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I have a 325i - 2005. I live in Houston and have to move to chicago for 3 months. I will be driving up there- December 1st week. Mine is a rear wheel drive and I have heard it's not safe to drive a rear wheel in places where it snows or sleet. Does the in-built traction control,ABS in the BMWs handle that.?
Do i just drive carefully while I am there or put winter tires before I head out or atleast immediately after I reach there, since the snow will set in mid to late december in chicago.What do you gurus recommend? Any words of advise are helpful.!
 

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Traction control should always be off in the snow otherwise the car will never be able to catch traction on the snow. Your DSC light will keep illuminating and wheels won't soon because the car can't catch traction.

A set of blizzaks would help you out substantially
 

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It's all about tires, using your head and realizing it takes far longer to stop then get moving.

The rear wheel drive E46 is decent in the snow, but like anything, you are from Houston and probably have little experience driving in the snow.

Make sure you get some tires with decent snow ratings. Look at Tire Rack and Just Tires.

Again, you just need to be patient and careful, many of the other drivers from the area may think they can drive in snow, but the first snow storm is always the worst.

Also keep your fuel tank fuel, you never know when you will be stuck in traffic for HOURS. There have been a few times in the DC area where people were stuck, not moving in traffic for 12-14 hours!!!! Sucks when you cannot run the heat or run out of fuel.

Good luck.
 

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I drove in snow plenty of times before but only in front wheel drive cars. Just like you I was a little nervous the first winter I had the e46. I was pleasantly surprised with how it handled, like everyone said tires are very important and a pair of designated winter tires would be ideal. My car has all season Micheline Pilot sports and while they were OK I am planing on investing in a decent set of winter tires when I'll replace this set. Try to avoid areas with deep snow as you can easily get stuck, I'd keep a shovel and some winter supplies in the trunk just in case something happens.
 

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Keeping the DSC, having a set of winter tires and being smooth/planning ahead will make the E46 a very manageable car in the winter.
Even with all seasons and DSC off it is very manageable, you just have to be alert and know the route ahead of time, look far ahead, and apply gas/brakes/steering inputs/change gears smoothly and gradually.

The other big concern you want to consider is rust. An older car with plenty of paint defects thats daily driven in these areas is bound to get rust unless you are absolutely anal about washing/detailing.
I think a winter beater and a storage area is a very good investment if you value your car.

I fcking hate rust.
 

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The urge to be a smart ass is very hard to suppress! You'll be fine. Just plan more time to get from place to place. If you have time warm the car up before you go somewhere so you are warm. Also, make yourself a snow emergency kit that you can keep in the trunk. It should include:

a small shovel
windshield scraper and small broom
flashlight with extra batteries
battery powered radio
water
snack food including energy bars
raisins and mini candy bars
matches and small candles
extra hats, socks and mittens
First aid kit with pocket knife
Necessary medications
blankets or sleeping bag
tow chain or rope
road salt, sand, or cat litter for traction
booster cables
emergency flares and reflectors
fluorescent distress flag and whistle to attract attention
An empty coffee can to hold the candle which can double as a small heater.


The water will freeze but at least you'll have something to thaw out.

As far as rust goes. Northern states use salt. My 2002 has spent 14 winters in Minnesota and doesn't have a lick of rust. Just wash the car once a week while your up north.

Enjoy the northland, and get out to see the sights!
 

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Traction control should always be off in the snow otherwise the car will never be able to catch traction on the snow. Your DSC light will keep illuminating and wheels won't soon because the car can't catch traction.

A set of blizzaks would help you out substantially

Only when going up a hill, otherwise it should be left on.
 

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If your tires have plenty of tread you don't need to buy 500 plus dollars worth of tires for 3 months of driving. Plus it's Chicago. One day it will snow and it will melt the next day. It's not like Minnesota.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks to everyone for your kind inputs. I am 2 of my tires are only couple of months old so I'll replace the other 2 before I head up there and will get the winter safety kit recommended. I will evaluate the driving conditions until mid December and if requires get winter tires. Thanks a lot y'all!
 

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Up a hill even without traction the car won't move

Traction should always be off on the snow. Maybe for one wheel wonder sedans it doesn't make sense. For my LSD diff on my M it does

Wtf are you talking about. I took my car up to Mt Baker 2 years ago. I was plowing through 4-6 inches of snow on the road. I only turned my traction control off when I was going up hills.
 

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It seems the people posting in this thread have a fundamental misunderstanding of how E46 DSC works.

Do *NOT* turn the traction fully off when driving in the snow. The DSC has 3 modes:
1) Full on (traction and braking intervention)
2) Braking intervention only [press button momentarily]
3) Full off (no intervention) [press button for 3 seconds]

Any non-M E46 has an open diff in the rear of the car. If you are driving in the snow with DSC fully defeated, this is a hindrance. You will find yourself in many scenarios where the drive wheel spins uselessly. However, if the DSC braking intervention is operational, it will apply the brake to a wheel that's spinning too much and causing the car to slide. The mechanical parts in the diff will react and transfer power to the other wheel. THIS IS THE WAY IT'S DESIGNED TO WORK.

-At speeds below 45 MPH or so, you will want to defeat the traction intervention by pressing the DSC button momentarily. Traction intervention can *sometimes* (not always) make it difficult to get the car going. Leave the braking intervention working! You will get better traction this way.

-At speeds above 45 MPH or so, leave the system fully on. You have enough momentum at that point and the traction intervention won't be impairing your ability to keep the car moving. It will, however, keep you out of trouble.


