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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Interested in information from those that drive a 911 4 in the snow. Have you tried the stock tires in the snow? Do you need snow tires even though it's 4 wheel drive. Given the low ground clearance how much snow can it handle even with winter tires. Thanks for sharing your experience.
 

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I am getting snows installed on Wednesday in my 18 C4S. 19 inch wheel and tires from the dealer.
Others have plenty of experience and can comment.

I wouldn't even dream of driving my car or any car for that matter with summer tires in the snow or in the winters. Snow tires are more valuable than awd for driving in the snow. Awd + snow tires that I use in my Volvos are an unstoppable combination as long as the snow is not too deep. With my 4s, ground clearance (standard PASM) in front seems to be about 4.5 inches not right at the lip but about six inches back. Right at the lip of the front bumper, there is rubber underneath and if I measure it there, it seems a bit more at 5.5 inches. Ground clearance that would be the limiting factor in snow driving unless I want to use the front end as a plow. I will post my experiences during this season.
If you have sport PASM, that is 20 mm (about an inch) lower but I don't know if that translates proportionally to the same reduction in ground clearance.
 

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Interested in information from those that drive a 911 4 in the snow. Have you tried the stock tires in the snow? Do you need snow tires even though it's 4 wheel drive. Given the low ground clearance how much snow can it handle even with winter tires. Thanks for sharing your experience.
If stock tires are summer performance tires, do not try to drive with snow, ice, slush on the road. That is, summer tires (compound and tread) have nearly zero traction with frozen precipitation on the road surface. Dedicated snow tires have superior performance above all-season tires in these conditions.
 

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Summer tires do not work in snow and in fact, they don't work very well below 40 degrees. They get hard and slippery. You have a couple choices; don't drive with summer tires in the winter, switch to all season/winter tires for winter, or go with dedicated snow tires which are different than all season/winter tires. Ground clearance is another issue but a lesser one in my opinion. Roads rarely have deep snow because they get plowed fairly frequently during and after storms. So unless your own driveway or some remote/little traveled roads are in your plan, clearance shouldn't be a concern.:cheers:
 

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My 2 cents: Do not drive on summer tires if temp is below 40. If you do, be VERY cautious. If you just want to drive in the winter but not in the snow (maybe just a light snow or dusting) there are several "performance" all season tires that will do nicely. If you intend to drive in snow/slush you definitely will need winter tires. If you're going to get either winter or all season tires I'd suggest you buy a tire/wheel package that you can swap over yourself. Oh, one more thing, although most roads get plowed fairly quickly, try not to get caught out if there's more than 4 inches on the road. otherwise you will be the plow - and Porsches don't like that!

But, if you live in RI you should know all this stuff. :cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all the comments. I've never event tried to drive anything but an SUV in the winter in RI. The cars are in SC and FL in the winter. I have a friend in RI that daily drives a Boxster in the winter with snows on. He states he never has a problem but I find it hard to believe given the snow depths we sometimes get here. Got to believe a Boxster with only rear wheels driving a low profile front end would get stuck on occasion. I've heard C4s do well in the snow with proper winter rubber. Thanks to all who responded.
 

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RTFM

Porsche N Spec tires are NOT rated for use below 45F!
They do not have sipes for snow removal from grooves and the rubber loses its ability to stick to the road surface.
I run ContiWinterContact 19” on a wheel set from Porsche on my C4S.
Tested last winter on large Universuty Parking lots and two snowcrosses at Road America.
Can push thru 6” of heavy snow but 4” is where you really start to plow.
Biggest problem is C4S PDK always start out in firat gear, too much torque. So when first out of the Start Box I keep flipping the upshift paddle to get into at least third gear, approaching corner keep flipping thee downshift paddle for the lowest gear and best engine braking, use the throttle to rotate the car thru corners.
Works but I don’t think I would want to be trying these techniques on public roads!-Richard
BTW, no way I would drive my Boxster in snow even with snowtires!
 

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I've driven my '08 Boxster and '07 997 C4S in the winter using Michelin Alpin winter performance tires and had zero problems. A base 911 is fine in the winter with winter tires as well.

As everyone else has said, summer tires start to skip and stutter at about 40 degrees F. Traction of summer tires is massively reduced at freezing, even on dry roads, and can be dangerous if you're not aware of the diminished performance. Snow tires and winter performance tires do very well.

The time to switch in the fall is when it is forecast to stay mostly below 45 degrees going forward. In the spring, change back to summer tires when it's forecast to stay above 60 degrees during the day.

Well worth the expense and trouble.
 

