My first post! - Help on Winter driving, plse!

Busker

Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2004
Messages
56
Location
Deepest darkest south Norfolk
Hi everyone - I didn't want this to be my first post but here goes. I'm a very proud owner of a W203 - new as at Sept 1st 03. 220CDi SE (hence auto) - now I've never owned an auto before (or Merc come to that!!) so it was a heart in the mouth type moment. However both wifey and myself love it. I'd driven autos before but never my own so when the recent snows (all 2inches of it) fell on Norwich at rush hour the place just stopped. The half hour journey home took Four :( - However due to the 'wrong type' of conditions the roads were sheet ice. This is hopefully my saving grace!

Having never driven the thing in those conditions before I was just a mite careful. Yes I sussed the traction control - needed to turn it off once to get up a hill and yes ABS works so well (not) in those conditions. The speed of the traffic ditated a snails pace. The most worrying thing was that the back end was way light and at the slow speed it just wanted to go with the camber of the road. The only way to correct it was to give the car some gas and a touch of opp lock. Driving down narrow streets with cars on either side was certainly entertaining!

Took the opportunity the following day to experiment and on normal snow covered roads with the auto in 'Winter' mode things were much more predictable.

Was it just the sheet ice or does this happen lots?

Excuse the long post!

Busker
 

sym

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 2, 2003
Messages
4,336
Location
North London
Car
W204 C220CDI Sport
Welcome to the forum !

What are you used to driving ?

Most rear wheel drives will be a nightmare in slippy conditions, and sometimes the "driver aids" don't work to your advantage. The winter mode on the auto should help, but its a case of as little throttle as possible, and taking it easy when the roads get like that . . . oh, and watch out for getting stuck on hills !!

S.
 

Steve_Perry

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 3, 2002
Messages
3,241
Location
Wales, U.K.
Car
CLS350CDI Grand Edition
Welcome to the forum :D

I'm afraid what you have experienced is pretty typical for a front engined rear wheel drive automatic car. They are not the best performers in snow or any slippery conditions. Funnily enough this topic has been discussed recently on another MB forum too.

If you want to minimise your excitement factor when driving on the slippery stuff you've really only got two options...

1.) Fit winter tyres, these will perform much better in snow.
2.) Use snow chains.

Personally I hate driving in snow in any rear wheel drive automatic, so try to avoid it if at all possible.

S.
 

Dieselman

Banned
Joined
Jul 13, 2003
Messages
34,206
Car
Peugeot 403 Convertible
No real problems this year but remember to knock the stick into neutural approaching junctions or the front wheels will lock and be pushed along by the rears.
 
OP
OP
B

Busker

Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2004
Messages
56
Location
Deepest darkest south Norfolk
Thanks guys - I'll try the 'Neutral' suggestion from Dieselman. This ties in with my ginger application of the brakes. I've owned rear wheel drive sports cars in the past and driven on skid pans but I was honestly surprised as to how light the Merc felt. I wrongly assumed that the Germans' would have had this licked.

So I guess I now praying for some more snow ;)
 

vito113

Active Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2003
Messages
314
Location
Emsworth
Car
One that's too slow…
…but ze Germans have a cunning plan

Busker said:
I wrongly assumed that the Germans' would have had this licked.

Ze Germans have a cunning plan, their cars have to use snow tyres in the winter. On these, a Merc has no problems in the snow.

Andy
 

Jon Tore Jacobs

New Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2003
Messages
1
Location
Oslo/NORWAY
Car
1990 230E
Here in Norway the ice and snow is not the problem as long as you follow some simple rules.
1. Fitt good winter tyres just before the snow arrives (sept-oct)
2. Use your brain. Do not take any risks
At the moment I can`t see my garden fence due to snow, but driving is really good and in fact quite safe.
Anyway. 18th of february in the UK. Allmost springtime what?
Jon Tore
 

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