There are rare cases at low speeds where you may have to completely defeat the system to get the car moving from a standstill. But it's rare.

The car can get through about 5" or so with minimal drama when equipped with good snow tires. After that, forget it. It doesn't have enough ground clearance or traction for anything deeper than that. But it'll get you by ok. I daily drive mine year round, and knock on wood, it's never gotten me stuck. Hell, I go out and drift in the snow when there's good coverage and the streets are free from traffic (late at night). The car is perfectly capable, but you need the proper tires.
Thanks to everyone for your kind inputs. I am 2 of my tires are only couple of months old so I'll replace the other 2 before I head up there and will get the winter safety kit recommended. I will evaluate the driving conditions until mid December and if requires get winter tires. Thanks a lot y'all!
If you want a worry free life, you need a separate set of wheels with snow tires on them. Run them from late November until late March. Run summer tires the rest of the year.

All season tires are garbage in the snow. You'll barely get by if there's anything more than a dusting on the ground. Winter/snow tires are a night and day difference. Once you buy a set, you will never go back to all seasons. You'll wonder how people even drive on them in the winter. When you get up there, look around on Craigslist and get yourself another set of OE wheels for a few hundred bucks. Get a set of aggressive winter tires (nothing that says "winter sport" or "winter performance". Those are a compromise). Blizzak WS series, General Altimax Arctic, Dunlop Winter Maxx, etc. To mount on them.

If you look around, you can probably find a used set of wheels and winter tires. if you can get something that has 8/32nds or more of tread, it's worth it. Winter tires start at 11 or 12/32nds. They're pretty useless in snow on this car when they get down below 6/32nds. Just FYI if you buy used.

Snow tires on another set of wheels. IMO, that's the only way to go if you have a RWD car with an open diff, and you need to rely on it for transportation anywhere in the snow belt.


Also, rinse your car off after every storm. The salt is going to be eating the **** out of it. You'll be appalled at what it does to the underbody.
 

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The advice isn't for you to approve or disapprove. Let the OP decide who's advice is useful.
The OP doesn't yet have the knowledge base to discern useful advice from bad advice, as he doesn't have experience driving the car in the snow yet. I'd guess that's why he posted the thread.

You should clarify if you're advising to turn the DSC off completely, or just the traction intervention. One is sound advice, and the other is not. See my post above.
 

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If your tires have plenty of tread you don't need to buy 500 plus dollars worth of tires for 3 months of driving. Plus it's Chicago. One day it will snow and it will melt the next day. It's not like Minnesota.

All seasons blow so much in the snow it's not even funny. It's night and day difference. Plus that 500-800 dollars might be the difference between being able to stop your car and crashing it. You should be able to get quite a few years out of them, if you only run them during the months you really need them.
 

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The advice isn't for you to approve or disapprove. Let the OP decide who's advice is useful.

BMW disagrees with you, so please stop giving out shit advice. I've driven my RWD BMW in the snow many times. I also have enough experience to get by without the traction control, but why not keep a safety feature turned on right? Allot of of the drivers are young and inexperienced when it comes to driving in the snow or for that matter handling a car when it loses control, that goes for most adults. The BMW manual says to keep the DSC engaged unless you are losing traction and driving up a hill. Otherwise it does a great job of moving power around the backend to keep you moving.

In a nut shell OP leave the traction control enabled, but when going up a hill hit the button once to half disengage it.

http://www.bmwblog.com/2014/02/16/winter-driving-settings-bmw-editorial/

"DSC is a setting that has the ability to keep your BMW in line within the laws of physics. It’s a controlled, keep the car on the in intended path kind of setting which is what you want the majority of the time. The DSC system will use the brakes, individually, if needed, to keep a wheel from slipping if power is over coming grip. DSC can even decrease the power to the wheel if it detects wheel slip. Add the all-wheel drive system and it gets even more complex. Essentially what DSC means is no tail out drifting and no donuts in the snow. DSC has the ability to sense if you are about to spin the car and intervene again by monitoring the yaw of the car, the input of the steering wheel and the gas pedal.

Where DSC isn’t the ideal is in lower speed winter driving. When you are losing speed going up a slippery snowy/icy hill, the DSC will try to keep the wheel spin from occurring. This means you could come to a complete halt if trying to power up a snowy hill with the powered wheels kicking up snow rooster tails. I’ve forgotten to disable DSC before going up a snow covered hill at about 20 mph and got stuck in my 330i despite having some great winter tires on it. Losing momentum is the decisive factor."
 

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I have a 325i - 2005. I live in Houston and have to move to chicago for 3 months. I will be driving up there- December 1st week. Mine is a rear wheel drive and I have heard it's not safe to drive a rear wheel in places where it snows or sleet. Does the in-built traction control,ABS in the BMWs handle that.?
Do i just drive carefully while I am there or put winter tires before I head out or atleast immediately after I reach there, since the snow will set in mid to late december in chicago.What do you gurus recommend? Any words of advise are helpful.!
Like the vast majority have said,....Snow Tires, Snow Tires, Snow Tires.

Your RWD Bimmer will feel like a Champ with a set of new snow tires. I'd recommend a set of Yokohama IG52c snow tires in a 205/50-17 at ~$112 each or a set of 225/45-17 at ~$125 each from Forum Sponsor Tire Rack. The dollar vs snow performance on these tires makes them hard to beat.

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Yokohama&tireModel=iceGUARD+iG52c&sidewall=Blackwall&autoMake=BMW&autoYear=2005&autoModel=325i Sedan&autoModClar=Sport Package&partnum=245TR7IG52C&tab=Sizes



Rob43
 
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