, without winter tyres, have never been good in snow, but nothing compared to my BMW, and that's what gets people going... my 1975 Ford Cortina could have knocked spots off the BMW....!!

Comments from earlier...

"I should read back some of the comments, it's all been said before, however it doesn't detract from the simple answer to your comments is Yes BMW rear wheel drive with normal tyres are ##** in the snow, simple as that. But do you fit £800 worth of tyres for some few days of snow, or perhaps as this year down south in the UK, no snow..."

Buy a BMW, doesn't have to be to sporty, not 4 wheel drive, like mine a 320 I M, if it snows and you can get it off the drive with normal tyres, I'm certain Mark will hail you as good as a German driver... haha. Thanks for your comments, they all add to the good banter in this blog. Cheers.

Barney on April 01, 2015:

Err BMW's have a snow setting...

Read the manual

Woody on February 07, 2015:

Clearly most people don't know how to drive. My wife has had a 320i for 5 years rwd and it is one of the best cars we have had in the snow except for our AWD cars. Often we will take the BMW when it is snowing instead of our 4x4 F150 supercrew.

We live in Canada and the only time we have any trouble is when we have over a foot of snow and the car just gets hung up because the car doesn't have that kind of ground clearance. When winter starts we put on snow tires add 2-50lb traction bags in the trunk over the rear wheels. Once we do that the car is a beast.

When the snow is really deep I shut the traction control off so when the car spins I can keep the rpms up to plow through the snow.

graham on February 03, 2015:

Try reading the manual. Pressing the DSC button once briefly disables the giro and allows the car to move around a bit more before cutting power to the the wheels.

Mark Ewbie (author) from UK on January 20, 2015:

Glad you are OK Mary and maybe there is more than a little wrong with British roads and our general inability to cope.

Mary Day on January 20, 2015:

Forget winter tyres. I came off the road on Saturday in East Yorkshire and needed rescuing from ditch. Car has fairly new winter tyres on which it had just been to Vienna then St Anton. Me and car unscathed but now I know all about rear wheel drive and, sadly, will never feel the same again about driving this lovely old lady.

john on December 30, 2014:

Have winter tyres on rented x1 sdrive, they weren't any use on a moderate icy incline. Had to wait for the deinst and watch all the cheap cars pass me by. BMW Traction control means you stop all traffic until you can try to slide gracefully backwards off the road because its solution is to stop you completely in the center of the road. I should have taken the skoda

Shawn on December 28, 2014:

From Canada.

I drive a RWD BMW. It's better then most sedans. You need a full tank of gas to give the rear end weight and a decent set of all seasons (minimally) summers won't cut it. I have winters and have driven in every storm that has happened in southern Ontario and Calgary Alberta.

I find it has nothing to do with the car and everything to do with its driver, and tires.

uniclic on November 23, 2014:

Can't wait to try out my 330d, first winter, we'll see

Mark Ewbie (author) from UK on November 17, 2014:

Lol SDean - point well made but a large number of those sporty BMWs are sadly bought by rich people with no clue how to drive them. Arguably. Perhaps the dealer should suggest a Corolla...

SDean on November 17, 2014:

The point is though, BMW don't pick the options list. The CUSTOMER does.

If someone options SPORT package in a place that snows all the time they are fools.

Im sure BMW of Finland, or Norway don't sell cars assuring their custoners that a 255/40-ZR18 Bridgestone RE050 will be just great in ice and snow.

Horses for courses sir...

Your next article should detail how the latest Corolla absolutely sucks for trackday use and the MXV4 tires delaminated on lap 5 and the car understeered horribly compared to the Porsches, BMWs and Lotuses....

Mark Ewbie (author) from UK on November 17, 2014:

Thanks SDean - my main beef is with BMW supplying a car with tires that are not really suitable for winter driving. Most of us are not professional rally drivers - just trying to drive to work and back. Thanks for your advice on widths - that is interesting.

SDean on November 17, 2014:

So, you do realize BMW's are sports sedans right? They aren't econo-boxes with crap skinny tires and horrible weight distribution.

Your complaints are the equivalent of crying that a shovel doesn't work good for hammering nails....

The problem is not RWD, or even 50/50 weight distribution. The problem is the TIRES. Many BMW buyers choose sport options, and most BMW sport packages include summer rated, 255mm (or wider) rear tires! Wide tires float on snow.

For snow use, I would recommend a tire no wider than 195. If you want to use the winter tires all year round, maybe put a 205 on all 4 corners.

-Professional race driver with rally+snow experience.

