Northern climate/winter driven S550 Mustangs: how are they holding up?

Mikthehun1

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I put some winter tires on the OEM 18s that came with my '18 GT. I also put a couple of sand bags in the trunk. Even with all that, I tried to avoid driving in the salty slush left behind after the plows and salt trucks do their thing. When it came time to swap out the winter wheels for my summer wheels, I wrangled the sand bags out of the trunk and discovered that some aggressive cornering had flung a bag against the subwoofer and cracked the plastic grille. This winter I'll try to secure the bags better.
There's a winter severity index for road maintenance that takes into account amount and duration of snow, freezing rain and blowing snow. The higher the number, the more severe the winter driving conditions. SE Indiana ranks in the '20s, SE Michigan (like SE Wisconsin where I am) ranks in the '40s and SW Michigan ranks in the '70s.
I have a floorjack and full-size spare in the trunk. The jack stays put in the spare well, and the wheel doesn't move too much on the carpeting. Also running winter/summers as well.





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Fly2High

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All seasons might be ok for light stuff but in no way compare to a set of winter tires for traction in snow/ice.

 

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There's a winter severity index for road maintenance that takes into account amount and duration of snow, freezing rain and blowing snow. The higher the number, the more severe the winter driving conditions. SE Indiana ranks in the '20s, SE Michigan (like SE Wisconsin where I am) ranks in the '40s and SW Michigan ranks in the '70s.
Because prevailing winds are almost always west to east, SW Michigan has lots of beautiful beaches. But, they get a lot of lake effect snow. I wonder where Sault Ste. Marie ranks?

I guess I am fortunate in that I no longer need to drive anywhere in the winter if I don't wish to.
 
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Shawn2018GT

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At 34,000 the P-Zeros had dissolved thru 2 layers of steel belts. All 4 tires. I had NEVER burned rubber (it's a DD). The Pirellis were pieces of shit.
I chose Blizzaks to run year round. Snow tires for the win. I can't notice any noise, but hard turns are a little mushier. But the GRIP! On the Pirellis, any water on the road would make it slip.
 

bknight21

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I live in Syracuse, NY and am thinking about driving my mustang during the winter. I work from home right now so I won’t have to drive very often and my car is kept in my garage. However I am thinking of getting the underside of the car sprayed with Krown for when I have to occasionally drive it. Has anyone noticed that their car’s paint gets severely damaged from driving in the winter? I have paint protection film on the front half half of the car as well as no drill rock guards. This will be my first winter with the car. Thanks
 

NoVaGT

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Don’t forget to add weight to the trunk. For a FWD car, the engine weighs down the drive wheels. For a front engine rear wheel drive car, there’s nothing back there for weight.

I’ve got 2 60lbs bags of sand I picked up at Lowe’s in the trunk. Keeping the tank full of gas always helps. I’ve also got a Husky trunk liner in case the sand bags break. Although I should have bought 3 40lbs of sand as pulling a 60lb bag of sand out of the trunk is a pain.
Mustangs have around a 51.5%/48.5% F/R weight distribution. More weight at the back of the car ruins your suspension, and does as much good as it does bad for winter traction.

Don't do this, it's extremely bad advice. Just get the proper tires.
 

XeninWorX

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Mustangs have around a 51.5%/48.5% F/R weight distribution. More weight at the back of the car ruins your suspension, and does as much good as it does bad for winter traction.

Don't do this, it's extremely bad advice. Just get the proper tires.
hmm, maybe for the S550 it’s like that. For my S197, I’ve found driving with a near empty gas tank versus a full gas tank I had much better traction. I guess the difference between a solid rear axle and independent rear suspension.
 

Balr14

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At 34,000 the P-Zeros had dissolved thru 2 layers of steel belts. All 4 tires. I had NEVER burned rubber (it's a DD). The Pirellis were pieces of shit.
I chose Blizzaks to run year round. Snow tires for the win. I can't notice any noise, but hard turns are a little mushier. But the GRIP! On the Pirellis, any water on the road would make it slip.
I was running Blizzaks all year on my BMW. You are right, they ride great, are quiet and really grip. But they wear out very fast.
 

cmxPPL219

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I live in Syracuse, NY and am thinking about driving my mustang during the winter. I work from home right now so I won’t have to drive very often and my car is kept in my garage. However I am thinking of getting the underside of the car sprayed with Krown for when I have to occasionally drive it. Has anyone noticed that their car’s paint gets severely damaged from driving in the winter? I have paint protection film on the front half half of the car as well as no drill rock guards. This will be my first winter with the car. Thanks
Winter driving can definitely be hard on the front clip of any car.
The issue isn't so much when it's actively snowing, and folks are driving slow. But it's when the roads are relatively dry, and the plows and salters have already come through. On the highway, people are now travelling at speed, and ontop of the normal little stones and pebbles flying around and getting kicked up, you now have the salt that is being blown around and kicked about. Especially on windy days. (Also, picture a cold, but sunny day, where you can see like almost white dust being blown about on the highway, this is all dust from the brine and salt that has dried and is being kicked up by cars passing at speed)

PPF would do wonders for this reason.