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Thanks for all the comments. I've never event tried to drive anything but an SUV in the winter in RI. The cars are in SC and FL in the winter. I have a friend in RI that daily drives a Boxster in the winter with snows on. He states he never has a problem but I find it hard to believe given the snow depths we sometimes get here. Got to believe a Boxster with only rear wheels driving a low profile front end would get stuck on occasion. I've heard C4s do well in the snow with proper winter rubber. Thanks to all who responded.
All wheel drive won't help you stop. Winter tires will.
 

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That should read summer tires are not rated for use below 45F. Porsche N-Specs winter tires
too”

Mea Culpa!

After all is said and done, I’d much rather be driving one of our XC70’s in a good snow than any 918/718 or 991 variant on any tires. Yes, you can drive just about anything in snow or icy conditions and get by, but for a level of assurance nothing beats ground clearance, AWD, 4x4, and Snow Flake tires. studs if you got em are even better and then comes chains.-Richard
 

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I drove my 2014 Cayman S through 2 winters on Hakka R2s and never got stuck even in the wilds of Michigan and Wisconsin. But yes, 6-8" of fluffy stuff is about the best you can get through before the snow build up under the belly pan lifts the tires off any traction surface.

For my 2013 C4S that I now have, I ordered Hakka 8s in minus one sizing from stock and will be trying those out. Should obviously do better than the Cayman with 2 extra driven wheels. 991s move their torque back to front far faster than previous C4 generations and in fact can move 100% of it, while that was just a pipe dream in the 997. So I expect fun times.

As a separate project I am building a KW HLS 4 suspension with height-adjustable coil overs to give me additional clearance on the side streets here in the winter. While they plow well, residential streets may not be done when I go to work or come back depending on the timing of the storm. I expect 2-3 more inches of clearance, getting me to the same level as many CUVs or Volvo wagons.
 

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I've driven my '08 Boxster and '07 997 C4S in the winter using Michelin Alpin winter performance tires and had zero problems. A base 911 is fine in the winter with winter tires as well.

As everyone else has said, summer tires start to skip and stutter at about 40 degrees F. Traction of summer tires is massively reduced at freezing, even on dry roads, and can be dangerous if you're not aware of the diminished performance. Snow tires and winter performance tires do very well.

The time to switch in the fall is when it is forecast to stay mostly below 45 degrees going forward. In the spring, change back to summer tires when it's forecast to stay above 60 degrees during the day.

Well worth the expense and trouble.
Reasonable advice, but a caution - high performance winter tires use a very soft compound and wear rapidly in warmer weather. I have only about 10,000 km on my Dunlops, and the rears are pretty much done. I actually considered getting a third set of wheels with AS tires for the shoulder seasons, when temperatures are often too cold for summers but too warm for winters. Decided that it would never pay off.
 

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“I expect 2-3 more inches of clearance, getting me to the same level as many CUVs or Volvo wagons.”

Volvo XC’s currently have 7-8” of clearance. A standard Volvo Wagon is now a special order item as they sell so few.
The first gen XC70 had 4”, next three Gen’s about 8”.
I currently have one of each of the first three Gen’s all purchased new by me.
I could not find any Hakka’s to fit my 991.2 C4S in 19”.
Winter tire Wheel Set goes in Tomorrow, Dealer stows the summer wheels/tires.
At one point I had three sets of wheels/tires in the garage, now down to one with no tires.
My XC70’s ride on WRG3 SUV’s.-Richard
 

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How on earth did we get around in winter before AWD and 4WD vehicles became so popular? Back in the early '70s when I started driving, only pickup trucks and true off-road vehicles had 4WD (many of which had to be switched over by rotating a switch on the hub). The rest of us got by just fine with RWD vehicles (a few early adopters had FWD), on plain old snow tires with big chunky treads (all season tires and Silica and other "ice gripping" compounds hadn't been invented). Learning to drive a high performance car in such conditions required mastering throttle steering, and controlling slides quickly became second nature. Sure AWD and 4WD are nice, but with today's winter tire compounds any competently driven RWD car can get through even severe snow and ice conditions with little or no drama. If you live in a rural area or on an estate where roads aren't plowed and high clearance and 4WD are required, that's a different story (and would also have been the case back in the '70s).

Last night I put the snow wheels and tires on our Cayman, and am looking forward to getting the car out on the winter roads. With PSM off the car is easy to put into a controlled slide (a RWD 911 is a lot easier and WAY more fun though), and ground clearance is no more a problem than for other performance cars. From my perspective north of the 49th Paralllel, Porsche owners that put their cars away for the winter are missing half the fun. Get some good winter boots and have at 'er!
 