David on October 29, 2014:

So they're saying bmw suck in winter? All I gotta say is a lot people must not know how to drive because I live in the mountains an my bmw does fantastic. Sure the rear slides a little but what's a little countersteer? Drove through a good 4" of snow or more on the road up mountains and areas four wheel drives were gettin stuck on summer tread that had almost not tread. Got hung up once because of my own fault playing around. Btw in the 4" or more didn't slip a tire. Just take it slow and easy and your gravy..e36 baby. Also driving a standard is a huge benifet in snow with a rear wheel drive. Autos suck cause you get stuck. 5 speed? Lug itdown in 4th or 5th and be on your way. Learn how to drive and a bmw is fantastic in the snow.

Stormbusta on October 27, 2014:

With regard to the comments about Winter tyres being an un-neccesary expense for 1 or 2 days of snow... I don't think you are giving this proper thought. OK, the extra expense of £1K for a set of 4 Wheels and Tyres, seems outrageous for the few days a year when we actually get snow. So I understand you are thinking, why waste £1k for a few days every year. You are not really understanding the key point of changing your tyres. If you have Summer, Low Profile tyres, and as most cars these days are fitted with Summer tyres, you probably have got them, they are not going to give good grip when the temperature falls below 7ºC. That is a fact. The rubber compound of Summer Tyres hardens significantly below 7ºC and when you are driving on cold surfaces, with rock salt, these tyres will wear out significantly quicker and will sustain more damage than on Hot roads because they do not have enough'Give'. This is simply because Summer Tyres have less 'Silica' compound in them. This is the stuff that keeps rubber soft in sub-zero temperatures. But just think about it... You need to have tyres on your car whenever you want to drive it, so.... if you buy winter tyres, your summer tyres will last longer anyway, so the only real Extra Expense is for the Extra Wheels. I'm lucky enough to have the space in my massive double garage for 2 spare sets(1 for mine and 1 for the wife's) and once you make the original 'Investment' for the extra wheels, the tyres don't cost any more. Alternatively, you could try an 'All Round' tyre suitable for both summer and Winter use if you don't want the extra expense of another set of wheels. Personally, I like to protect my Gorgeous 19" wheels (and Expensive Summer tyres) on my Rear Wheel Drive CLS and am happy to put on 17inch alloys with winter tyres on for 4-5 months of the year (October to End of March usually). All you who say a BMW or any other similar performance RWD car are useless in the snow, have obviously never tried them in the snow. I point you to this: 2 years ago when we had an early snow downfall (5 inches here in West Yorkshire) it caught a lot of people out. I had my winters on my CLS and managed to negotiate some slippery inclines. I had to visit a sick elderly relative at the weekend and he lived on quite a steep road, which by the weekend was not just covered in snow, but had a sheet of ice over the top of it. I was in 2 minds whether to try to drive up it, but try I did. And slowly I made it in my CLS! Behind me, I watched as a 4x4 BMW X5 tried to follow in me. He couldn't get any traction, all 4 wheels were not making any difference on this slippery surface. I watched his expression and he was in utter disbelief that a RWD had made it and his 4 wheel drive was useless. I looked carefully at the tyre/wheel package on his car, he had on huge 22" wheels which were really wide and a practically smooth summer profile tyre on all 4 corners. His choice of vehicle was OK for the conditions but the choice of tyres, completely unsuitable. It isn't the car which needs changing, it is the tyres. Get the point???

charmin 99 on September 27, 2014:

Hi nessimmersion,

I should read back some of the comments, it's all been said before, however it doesn't detract from the simple answer to your comments is Yes BMW rear wheel drive with normal tyres are ##** in the snow, simple as that. But do you fit £800 worth of tyres for some few days of snow, or perhaps as this year down south in the UK, no snow...

Buy a BMW, doesn't have to be to sporty, not 4 wheel drive, like mine a 320 I M, if it snows and you can get it off the drive with normal tyres, I'm certain Mark will hail you as good as a German driver... haha. Thanks for your comments, they all add to the good banter in this blog. Cheers.

Nessimmersion on September 26, 2014:

What a load of partially informed opinion.

So to summarise - all RWD cars with sporty suspension set ups are crap in the snw, is this just BMW or is it all RWD, is this a revelation to anyone who has driven a ford capri,(which had narrow tyres & only went round roundabouts sideways on a wet summers day).

Every tyre review done in the northern hemisphere in the last decade has concluded that below 7 degrees you get substantially improved performance / safety/ braking especially in the wet on winter rubber ( note winter not snow)

Some manufacturers now recommend that winter rubber is a more prudent choice for the british driver, given that you should be choosing your tyres for when you most need grip (November - 2 degrees, dark & wet). Interestingly the BMW is not the most likely car make to be in an accident in winter.