However, I don't have PPF, and have gone through 2 winters in Toronto where they salt and plow like crazy. The key is to keep lots of distance from other cars. Don't drive too close. It's amazing how much you can save your front end, by keeping a lot of distance from the car in front of you, where possible. And I know it sounds obvious, but stay away from big trucks, semis. Never drive behind them, and pass them as quick as you can. The bigger the car, the bigger the slipstream, and the farther they kick up debris behind them into you.

The other thing I'd add about the PPF is I notice some folks get it and find confidence in driving closer to cars in front of them, than normal, due to the security that PPF is providing them. The other thing to keep in mind is that you also save your windshield from micro-pitting, and also from potential big impacts, by keeping distance. Because any stones that do eventually arrive at your windshield, most will hit at a much lower velocity.

A friend of mine who just got PPF done is amazed at how my front end looks, going through 2 winters and being DD Black car. It obviously has chips here and there, PPF would have prevented these. But, let's say cost is as an issue, you can do very well without PPF if you need that money to go elsewhere.
 

ChaoticFury09

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I’ve driven both of my Mustangs through Toronto winters. No issues thus far. I use the 18” oem wheels with Blizzak WS80’s and so far haven’t run into any issues. I do try my best to stay home during super bad days but I’m in good shape. Had the car rustproofed last year with a wax type substance. It still looks brand new. We will see how it looks after this winter even though covid will likely see me hardly driving at all.

I also have the following
  • Front end PPF
  • Mudflaps
  • Rust Proofing
 
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jwt

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Cant comment on how it will hold up but so far modifications for winter are
  • PPF
  • Ceramic
  • Krown rust protection
  • Mudflaps
  • Weathertec fitted mats
  • Toyo G3 Ice non studded tires
  • Swapped out 5w-20 to 0w-20

Debating the additional weight for rear as I can see the pros and cons. But the Bullitt has a Torsen diff so .................................still don't know :)
 

Fly2High

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Cant comment on how it will hold up but so far modifications for winter are
  • PPF
  • Ceramic
  • Krown rust protection
  • Mudflaps
  • Weathertec fitted mats
  • Toyo G3 Ice non studded tires
  • Swapped out 5w-20 to 0w-20

Debating the additional weight for rear as I can see the pros and cons. But the Bullitt has a Torsen diff so .................................still don't know :)
What size tires do you use up in Canada? Do you copy OEM or do you go to a narrower tire?

With a PP2, I would never put 305 winters. For the first winter I went to a 275/35/19 only because that was the smallest the OEM would take. I now have smaller wheels that still can fit those winter tires but will replace them when worn out with a 255 or 245/40 or thereabouts.
 

cmxPPL219

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What size tires do you use up in Canada? Do you copy OEM or do you go to a narrower tire?

With a PP2, I would never put 305 winters. For the first winter I went to a 275/35/19 only because that was the smallest the OEM would take. I now have smaller wheels that still can fit those winter tires but will replace them when worn out with a 255 or 245/40 or thereabouts.
Bang on - I run a 255/40/19 at all 4 corners for winter.
The winter tires are mounted to FP set of wheels that are essentially the PP1 wheels.
Rears tires are mounted on PP1/FP Rear Wheels that are bit wider than the front rims, so just a small stretch.

If you end up with 245s, do a 45 sidewall, as a 40% aspect ratio on the 245mm width will make the height a bit too short.
 

XeninWorX

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I’m gonna run 225/55/18 this year. Didn’t have 215/55/18 which is almost the same as 235/50/18. I had 255/40/19 but found it a little sloppy. Too wide.
 

Fly2High

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Bang on - I run a 255/40/19 at all 4 corners for winter.
The winter tires are mounted to FP set of wheels that are essentially the PP1 wheels.
Rears tires are mounted on PP1/FP Rear Wheels that are bit wider than the front rims, so just a small stretch.

If you end up with 245s, do a 45 sidewall, as a 40% aspect ratio on the 245mm width will make the height a bit too short.
Actually, a 245/40R19 is 0.5" more in diameter than my 305/30R19 so they are the best size match for a PP2 if you want to keep the speedo and such happy. I have heard to keep tire diameter within 3% is safe.

A 245/45R19 would be 1.5" in diameter more and throw the speed off by -5.3%. I would be doing 60 when my speedo read 56.8mph. Not terrible but I am sure it would get me into trouble.

I tend to like to keep the tire diameter as close to stock as possible. I have heard it can mess with traction control too. The 275/35R19 is also very close to stock diameters but is on the hairy edge of finding a winter tire. They make them but not many.
 

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