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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Happy Thanksgiving to all Americans. Hope everyone has a lot to be thankful for this year.

I live in Overland Park, KS a suburb of Kansas City. We just got 7" of snow this morning and had to take the new 300C out to see how it would handle the snow, being that I haven't driven a rear wheel drive car in say.....20 years! I live in a very hilly area (in Kansas?). The car was fine backing down the driveway and taking off up the street. I gave it just enough gas to get the wheels rolling and it worked very well. Then I pulled back into the driveway to park in the garage. It is slightly inclined. I got stuck half way up. The tires started spinning and no forward progress. :mad: The snow built up in front of the front wheels just enough to stop the momentum. My front drive Volvo S80 never got stuck, though it did have some difficulties at times.

Now to the crux of my post. Can anyone recommend a tire chain system for my 300C? What experiences has any of you had with chains. Positives/negetives?

I don't want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere while traveling on business and getting stuck in the snow. I was thinking chains would be the most effective solution.

Thanks for any help.
 

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in canada we have lots of snow i would never use chains they are to hard on the car just get a good set of snowtires.
mickeyboy
 

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I did some googling and was only able to find two sites that fit 225/60/18. All the other sites appear to stop at 225/60/16.

http://www.spikes-spiders.com/catalog/view/category/?id=540
http://www.vulcantire.com/chainsgz_c.htm




I live in California and was thinking of driving up to Lake Tahoe, where there is lots of snow. You always need to bring chains during the winter.
I need to rethink my trip now.

The Spikes-Spider chains are awfully expensive at $289. The other brand, Shur Grip, for $60 may be the best bet, although they don't look too sturdy.

The problem with the 300's in snow is the small 5.6" ground clearance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
joey said:
I did some googling and was only able to find two sites that fit 225/60/18. All the other sites appear to stop at 225/60/16.

http://www.spikes-spiders.com/catalog/view/category/?id=540
http://www.vulcantire.com/chainsgz_c.htm

I live in California and was thinking of driving up to Lake Tahoe, where there is lots of snow. You always need to bring chains during the winter.
I need to rethink my trip now.

The Spikes-Spider chains are awfully expensive at $289. The other brand, Shur Grip, for $60 may be the best bet, although they don't look too sturdy.
Joey,

Thanks for the links. I want to get a set of chains to use if I get stuck somewhere. I don't want to have to buy a pair of snow tires.
 

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Was ESP on or off???

In heavy snow, I believe that ESP should be turned off. Shutting the option off only shuts off the traction control portion of it which is used to cut power to the engine. Just curious if you tried it with it on or off. My dealer specifically told me to turn it off in heavy snow. I had to do the same in my 96 STS which was front wheel drive.
 

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Traction control that cuts engine power to the driven wheels in snow is a nightmare to me. I have had it in my last three cars and turn it off almost always in snow. Sometimes you simply want or need to overrotate, or use wheel RPM to get you out of a situation. I will almost certainly turn MDS off this winter.
That being said because of the sensors and equipment involved, snow chains are a no-no on this car...Maybe only for emergencies, but even then, call AAA.
 

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The traction contol on the C is different!

Before everyone goes hunting for chains, studs and turning off the ESP system that Mercedes spent millions on for the E-class series, take a look at this Popular Mechanics article and click on the video in the article.


http://popularmechanics.com/automotive/auto_technology/2004/3/300c_magnum_winter/
One of the reasons the C is a great car is that it remains poised and balanced under all kinds of driving situations.

Right now we are getting a freezing ice storm in Ottawa. I'll give you a first hand driver's report (or photos of the damage;) ) in the morning.
 

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Northern Rider said:
Before everyone goes hunting for chains, studs and turning off the ESP system that Mercedes spent millions on for the E-class series, take a look at this Popular Mechanics article and click on the video in the article.


http://popularmechanics.com/automotive/auto_technology/2004/3/300c_magnum_winter/
One of the reasons the C is a great car is that it remains poised and balanced under all kinds of driving situations.

Right now we are getting a freezing ice storm in Ottawa. I'll give you a first hand driver's report (or photos of the damage;) ) in the morning.
With all the hot air we get out of Ottawa, from Martin and his cronies< I'm surprised you are getting freezing rain. Good luck, but I think you will be surprised at the handling of this vehicle in all weather. :D
 

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I think KC300's problem was the snow depth, which was 7".

I doubt snow tires, chains and/or ESP adjustments will fix anything if the snow is deeper than 5.6". The snow will just get packed up underneath the car to the point the wheels will started spinning.
But then I never drive in snow, so maybe my understanding of the dynamics of snow driving is wrong. It would seem to me no one in a 300'C could drive in snow deeper than around 5.6".
 

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Northern Rider, I believe that when you shut the ESP off on the C only the traction control portion of it is disabled. ESP is never fully disabled with the push of the button. The portion which keeps the car straight and avoids spinouts is still on and cannot be disabled. That being said I wonder if it was a lack of power which kept him stuck in the driveway. I believe that if ESP was off no engine power would've been cut, I'm curious as to if it were on or off.
 

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I totally agree with Joey. Let's face it. The car rides low to the ground. If you want to drive in deep snow, get a 4x4. In 7", you will just get hung up on top of the snow with the 300.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
jeepgrady said:
I totally agree with Joey. Let's face it. The car rides low to the ground. If you want to drive in deep snow, get a 4x4. In 7", you will just get hung up on top of the snow with the 300.
I agree with you jeepgrady. This was just an experiment with the new car. Normally I would have used the wife's Suburban in the snow.