BMW like everyone else in the sporty market, tunes their cars for sporty summer performance cos that is what sells.

Alternatively you could just conclude that the germans manage to drive BMWs & Mercs all over the Alpine ski resorts in winter because they are just better drivers?????

Mark Ewbie (author) from UK on June 13, 2014:

Thanks charmin99 - I thought I was an OK driver too till I tried to get a woman's one series out of the middle of the road. Never knew a bit of icy camber could be so difficult to deal with. Back in my Avensis and although slipping about a bit - the front-wheel drive made everything a whole lot easier.

charmin99 on June 13, 2014:

This is hilarious, everyone has an opinion, but different... ha ha..... however quite common is " it's the driver" well of course I agree that a lot of the time it probably is.. but not always.

The fact is I've been driving for over thirty years, front wheel, rear wheel, four wheel you name it, and in the snow, but not until did I get my 320i M did I know the real meaning of "catastropie in the snow" I do know how to drive but when you can't get the car off your driveway which has the slightest of a slope and a two inch dip where it meets the road, then you know you have met your match.

Of course without repeating myself time and time again, this is without winter tyres, yes we know... fit them then, but for a few days snow in the South of the UK you would have to be mad, or very rich...

So please take my (our) word for it, rear drive, BMW in the snow, with fat flat normal tyres, driven slow and careful, traction on or traction off, correct gear, slow revs, bit of handbrake, is just an embarrassment. PS no, I'm not rich or mad, well not until next winter...

emil on June 13, 2014:

Just leran how go drive. I live in sweden and BMW is no problem to drive just idé your Brain and be Gentle...

paul kent (again) on April 23, 2014:

That being said I drove a 2011 mustang v6 in the winter for a month. It had winter tires and it was completely hellish to drive. Throttle input became sideways motion and its excessive weight made breaking Nearly impossible.

Food for thought

Paul Kent on April 23, 2014:

I live in northern Alberta in Canada. Its mid April and its still snowing.

I bought my BMW 3 series car in the winter, with stability control off yet with abs and traction control still on (this is very important) it handles really well. Really well. It has the perfect amount of over steer (better in snow) and it doesn't require gross oversteer to fix any accidental drifts due to overzealous driving in poor conditions. I was in fact convinced to purchase it in the snowy winter before ever driving in on a dry road. I do have snow tires.

Any issues with driving in the snow is not the fault of the vehicle, rather the driver. BMW cars are driver cars and they respond to driver input. If you can't keep the car weighed properly due to inexperience you'll be off the road fast in the winter.but I can keep my BMW on the road better than in a VW or Honda or front wheel drive Lincoln,

Mark Ewbie (author) from UK on February 25, 2014:

Cheers charmin99 ! It's you guys who make it. I said my piece... now I'm learning. And yeah... what happened to snow this year?

charmin99 on February 25, 2014:

#Mark I love this blog...

Anyway, no snow in the UK this year so far (South of Scotland that is), so no chance to try my straps and saved at least it seems $122 by not buying snow tyres, but of course the down side is I never got to hire me 4x4 Land Rover... yet.

Ryan on February 23, 2014:

*** This article is total garbage *** I own an 2004 325ci w/ 2 cheap "sunny snow tires" 225/45/17 at 61$ ea... I haven't gotten stuck yet, even driving through 7" of heavy wet snow on a 30° incline... Although I will say this...

I turn off the traction control if I'm driving up an incline, that gives me full control to spin the rear wheels instead of cutting off the power... The snow tires dig right through with the tires spinning.

traction control on if I'm driving on the highway or back roads for extra safety. .

30% relays on driver experience with rear wheel drive cars

50% relays on actual "snow" tires

20% relays on bmw ' s 50/50 weight distribution

mikeyr on February 03, 2014:

Just an update on the SnoClaws I recently purchased, they were utterly disappointing. The buckle/strap mechanism were the main failure point as they would not keep the straps from loosening. I even removed the tires to ensure a tight and even fit as shown in the installation video to no avail. I would drive about 50 feet and you could hear the buckles slapping against the wheel well. Clearance (wheel well to SnoClaws) was not a problem with the SnoClaws,, I got it to look identical to the video demonstration, it's just that their buckle and strap mechanism just would not remain secured. I guess the best alternative is to buy an extra set of wheels with snow tires installed and just use them during the Winter.