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How on earth did we get around in winter before AWD and 4WD vehicles became so popular? Back in the early '70s when I started driving, only pickup trucks and true off-road vehicles had 4WD (many of which had to be switched over by rotating a switch on the hub). The rest of us got by just fine with RWD vehicles (a few early adopters had FWD), on plain old snow tires with big chunky treads (all season tires and Silica and other "ice gripping" compounds hadn't been invented). Learning to drive a high performance car in such conditions required mastering throttle steering, and controlling slides quickly became second nature. Sure AWD and 4WD are nice, but with today's winter tire compounds any competently driven RWD car can get through even severe snow and ice conditions with little or no drama. If you live in a rural area or on an estate where roads aren't plowed and high clearance and 4WD are required, that's a different story (and would also have been the case back in the '70s).

Last night I put the snow wheels and tires on our Cayman, and am looking forward to getting the car out on the winter roads. With PSM off the car is easy to put into a controlled slide (a RWD 911 is a lot easier and WAY more fun though), and ground clearance is no more a problem than for other performance cars. From my perspective north of the 49th Paralllel, Porsche owners that put their cars away for the winter are missing half the fun. Get some good winter boots and have at 'er!
I see your point but technology improves. I use more modern techniques for my experimental work than I did when I was 22 in my PhD program. I can get things done so much faster and more efficiently now. When I was young, my cheap bastard of an advisor used to ask me to use the library to hunt for references. I used to hunt through stacks of abstracts to find a reference and then walk to find the reference to make a photocopy. Now, I can find a relevant research article in a matter of a few minutes. But along the way, pre-computer days, I did learn other things while browsing chemical abstracts. I read stuff that I otherwise would not have. Something gained, something lost.

Same attitude towards cars. AWD + snows make for a less stressful driving experience during a snowstorm when one is driving 75 miles on snow-covered highways at 4.30 in the morning. I don't want to be sliding then. I used to commute in an old Miata with a plastic window in the summers and FWD sedan with all seasons and a stick in the winters. Could barely see anything out back of the Miata during a rainstorm. No ABS. No airbags. It can be done. Would I do it now when I have C4s and two awd Volvos. No frickin way. Something has been lost along the way. I am OK with that now. How age changes our perspectives amigo.
 

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I see your point but technology improves. I use more modern techniques for my experimental work than I did when I was 22 in my PhD program. I can get things done so much faster and more efficiently now. When I was young, my cheap bastard of an advisor used to ask me to use the library to hunt for references. I used to hunt through stacks of abstracts to find a reference and then walk to find the reference to make a photocopy. Now, I can find a relevant research article in a matter of a few minutes. But along the way, pre-computer days, I did learn other things while browsing chemical abstracts. I read stuff that I otherwise would not have. Something gained, something lost.

Same attitude towards cars. AWD + snows make for a less stressful driving experience during a snowstorm when one is driving 75 miles on snow-covered highways at 4.30 in the morning. I don't want to be sliding then. I used to commute in an old Miata with a plastic window in the summers and FWD sedan with all seasons and a stick in the winters. Could barely see anything out back of the Miata during a rainstorm. No ABS. No airbags. It can be done. Would I do it now when I have C4s and two awd Volvos. No frickin way. Something has been lost along the way. I am OK with that now. How age changes our perspectives amigo.
Of course technology can improve the experience of driving in winter for most people. And undoubtedly make it safer (for most people). However what you consider stressful, I consider grin-inducing fun. One of the most memorable road trips I've ever undertaken was a 2009 4,000 km late January excursion from my home in Calgary, down through Montana, across Washington state, up into BC at Vancouver and through the mountains and back to Calgary. 17 days. In an S2000. Snow and ice-covered roads all the way. Backroads only wherever possible (including some roads with logging trucks to navigate around). The only casualty was the front clip of the Honda, which suffered a fair bit of road rash, all repairable with a Dr. Colorchip kit. My wife said she found it very relaxing; like motoring through a winter wonderland in a toasty warm sleigh (the S2000 heater is amazingly efficient).

I think getting older affects peoples' perspectives in different ways. In my cars and in my life in general, I'm becoming more increasingly averse to doing things the easy way. Even though I'm in the technology and media business, I appreciate more than ever certain analog experiences, where comfort and ease take a backseat to taking on the challenge myself, doing it the long and difficult way, because there is joy in mastering whatever skill it takes to do it well. Fortunately, my wife is in the same headspace and smiles and goes to the gym when I'm laying hardwood because I can, or swapping O2 sensors on the Cayman because I can, or heading out on country roads together in the dead of winter (we used to use my 911; this winter we will use the Cayman), turning of PSM and sliding around for a couple of hours...because we can, and we think it's fun. Two weeks ago, she did the Jim Russell F2000 3-day racing school at Mont Tremblant in a car with a non-syncro Hewland crashbox. Every other school in North America has moved to sequential boxes, and I convinced here there was merit in learning how to heel-and-toe a Hewland 4-speed. She now is basking in the glow of mastering an admittedly outdated driving skill that only a few old-timers on this board could appreciate.

