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ESP and traction control are great safety features.
However they are limited to the traction of the tires. ESP cannot do anything for you, unless you have adequate traction. Driving up a hill would be a good example. Conversely, ABS is also limited to the same issue. The less bite of the tire on snow and ice, the more ABS will do to prevent wheel lockup, which increases your effective braking distances. ESP and ABS sadly, CANNOT bend the laws of physics. I find that in my discussions with some people on and off the forums, they just cannot fully grab that concept.
Those of you who think all season tires are adequate for winter, you need to change your way of thinking. You need to think of an all-season tire as a "jack-of-all-trades master of none". While all-season tires will provide a somewhat better bite than say a summer performance tire, ( Goodyear F1supercar) It is no match for a dedicated winter tire.
The biggest problem with all-season tires is the rubber compound. When the temperature is below freezing, this compound becomes harder, which in turn negatively affects the tire's traction. A winter tire on the other hand, has a silica-based rubber compound which is not affected by below freezing temperatures. Combine that with the aggressive tread characteristics of a winter tire, and you can really see a difference, especially with RWD sedans such as our own.
As a trade-off, a winter tire gives up some handling, as opposed to an all-season/performance tire. The ride will be somewhat softer than what one would be accustomed to.
The ABS/ESP and traction control systems can only work with what you give them. They are limited to the tire's traction. If you have none, then you'll get none. IMO, get a set of dedicated winter tires, and wheels. The added expense will balance itself out, as you save tread life on your other tires. It does not have to be prohibitively expensive either. God knows there is always someone selling factory wheels/tires on the forums for a fraction of what you would pay retail.
Another thing to know, is that winter tires ONLY wear out on dry pavement, and NOT in snow. With good driving habits during the lesser snow periods, you can conceivably get 3 to 4 seasons out of your winter set, along with a better/safer winter driving experience and spare the life of your other tires in the process.
300C... A Demon In Gentleman's Clothing...
300C SRT 8... The Demon's Boss Dressed to the Nine's...
RIP 2007 300C SRT8...Built On Tue Apr 10 21:00:00 PDT 2007. T-Boned On Sat Sept 3 05:21:00 MDT 2011.
Never Once Did She Let Me Down. You Will Be Missed...
"Ever notice how you come across somebody once in a while you shouldn't have ****** with? That's me." Clint Eastwood as Walt Kowalski in Gran Torino.