BTW, first time installation is a bear. You HAVE to install the SnoClaws while the wheel is dismounted because it's almost impossible to trim the straps that are behind the wheel with the little clearance that you have. I could barely reach behind the wheel let alone trim the strips comfortably. I do not recommend the SnoClaws for BMW owners, particularly sedan and coupe owners.

mikeyr on January 26, 2014:

@charmin99 - I remember reading about snow straps that were fed through the spokes somewhere else other than this forum, but caution to its use was made. It seems that some types may interfere with a vehicle's brake calipers. Anyway, I hope you've checked for this problem.

You can barely get the chains on an M Sport? That's great news for me as I believe the SnoClaws should work on my car. I just have a regular 3 Series with the sports package. It seems like it may have enough clearance. I haven't received them yet so I can't say if I have a clearance problem or not. We haven't had another significant snow storm either, just snow flurries. Will keep you posted.

charmin99 on January 24, 2014:

@mikeyr - Had a good look at the Snow Claws website, they seemed to mention clearance a few times and for me that is the trouble I have, getting your hands in behind the top of the wheel and the arch to actually connect anything, the 'Claws' look better but fingers crossed.

I can just about get the chains on but have to do it from the side of the tyre (towards front of car) it is the M Sport so suspension is a bit lower. This is why I came up with the straps through the spokes idea (earlier post) but that was last year and no snow as yet to try them, hard choice, snow so I can try them or no snow so I don't need to.. haha.

Mark Ewbie (author) from UK on January 23, 2014:

Very cool mikeyr - that is the rally style I was referring too. One thing worth mentioning is the need to practice some of this stuff when and where it is safe, and before you really need it.

mikeyr on January 23, 2014:

@Mark Ewbie - Oh, ok, sorry about that. Anyway, to briefly summarize what I absorbed from that web site, the trick to getting out of the snow, if you're stuck, is by using the emergency brake as described in the "One Neat Trick" section. However, you need to do it in the following way: 1) let off of the accelerator, 2) pull up on the emergency brake while still depressing the locking button (pull it up about halfway) and then 3) ease into the accelerator. You may have to play with the emergency a little to find that "sweet spot". I tried it this morning as my car got stuck in the driveway because of ice and it worked! Not sure if it'll work in somewhat more extreme conditions, though.

Mark Ewbie (author) from UK on January 22, 2014:

Hey mikeyr - I am sorry but I can't allow the juicy bits from that website because this site will see it as copied content. Original thoughts only please. sorry mate.

mikeyr on January 22, 2014:

@charmin99 - Oh it can get hot and sunny alright, but the winters seem to be getting colder compared to years past. We just got hit by what they call an arctic blast twice this year. Weather is typically better south of the Mason-Dixon line, but times are changing.

charmin99 on January 22, 2014:

Mikeyr, Just tried posting a long question but seems to have disappeared, I'm very interested in how you get on with these snow claws. Cheers from the snow free (at the moment) UK.

charmin99 on January 22, 2014:

Hi mikeyr, I always thought Maryland was hot and sunny..

Mark Ewbie (author) from UK on January 22, 2014:

Thanks for your comment mikeyr :)

mikeyr on January 22, 2014:

I do not live in the UK, I live in the state of Maryland, USA, but I have experienced the same dilemmas being discussed here when driving in the snow and/or ice. I tried disabling both the DSC and DTC, as I was trying to make it up a slight incline, in order to gain more control of my rear tires, but that didn't work. Not only was there snow, about a couple of inches, but there was also some ice. My 2011 328i had "all season" tires, front and back, and it absolutely refused to make it up that slight incline. I estimated the incline to be about 10 degrees. That would have been the perfect opportunity to try that emergency brake trick where you transfer some of the tire rotation to the other tire due to differential slip, but I just learned about it here. But it's going to snow again tomorrow so if I do use it I'll post the results of that experience here ASAP.

Snow tires sounds like a great solution, but like you guys in the UK, it doesn't really snow that much in Maryland either to justify buying and storing snow tires and wheels. Another solution would be to just buy a pair, or two, of snow tire chains, but of the rubber type. See for more details. I just placed my order today for a pair for the rear tires so I can't say if it works or not. The "SnoClaws" offered on this web site seem to resolve the problem of other snow tire chains that may interfere with your brake calipers. However, I won't know if it works or not until after I receive it and until the next snowstorm, if we ever get any more this year. In Maryland, USA it is legal to use snow chains, but they cannot damage the roads. The SnoClaws would work well here.

Red Star on January 09, 2014:

Correction of text:

It should be that all season tires are not much better than summer tires during winter.