There is now an entire generation that believes AWD is a necessity for winter driving, and would have no clue how to power slide a car in a controlled fashion through an icy corner. I believe - even in an age of electronic controls that admittedly work extremely well - that these are useful skills for an automotive enthusiast to possess, and applying them at times in a safe and effective manner contributes to making one a better driver than someone who always relies on technology. (FWIW, if I had a 75-mile daily commute on an icy highway I'd leave all the nannies on...then deactivate them once I hit some icy/snowy side streets where there was fun to be had.)
 
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Of course technology can improve the experience of driving in winter for most people. And undoubtedly make it safer (for most people). However what you consider stressful, I consider grin-inducing fun. One of the most memorable road trips I've ever undertaken was a 2009 4,000 km late January excursion from my home in Calgary, down through Montana, across Washington state, up into BC at Vancouver and through the mountains and back to Calgary. 17 days. In an S2000. Snow and ice-covered roads all the way. Backroads only wherever possible (including some roads with logging trucks to navigate around). The only casualty was the front clip of the Honda, which suffered a fair bit of road rash, all repairable with a Dr. Colorchip kit. My wife said she found it very relaxing; like motoring through a winter wonderland in a toasty warm sleigh (the S2000 heater is amazingly efficient).

I think getting older affects peoples' perspectives in different ways. In my cars and in my life in general, I'm becoming more increasingly averse to doing things the easy way. Even though I'm in the technology and media business, I appreciate more than ever certain analog experiences, where comfort and ease take a backseat to taking on the challenge myself, doing it the long and difficult way, because there is joy in mastering whatever skill it takes to do it well. Fortunately, my wife is in the same headspace and smiles and goes to the gym when I'm laying hardwood because I can, or swapping O2 sensors on the Cayman because I can, or heading out on country roads together in the dead of winter (we used to use my 911; this winter we will use the Cayman), turning of PSM and sliding around for a couple of hours...because we can, and we think it's fun. Two weeks ago, she did the Jim Russell F2000 3-day racing school at Mont Tremblant in a car with a non-syncro Hewland crashbox. Every other school in North America has moved to sequential boxes, and I convinced here there was merit in learning how to heel-and-toe a Hewland 4-speed. She now is basking in the glow of mastering an admittedly outdated driving skill that only a few old-timers on this board could appreciate.

There is now an entire generation that believes AWD is a necessity for winter driving, and would have no clue how to power slide a car in a controlled fashion through an icy corner. I believe - even in an age of electronic controls that admittedly work extremely well - that these are useful skills for an automotive enthusiast to possess, and applying them at times in a safe and effective manner contributes to making one a better driver than someone who always relies on technology. (FWIW, if I had a 75-mile daily commute on an icy highway I'd leave all the nannies on...then deactivate them once I hit some icy/snowy side streets where there was fun to be had.)
I am all in awe with your attitude and your significant other's and your lifestyle. Enjoy in good health and have fun. Life is short ( we seem to be of a similar age ) and we need to be in our comfort zones without sacrificing fun. Buen dia amigo!
 
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Wife picked up my mounted and balanced Hakka 8s for the C4S today (in her Macan). Bring on the snow I say. Life is too short (as noted above).
My first car was a 1980 Saab 900 Turbo and it was quite the snow demon, or so I thought at the time. Seemed to handle everything on 145 wide rubber. But having driven a C4S at the Porsche Winter school, it would run circles around that old Saab. Times and technology change and I'm glad for it. What I don't like is planned obsolescence (are you listening Apple!?!).
 

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How on earth did we get around in winter before AWD and 4WD vehicles became so popular?”

We got stuck and had accidents along with white knuckles!
I started driving in Wisconsin on snow and Lake Winnebago where I honed my ice driving skills.
Next came rear wheel snows, followed by studs. Studs make a rear wheel drive vehicle the equivalent of an AWD or more.
I woulld go back in a flash to studs, an AWD Porsche on studs, wow!
Next came my IH Scouts, capable but they were trucks.
Jeep Cherokee Scout followed, go anywhere but subject to violent excursions on road if you turned quickly.
A series of Volvo XC70 wagons follows, best for the current weather and legislation in Wisconsin.
Note: I have been towed or pusched out of ditches in all but the Jeep over the years.
-Richard
BTW I like technology, as Anan Posts, research can be done in a flash these days with the Internet.
I go back to the use of Oscilloscopes and Polaroid film to capture transient events!
My first computer was an IBM 1620 and punch cards.
A Wang computation computer hooked to a central processor at MURA was a big deal!
No way I want to go back to 3spd’s on the column or 4 speeds.
No enjoyment for me anymore!
-Richard

 
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