We had a couple of feet of snow in the Boston area, and the Smart couldn't get up a small incline without a big running start. The ContiProContact tires are clearly no good for deep snow, even though tirerack.com calls them "good". Time to search for snow tires. With a rear engine over rear driven wheels, the car will probably be fine once the tires can provide some adhesion.
MIKE -- I am sure you are correct in saying the ContiProContact tires are clearly no good for deep snow. Here, at State College, PA, we did NOT have deep snow-- so I had no problem, as mentioned above. Please let me know what brand/ type of snow tires you did purchase, and how well you like them--in the moderate to deep snow.
Giff Albright firstname.lastname@example.org
We had record snow so far in one week we got 46 inches of snow. I wouldn't go out in my smart( if I had one,still waiting) because it must be shorter than the snow piles. I live in Spokane Washington and this is so above any records. If I do need snow tires where would I get them? Are they a special size? Happy New Year!! I'm going to the caribbean New Years Eve and when I come back my car is supposed to be in Seattle.
I have two smart cars, here in Canada. The old one (450) since november 2004, and the new one (451) since last june. Both have four snow tires. It is now mandatory in Québec from november 15 to april 15, since 2008.
Snow tires are a MUST for a smart car. I have been many times in a snow storm and it should be installed when the temperature is below 32 degrees. Otherwise, you loose traction. It works well with EPS and ABS.
Both cars have Continental snow tires with steel wheels and european hubs caps (much better). We don't use our mags during the winter here.
We have many sections full of information in our forums in Canada: http://clubsmartcar.com/index.php?act=home
(http://www.clubsmart.qc.ca/forum/index.php ) (but it is in french!)
Hope you find the information that you need.
My smartie was doing fine in the snow( 4 Conti winters w/steel rims in NH) untill the snow yesterday. The roads were not plowed, 6 inches, very dry snow. It felt very light in the front and had problems keeping traction. I must have been floating. I turned around and went back home. My friend said his truck was sliding around in 4 wheel drive, after I had come back.
When it comes to safety, smart seems to do well in snow with the stability program kicking in early. The flip side of the coin is... for those of you looking for some fun in the snow, the program is set really conservative!
I grew up in Finland driving small (not this small!) cars in snow and on ice - smart has nothing to be ashamed of in winter weather. It is a light car so go easy on the gas when starting up in deep snow.
For anyone who lives in an area that gets real winters: get winter tires! You are riding on four patches of about the size of your palms and all the electronics in the world only helps one get most of the grip limitations set by the physics between your tire and the road. I picked up my orphan yesterday (snow storm just for the occasion!) at Latham in upstate NY with ContiWinterContact TS800's installed and the tires seem to work pretty well (even though I have no reference point in other tires in a smart).
Know you limitations, get better and be smart and safe!
Drove in the pre Christmas storms (8 inches of snow) in Wisconsin before the plows had cleared the roads. Topless 42 tracked through the snow with a predictable and solid tactile feeling. It reminded me of Topless 1 (a Corvair Spyder). It too was a rear wheel rear engine machine. I really like the feel and the control I have in my Smart. AND yes the rule says "slow down in bad weather."
I'd just like to keep the salt off Topless 42
In South Jersey we have had a number a fairly significant rain storms this past fall and early winter. I a blinding downpour, I continued to drive a road I drive daily to work because I was in fear of the pickups and SUVs that als travel it barreling down the road crashing into me if I pulled off the road. As I travelled through a heavily tree'd stretch of road, dozens of large branches were ripped out of the trees and thrown all around the road. There were at leas ten to fifteen large trcks and suvs pulled over because they couldn't fit through them. I was zig-zagging through the debres without any problem (at a slow speed of course) with the drives looking at me in amazement. I did pull over finally in a store parking lot to allow the rain to subside for a strach of road that always floods heavily and deeply. I wqs able to get through the flooded section when the rain slowed and the truck traffic (and their wakes) eased up. I estimate I made it through about 100 feet of at least 6 inch deep running water that day. It was a bit risky I admit, but on roads with no shoulders and only gullies, I didn't feel safe pulling over.
The wipers did their job well without streaking.Headlights and fog lights made visability acceptable, and driving rain did not significantly affect the breaking power. I felt safe in the car driving it.
If you are not a confident driver, I wouldn't recommend you taking the same risk. I have driven the same road for almost 20 years so I knew what to expect in all weather conditions including the type of traffic.
It is a safe and stable car and I am glad I own it. I don't intend to swap back to my truck (04 Chevy PU) unless there is heavy snow falling which is rare in Southern NJ.
Snow is not to bad. The ice last week was entertaining. I live on a crowned county road, drove down to get the paper and slid across the road. Stuck against the dirt berm with the front wheels and the back wheels are on ice. Maxwell won't move either direction. I got out and pushed the rear around towards the edge of the road. Now I am parallel with the road. I get in and drive away with no trouble.
I have found that if you drive as slow as mud in the snow, you are fine. I just pulled out of my street the other day not even doing 10 mph and my car slid like crazy. My mom got laid off from her job so I just take her car to work every day it snows. I live in Massachusetts and we get a storm about every 3 days. I can't wait for spring time so I can drive around in my smart all the time. I thought it would be a lot better in the snow, and the dealership also told me the car is awesome in the snow, which it's not! I still love my car and will never get rid of it. Just drive really slow and you should be ok.
I got stuck in some snow yesterday but the good news is it only took one guy to push me out! It seems fine on the road. I think we all just have to be a little more careful as we are driving a fairly light car. I must admit I've had the urge to find a big empty parking lot and do some donuts!