Red Star on January 09, 2014:

Living in Sweden we must by law have snow tires on. I do not understand the problem of the "extra cost" of snow tires. Because of the change your summer tires will last much longer so in the long run the overall cost will probably be about the same apart from the cost of changing the tires. Driving with summer tires on ice or snow I would never do. Only idiots do that and wonder why they smashed in a crossing when they could not stop when needed. Also, do not buy wide winter tires. Buy narrower tires than the summer ones. There are lots of manufacturers of rims and tires. I never buy original rims for the winter tires but always the best brands on the tires as the quality is very different from the cheap ones. I would say that with winter tires there is not much difference in traction between front weel drive and rear weel drive and I drive in snow/ice every winter and have tried all kinds of cars. Modern 4x4 is supperior to anything else but also needs winter tires during winter because braking distance is the same no matter if you have rwd, fwd, awd. There are also big differences in traction and performance of the 4x4 systems. Quattro is great, so is X-drive, so is subaru system. Rav4, CRV, Lexus are not at all as good awd system but still better than fwd or rwd. If I would choose between rwd and fwd in snow it would depend on the driving. If smaller roads not high speed, I would prefer rwd (much funnier cornering which tries your ability to have the correct amount of gas to slide nicely through the curb) but if it would be high speed driving on highways for instance I would prefer the fwd as it is more stable and goes more straight, especially when switching lane through snow string. All season tires I would never recommend. They are not much better than snow tires in snow/ice and not at all as good as summer tires on dry/wet condition. Nowadays I drive a Mercedes GLK 220 CDI 4-matic from 2011 and it is fantastic during wintertime. Really can stop in the middle of a slope, pull away without any sliding at all. Incredible. But it is also fitted with Nokian R tires without any spikes which are developed for the nordic area. Of course on 17 inch non original rims. 17 inch is the standard rim size for this car. No need to move to 18 inch or 19 inch during winter time. Summer tires are on 19 inch rims and wider.

Mark Ewbie (author) from UK on January 04, 2014:

Nice one charmin99 - a Land Rover would be fun too. You could rescue people in it. It is a hellish price to pay for just the occasional problems. I prefer the idea of time off and just watch the snow fall.

charmin99 on January 04, 2014:

Well after all the helpful comments I've decided to go buy some winter tyres if my snow straps don't work, (earlier post,) so let's see, hmm mm...... UK 320i M Sport, 17" rims... ahhhh yes, only one manufactures tyre available for the rear very wide fat ones in the UK, gosh and there only £328 each, mind that does Inc fitting... six choices for the front, only £291 each... so Only £1,238 for a weeks snow if it does snow in South England, £177 a day.. what a bargain... or of course there is option 2...

Hire of a 4x4 Land Rover 3.0 ltr for 7 days £824.0.... I make that a saving of £414.0 I'd actually be making a profit then if it snows.... let it snow let it snow let it snow.... !


Mark Ewbie (author) from UK on January 03, 2014:

It will be nice in the good weather I guess - cheers Marianne :)

Marianne Flannery on January 03, 2014:

Too Funny, Of course I am experiencing going from a Jeep to a BMW X3 and wow it totally sucks! Enjoyed your comicals. :)

Pkittock from Minnesota on December 14, 2013:

I live in Minnesota, commonly referred to as "Minnesnowta." For us, winter tires SHOULD be mandatory but most people don't put the money in to do it. (btw, if the additional cost for wheels is a concern you can get winters that will swap directly onto the OEM wheels- most people go with narrower winter tires because wide ones act like snowshoes and don't grip). I think what you need to do to run a RWD bimmer in an environment that rarely gets snow is put all-season tires on. As much as I hate them, if you aren't driving the car hard you don't need sticky summer rubber. The all seasons won't be quite as good in the summer, but won't be nearly as terrible in the snow and cold.

SmartPanther on December 04, 2013:

If you are planning on being caught short then bring a funnel, attach a tube.. I have found the perfect solution, just poke the tube out of the door and off you go.

I only recommend this idea for a number 1. If you plop in one of these then you're asking for trouble.. Trying to unblock a tube filled with poo and being stuck in the snow would be a ******* nightmare!

Mark Ewbie (author) from UK on November 22, 2013:

Thanks Earl. Next time I see a Beemer stuck on a slight incline, rear wheels spinning and other drivers giving it the finger - I'll know who to call.

Earl on November 22, 2013:

What a sad and shitty story. Driving Beemers is always fun, in every season! When you do not appreciate driving a drivers-car, well, don't buy a drivers-car! Go buy a boring Prius or Zafira! In Holland, nowadays it's quite common to buy winterwheels, also for fwd cars.

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