As far as what exactly I did to get stuck: The ESP was turned on. I entered the driveway at a right angle and applied just enough throttle to get to the limit before the traction control kicks in. As soon as I noticed my momentum slowing I gave more throttle. The T.C. kept me from spinning the wheels and I came to a complete stop. I did not notice any snow build up underneath the front end, just in front of the wheels. It was a very wet snow, so my thoughts are that it was very dense and instead of being pushed to the sides of the tires, as dry snow would, it just built up in front of them. I did not try turning off the ESP, it would have been smart to try it. I will next time.

I did find a section in the owner's manual concerning snow tires. See page 248. "Use only compact chains, or other traction aids that meet SAE type "Class S" specifications. Chains must be the proper size for the vehicle, as recommended by the chain manufacturer." Here are some restrictions in their use: Install chains tightly on rear tires and retighten after 1/2 mile. Do not exceed 30 mph. DO NOT USE ON REAR WHEELS OF AWD CARS! Do not drive long on dry pavement.

Hope this is helpful to some of you.
 

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When I get my SRT8, I'll definitely be investing in a set of winter wheels & tires ... One thing I learned growing up in Quebec .... Winter tires often saved my hide ... no matter what the car ....

The winter tire compound is diff. too ... won't get hard with the cold air like a summer tire .... even when you don't have 7" of snow on the ground, I still wouldn't want to drive around in sub freezing temps ... and hit an ice patch on the interstate .... that really sucks .....

I'd rather have a tire that is made for pavement w/ice and can get decent traction in snow ..... (for the 5"+ snow days)

My last car was a 1997 BMW 740 IL, it has all season tires, and a stability control - traction control system ... it worked great, even in 4-5"'s of snow, and that was without snow tires ..... (hadn't bought them yet)

If the system is anything like my old BMW ... I'm sure it will work quite well ....
 

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jeepgrady said:
I totally agree with Joey. Let's face it. The car rides low to the ground. If you want to drive in deep snow, get a 4x4. In 7", you will just get hung up on top of the snow with the 300.
When you drive on 7 inches of snow, you drive on it, now plow it. Yes, your tires crush the snow a little, but I've never seen a car get hung up in snow like you're describing. At least not on a road. I used to live in Colorado and I have driven my '66 in a foot of snow without problems.
 

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Unless you plan on doing some expiditions in the Canadian tundra or high up on the rockies there should be no need for chains on this car. The ESP and all season tires are meant to be good enough, but if you are unsure spring for a set of decent winter tires and you should be good. Any conditions that would warrant a set of chains are conditions that the car shouldn't be out in the first place.
 

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Well, this morning George W. left Ottawa on Air Force One in the middle of our first snow storm.

What an occasion! - the snow storm, I mean. 14 centimetres (8 inches) of the white fluffy stuff.

Now, I normally hate seeing this stuff -but in the interest of research, I had to find out how my 300C would handle this with the OEM Conti All Season self-seals.

The roads had a layer of ice under the snow. The temperature was around -1 degree Celcius ( 30 degrees F). I live in the country near our airport. The security around the President's departure meant the plows hadn't been out yet. Ideal testing conditions. Here's what I found.

With the ESP on, traction and braking were quite acceptable - certainly better than most of the cars on the road. Steering was good too - typical RWD behavior. At slow to moderate speeds, the ESP enabled the car to go where it was pointed.

At higher speeds, the Contis simply could not get enough grip on the ice and understeer occured. It was still possible to throw the tail out and get through the corner - but not safely as you quickly run out of road. Still, better than FWD with similar tires.

I expected to run into problems with deep snow and berms from the plows, because of the 5.6" of ground clearance and the 120" wheelbase. Try as I might, I could not get it stuck in today's condition. If there was more snow, it would hang up and once the wheels spun down to the ice, they would probably not have enough traction.

In summary, I feel the Contis will get you by for the occasional snowfall. However, the new generation of ice tires (Blizzaks, X-Ice, Alpine, etc.) would be a better choice, if you live in the Northern snow belt, for two reasons: They grip on ice almost as well as on pavement; they work well at extremely cold temps - say, under -10 degrees Celcius. The Contis' performance will be poor at these temperatures.

I have a set of 18" Michelin Alpine Sport Pilots from my 300M Special. Tomorrow, I'm going to see if they will fit the 300C.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
N/R,

Thanks for the input. Every bit is helpful. I am going to go ahead and order a set of chains/cables for my car. My business takes me into Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. During the winter months I travel through my share of snow storms. Most of my driving is on the interstate. I haven't had any problems in the past. I guess I am just having a hard time getting over my RWD phobia. A cheap pair of chains in the trunk should help to eliminate the fear.

Everyone keep up with these weather stories. They help out quite a bit.
 

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Hi KC300C,

I don't recommend chains. Let me give you some background. I did years of competitive winter rallying and ice racing. I live in a cold snowbelt. I drive a lot of miles in the winter. Our snow won't go until some time in April.

There was a time when chains made sense. Today, the negatives outweigh the positives:

In many jurisdictions, they are illegal because of the damage they do to the roads.

You cannot travel safely at speed with them on.

If a chain comes loose, the damage to your car will be significant.

You must constantly put them on and take them off. In cold, dark, windy weather this can be a frustrating exercise.

The noise level from chains is very high.

Finally, they do not work as well on ice as the new generation of ice/snow tires.

They can be effective in mountain areas with very deep, new snow, but the 300C will probably hang up anyway in the deep snow.

Just my 2 cents from 45 years of tough winter driving.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
N/R,

Thanks for your post. I have to respect your winter driving experience. I will not be going with the chains. Any recommendations for a snow tire? Can I get away with just using them on the rear? I need some help. I have never shopped for or used snow tires before. Mount them to existing wheels?

Thanks in advance for any help.
 
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